Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy, generating 44% of the nation’s overall revenue. When they take a hit, we all feel it. But as good neighbors – and frequent patrons – we can find a path toward keeping these small businesses on their feet and reopening their doors as soon as possible.
At Experian, our obligation is to fight for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Main Street America reported in April that “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on small businesses’ revenue…Approximately 35.7 million Americans employed by small businesses are at risk of unemployment as result of the COVID-19 crisis.”
That is why we moved quickly to support the signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), providing relief to Americans through expanded unemployment coverage and by distributing grants and loans to small businesses.
Acknowledging the unprecedented financial difficulties many are facing, lenders have established relief options for customers unable to make scheduled payments. In an effort to safeguard consumers against potential delinquency and protect credit, the CARES Act calls for creditors to adjust reporting systems for those taking advantage of these relief options.
Simply put, your small business’s credit score shouldn’t be your biggest concern these days, and the CARES Act works to ensure that.
We know there’s more work to be done to help small businesses navigate these challenging times. We’ve outlined the following steps to keep your business’s credit on track during the pandemic, taking advantage of resources and services we recently launched:
- Call Your Lender: If a customer or small business is unable to pay a bill, the most critical action they can take is to call their lender and inquire about available assistance programs. If consumers are able to get an accommodation, they can stop a missed payment from negatively impacting their credit.
- Business Resources Website: Experian has launched a website to help businesses prepare to manage increased attacks, push toward digital banking and understand regulatory changes as businesses find their footing in this evolving financial services landscape.
- Credit Report Access for All: Experian is offering all consumers access to a free credit report, FICO score and credit monitoring through our CreditWorks product, which also provides access to Experian Boost, a financial tool that has helped more than 2 million consumers increase their credit score to date. This is in addition to the free weekly credit score we are offering in coordination with our peers through annualcrediteport.com.
- COVID-19 U.S. Business Risk Index: Experian has launched a new service to help lenders and government organizations understand how to make lending options available to the business segments that need it most. This, in turn, directly helps small businesses gain access to capital they need. The public tool includes a risk simulator broken down by state to keep business owners updated on how COVID-19 is affecting specific industries in a particular region.
As a nation, we have learned many lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. One vital lesson that sticks with us at Experian is that we’re better at tackling challenges as a collective financial industry, with transparency and a lending hand. At Experian, we’re committed to helping small businesses land back on their feet, and we’ll be there when the backbone of our economy needs additional support down the road.