COVID + Credit: How to Spot a Deferred Payment on Your Credit Report
Reading time: 5 minutes
As the Covid pandemic has evolved, many lenders in Canada have offered deferred payment programs to assist their borrowers who are financially impacted. If you have been approved for deferred payments by one or more of your lenders or creditors, you may be wondering how to confirm the “deferred” status of the account(s) on your Equifax credit report. Remember that it can take up to a month for your account information to get reported to Equifax, so don’t check your Equifax credit report immediately after talking to your lender and expect to see the updates right away.
When you look at your updated Equifax credit report online (currently available free here), find the detailed Credit Information section. You will see a listing here for each of the accounts that is reported to your Equifax credit file. For any accounts which have been reported to Equifax as “deferred due to the pandemic”, you should see one or both of these statements in the Comments section: Deferred Payment, Affected by Natural or Declared Disaster. Additionally, you should see the Status listed as Paid as agreed and up to date. The following fields should also show amounts of $0 or indicate “not available”: Payment Amount and Past Due.
Why are there so many elements to look for?
In order to neutralize any negative impact that deferred payments might have on borrowers’ credit standings, the two national credit reporting agencies worked closely with lenders, creditors, industry regulators and the Canadian government to develop updated credit reporting specifications in response to the Covid pandemic. There are several aspects of deferred accounts which must be recorded on the borrower’s credit file in a certain way in order to protect their credit standing.
Can I find my deferred accounts on a paper credit report that was mailed to me by Equifax?
Yes. The information described above should be visible in the Accounts section of your Equifax credit report. Depending on the format of your Equifax credit report, the section may be called “Credit History and/or Banking Information.”
I can see my account listed on the Equifax credit report but it doesn’t seem like it’s in a deferred status. Now what?
- Check again after at least a month has passed since the lender approved your request to defer the payments.
- Make sure you’re looking at a refreshed version of your Equifax credit report. Online, look for the date under the title “Equifax Credit Report for [your name]”. It says “As of:” and lists a date. If that date isn’t today, you need to click “Update Report” to refresh the report for free.
- If you have done #1 and #2, contact your lender to confirm they have recorded your deferred payments accurately and are reporting them to Equifax as required. Equifax is working with many lenders to help them meet the data reporting specifications.
I can’t find my account on the Equifax credit report. Now what?
Some types of accounts are not reported to credit reporting agencies. For example, rent payments are rarely reported to credit reporting agencies, while property taxes and water, gas and electricity utilities are never reported. Any of your accounts which are not reported to Equifax would not appear on your Equifax credit report. A deferred payment arrangement with a creditor or service provider does not necessarily mean that account will be reported to a credit reporting agency.