Got security clearance? DoD is cracking down on your credit history

Kaylah Jackson
August 23, 2018 - 3:43 pm

Dreamstime

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If you want to keep your security clearance, you better pay your bills on time.

That’s right, the federal government is cracking down on security clearance regulations and it all points back to staying on top of your credit. Thanks to a new guideline, the Department of Defense will continuously monitor the financial activities of service members with clearances.

If you’re still serving and one of the many people with a clearance you could be subject to a full background investigation. Having excessive debt, late payments or high debt-to-income ratio are all factors that could impact your deployable status and prevent you from keeping your security clearance.

Unless you can prove inaccuracies in your credit report are due to identity theft or a mistake, it’s in your best interest to make your payments on time and regularly monitor your credit score.

Here’s how to keep your credit in check.

  • Actually look at your credit score. Did you know service members and spouses can receive a free credit score analysis from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority each year?  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has tools specifically designed to give you tips on how to improve your finances.
  • Be proactive. In 2017, millions of Americans, including service members, fell victim to the Equifax data breach, everything from names to social security numbers were seized. Be aware of your account activity by signing up for alerts. Active duty members can sign up for a special alert that notifies credit reporting companies of your status while you are away. If you think you’ve been a victim of identity fraud, check out this OPORD on how to keep your information safe and secure.
  • Ask for help. Call (855)411-2372 if you think your credit record is wrong or go the online route and submit an online complaint.

For more tips on how to be safe and stay smart with your money (so you can keep that security clearance), check out the Military Consumer’s website for financial readiness.

        Contact us about this article or share your story at gethelp@connectingvets.com.