Pandemic relief program designed to protect credit scores could get you denied for new credit

Seattle, WA — Good credit is all about the numbers.

But some consumers are finding that words on their credit report meant to protect them could be holding them back.

“We definitely are seeing people be denied for credit. Tor a variety of different reasons,” says Becky House, a nonprofit credit counselor with American Financial Solutions in Seattle.

In fact, a recent study from showed almost a quarter of U.S. adults suffered a credit denial last year, rejected for a credit card or a loan.

House says some consumers might not realize what’s holding them back.

“But we’re also seeing people now getting denied because they have that national disaster code, or NDC designation, on their credit report - which indicates maybe they’re not making some of their payments on their credit accounts,” says House.

NDC codes are a type of “special comment code” that usually appear on a credit report during a hurricane or a flood - if someone impacted by a disaster has trouble paying their bills.

“In general, it helps to make sure people aren’t going to get marked down for - in terms of their credit scores for missing payments when they’re not able to make those payments,” says House.

And these markers are being used during the pandemic, for consumers who are in a mortgage forbearance or getting other relief.

On your credit report, the account will show current. But there will be a notation that says “affected by natural/declared disaster.”

House says she’s seeing people denied things like car loans because of it.

“But the other side of that, it kind of says to a creditor, you know, uh, if you’re, you’re not able to make your credit card payments, or you’re not able to make you car or your mortgage payment right now, it might not be a great time for me to lend you money to do - you know - something else,” says House.

If you’ve been denied credit, always check your credit report. If you asked for accommodations from a creditor but you’re paying on time, you can ask them to take the NDC mark off.

You can get a free credit report every week - from all three bureaus - until April.

If you’ve been denied credit or your score has taken a hit, check out these tips on recovery.

Email Jesse right now at