The coronavirus outbreak has halted the U.S. economy in its tracks, and a massive economic relief package is still stalled on Capitol Hill over Democrat demands. All of this has Americans worried about paying their bills, and for many that means credit cards. A new WalletHub survey finds some 67 million Americans think they will have trouble making their credit card payments due to the effects of coronavirus.
According to Experian, the average American has four credit cards with a total balance of nearly $6,200. But coronavirus has changed the rules. "A lot of the credit card companies have issued statements that they're dealing with this on a case-by-case basis," says Bruce McClary with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). "They're offering affordable repayment options for people who are in advanced situations of hardship, where they've completely lost their job and have no income stream."
Indeed, major credit card companies like Citi, Capital One, Discover, Discover and Barclays all have links on their websites notifying customers about hardship options due to coronavirus. But McClary notes there is no uniform policy across the industry. "Based on feedback that I've heard, it's very frustrating for people to call each of their credit card companies one by one, sit on hold sometimes for hours, and try to work out some kind of a deal with each of them," he tells KTRH.
There are better options to navigate multiple card issues with multiple companies. "If you have a lot of lenders, reach out to a nonprofit credit counseling agency, and get help from a credit counselor," says McClary.