on credit cards is never ideal, but there are times when it may be a necessity.
The emergence of COVID-19 and the extraordinary measures it has necessitated
have meant radical changes in the daily lives of people around the world. With
people forced to stay at home and businesses having to temporarily, or in some
cases permanently, close shop to prevent further transmission of the disease,
many people suddenly face financial uncertainty and are having to rely more on
credit than in the past. If you are among those suddenly forced to rely on
credit cards to get by, make sure to do so cautiously and in the smartest way
Running up the balance on credit
cards is never ideal, but if a sudden change in income leaves you unable to
cover your day-to-day living expenses with your savings or emergency cash fund,
a credit card may be your only choice. If that’s the case, make sure to limit
your purchases to essential items only.
is also extremely important to keep your payments up-to-date and pay at least
the minimum amount due on each statement, since failing to do so can send your
interest rate soaring and eventually hurt your credit score.
Just as they have done in the wake
of other recent disasters, many credit card issuers are temporarily deferring
monthly payments, waiving interest charges or lowering interest rates for
customers facing financial hardships. Since assistance is typically on a
case-by-case basis, if you think you need help, you should call each of your
credit card issuers and discuss your individual situation with them. Keep in
mind, however, any assistance will only be temporary, and you may ultimately be
on the hook for any and all charges you accrue, along with interest, so it is
important to use your cards cautiously.
Other options you may want to consider,
depending on your finances and your credit rating, are taking out a short-term
personal loan, or utilizing a zero-percent introductory offer on a new credit card
if you are eligible.