Using a credit card during COVID-19 is scary. That’s because of the economic uncertainty, the soaring unemployment, and general confusion that comes with a health emergency. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to gain confidence when using credit during COVID-19 and the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s what you need to know about using your credit cards during coronavirus.
The Rules of Credit Aren’t Set in Stone
There are countless articles online that provide credit card rules you should never break. These lists, however, never consider events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
No one can predict an emergency on the scale of the current coronavirus outbreak. Because of this, the rules of credit cards don’t work in today’s environment. There are times when it’s okay to break the rules of credit cards. Don’t worry about your credit utilization ratio and keeping it below 30%. Don’t fear carrying a balance. These are just some of the rules you shouldn’t be afraid to bend during COVID-19.
COVID-19 Is the Perfect Time to Re-Evaluate Your Credit Cards
Are you happy with the credit cards you currently have? Do you have the best interest rates possible, or are you stuck paying high APRs and hidden fees?
Thanks to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and the historically low-interest rates from the Federal Reserve, now is the ideal time to look for a new credit card. Or, if you’re happy with your current cards, now is the time to call your bank and ask for a lower rate, a higher credit limit, or both.
While some rewards cards, such as hotel cards, offer limited value, other types of cards, such as airline credit cards, still provide big signup bonuses and miles on every purchase. The Avianca Vuela Visa® Card, for example, offers 40,000 miles after making a first purchase, plus 3X miles on flight purchases. Once the market recovers and life returns to normal, those miles provide significant value.
Related Article: Is It a Good Time to Apply for a Travel Credit Card?
Afraid of Missing a Payment? Call Your Bank
Missed payments can cause significant damage to your credit score. This damage only gets worse, the more payments you miss. Given the economic uncertainty of life in a COVID-19 world, avoiding late payments is crucial.
Since there are so many finding their hours cut, or out of work altogether, missing payments is a reality for millions of Americans. Fortunately, pretty much every bank and credit card issuer is offering payment relief for those afraid of missing payments as a result of COVID-19. You can only get these offers, however, if you reach out. Don’t be scared to call them and ask; they won’t call you.
Related Article: Updated Coronavirus Credit Card Relief Contact Information
Change Your Due Date
If you are hesitant to ask for relief or feel you can afford the monthly payment, consider changing your credit card due date. Most issuers allow cardholders to select their payment date. This option will enable holders to set their due date around their finances – when they receive their paycheck, after paying other cards, or other options.
Check for Promotions
In times of uncertainty, getting the most bang for your buck is vital. During COVID-19, this is more important than ever. Before you put your cards away to save money, consider contacting your issuer to see if there are offers available to existing members. Maybe they have a 0% APR offer, gift cards for members, or enhanced cash back categories – it never hurts to check!
Related Article: What Are the Easiest Credit Cards for Bad Credit to Get?