Around 67 million Americans think they will have trouble paying their credit card bills due to coronavirus, according to WalletHub’s new Coronavirus Money Survey, released today. This survey, which follows WalletHub’s report on the States Most Aggressive Against the Coronavirus, illustrates some of the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted Americans’ lives and spending habits.
Below are additional highlights of the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.
• Coronavirus is a huge source of stress. Coronavirus is now the top stressor in America, above money problems, which has traditionally topped the list.
• Many Americans have started saving extra. 158 million Americans are saving more money during coronavirus, rather than spending more.
• Spending habits have changed differently for women and men. The top category women have spent less on due to coronavirus is travel. For men, it’s entertainment events, such as concerts, sports and movies.
• Travel has halted. 94 million Americans have cancelled or plan on canceling travel plans due to the coronavirus.
• Touching cash is scary. More than 6 in 10 people believe it is possible to contract the coronavirus from money.
Q&A with WalletHub
Should credit card companies forgive late payments during the coronavirus pandemic?
“Yes, credit card companies should give relief to affected customers, just like they’ve done during major natural disasters in recent years,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “Roughly 67 million Americans anticipate having trouble paying their credit card bills because of the coronavirus. Their struggles could easily ripple through the economy if left unaddressed, especially considering the more than $1 trillion in credit card debt currently owed by U.S. consumers.”
How are consumers reacting to the coronavirus financially?
“We’ve seen a lot of panic buying as a result of the coronavirus, with people purchasing things like toilet paper en masse, largely because they don’t know what else to do. Furthermore, 94 million Americans have cancelled or plan to cancel travel plans due to the coronavirus,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Less apparent, however, is the panic saving that people are engaged in right now. Around 158 million Americans, or roughly 63% of adults, say they are saving more, as opposed to buying more, as a result of this crisis. If there’s a bright side to all of this, people saving more money than usual might just be it.”
How are consumers feeling emotionally?
“The coronavirus is now the top stressor in America, above money problems and the 2020 election,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “This is significant because money problems have for years been our top stressor, according to the American Psychological Association, with politics creeping up the list lately. It just goes to show how quickly the pandemic has come to dominate the public consciousness, not just in the U.S. but around the world.”
Is President Trump right to consider sending relief money directly to Americans?
“President Trump is absolutely correct to consider sending direct-relief checks to American households. In fact, it’s the only way to fight an economic crisis like this. Other measures such as payroll tax relief will help some businesses, but a lot of workers won’t see any benefit,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.
The complete survey results can be found at https://wallethub.com/credit-cards#survey