COVID-19

Discover says fewer people are opting to defer credit card payments

Justin Ho Jun 10, 2020
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In the long run, it might be better for customers' financial health to pay off credit debt instead of deferring those payments. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Discover says fewer people are opting to defer credit card payments

Justin Ho Jun 10, 2020
Heard on:
In the long run, it might be better for customers' financial health to pay off credit debt instead of deferring those payments. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
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With the pandemic, many credit card companies had set up ways for customers to defer paying what they would normally owe. Now, Discover says the amount of payments being deferred dropped 90% from April until early June — a sign that some distress may be easing.

If fewer people are deferring their credit card bills, they’re probably better able to pay them off, said Andrew Davidson at Comperemedia.

“Perhaps they got their stimulus check, perhaps they got unemployment benefits or maybe they even found a job,” Davidson said.

In the long run, Davidson said, it might be better for customers’ financial health to pay off that credit debt instead of deferring payments for longer.

“In most instances, interest still accrues, and so consumers are effectively kicking the can down the road,” he said.

Davidson said it’s also welcome news for the credit card companies when customers come off those deferral plans. That’s because banks don’t have to set aside as much cash in case people default.

Matt Schulz at Lending Tree said banks want to maintain good relationships with customers.

“It’s not just about somebody having a credit card, it’s about somebody having a credit card and then potentially being able to upsell them to a mortgage, or a car loan,” Schulz said.

And, he said, banks can now point out they were willing to cut customers some slack in a time of need.

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