COVID-19

Discover says fewer people are opting to defer credit card payments

Justin Ho Jun 10, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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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
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
HTML EMBED:
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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.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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