Paying bills on time is a huge part of a financial consumer's credit score total. Under the FICO scoring model, on-time payments comprise about 35% of a consumer credit score.
Consequently, it's disturbing to see so many Americans struggling with making on-time credit card payments.
And I mean struggling.
In a new survey by CreditCards.com, 79% of credit card debtors (including 91% of millennial credit card debtors) say they're concerned about making minimum credit card payments due to various Covid-19-related scenarios.
In addition, of U.S. adults with credit card debt:
- 62% say that a continued nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases will affect their ability to make minimum payments.
- 61% say they may not be able to make minimum payments if they’re unable to work.
- 56% say not receiving additional government stimulus money would hold them back.
- 26% fear they won’t be able to make minimum payments now that the $600 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit has ended.
The best advice I can give anyone fighting to make their credit card payments on time every month is to know the landscape and understand the risks in ignoring the problem.
By contacting your credit card provider, you may get some relief on payment dates, or even a grace period, so you can get your financial act together and resume paying your credit card bills on time.
You can also put your payment on autopay, with your bank and your card provider's help. That will force you to find the funds needed to make your payments every month, as tough as that might be during a global pandemic.
Additionally, don't use your credit card unless you have to. The less you use your plastic, the lower your card debt will be. That makes it easier to play "catch-up" on the remaining card debt.
Nobody is saying paying your card bill is easy every month, especially if your financial situation is in peril.
But help is available, and the upside is that by extending your effort to pay your credit card bill on time, the stronger your credit score - and the stronger your overall financial health.
Find the entire study is on the CreditCards.com site.