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Best tips for managing your credit cards during the pandemic

Posted at 11:06 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 11:06:30-04

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of bills are coming up in May, and that's a challenge for the more than a million Michiganders out of work.

If you're counting on your credit card to help you get through a tough financial spot, you may be out of luck.

"They've really clamped down on new approvals but even on existing customers we're seeing some banks cutting credit limits," Ted Rossman, an industry analyst for Creditcards.com, said. "Sometimes even canceling cards entirely, it's all about risk management."

Rossman warns if you have cards you haven't used in awhile, are close to your limit, making payments late or if you credit score is falling, your card could be lowered or canceled altogether.

To avoid this for unused cars, you might want to make a small purchase you can pay off right away. If you have trouble paying, contact the company. They're working with customers to skip payments with no extra fees or interest. You can also ask for a lower interest rate.

In terms of getting cash in a pinch, Rossman said standard credit card cash advances are one of the worst options because of interest rates.

Zero balance transfer cards, preseason loans and home equity loans are better but harder to get now. Borrowing against your 401K in this scenario is likely a better idea.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

Also, get information about Rebound Mid Michigan, with stories, information and more about coming back from COVID-19

Join the Rebound Mid Michigan Facebook Group.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.