PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With Congress and the White House still negotiating a new CARES Act and the $600 weekly unemployment bonus running out this week, more and more families are trying to figure out what to do.
For many, that bonus has been a lifesaver and with it gone, the plastic in the wallet takes on more meaning.
For those trying to make ends meet, the dip in the cash flow means something has to make up the difference.
Creditors are worried more and more people will get into credit trouble so they’ve started dropping credit limits and canceling cards.
Heather Murray at Advantage Credit Counseling Service says it’s a real issue.
“I think consumers right now are just struggling to handle the day-to-day and don’t have the ability to think long term so they are really just in crisis mode. We do manage people who are on a debt management program that consolidates their monthly credit card debt and some of those clients have not been able to make their monthly payments,” Murray told KDKA’s John Shumway.
Murray says the difficulty comes when tough decisions have to be made, “A lot of consumers do use credit to make up monthly income in their expenses, and as limits are reduced that will greatly impact them and forces them to manage their month and do things differently, which right now could be a struggle.”
Advantage does credit counseling for free and Murray says they don’t advise running up debt on credit cards to bridge the gap.
“You’re going to end up in probably a worse situation than you are right now, so it’s best to go back to basics and see what you can cut out from your monthly budget and how you can make some adjustments instead of using credit cards to supplement your income,” Murray said.
Murray points out that right now some creditors are offering to defer payments to clients. “They can skip some payments and it won’t impact their credit score and won’t have any negative impact on their ability to use credit in the future,” she says.
But Murray says the key is to reach out to your creditors and ask for help before the situation gets even worse. For many that initial call is the hardest part.