Personal Finance

Americans are struggling, but you’d never know it from their credit scores

Despite widespread job losses and financial uncertainty, Americans are faring well by most measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal relief, such as stimulus checks, expanded unemployment benefits and an extended pause in loan repayments, have even given some a boost.

Consumers are paying down debt and saving more than they have in decades. Many are leveraging low interest rates to refinance and lower their monthly bills or catch up on past-due payments.

As a result, credit scores, a general measure of credit worthiness, have improved across the board. In July, the average national credit score hit a record 711, according to FICO, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.

But that’s not the whole story.

More from Personal Finance:
Americans increased their credit card debt because of Covid
Still no stimulus check? 
A financial snapshot of America one year after Covid

“While the signs are positive, we are cautiously optimistic in light of the economic uncertainties created by the pandemic,” said Rod Griffin, senior director of public education and advocacy at Experian.

The extended pause in the repayment of certain loans — including federally backed mortgages and federal student loans — gave many borrowers a reprieve during the current economic crisis.  

Related News  Op-ed: Here's how to capitalize on a self-directed brokerage account within your 401(k) plan

Credit reports show those loans as current, even though borrowers aren’t making payments — and likely cannot afford to.

“On the surface, the consumer credit market is performing quite well,” said Matt Komos, vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion. “Serious delinquency levels remain near record lows.”

“However, the performance of those accounts still in accommodation will help shape the true consumer credit picture,” he added. “With many accounts expected to come out of accommodation between March and May, most notably mortgage accounts, we will soon see the true impact of those programs for both consumers and the credit marketplace.”

President Joe Biden recently extended the payment pause on federal student loans through at least September. His administration also moved to extend mortgage payment forbearance through the end of June.

(Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation have been extended through March 14. Workers who don’t exhaust their allotment of benefits by that date can continue collecting benefits up to April 11.)

By next fall, I have to imagine that there is going to be a tsunami of people needing debt relief.

Howard Dvorkin

chairman of Debt.com

While economists argue that government stimulus is meant to provide a stop-gap until the economy picks up and jobs become more readily available, once consumers get used to not paying certain bills, the money gets re-prioritized elsewhere and it’s hard to revert back, according to Howard Dvorkin, chairman of financial education site Debt.com.

Related News  How younger adults attempt to navigate by way of the coronavirus pandemic

“By next fall, I have to imagine that there is going to be a tsunami of people needing debt relief,” Dvorkin said.

If you are worried about making ends meet, Dvorkin recommends switching to cash to immediately curb spending and avoid racking up additional credit card debt. Then, put any extra funds toward paying off the loans with the highest interest rate — also called the avalanche method of debt repayment.  

TransUnion’s Komos also advises borrowers to get in touch with lenders now to explain the financial constraints they may experience when federal relief runs out.

“We always encourage consumers, if they are getting into a challenging spot, be proactive and reach out — don’t wait.”

Many lenders have shown a willingness to work with borrowers on loan repayment, often on a case by case basis.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

For more updates check below links and stay updated with News AKMI.
Life and Style || Lifetime Fitness || Automotive News || Tech News || Giant Bikes || Cool Cars || Food and Drinks

Source

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

usa news wall today prime news newso time news post wall

Close