How To Use Your Credit Cards To Ride Out The Coronavirus Crisis

April 1, 2020

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Your credit card might be able to save you some money in the short term. Dealing with an abrupt, damaging financial event like a cut in your working hours is difficult enough. Doing so in the middle of a global pandemic can be overwhelming. But using your credit cards strategically could help you get through the short-term. It is very important to remember that a credit card can keep you afloat for only so long. Eventually the debt must be repaid, so consider these financial strategies to get you through the next few months. If you have limited cash available, you may need it for essential expenses you can’t pay with credit, such as rent or mortgage payments. Using a credit card for other purchases allows you to float those costs so you can make your cash reserves last longer. If you pay your credit card bills in full, up to now, you can buy some time interest-free by making use of your grace period. When you pay off your entire statement balance, new purchases won’t start gathering interest until your next statement’s due date. That means you can get 50 or more interest-free days between making a purchase and paying it off: the 30 or so days in a typical billing cycle, plus the 21 to 25 days between the end of the cycle and the due date. Just make sure you fully understand your bank's grace period policy.  If you have good credit, consider getting a credit card with an introductory 0% APR offer on purchases; many of these have interest-free periods of a year or longer. Check to make sure if you need to make minimum monthly payment during this time period before you apply. Finally consider a balance transfer on high, interest debt to a card with 0% APR on balance transfers. With such a card, you’ll potentially get a year or longer to pay down this debt interest-free. That gives you the flexibility to focus on other, more pressing financial obligations in the short term. However most balance transfers come with a fee. Check to see if that fee is less than the interest you would be paying.

SOURCE: Reader's Digest

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