Why 42 million Americans will miss at least one credit card due date in 2022

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From WalletHub

Forty-two million Americans (almost 1 in 5 adults) think they will miss at least one credit card due date in 2022, according to a new WalletHub credit card survey released today.

This indicates that cracks in the foundation of consumers’ finances are beginning to show, under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high level of household debt. The average American household already owes $8,000 to credit card companies. In light of that, WalletHub’s survey examined people’s experiences with late payments and their attitudes regarding the likelihood of future encounters.

Some key stats that came out of the survey:

  • Electricity is a big worry. 40% more Americans are worried about missing an electricity payment in 2022 than last year.
  • Asking for waived fees is common. 118 million Americans have tried to get a credit card late fee waived.
  • Credit card issuers are forgiving…if you ask nicely. Nearly 9 in 10 people who have tried to get a credit card late fee waived were successful.
  • Companies are helpful, but not by a wide margin. 53% of Americans say their credit card company has been helpful during the pandemic.
  • Cardholders want more relief. 77% of people think that credit card companies should continue to give payment relief to people affected by COVID-19.
  • Men feel more shame. Women are 13% less likely to feel “ashamed” about missing a payment than men.

Below is a quick Q&A that summarizes the WalletHub credit cards survey.

Why do so many people expect to miss credit card due dates in 2022?

“The reason that roughly 42 million people expect to miss at least one credit card due date in 2022, according to WalletHub’s latest credit card survey, is a combination of the financial stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the amount of existing credit-card debt,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “U.S. credit card users started 2022 with over $900 billion in credit card debt – and that’s after they made record-breaking paydowns as a result of the COVID-19 stimulus payments. Since the pandemic puts a lot of stress on people’s personal lives and finances, it makes sense that the top two reasons why someone would miss a credit card payment are forgetting and not having enough money.” 

What are some tips for credit card users concerned about late payments?

“The best thing people who are worried about forgetting to pay their credit card bills can do is to enable automatic monthly bill payments from a checking account for at least the minimum amount due each month. This is a simple process that helps people avoid late fees and credit score damage,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Automatic payments won’t help people who lack the money to pay a credit card bill, though. The best ways for people to make sure they have enough money are to budget responsibly and to try to save at least a small amount of money each month. People who suddenly can’t pay due to the pandemic should ask about their issuers’ hardship plans, too.”

Is it worth asking credit card companies to waive late fees?

“Cardholders who have consistently paid their credit-card bills on time but have trouble once in a while should definitely ask their issuers to waive late fees. There’s no harm in asking, and nearly 9 in 10 people who have asked for a waiver in the past say they were successful in getting it at least once, according to WalletHub’s new credit card survey,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Some credit cards advertise having ‘no late fees,’ but that feature can sometimes be overrated because you may be able to get that on other cards just by asking. In a lot of cases, ‘no late fee’ only means no fee for the first time you miss a due date, not any subsequent times.”

Click the following link to view the WalletHub credit card survey: https://wallethub.com/credit-cards/#survey.

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