Gephardt: Need help on your credit card debt during coronavirus? Just ask

By Matt Gephardt, KSL TV | Posted - Mar. 5, 2021 at 8:21 p.m.



SANDY – As many Utahns' wallets have been squeezed in the year-long and counting pandemic, it led to a predictable domino effect: Many people have not been able to keep up on their bills. There is good news as credit card companies are proving to be more flexible for those who cannot keep up on their payments.

"We are fairly busy," said Talin Larson, a financial counselor with AAA Fair Credit Foundation. Busier than even before the pandemic as Larson and his colleagues helped people navigate how to pay their bills.

"You know, making the choice between getting food on the table or paying rent versus some of these other payments," said Larson.

The silver lining, explained Larson, is with so many more folks struggling to pay on time, lenders have become way more flexible.

"Especially, right now," he said, referring to the tough pandemic economy.

"Companies are tending to be more forgiving," said Jill Gonzalez of WalletHub about the growth of flexibility on the national level.

In fact, a recent WalletHub survey has found 9 out of 10 people who asked to have a late fee waived, had their wish granted.

"The whole trick of this is asking for that help," said Gonzalez. "These things are not going to happen just on their own."

When you do ask, she said asking nicely – statistically – will get you a whole lot further than being a grouch.

"We're all going through tough times," she explained. "Remember, if you can ask – ask nicely and that actually might be to your benefit. Nobody likes to be yelled at, especially not in 2021."

Both Talin Larson and Jill Gonzalez told us that, if you can, your best bet is to be proactive. If you wait until a bill is past due to ask for help, the less likely you will get it and the more likely your credit score will drop significantly and that can haunt you for years.

Matt Gephardt

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