WalletHub

About 87 million Americans are worried about their credit scores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to WalletHub’s nationally representative Coronavirus and Credit Score Survey, released today along with tips to protect your credit score during the crisis. Below are additional highlights of the survey, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

Key Stats

  • Many Americans fear credit score damage: 87 million Americans are worried about their credit scores due to the coronavirus. Some of the most worried groups include middle-income people, the 30-44 age bracket and people with fair credit.
  • Americans want missed payment forgiveness: 86% of Americans agree that credit scores should ignore any missed payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Housing payments take precedence: 58 million Americans are most worried about paying their mortgage or rent during the coronavirus pandemic, followed by 46 million most worried about paying their credit card bill.
  • Women anticipate more debt: Women are 21% more likely than men to expect to get into more debt during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Financial priorities vary by age: Millennials’ top financial priority right now is paying bills, while Gen Xers’ is preserving cash.

The complete survey results can be found at https://wallethub.com/free-credit-score/#survey.

Q&A with WalletHub

How do Americans think the coronavirus pandemic will affect their credit scores?

“Around 87 million Americans are worried about damage to their credit scores due to the coronavirus pandemic, whether from taking on additional debt or missing payments on bills,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Middle-income individuals are more likely than high-income or low-income people to worry about their score, which could be because they don’t have many assets to fall back on but also don’t qualify for government assistance with their expenses.”

What expenses are people most worried about during the COVID-19 crisis?  

“Around 60 percent of people are worried about paying a bill during the coronavirus crisis. The most common type of expense that people think they will have trouble paying is their mortgage or rent payment, followed by credit card payments,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Although around 40 percent of people don’t anticipate trouble paying any type of bill during the coronavirus pandemic, some of this confidence may be attributed to the recent stimulus payments or increased unemployment benefits. It may not be indicative of their financial stability should current restrictions persist for longer than expected.”

What is Americans’ biggest financial priority right now?

“Around 50 percent of Americans say that paying bills is their top financial priority during this pandemic, followed by preserving cash and then finding a job,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Priorities differ greatly with age. People 18 to 29 years old are more likely than any other age group to say their biggest priority right now is finding a job. People over the age of 59 are the most likely group to put paying bills first, which makes sense since retirees generally live on a fixed income.”

Do Americans anticipate going into more debt during the coronavirus pandemic?

“Nearly 44 percent of Americans anticipate going into more debt during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “It’s interesting that more people expect their debt to increase during the COVID-19 crisis than expect their credit score to decrease, which could indicate either that some people don’t know how debt affects credit scores or that people only need temporary financing they can pay off relatively quickly things get back to normal.”