42% of Americans Have Missed a Bill Payment during the Pandemic

42% of Americans Have Missed a Bill Payment during the Pandemic

October 22, 2020         Written By Heaven Speirs

It’s been over seven months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, and many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet. According to a new report from doxo, 42% of consumers have missed at least one bill payment during the coronavirus outbreak.

With the upcoming holidays and a delay on a second stimulus check, those struggles may continue through the final quarter of 2020.

Auto Loans and Utilities Are the Most Commonly Skipped Payments

Americans appear to be prioritizing insurance payments during the outbreak. Only 10% have missed a health insurance payment, and only 14-15% have missed a car or dental insurance payment. By comparison, 27% of respondents said they’ve missed an auto loan payment and 26% have skipped a utility payment.

Rent and mortgage payments fell in the middle of the rankings, but that still shows that roughly 1 in 5 Americans haven’t been able to pay for housing at some point.

39% of Americans Think They May Need to Skip Payments in the Future

When the respondents were asked how they would survive financially if they lost their jobs, 62% said they could only cover their bills for three months, and 35% said they could only survive for one month. Nearly one in three respondents said they would need to utilize their credit cards to cover their expenses.

Moreover, 39% believe they will likely skip at least one payment in the future. The priorities for future missed bills has shifted a bit, with 29% of participants saying they would skip their cable/internet bill. Rent and utilities were a close second at 28%, followed by auto loans at 26%. Health and dental insurance remained the least likely bills to get passed over.

Most Americans Fear Their Credit Won’t Recover after COVID-19

According to a report from Finicity, 95% of Americans worry about credit recovery after the pandemic. The study, published in September, found that 55% of Americans had experienced job or income loss because of the outbreak, which aligns with findings from the October doxo report (57%).

If you’re worried about protecting your credit now and in the future, here are some tips to help:

  • Avoid big, unnecessary purchases. Save as much money as you can while your income remains fragile. The doxo study showed that 70% of consumers have delayed big purchases due to COVID-19.
  • Be mindful of your credit card spending. You can certainly use your credit card to cover emergency expenses, but you’ll have to pay that money back. Think carefully before you use your card, and come up with a repayment plan to quickly relieve your debt.
  • Use your future stimulus check wisely. Assuming there is a second stimulus check, be sure to pay late or unmanageable bills, or put the funds aside for future emergencies. Check out 5 Things You Should Do with Your Stimulus Check.
  • Beware of COVID-19 fraud schemes. Fraudsters are ramping up their efforts during the pandemic, with an increased frequency of phishing scams and travel-related fraud. Don’t click on any links you receive by email or text, and monitor your financial accounts for unauthorized charges.
  • Pay all your bills on time, when possible. Even if you cannot pay off your credit card balance right now, strive to make your minimum monthly payments on time. Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, so it’s crucial to keep your account in good standing.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of October 22, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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heaven

About Heaven Speirs

Heaven Speirs is a contributing writer for LowCards.com. She remains up-to-date with the latest developments in the credit card industry and the financial sector as a whole. Heaven has over 10 years of experience in online journalism, the bulk of which has been focused on personal finance. Heaven attended Oklahoma State University, where she discovered her talent for research and content creation. In her spare time, Heaven enjoys painting, playing poker, and spending time with her husband and three dogs.