Nonprime Americans Struggle to Pay Emergency Expenses

Nonprime Americans Struggle to Pay Emergency Expenses

March 8, 2017         Written By Natalie Rutledge

Nonprime Americans, those with a credit score below 700, struggle to find credit, which makes it hard for them to pay for unexpected expenses. New research from Elevate indicates it is also difficult for these consumers to borrow money from friends and family.

According to Elevate’s Limited Borrowing Options: The Nonprime Experience, 70% of nonprime borrowers could not cover emergency expenses of $500 or more with their savings, and 64% could not borrow this money from their family or friends.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Even those who have credit cards are struggling to meet emergency expenses. 72% of nonprime Americans would not be able to charge $500 on their card, and 80% would not be able to put $2,000 on the card.
  • More than half (59%) “regularly” carry a credit card balance each month.
  • Only one in five nonprime consumers have borrowed money from their friends or family the past year.
  • Many are resorting to desperate measures. 7% use overdraft protection strategically and use it to cover expenses for which they do not have the cash on hand.

“The fact that 69 percent of nonprimes are unable to cover an urgent expense of $500 with their savings highlights the gap between need and availability of borrowing options. Given the need, very few people have the option to borrow from their support systems, with only 21 percent of nonprimes saying they’ve borrowed from family and friends in the past 12 months,” said Jonathan Walker, executive director of Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class. “Despite the widely perceived ease of asking friends and family for money, it’s simply not an option for most nonprime Americans.”

The information contained within this article was accurate as of March 8, 2017. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Natalie Rutledge

Natalie Rutledge majored in Communications at Mississippi State University. She was in sales for a number of businesses and spent nine years working as a communications advisor to various entities. Natalie can be contacted directly at
View all posts by Natalie Rutledge
Featured Low Interest Card
Top Features : 1.25X miles on every purchase; no annual fee; bonus of 20,000 miles once $1,000 is spent in first 3 months
Featured No Annual Fee Card
Top Features : Earn cash back twice. 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Featured Bad Credit Card
Top Features : No Annual Fee; Cash Back match at the end of your first year; Social Security Alerts
Featured Fair Credit Card
Top Features : No annual fee; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Limited/No Credit
Top Features : No annual fee; reports to major credit bureaus; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Cash Back Card
Top Features : No Annual Fee, Bonus Offer, Cash Back