Millions see credit card limits cut and accounts closed during COVID-19 pandemic

ByMichael Finney KGO logo
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Millions have credit cards limits cut, accounts closed during COVID-19
1 out of every 3 credit card holders have had their credit limits slashed or accounts closed in the first four months of 2021 alone.

PITTSBURG, Calif. -- Sixty-two million credit cardholders have had their credit limits slashed or their credit cards closed in just the first four months of this year.

This has happened to one out of three credit cardholders, according to the online marketplace, Lending Tree. It's all due to the coronavirus.

The pandemic has hit so many of us in different ways.

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Some have gotten behind on their mortgages.

Others have been delinquent in paying their credit bills.

None of that has happened to Mark Linde.

"I didn't even call in during the COVID situation and ask for any assistance on either my home loans or my credit cards for that matter," he said.

Yet his credit limits have been cut on three credit card accounts in just five months.

All on cards he hardly used.

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"People dream about things, but to get to the dream, you really have to get to the plan. You have to make a plan."

"They blamed inactivity on the card and COVID again," Mark said.

Matt Schulz is from Lending Tree.

"When banks get nervous, they tend to try to reduce their risk," Schultz said.

He says banks don't make much money when your card goes unused.

"If you weren't using it when times were good, they probably don't want you to use it when things go south because it could be a sign of financial distress," Schultz explained.

Closing your account or reducing your credit can have an impact on you even if the card was inactive.

"It hit me a lot. I went down to the lowest. I think it was a 582 credit rating," Mark said.

That's down 120 points from a high of 702.

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To avoid that, Schulz says to consider putting small recurring charges on inactive cards.

"Like a Netflix or Spotify subscription on that card, to keep the card active," he suggested.

Schultz says if your credit card account is closed or credit limit slashed, don't be afraid to call and appeal the decision.

It worked for him.

"They said they would reconsider it and about seven to 10 business days, they said they would reopen it."

However, he knows that's not easy.

Linde tried that but says it didn't work.

"You know what, enough is enough. Stop messing with consumers. You know, it's not their fault."

Linde said he would like to see the government step in and help credit cardholders the way they have helped both renters and homeowners.