In today's COVID-19 climate, it's difficult for us to not watch our spending more cautiously than ever before, especially since the coronavirus pandemic has brought about so much uncertainty in different aspects of our lives, ranging from things like slowing economies, shuttered businesses hence potential job losses, pay cuts, increased stress levels due to coronavirus fears and more.
While credit card issuers have in place temporary relief measures that could help you navigate through this challenging time if you take the initiative to reach out to them and try working out a solution catered to your unique financial hardship circumstance, you might be wondering if it's a good idea to request for an increase in your credit line since life has to go on and you need to pay your bills, mortgage and put food on the table.
After all, the Fed has slashed its interest rate and your credit card's prime rate could drop, leading to potential lower credit card interest payments if you have a variable APR on your credit card. Before you take the plunge and request for an increased credit line, take a step back to think things through logically no matter how tempting that ‘easy' option may seem when you are increasingly cash-strapped.
Foremost, with an increased credit line and the possibility that you could be out of cash sooner than you'd like, it is highly likely that you would end up charging more on your credit card. There's also the temptation to overspend, if you aren't one who's particularly disciplined when it comes to managing your finances.
The hard truth that you always have to remember is that if you aren't able to pay off your credit card balance by the due date, you will easily end up in spiralling credit card debt. That's a nasty situation to be in, considering how difficult it can be to actually get out of debt.
Should you or should you not?
If you have an emergency savings fund, dip into that first to tide things over. The Trump Administration has also expressed its support to send cash payments to Americans as part of the COVID-19 stimulus package. That check could come in handy, too. Also, reach out to your credit card issuer to see if you could work out a temporary relief solution together!
Our take is that you shouldn't increase your credit line if you know for sure you are going to utilize a huge fraction of that credit that's extended to you. Not only do you run the risk of getting in debt, or worsening any existing credit card debt, your credit score could take a hit at the same time.