Should you open an emergency credit card if you’re struggling to pay bills?

How to use your credit cards wisely during the pandemic.
Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 3:44 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A lot of people are depending on their credit cards to get through tough times.

So how do you use them wisely, and is it a good idea to open an emergency credit card to pay your bills?

Megan Horner is a credit cards expert with is a personal finance comparison website that helps consumers pick out the best credit cards for their financial needs.

“I always tell people that credit cards are a tool. So it's really important that you only spend what you can afford to pay off,” Horner said.

If you're worried about paying your credit cards because all of your cash is going to essentials like rent, your mortgage or food and medicine, Horner says you should pick up the phone and call your credit card company.

“Right now the credit card companies have been super vocal about their willingness to help if you're in a pinch financially because of the pandemic,” Horner said.

It doesn't have to hurt your credit score if you're struggling to pay.

They may offer forgiveness on payments.

So what if you need to take out an emergency credit card to pay your other bills?

“I would look at a card with zero percent interest on purchases, if you’re going to be making purchases on your credit card. And that way you won’t pay interest for a set period of time,” Horner said.

Horner said it's not ideal to open an emergency credit card, but if you need to, be smart about it.

She also recommends thinking long term and making sure you have a plan to pay them off.

“Another kind of credit card is balance transfer credit cards, so if you do have that credit card debt right now and you want to be spending money on other finances or building that emergency fund, then you can move the balance of that credit card toward another balance transfer credit card, and then have a set period of time where you’re paying lower interest or even zero percent interest,” Horner said.

You can find more resources from on emergency credit cards here, and a list of best balance transfer credit cards of 2020 here.

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