Consumers are increasingly concerned about their ability to pay upcoming bills as the coronavirus continues to upend the U.S. economy, with many opening new credit cards or taking out personal loans to make ends meet, according to a survey conducted by the credit bureau TransUnion.
In a survey of more than 2,000 adults, conducted in a two-day span in late May, 70% of consumers who reported being affected financially by the pandemic said they were concerned about paying future bills. That figure reflected an increase from early May, when 66% of affected consumers reported having that concern.
TransUnion conducted its latest survey from May 28-29, in what the credit bureau referred to as “wave 9.” An earlier survey was conducted from May 4-5.
The latest survey revealed growing economic anxiety, as more consumers cut back on saving for retirement. And as the benefit of stimulus checks has diminished, consumers are increasingly eyeing loans and credit cards, the survey found.
“Intent to apply for new credit is at its highest levels since early March, with 15% intending to apply for personal loans and 12% intending to apply for new credit card,” the TransUnion survey found. In the earlier survey, 12% of respondents said they intended to apply for a personal loan, and 7% said they were intending to apply for a new credit card.
The survey also revealed that African Americans are experiencing higher-than-average financial hardship during the pandemic. Of the African American respondents who said they were financially affected by the pandemic, 32% reported job loss — an increase from the 26% who reported job loss in the prior survey.
“Compared to impacted white consumers, impacted African Americans are disproportionately unable to pay bills and loans to meet basic needs,” TransUnion’s survey said, noting that African Americans reported a higher inability to pay rent and to make utility and car payments.