Coronavirus and credit cards: What you need to know

Written by
Brooklyn Lowery
Terms apply; see the online credit card application for full terms and conditions of offers and rewards.

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Editor’s Note: This article originally published April 8, 2020. Some information and offers may no longer be up to date.

The COVID-19 virus has fundamentally changed the way we are living our daily lives, conducting our business, educating our kids or even paying for our basic needs. As the international community comes together to fight the virus’ spread and toll, there have been small businesses shut down, people laid off from jobs, vacations canceled, bills that still need to be paid and so much more.

Anytime there’s a dramatic shift in your life, there tend to be significant questions about and changes in your finances or at least how you should be thinking about your finances.

CardRatings and the larger QuinStreet family of financial services websites are here to help. Whether you’re looking for information about how best to manage your credit during a layoff or a responsible way to pay off debt with a balance transfer credit card, or perhaps what you need to know about COBRA insurance benefits, we have that information for you. 

Here are the pages that might help you with your financial questions during this time. If you still have questions about credit cards or any of the topics below, please email We’ll do our best to get you answers.



Guide to credit card travel insurance

With numerous travel plans canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19, questions about what credit card trip cancellation covers, how to claim it and whether your credit card insurance will be enough are bound to come up. This article addresses all of those questions and more.


Credit card rewards program updates in response to COVID-19

From extra rewards at grocery stores to allowing you to redeem your rewards for popular streaming services, credit card issuers are working hard to rise to the challenge of meeting their customers needs in this unprecedented time. We’ll update this as we get more information.

How are credit card issuers helping customers during the COVID-19 crisis?

If you’ve found yourself on shaky financial ground due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be wondering, what, if anything, are banks doing to help? From waived late fees to delayed bill pay, help is available. See what we know. 

Chase lowers renewal annual fee for qualifying Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders

In response to many cardholders encountering challenging financial situations right now, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders who renew their cards from July 1-Dec. 31, 2020 will pay a reduced annual fee. Take a look at the article to learn more about who qualifies.


Is COVID-19 making balance transfer offers harder to come by?

Are balance transfer offers actually that much harder to come by these days? Our data shows not necessarily. Learn more about our findings and about some cards offering 0% intro APR periods. 

Guide to balance transfer credit cards

What is a balance transfer? Is a balance transfer offer right for you? How do you choose the right balance transfer card? What do you need to know about making a transfer? We cover all the FAQs about balance transfer credit cards so you can decide if one would be helpful for you right now whether you’re looking to make ends meet during a job furlough or have a project you’re completing while staying at home.


How to manage your credit cards during a crisis

Even during a crisis there are a number of things you can do to make sure you come out ahead financially. From taking advantage of special offers from your bank to adjusting your credit card strategy, we offer tips for how to stay financially afloat.

Can you pay rent with a credit card?

You can often pay rent with a credit card, but it’ll likely cost you. Is it worth it? We discuss how to pay rent with a credit card and the pros and cons of doing so.

Can I get cash back when I pay with a credit card?

You technically CAN get cash with a credit card, but it comes with a lot of strings and some hefty interest charges. Make sure you understand the details of a credit card cash advance before you decide to do that. There are likely better options.


Guide to small business credit cards

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on the small business community. It’s possible that a small business credit card could be the tool you need to help you weather this unprecedented economic and cultural storm. Furthermore, a wide variety of businesses – everything from rideshare drivers to freelance writers to Airbnb hosts to landlords and more – could very well qualify for a small business card. Take a look at this guide to figure out whether you might qualify and if a small business card is the right choice to help you through these times.


Best cash-back credit cards

Even though life is anything but normal right now, you still have expenses. During this time when necessities like groceries, utilities, Amazon purchases and, if it comes to it, medical expenses are the bulk of your spending, a cash-back rewards credit card could be a good fit for you. Many are annual-fee-free and offer nice rewards on those everyday needs. 


Credit card payoff calculator and more

If you have credit card debt you’re looking to pay off, but perhaps have had a change in income now with the coronavirus, these calculator tools can help you understand what your various options are in terms of paying off your debt. The tools can help you plan to make payments that fit within your budget while working to pay off your debt and paying as little as possible in interest charges.



Guide to COBRA Insurance benefits

COVID-19 has forced many businesses,  at least for a time, to close. This, of course, has led to layoffs and many people looking for ways to keep their health insurance active. COBRA insurance is one way to maintain your former employer’s health insurance coverage. Take a look at what you need to know about COBRA.

How to avoid surprise medical bills

Surprise billing, that is, when you receive a higher-than-expected medical bill, could become an issue if you require treatment at a facility or by a provider not in your plan’s network. Learn more about surprise billing and what to do if it happens to you. 

Coronavirus and health insurance

Many health insurance companies updated their policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, health insurers are waiving co-pays and out-of-pocket costs, they’ve removed many existing barriers to telehealth, and they’ve eliminated the need for prior authorizations related to the virus. Explore more about how insurers are responding to the virus as well as how you can pay for care. 

How to buy an individual health plan

You can purchase an individual health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act exchanges or through a health insurance company. Remember, a health insurer can’t reject you since the ACA ended that practice. Take a look at how to shop for an individual plan and how much you can expect to pay. 


Life insurance and the coronavirus

Life insurance companies might delay approval, exclude coverage or deny your application outright if you’ve recently visited an area known to have had a coronavirus outbreak. Take a look at this expert advice about what to do if you’re thinking about buying new or additional life insurance at this time.


Long-term disability insurance protects your income

Long-term disability insurance can help by paying a portion of your salary if you’re not able to work for a covered reason. The coverage isn’t only for people with dangerous or physically demanding jobs. Most disability claims, in fact, aren’t related to the work you do at all. Learn more about disability insurance. 


Am I covered if I drive during a state of emergency?

Since many states have implemented states of emergency in response to the COVID-19 crisis, here is what you should know before you decide to travel, including whether your car insurance covers crashes during a state of emergency.


Tax preparation fees: What it costs to get your taxes done

The deadline to file your 2019 federal income taxes has been pushed back to July 15 in response to the coronavirus crisis (though not all states have extended their deadlines the same way). Take a look at what you need to know about filing your taxes this year.

Brooklyn Lowery
Editor & Credit Card Expert

A journalist for nearly 20 years, Brooklyn has published work on a broad range of topics including personal finance and business as well as travel and human interest pieces. As a finance expert, she has provided commentary on credit cards, card rewards and personal finance...Read more

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The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

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