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Tips for keeping credit card debt under control during COVID-19 pandemic

During the pandemic, more people are turning to credit cards to avoid cash, but financial experts say that can have some serious side effects.

HONESDALE, Pa. — It is all about using those cards carefully.

Financial officials say more and more people are turning to credit cards right now, with some wanting to avoid cash during this health crisis.

But while swiping may seem easier to some than paying in cash, one expert said it can be a slippery slope, especially for those struggling during this time.

“The main worry we have with people moving over to credit cards is that they start using their credit cards in ways that aren’t very healthy, like say putting say their rent on their credit cards or other important payments they can’t necessarily pay off right away with cash," said Steven Dashiell, Finder's credit card expert.

Dashiell says if you use your card, you are hurting yourself in the long run. If you cannot make those payments, your credit score suffers, and interest builds up.

He said do use your credit card for things you absolutely need immediately.

"We actually recommend sort of the most important payments like groceries and anything else that’s essential.”

Experts say it is all about budgeting right now: make sure you are using your credit cards for those expenses you can pay off at the end of the month.

If it is an emergency, use that card.

“A lot of credit card companies are actually increasing rewards or adding rewards to cards to help consumers add some back, make things a little easier as they make their payments.”

Dashiell says if you are struggling to make payments, call your credit card company.

He says most are especially helpful right now and may be able to work with you.