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Consumers think Halloween’s biggest fright is the scare the pandemic is putting on their finances

Almost half of consumers think credit card debt is scarier than COVID-19, a survey finds

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With the pandemic’s first Halloween less than a week away, a new WalletHub study finds that consumers are still spending billions on the holiday, but overall, they’re feeling life is a little spookier than they’d prefer.

The survey -- WalletHub’s Halloween Spending & Financial Fears Survey -- lays out these consumer frights:

  • A whopping 130 million Americans think the coronavirus is the scariest thing about Halloween this year.

  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans are more afraid of credit card debt than the coronavirus.

“Almost 40 percent of Americans are more scared of credit card debt than the coronavirus in part because of political allegiances, but also due to the fact that credit card debt might seem more tangible to an indebted individual who has yet to know someone with COVID-19,” said Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst. 

“Current events aside, money was the number one stressor for Americans for many years before the coronavirus pandemic, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that credit card debt and money problems in general still scare a lot of us, maybe even more so than before.”

Money concerns are widespread this year

The survey found that the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of consumers experiencing money-related worries.

  • Concerns about money problems are hitting 22 million more people this year than last year;

  • Close to 90 percent of Americans think that politicians prey on peoples' financial fears;

  • Roughly 13 million more Americans are scared about their kids' financial futures in 2020 than in 2019;

  • Almost 33 percent of people think their finances are a personal horror show.

Gonzalez said that consumers think the “horror show” label applies for a variety of reasons, including the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy, as well as debt levels which continue to be high despite showing recent improvement.

“It’s tough to say your finances are looking good when you’re out of work or waiting for business to pick back up. You can’t ignore the possibility that some people are just being dramatic when saying their finances are a horror show, either,” she said.

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