Martin Lewis: Urgent credit card warning for those struggling amid coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the UK, with the outbreak not only having an impact on people’s health, but lifestyle and financial matters too. With many people concerned about how their income and outgoings will be affected as the crisis unfolds, Martin Lewis has shared his thoughts on different matters.


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This includes the topic of applying for credit cards – something which the consumer rights specialist has several key rules for when it comes to this time of borrowing.

This week, Mr Lewis explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had created unprecedented times, and for those needing to borrow on credit, he had an important message.

Mr Lewis shared his thoughts in the latest Money Saving Expert weekly email, with one of his top tips and tricks this week warning that for those in need of zero percent credit, they may want to look to apply as soon as possible.

He said on the matter: “I’ve heard unconfirmed mutterings (though intuitively it makes sense) that credit card firms are already starting to tighten acceptance criteria – never mind the fact many people’s incomes may be compromised.

“Therefore, if you need to cut existing debt costs via zero percent balance transfers, do it ASAP.”

Mr Lewis also addressed new borrowers looking to apply for credit cards.

“New borrowing is trickier,” he said. “Normally I’m anti-borrowing unless for one-off needed, planned, budgeted-for expenditure (in which case, use our Cheap Loans guide).

“Right now though I’m torn. It’s understandable that in these unprecedented times some may want access to a cheap borrowing facility just in case.

“In which case zero percent credit cards will fulfil that, but please be incredibly careful – only use in dire emergency (if you get one, lock it away and pre-define the criteria you’ll allow yourself to use it in).”

On Thursday, Mr Lewis hosted a special episode of The Martin Lewis Money Show: Live alongside Angellica Bell, which focused on how the coronavirus crisis could affect people’s finances.

During the show, Mr Lewis explained that the unprecendented times caused by the coroanvirus pandemic could see him temporarily alter one of his stances on borrowing via credit cards.

“I hate what I’m going to say now, because it goes against what I normally say,” Mr Lewis said.


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He explained that normally, he wouldn’t ever suggest people get a credit card as a zero percent facility, and would only advise people get a credit card for a “one off, planned borrowing”.

However, Mr Lewis addressed how during the pandemic, times have changed.

Currently, it may be that these types of cards could offer people a way to pay for necessary living costs without incurring interest on their debt.

“We’re in different logical times,” he said. However, for those apply for this zero percent card, they would need to apply sooner rather than later, Mr Lewis insisted.

“If you do, the same rules apply – you need to do it quick.”

As of 9am on March 20, 2020, 3,983 have been confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK.

As of 1pm on the same date, 177 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.

The Martin Lewis Money Show – A Coronavirus Special is available to watch now on the ITV Hub.

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