As many Americans receive a third cash infusion of relief money, more of the funds are going into savings than when the first checks were cut. But what hasn’t changed is the significant share of consumers who say they’re applying stimulus funds to their credit card debt.
As many Americans receive a third cash infusion of COVID-19 relief money, it’s true that more of the funds are reportedly going into savings than when the first checks were cut.
But what hasn’t changed is the significant share of consumers who say they’re applying stimulus funds to their credit card debt.
According to surveys by Bloomberg News, almost a fifth of U.S. adults receiving a first pandemic relief check last spring (18%) said they would put some or all of the money toward their card balances.
Fast forward to the new round of stimulus checks that are hitting accounts now, and the share who say they’ll pay down card debt with these funds is the same 18%.
“Federal stimulus payments have been immensely helpful to people trying to meet their (debt) obligations,” says Rob Strand, senior economist for the American Bankers Association. “The low delinquencies we’ve seen since the onset of COVID-19 reflect that.”
See related: How to get your stimulus check faster
The only other category remaining unchanged between the first and third stimulus checks is home improvements, cited by 11% of respondents in each survey.
Savings is the largest stand-alone use of the latest round of stimulus cash, with more than a third of recipients (34%) saying they will put at least some of the cash toward savings. That’s up from 23% last April.
But if you combine the basic necessities of food, housing and clothing, 6 in 10 current check recipients (60%) say they will use the funds for these purposes. That’s down just slightly from 64% after the first pandemic relief check.
Categories that have seen slight upticks from the first check to the third are investment in the stock market, up from 4% last spring to 6% now, and taking a vacation or trip, up from 3% to 5%.
Bloomberg’s surveys were conducted by Morning Consult, with the latest installment administered in early February. Results were released Feb. 11.