Ottawa seeking lower credit card interest rates amid COVID-19 crisis

Lower-interest credit could be made available for Canadians

The federal government is asking banks and credit-card companies to lower interest rates on Canadians struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is also looking at extending lower-interest credit directly to consumers.

The Bank of Canada has slashed its trend-setting interest rate to try to cushion the blow to business from a slowing economy, but credit-card interest rates, the ones that matter most directly to most consumers, remain high.

Speaking at his Ottawa residence this morning, Trudeau says Finance Minister Bill Morneau is in talks with major banks about doing things to narrow the gap.

“We recognizes they are a significant challenge for many Canadians at this point,” Trudeau said.

“We are looking at making credit more available and less expensive for Canadians to make it for the next few months.”

He says the government is spending billions on programs to help individuals pay their bills over the next few months as the novel coronavirus forces people out of work due to illnesses and enforced closures.

He says lowering the costs Canadians have to pay as they rely on borrowing to cover their expenses is another part of the effort.

– with files from Katya Slepian, Black Press Media.

More to come.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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