Capital One Cuts Card Limits Amid U.S. Jobless-Aid Impasse

Capital One Financial Corp. is cutting borrowing limits on credit cards, reining in its exposure as the U.S. reduces support for millions of unemployed Americans.

The adjustments, which the company said it makes from time to time, set off a swift outcry on social media. Some customers have complained in recent days their limits have been slashed by a third to two-thirds, eroding their ability to borrow in an emergency during a pandemic or potentially hurting their credit scores.

“Capital One periodically reviews accounts based on a variety of factors and may make changes to existing credit lines,” the company said in an emailed statement. A spokesman declined to specify how many people are affected.

Capital One, the third-largest U.S. credit card lender, pioneered the business of offering cards to people with riskier profiles, putting it at the vanguard of the industry’s response to downturns. Its management of credit is watched closely as a harbinger of what’s to come at other major banks.

Suspense mounted in the credit card industry in recent weeks as Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration deadlocked on extending $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits. That assistance has helped millions of households keep up with debts as the pandemic sent unemployment soaring above 10%.