In a matter of days the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat has gone from a wash-your-hands warning to strict policies regarding public gatherings, mandatory school closures and stay-at-home orders in some cities.
But COVID-19 is more than a serious threat to the health of Americans. Millions of Americans are concerned about making ends meet as a result of many businesses being forced to lay off employees.
Around 67 million Americans think they will have trouble paying their credit card bills due to coronavirus, according to WalletHub’s new Coronavirus Money Survey,
Several credit card issuers have released statements on how they can help people experiencing a financial hardship manage credit card bills.
There are a number of solutions credit card issuers can do:
- Reduce payments
- Waive interest
- Waive late fees
- Increase credit limits
Contact your creditors to get ahead of any potential late payments. Protect your credit score from any late payments.
Here’s a rundown of what’s being offered by some of the largest credit card issuers. If you have credit card issuers that are not on this list, call them. During times like this banks are responding by implementing assistance programs.
Cardmembers experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 may be eligible for reduced monthly payment, temporary interest rate reduction, waived late fees or return check fees. You can call the phone number on the back of your American Express Card.
Bank of America
According to a recent report from the New York Times, Bank of America may allow skipped payments due to hardship, but will not waive interest. Bank of America has a hardship program that helps find solutions when you cannot pay your credit card bill. Call the number on the back of your card or reach out online or via mobile app to ask about individual assistance options.
Barclaycard has several options for customers experiencing financial difficulties. They are enabling customers to apply for a temporary increase on their credit card limit and in some cases, allowing cardholders to skip their March monthly payment – or use other measures such as waivers for late fees or cash advances, finance charge adjustments and possible credit line increases, says spokesman George Caudill.
Cardholders impacted by the coronavirus should reach out to a specialist for an individual solution. According to a New York Times report, Capital One may allow eligible cardholders facing hardship to skip payments without accruing interest.
In a message on a coronavirus landing page, Chase encourages customers impacted by COVID-19 to call the number on the back of your card or reach out online or via mobile app to ask about individual assistance options. Chase will evaluate customers’ needs on a case-by-case basis. Chase may defer payments, waive fees or extend payment dates, the company says.
Citi offers several assistance programs on an individual basis. Once you reach out to a representative, you may be eligible for a credit line increase and collection forbearance options.
Comenity issues several retail credit cards like DSW, Forever 21, Sephora and others. Cardmembers are urged to call the toll-free customer care number on the back of their credit cards to address hardships they may be facing due to COVID-19. Comenity said in a statement to USA TODAY. “As the situation warrants, we have the ability to help cardmembers by employing tools such as fee and/or finance charge reductions, or waivers and alternative payment options.”
In a statement, Discover said it “will be extending relief to qualified customers who are experiencing financial difficulty caused by the spread of COVID-19. Discover customers may receive assistance that can include support related to payment timing, fees, and late payments.”
Goldman Sachs (Apple Card)
Apple Card customers can skip March payments without accruing additional interest charges if you enroll in a Customer Assistance Program. You can send a text to an Apple Card specialist or call right from inside Apple Wallet. “We understand that the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation poses unique challenges for everyone and some customers may have difficulty making their monthly payments,” the note to customers read. “Apple Card is committed to helping you lead a healthier financial life.”
Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union has options for people impacted by COVID-19. Possible options for customers could be loan extensions, deferred payments, emergency loans plus you can apply for credit card limit increases via their mobile app.
Synchrony issues retail credit cards for many popular national brands. Their website says customers that may experience financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 should contact them to discuss options. These options may include waiving fees and charges across credit card accounts, evaluating credit limits to assist with purchasing power.
U.S. Bank advises customers who have been impacted by coronavirus to reach out by calling 888-287-7817 to discuss individual solutions. In a statement sent to USA Today, US Bank said the bank is “reactively waving credit card fees and are working to enhance our skip-a-pay and payment deferral programs to meet U.S. Bank cardholders’ needs during this pandemic,” said a statement sent to USA TODAY. Those measures are taken in addition to “several options regularly available” including increased credit limits, waived fees, and expedited card replacement.
Wells Fargo customers experiencing hardship from the coronavirus disease can call 1-800-219-9739 to speak with a trained specialist about their options. Those options might include fee waivers, payment deferrals, and other expanded assistance for credit card, auto, mortgage, small business.
Contact your credit card issuer
If you don’t see your credit card company on the list, contact them anyway. Most credit card issuers have options for financial hardships they may not publicly advertise.
The FDIC has banking information for consumers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
The FDIC says to…Immediately contact your creditors if you do not think you can pay your bills or make credit card or loan payments on time.
But what should I say? Be patient and simply explain your circumstances when speaking with an account representative and request available options for short term hardship programs.
Avoid late payments. Late payments can hurt your credit score and pile on extra charges and fees so getting ahead of the issue will save you down the road.
Check back often for updates. This is a partial list of credit card issuers offering options to Americans financially impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).