The month of March brought a load of unanticipated turmoil to the United States with a record of 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits due to the spread of COVID-19. Even with a lot of budgeting and saving, it may be difficult to recover from the financial stress of job loss in a time like this. Thankfully, credit card companies aren’t turning their backs on consumers in their time of need.
Many credit card companies are taking steps to ease the financial burden with which their customers are struggling. Are you wondering if your credit card issuer is one of those banks? Read on to learn about the credit card companies offering financial relief during COVID-19.
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All cardholders are permitted to skip one month’s payment without penalty and without accruing additional interest. The official email stated that customers could skip their March payment, but they have subsequently stated that you can use this privilege on your April payment, too. If you can afford to pay your bill at this time, consider continuing to pay in case you have a financial emergency in the future.
American Express is offering support to its customers. Customers who contact American Express’s customer service can request assistance with their payments; it will not automatically be applied to their accounts.
American Express is offering assistance in the form of waived interest charges, late fees, and, for qualified customers, lowering interest rates. In certain cases, American Express will permit cardholders to skip their payments without accruing additional interest or incurring a late fee. Take note, however, that American Express will freeze the credit card accounts of customers to whom they offer assistance until the balance is paid off.
American Express is also helping customers who booked travel through Amex Travel. They’re allowing customers to cancel or change their reservations and are waiving fees for making changes through the end of April.
Barclays has a dedicated page on its website dealing with concerns related to COVID-19. The page discusses how and when credit card customers can reach their customer service line and how to access their accounts online. Some options they’re offering to cardholders include waiving late fees, increasing credit lines, and the option to skip payments.
If you’re a Barclay’s credit cardholder, you should contact their customer service line to discuss your payment options.
Bank of America
Bank of America has a dedicated Customer Assistance Program to help customers impacted by COVID-19. They currently have options available for customers who have a credit card or mortgage with the bank.
Bank of America has made it super easy for people who don’t want to wait for hours on the phone to get assistance. Simply click the easy to use “request payment deferral” button on their COVID-19 page, and it’ll take you through the steps necessary to get financial relief.
Chase has not yet publicly announced payment relief options for impacted customers like many other credit card issuers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t help you. If you find yourself unable to make your regular payment, contact the phone number on the back of your credit card to see what options they have available for you.
Customers who booked upcoming trips through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards have the option of requesting a cancellation and refund through their online form. If your trip is less than seven days away, then you should contact their customer service team directly to learn about your options.
Like Chase, Capital One has not publicly issued a list of options for cardholders going through financial difficulties. If you’re struggling to pay your Capital One bill, contact their customer service line to request relief options like skipping payments without interest or late fees.
As with all financial relief options, don’t assume that Capital One will automatically allow you to skip your payment, and don’t use this option unless you absolutely cannot pay your bill.
Discover hasn’t issued specific payment options available to their cardholders, but they aren’t going to leave their customers in the dark. Discover has publicly stated that they are working with certain customers to help them with issues like payment timing, late fees, and other fees. Contact the phone number on the back of your Discover card to see if you’re eligible for these benefits.
Citi has a few options available to struggling cardholders, even those customers who can make their credit card payments on time. Citi is offering credit line increases to qualified customers who need a little extra spending power at this time.
Can’t pay your Citi bill? Contact Citi’s customer service line to discuss their collection forbearance program to allow you more time to pay off your credit card and avoid a blow to your credit score.
Wells Fargo, one of the largest banking institutions in the country, is also working with customers to help them make ends meet. The bank has stated that they are currently offering payment deferrals and other assistance to current cardholders. Contact their customer service department to learn what options they have available for you if you can’t make your payment.
USAA is primarily an insurance company for US military, veterans, and their families, but they also issue credit cards. USAA has not publicly disclosed what options they have available for cardholders who are unable to pay their bills, but they have stated that they have programs available for them. If you have a USAA credit card, then you should contact their customer service to see what kind of relief they have available for you.
U.S. Bank is currently working on some great ways to help their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, they are waiving credit card fees and rolling out options giving customers the ability to skip a payment or defer their payments altogether. They are also offering increased credit lines and fee waivers for customers going through financial hardship.
Synchrony Bank issues store credit cards for businesses like Amazon, Care Credit, and Chevron, among many others. Synchrony Bank has not outlined specific options available to customers, but they have indicated that they’re working with customers to keep their accounts in good shape.
If you have an account with Synchrony Bank, contact the number on the back of your credit card to discuss waiving fees and increasing your credit line.
With all the uncertainty in the world at the moment, it’s important to gain control of your financial situation, especially if you’ve lost some or all of your income.
If you have less income, consider taking steps to reduce your bills. Working with your credit card companies to temporarily halt payments is a great place to start, but you should also consider refinancing your mortgage or car notes to get a lower payment. Remember, the worst step you can take is to ignore your bills without contacting the companies first; it will ultimately end up costing you much more in the long run.
You should also be wary of scammers looking to capitalize during COVID-19 and steal from people who are already struggling to make ends meet. Don’t click on links to your financial institution, instead, go directly to their site and log in. Finally, hang up on calls from telemarketers offering lucrative work-from-home positions.
Are You Looking for Financial Relief During COVID-19?
No one knows for sure when cases of COVID-19 will peak and life can resume as normal. There’s no doubt that this is a time of tremendous uncertainty for many people, especially if you’ve lost your income due to layoffs or furloughs. If you need financial relief during COVID-19, don’t hesitate to reach out to your credit card issuers and loan holders to see how they can help you make it through.
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