These 8 Credit Card Companies Are Offering Coronavirus Relief
Point of Interest
If you’ve been financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, reach out to your credit card issuer for temporary relief.
Everyday people aren’t the only ones feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — credit card issuers and banks are noticing it, too. As a result, nearly a dozen issuers have rolled out assistance programs for customers who may be undergoing financial hardship due to the outbreak.
It’s a frightening time for many Americans and their wallets, particularly for people with piling debt and accruing interest. That’s why we spoke to Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at Creditcards.com and Bankrate, who shares insight on how to effectively manage your credit card, particularly the fees and payments that come with it, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First and foremost, Rossman says the best thing to do if you’re having trouble making payments is to reach out to your card issuer.
“It’s important to note that this is not automatic, you have to ask for it. When you ask, there’s a good chance you’ll get some relief,” Rossman said. “This can include skipping a payment – with permission – pushing back your due date, having fees waived and receiving a higher credit limit.”
Among popular card issuers, Rossman claims the most generous coronavirus-related programs he’s seen are from Apple Card, American Express and Capital One.
Apple Card announced they’re allowing all cardholders who ask permission to skip their March payment without interest. American Express is reportedly doing the same for some cardholders for the next two months, and Capital One for one month.
“Without interest is key – it’s more common to be allowed to skip a payment with interest still coming due at some point, but that’s not as good of a deal,” Rossman said. “When you ask your card issuer for help, also inquire about your credit score.”
Ross says now is the time to be proactive when it comes to your financial situation.
“It’s way better to speak up at the first signs of trouble than to wait a few months and try to unwind the damage of late payments, late fees, accrued interest and credit score dings,” Rossman said.
Another important tip: the phone lines for card issuers are extremely busy at this time, so you might have a shorter wait if you reach out via online chat or social media.
There are numerous credit card issuers that have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak so far by releasing statements and creating coronavirus resource pages for customers. For anyone who is facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic, here’s a breakdown of what to expect from each issuer.
Bank of America
Bank of America announced on March 19 that it will assist customers experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus. If you have a credit card with Bank of America, you can request to defer payments and refunds on late fees. There will also be no negative credit bureau reporting for up-to-date customers, according to a Bank of America spokesperson.
The bank has set up a coronavirus assistance page where customers can find contact information and hours of operation for each specific business and product. To defer credit card payments, the company has set up an online form that’s available on its assistance page.
Barclays is prompting impacted cardholders to contact them for assistance by logging onto their account and sending a secure message or using the number on the back of their card.
For credit card customers impacted by COVID-19, Barclays is allowing them to skip a monthly payment while offering late fee waivers, cash advance fee waivers, finance charge adjustments and potential credit line increases.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and will take additional measures as needed to best support our customers who are struggling financially as a result of the current outbreak,” said a Barclays spokesperson in a statement.
Here’s Barclay’s COVID-19 website with additional information.
Capital One is encouraging customers who may be impacted to reach out to find a solution, which potentially entails fee suppression, minimum payment assistance and deferred loan payments (depending on the customer’s needs). However, Capital One is strongly pushing its customers to use its digital tools and other resources for self-service banking and 24/7 account access. According to Rossman, Capital One is allowing customers to skip one monthly payment without interest.
Chase is encouraging customers to use the Chase Mobile app and Chase.com whenever possible, and to call if anyone needs assistance due to COVID-19. The bank says to use the number on the back of your credit or debit card, or on your monthly statement, but to be aware of longer-than-usual wait times. If you need help with more specific requests, take a look at Chase’s coronavirus page for more resources.
Account holders who have been impacted by COVID-19 should contact Citi’s customer service for assistance, but keep in mind that wait times may be longer than usual. Effective March 9 for an initial 30 days, Citi is issuing fee waivers on monthly service fees and has waived penalties for early CD withdrawal for retail bank customers. The bank says it will also consider credit line increases and collection forbearance programs for “eligible credit card customers,” although it doesn’t explicitly state eligibility requirements.
Discover customers who are experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 can receive assistance related to payments, fees and interest. Take a look at Discover’s coronavirus page for contact information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Goldman Sachs (Apple Card)
The Goldman Sachs-backed Apple Card is allowing its customers to skip March payments without penalties or accruing interest charges. As of March 15, customers can take advantage of this temporary fix by contacting Apple Card Support and requesting to enroll in Apple’s customer assistance program.
To help customers grappling with the impact of COVID-19, Wells Fargo is offering fee waivers, payment deferrals and “other expanded assistance for credit card, auto, mortgage, small business and personal lending customers” who contact the bank, according to a recent press release.
According to Wells Fargo’s dedicated coronavirus page, it has temporarily closed some of its branch locations but its call center remains open. The bank recommends calling 1-800-219-9739 to speak to a representative if you’re experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, but the wait times are currently longer than usual.
“We will continue to evaluate this fluid situation and take additional action as necessary,” CEO Charlie Scharf said in a press release.