The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has put many in a challenging financial situation due to restrictions created by local health guidelines and temporary business closures. According to a WalletHub survey, 67 million Americans anticipate trouble paying their credit card bills due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Americans named coronavirus as their top cause of stress (28%), above money problems (26%) or the 2020 election (18%).
To soften the blow for those whose income has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak and help them lead a well-balanced financial life, the majority of credit card issuers in the U.S. have announced emergency support, including credit line increases, heightened fraud security, skipping March payments without accruing any interest fees, and more. Below is an up-to-date outline of what support you can expect from your card issuer during these unstable times.
If you have a consumer or business Amex credit card account and you think you’re in no position to pay your statement balance, American Express might lower your monthly payment, waive late payment fees, and temporarily lower your interest rate. Log into your account and start a chat or call the number on the back of your card and explain how COVID-19 has impacted your financial situation. Ask about terms and conditions of the financial relief you might qualify to receive and if your account will be frozen until it’s paid off.
If you’ve recently booked any trips, it’s good to know that the company is waiving the Amex Travel fee for making flight modifications through April 30, 2020.
Please note that the financial relief is not automatically applied. Amex customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 12:00am EST. Contact them at 1-866-703-4169. They’re also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via chat.
If you have the Apple Card, you’re eligible to skip your March payment without paying any additional interest charges. Apple announced this decision to its cardholders via email saying it will allow the cardholders to skip payments on their cards this month. Should you need assistance, connect to Apple Card support via Messages and enroll in Apple Customer Assistance Program, which will allow you to skip your March payment without incurring interest charges.
The Credit Shifu has always encouraged readers to pay their credit card bills in full and on time. If you think you’re able to make your March payment, it’s probably worth doing so. Using this one-time policy as an excuse to spend beyond your means is not a good idea and you might end up with a bill you can’t pay next month.
If you have any of the Citi’s credit cards in your wallet and are not sure if you’re able to pay your bill in full this month, you can contact the issuer to discuss possible credit line increase and collection forbearance to give yourself more time to pay off your bill. Call the number on the back of your Citi card for more information.
As a precaution against potential scams, note that, if someone from Citi, or any other credit card issuer reaches out to you, they will not ask for your confidential information such as your password or PIN.
Chase has encouraged its personal and business credit card holders to use tools on the Chase Mobile app and chase.com amid COVID-19 outbreak. For example, if you’re using a no-fee balance transfer card such as the Chase Slate credit card, you can initiate the fund transfer on the app without leaving the comfort of your home.
“As a mother, daughter and banking executive, COVID-19 has affected every part of my life. All of us at Chase know how much you and your communities are counting on us,” said Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking.
If you think you might not be able to meet the payment deadline, contact Chase customer service representative and ask if your payment deadline could be extended and your annual percentage rate be lowered. Be prepared to explain how COVID-19 has affected your financial situation.
If you booked travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal and your trip is more than seven days out, you can request to cancel your booking and get a refund via an online form. For trips seven or less days out, Chase recommends contacting its Customer Support Team.
Barclays is currently allowing cardholders to apply for a temporary increase to their credit limit. If you’re a personal banking customer who is experiencing or anticipating problems making repayments to your mortgage, overdraft, personal loans or credit card bill due to coronavirus, you’re encouraged to speak to Barclays specialist teams.
Barclays currently has a range of measures available to support its customers, including removing penalty charges to accessing fixed savings accounts early and a temporary credit card limit increase.
Capital One is another major credit card issuer offering cardholders the ability to skip payments without interest. Contact Capital One Customer Assistance to discuss possible options and if you’re eligible for any of them.
Services like the Capital One Mobile app allow you to conveniently and safely make credit card payments as well as monitor your account for fraud.
To meet U.S. Bank cardholders’ needs during coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Bank is currently waiving credit card fees, enhancing skip-a-pay and payment deferral programs for those who have been economically affected by COVID-19.
U.S. Bank also continues offering its usual financial hardship assistance, including increased credit limits. To see if you’re eligible, contact U.S. Bank customer service and explain your financial challenges.
The coronavirus outbreak is on everyone’s mind right now and is one of the biggest news topics of 2020. Despite the government’s $8.3 billion spending package to fight the spread of the virus, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the economy. If you think you will have trouble paying your credit card bills and if your credit card issuer is not listed above, contact your issuer and ask what type of financial relief might be available to you at this time.