Contact your bank for credit card payment relief during coronavirus

Fee waivers, forbearance and other solutions are available.

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Business closures in response to coronavirus have left many service workers temporarily without income. Without a clear indication of when businesses will reopen, workers will have to find ways to make ends meet in the meantime. Of course, this includes paying outstanding bills.

Thankfully, banks are sympathetic to the pressure placed on their customers and are taking action. Many issuers have created covid-19 relief pages highlighting how the bank is handling the pandemic and directing cardholders to contact the bank in the event of hardship caused by coronavirus.

Several of these pages list the hardship and assistance programs already available to cardholders, while others simply promise help based on individual needs. Below are the issuers that have published a response to coronavirus, what types of assistance they’re offering, and where you can go to request help.

Card issuerAssistance availableContact for help
American ExpressUnlisted (Has standard policies for credit line increases and hardship programs)Call: 1-866-703-4169
AppleCustomer Assistance ProgramEnroll through received email
Bank of AmericaYes (Consumer and small business cardholders can request to defer payments and receive refunds on late fees)Reach through Contact us page
BBVAYes (Credit card payment deferrals and extensions, waived and refunded ATM fees for using other bank ATMs)Call: 1-844-222-3862
Capital OneYes (Individual solutions based on your circumstance)Reach through Contact us page
ChaseYes (Individual solutions based on your circumstance)Call number on back of your credit or debit card
CitiYes (Credit line increases, collection forbearance programs)Call number on back of your credit or debit card
Citizens BankYes (Individual solutions based on your circumstances)Call: (800) 684-2222
DiscoverYes(Individual solutions based on your circumstance)Call: 1-800-497-2816
Fifth Third BankCredit card deferral (Credit card payment deferral for up to 3 payments and no late fees during this period)Call: 866-601-6391
TD BankYes (Individual solutions based on your circumstance)Call: 1-888-751-9000
U.S. BankYes (Individual solutions based on your circumstance)Call: 888-287-7817
Wells FargoYes (Individual solutions based on your circumstance)Call: 1-800-219-9739

Apple’s Customer Assistance Program

Of all the issuers addressing coronavirus concerns, only Apple has created a whole new program dedicated to coronavirus response. As of this writing, enrolling in the assistance program will let you skip Apple Card payment for March without incurring interest or penalty fees.
Since this relief is the same for everyone and clearly explained in their cardholder emails, Apple is arguably leading the charge when it comes to a coronavirus relief for cardholders. Hopefully, other issuers will follow suit with more direct communication on how they can help.

Types of credit card consumer assistance

Even when it’s not a national emergency, most banks are willing to work with you during times of financial hardship so that you can continue to make your payments. Your credit card assistance options tend to involve the following:

Due date extensions

If a financial difficulty has made it impossible for you to make a specific payment on time, you can request a due date extension on your balance. This is most helpful for sudden, short-term obstacles, like an unexpected expense prior to your normal payment. For furloughed workers, this might not prove very helpful.

A hardship plan

Ongoing financial difficulties, such as illnesses or loss of income, may qualify you for a hardship plan. A hardship plan can include a variety of changes to your repayment terms, including lower fees, lower APR or a fixed payment schedule.

Waived interest

In some cases, your credit card issuer may offer to waive interest on your balance for a month or more. This is the route Apple has taken with its Customer Assistance Program.

Forbearance

A forbearance program lets you postpone all payments on your credit card for a set period of time. However, you’ll still need to pay off your balance eventually. What’s more, a forbearance will not necessarily stop your account from accruing interest during your non-payment period. This makes forbearance the least desirable solution if you can’t make your credit card payments. If you’re considering forbearance, have a look at your balance transfer card options first.

Compare 0% intro APR credit cards

Need to float your finances while you wait for work to resume? Or need to stave off interest on your existing credit card debt? Check out these 0% intro APR credit cards to find a card that can help.

Name Product Purchase APR Balance transfer APR Annual fee Filter values
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 21 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
With an intro APR of 21 months, this card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market. Plus, no late fees and no annual fee.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 21 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
$0
A market-leading balance transfer intro APR of 21 months and 12 months on purchases. Plus Citi Entertainment℠ for deals on dining and going out.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.99% to 23.99% variable)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
$0
Earn rewards and enjoy a long intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable)
$0
This no-annual-fee 1.5% cashback card offers 15 months of intro APR on purchases and transfers. No foreign transaction fees set this card apart.
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Tips for making your monthly payments

No matter the status of your repayment agreement, you’ll want to ensure you have the financial means to make your required payments each month. You can read our full guide for making timely payments, but here are a few quick tips:

  • Review your budget. The first step to creating a workable repayment plan is to understand how much income you make each month and how much you spend on essentials.
  • Prioritize. You’ll want to move card payments to the top of your list, especially if you’re working with a hardship plan or under the terms of a balance transfer card.
  • Set up autopay. Don’t risk forgetting a payment. Set up your automatic card payments through your online credit card account.

Bottom line

Even if your credit card issuer hasn’t released an official statement on coronavirus, you should give them a call if you expect to experience financial hardship. You can also review and apply for a 0% intro APR credit card to take interest out of the equation for a much longer period of time.

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