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Contact your bank for credit card payment relief during coronavirus

Fee waivers, forbearance and other solutions may be available.

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. Start by looking for your bank’s hardship and assistance programs which are currently available to cardholders.

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.

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.

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.
  • Prioritise. You’ll want to move card payments to the top of your list, especially if you’re working with a hardship plan.
  • 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 credit card with 0% intro APR to take interest out of the equation for a certain period of time.

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