Published in: Credit Cards | March 19, 2020
By: Kailey Hagen
In these unprecedented times, even credit card companies are stepping up to help.
Anxiety and uncertainty feel like the norm these days, but as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, we've also seen people and businesses coming together to assist one another in ways we've never seen before. This includes credit card companies, many of which are waiving fees and working with those affected by COVID-19 to ensure that this pandemic doesn't completely destroy their finances.
If you are facing difficult financial decisions because of COVID-19, below is a list of all the major credit card issuers and the virus-related assistance they are currently offering.
American Express encourages customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to reach out via phone or online chat on the company's website to discuss their options. American Express will work with each customer individually. Solutions may include reducing your monthly payment, waiving fees, temporarily reducing your interest rate, or preventing your account from going past due or further past due.
American Express has also announced that it will extend the sign-up bonus window for certain cards:
"Due to the impact of COVID-19, for eligible Card accounts approved from December 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020, for which you are eligible for a welcome offer, the period to make eligible purchases to earn your welcome bonus will be extended for an additional 3 months. Eligible Cards are U.S. Consumer and Business Cards issued by American Express National Bank to a Basic Card Member."
Bank of America is enabling its credit card customers to request payment deferral through the bank's website. This means you can skip payments without incurring late fees, although interest will continue to accrue during that time.
Barclays credit card holders experiencing financial difficulty can now request payment relief through their online accounts, which will enable them to skip payments without incurring late fees. You can also dispute transactions and report fraudulent transactions online instead of having to do this over the phone with a customer service representative.
BBVA USA is enabling all of its credit card customers to request payment deferrals if they're unable to pay their bills during the pandemic. The fastest way to get your request processed is to fill out the Payment Assistance Request form on the bank's website. The bank is also waiving balance transfer fees on BBVA ClearPoints and BBVA Rewards credit cards between April 3, 2020, and April 30, 2020. This applies only to balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening.
BMO Harris is another bank that's letting its credit card customers defer payments during the COVID-19 crisis. You won't incur any late fees, but your balance will continue to accrue interest. The fastest way to get approved is to fill out the online form on BMO Harris's website.
Capital One is enabling those affected by COVID-19 to skip payments interest-free. It can also provide assistance with minimum payments and credit card fees, but you must contact the company in order to take advantage of any of these options. A representative will work with you to come up with a suitable solution.
Chase is enabling its personal and business credit card customers to defer up to three credit card payments. You can enroll online through your Chase Bank account or over the phone. However, Chase strongly urges you to enroll online as the bank is experiencing unusually high call volumes, leading to long wait times.
Citibank is enabling its customers to skip two months of payments without incurring any late fees. You must notify Citibank either by phone or, preferably, online of your intention to take advantage of this hardship assistance program or else it will charge you fees.
Citizens Bank is waiving late fees and enabling its credit card customers to defer payments for up to 90 days with no impact to their credit scores, although their balances will continue to accrue interest. Contact Citizens Bank by phone to discuss your options and enroll in its payment assistance program.
Discover is a little behind its competitors in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It was one of the last major credit card issuers to create a dedicated COVID-19 page, and it still doesn't give customers the option to request hardship assistance through their online accounts like many of the other banks listed here. But it is promising hardship assistance to credit card customers who reach out to the company by phone to discuss their options.
Fifth Third Bank is waiving its monthly payment requirement for up to 90 days for all credit card customers who request it. Interest will continue to accrue during this time. You must contact Fifth Third Bank by phone to take advantage of this program.
Goldman Sachs, the issuer of the Apple Card, sent out an email to its cardholders in March announcing that those affected by COVID-19 can enroll in the Customer Assistance Program, which would enable them to skip their March credit card payment without incurring interest. It recently announced it would be extending this program through April, enabling customers to potentially skip payments for two months. You must enroll in the program online in order to take advantage of this offer.
HSBC Bank is offering to defer or reduce customers' credit card payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's also waiving cash advance fees and late fees for 60 days from the date you enroll in its hardship assistance program. You can request this relief by calling the bank or sending an email through your online account.
Huntington Bank is another bank offering payment deferral for up to 90 days to all credit card customers. Interest will continue to accrue during this time, but you will not be responsible for making a large catch-up payment to avoid a late fee at the end of the deferral period. You can contact the company by phone to enroll in its hardship assistance program.
Key Bank is waiving fees and allowing payment deferral for up to 90 days on its credit cards. If you choose to enroll in its payment assistance program, it won't penalize you for late payments or report your payments as late to the credit bureaus.
PNC Bank is enabling credit card customers who are struggling to make their payments to postpone payments with no late fees. You can contact the bank by phone or by using the Consumer Loan Hardship Request form on the company's website. The online form is the fastest way to get a response.
Online-only Synchrony Bank issues many popular store credit cards. It encourages customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to request a credit limit increase through their online account or reach out to Synchrony Bank by phone to discuss hardship assistance options.
TD Bank Visa cardholders are eligible for deferred payments and waiver of late fees if they contact TD Bank by phone to request enrollment in the hardship assistance program. Be prepared for longer-than-average wait times.
TIAA Bank is enabling its credit card customers who meet certain eligibility requirements to delay one payment without penalty. It's also waiving late credit card fees during the pandemic. Reach out to TIAA Bank to discuss your options and enroll in its hardship assistance program.
Truist, the result of the SunTrust and BB&T merger, is allowing customers to defer credit card payments for up to 90 days. You can request this deferral by filling out the online form on the bank website or by calling the company during its customer support hours. Credit card holders can also earn 5% back on qualifying grocery store and pharmacy purchases until April 30, 2020.
U.S. Bank is waiving credit card fees and working to enhance its payment deferral programs for those who cannot keep up with their credit card payments. It is also offering credit limit increases to those who are interested. You should reach out to U.S. Bank directly to see what options are available to you.
Wells Fargo is offering fee waivers and deferred payments, among other assistance measures, to credit card customers who reach out to the bank to request hardship assistance. You cannot make this request online at present, so you'll have to set aside some time to contact Wells Fargo by phone.
If your credit card issuer isn't listed here, you should contact its customer support to see whether it is offering any sort of relief to those affected by COVID-19. It's possible that current relief efforts could be extended or expanded as the pandemic continues, so it's important to pay attention to any correspondence you receive from your credit card issuer during the crisis.
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