It’s not just the spread of coronavirus that’s stressing people out. Mounting credit card debt has probably got your anxiety levels skyrocketing. But as credit card balances slip further into the red, you may be wondering — is it possible to get credit card relief during the coronavirus pandemic? Well, during the Covid-19 nightmare, many debt providers are offering debt assistance if you’re struggling to make credit card payments.
Unfortunately, the impact of coronavirus has sent economies into meltdown. At the same time, personal finances have been plunged into chaos. Millions are claiming unemployment benefits for the first time. Many more are working reduced hours from home. And a lot of folks are finding that their stimulus check isn’t stretching far enough.
Unfortunately, if you were already struggling to pay your credit card bills, making payments during the Covid-19 crisis is pretty tough. After all, if your income has dried up, buying essentials on credit may seem like the only way out. Do you have credit card debt relief options during this health emergency? Read on to find out.
Is There Any Federal or State Relief for Credit Card Debt?
The US government approved the Families First Act and the CARES Act to help soften the huge impact Covid-19 has made on the economy. The $2 trillion financial packages provided the following help:
- Free Covid-19 testing for everyone, whether you have medical insurance or not
- Emergency sick pay for time off work due to Covid-19
- Expansions to the unemployment benefit system to include self-employed and gig workers
- A one-off payment of up to $1,200 to all adult taxpayers
But what about help for paying credit card bills? A lot depends on your debt provider or bank. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a statement to banks. It encourages banks to work with customers to provide some relief with credit card and debt payments. Some of its recommendations are:
- To waive specific fees such as overdraft, ATM, and late payment fees on credit cards
- Increase credit card limits for some customers
- To allow customers to defer or skip some payments or extend due dates on debt repayment
These guidelines aren’t compulsory. But it seems that most of the major credit providers are providing some sort of credit card debt relief due to coronavirus.
Where to Find Coronavirus Credit Card Debt Relief
Rather than worrying about how to make credit card payments during the Covid-19 outbreak, get in touch with your bank or credit card issuer. Head over to your bank’s website or call their hotlines. Most credit card providers have information on debt relief during coronavirus. However, many say they will consider what relief to provide on a case-by-case basis.
What kind of debt help is your credit card issuer offering? Here’s a list of the type of coronavirus credit card debt relief you could get:
This lender invites its customers to log in to its website to find out what assistance is available. Some options on offer include forbearance and credit limit increases.
There’s no publicly available information on what type of relief it provides. Customers should call the customer assistance number or head over to the customer assistance page to get more information.
There’s a dedicated payment relief webpage for customers to request financial assistance during the Covid19 pandemic.
As with most of the major lenders, Wells Fargo doesn’t give out specifics on what help the company is offering. You should contact Wells Fargo customer service help page to find out more.
According to the American Express webpage, the company could offer relief from late payment fees or lower monthly payments.
Bank of America
This lender is offering customers Covid-19 debt relief options that include deferred payments and waiving late fees.
If you’re having difficulty making credit card payments, JPMorgan Chase says you should enroll for their delayed payment program.
This credit provider is offering financial products to provide relief. However, it’s not clear exactly what each hardship plan involves. You should ask detailed questions when you call its customer service number.
According to its Covid-19 FAQ, Discover will help people with debt relief if your income has been impacted by the virus outbreak. Each case is judged on an individual basis.
The company invites concerned customers to contact debt relief options if you can’t make your credit card payments on time.
It’s not possible to mention every credit provider on this list. It also seems that most lenders don’t provide specific information on relief for making credit card payments. In most cases, you need to call your provider’s customer assistance number to find out about any hardship help available.
Questions to Ask to Get Covid-19 Credit Card Debt Relief
At present, no regulations state what kind of help is available to everyone. So, to help you get the credit card debt relief you need during the coronavirus crisis, we’ve put together a list of questions to ask your credit provider.
Can I defer minimum payments on my credit card?
Many credit card issuers say they’re willing to consider deferring payments for a month or more. You should also find out if they will waive any interest charges.
Will you waive late fees?
If you’re worried you’ll miss your next minimum payment, ask your provider if they’re willing to waive late fees. Even a one-time late fee could impact you negatively for a long time.
Will you report late payments to a credit bureau?
Under normal circumstances, missing a credit card payment can severely impact your credit score. So, it’s crucial to find out if the company reports late payments to the credit bureaus. Even if your lender is willing to waive late fees, they may still inform a credit bureau — which, obviously, is something you want to avoid.
Can you increase my credit limit?
Even though taking on unsecured credit in a crisis is not advisable, it may be your only option for coronavirus credit card debt relief. Some lenders have stated that customers can ask for higher credit limits during the pandemic.
Coronavirus Credit Card Debt Relief: A Takeaway
Debt relief is available during the current economic crisis. But, precisely what type of debt relief you can get depends on your credit card issuer. Get in touch with your provider’s customer helpline to find out how to get relief on making your next credit card payment.