Is There COVID Credit Debt Relief Help?

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COVID Credit Debt

If your wallet has been pinched by the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a chance your credit card issuer is offering some kind of debt relief plus other resources. 

Let’s take a look.

The Issue

Since the pandemic began last year, state and local U.S. governments have taken measures to both curb the novel virus’ spread and provide financial assistance. Many creditors have joined the effort to offer some relief to those who are concerned about their financial security.

If COVID-19 has affected your finances, it’s recommended that you contact your creditors to see how they can help during these unprecedented months. You can start by checking out their websites. 

What Some Banks Are Offering

Is there COVID credit debt relief help? In general — yes. During this historic time, many card companies have been helping their customers by offering them info and resources that may allay some financial fears. Some issuers are even waiving fees, offering credit limit hikes or hardship plans, and deferring payments.

American Express, for instance, is offering customers suggestions about managing their online accounts, and may be able to reduce your monthly payment and cut you slack on late payment fees. Check out its financial relief page for more info.

Over at Chase, customers who’ve been affected by the virus can enroll online to have their payment on their business or personal credit card delayed. The card issuer also has a cardholder site just for travel-related questions. Check out its COVID-19 resource page

PNC Bank is offering COVID credit debt relief in the form of postponed payments. Meanwhile, Navy Federal Credit Union’s offerings include possible credit limit raises, overdraft protection, and complimentary transfers. Also, HSBC has a relief program in which cardholders can defer a payment. Customers may also be able to get the company to lower payments and waive interest charges and late fees.

Questions You Can Ask Your Creditors

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While some credit card relief may be available to you, it’s not always apparent what’s what. Where applicable, here are some questions you can ask your card companies:

  • Can I skip or defer a payment? If it would help you to forego a payment or two, you might as well see if your issuers are up for it. While you’re at it, ask whether you can get interest charges waived during this unprecedented time as well.
  • Will you waive my late fee? If you think you need to skip a payment, ask whether you can get a one-time waiver of a late fee or interest charges. Also, credit card companies often increase your interest rate when you miss a payment. But due to COVID-19, you could see whether your issuers would be willing to not do so. When you speak with your issuers, determine whether they plan to report your late payment to the credit agencies.
  • Will you drop my interest rate? If your card companies won’t waive your interest charges or let you skip a payment, try seeing if they would at least lower your interest rate.
  • Will you raise my credit limit? If you need more credit to cope with this crisis, it wouldn’t hurt to seek a credit line hike. 
  • Will you refund the points or miles I used to book a canceled trip? You might want to try. Issuers including Capital One and Chase follow airlines’ COVID-19 policies on cancellations, which generally accommodate refund requests.

So, is there COVID-19 credit debt relief help? The general answer is, yes. Give your card issuers a shout and see what they can do for you to help you through these uncertain times. 

 

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