Can’t Make Your Credit Card Payments Due To The Coronavirus? These Credit Card Issuers Are Offering Assistance
As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world, small business owners are starting to feel the increasing pressure of uncertainty, from worrying about loved ones to wondering if they’ll be able to keep their business operating. The inability to make credit card payments on time is one of the potential financial hardships facing small businesses right now.
While the US Federal Reserve has offered relief by lowering interest rates on loans and some support has been provided in the form of PPP loans, credit card issuers have rolled out assistance programs in response to the virus, potentially softening the monetary blow to their customers.
Available support varies from issuer to issuer but can include skipping payments without interest, working with customers to adjust due dates, temporary credit line increases, and more. If you’re struggling to pay your credit card bill, we’ve detailed the important bits by each issuer below.
Issuer Statements On Coronavirus & Late Payment Policies
A number of issuers have made statements regarding the coronavirus and how they intend to help customers through difficult situations. Here’s a quick breakdown of what issuers are saying, along with links to further information:
Previously, as shared on Reddit, Apple Card (offered in conjunction by Apple and Goldman Sachs) notified customers via email that they could enroll in its Customer Assistance Program to avoid interest on balances from March. Apple Card later extended the program to cover April payments as well.
For support questions, contact an Apple Card specialist at 877-255-5923 or through the Wallet app’s chat function.
American Express has created a hub for those affected by the coronavirus. If you are having problems paying your credit bill on time, it is recommended to call the Amex support number on the back of your card.
For more help, Amex does offer a financial hardship program that could help with those impacted by the coronavirus. Additionally, The New York Times has reported that American Express is allowing customers to skip payments interest-free.
In terms of rewards, Amex has provided a few avenues for relief:
- Lengthened welcome offer windows are available for select card users. Card accounts approved between the beginning of December 2019 and the end of May 2020 will get an extra three months to spend the required amount to earn their welcome offer.
- Eligible Business Platinum cardholders can reportedly receive $200 in statement credits when they renew the card during 2020. The credits help offset the card’s $595 annual fee. Other Amex business cardholders, such as those with the Hilton Honors Business Card or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card, may be eligible to receive similar offers.
- 11 of Amex’s cards have access to various supermarket rewards and streaming/wireless telephone service/technology credits. The Business Platinum card is the lone business offering to get new perks, with $320 in credits for wireless telephone services/shipping and another $200 in credits for purchases through Dell.
- 2x rewards for purchases made via Grubhub and Seamless delivery services. This rewards rate will begin sometime in April and runs through the rest of 2020. It is only eligible for cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards.
- 5 bonus points for eligible Amazon purchases made through July 22. Note that this offer is technically targeted through Amex Offers, but seems to be widely available.
- 4 bonus points for eligible Dell purchases may be seen as a targeted offer for business cardholders through Amex Offers. The bonus rate will run through July 31 once activated.
- Both of Amex’s co-branded Marriott consumer credit cards (but not the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card) are eligible to receive 6x Marriott Bonvoy points on groceries up to $7,500 spent through July 31.
For travelers, Amex has set up a coronavirus hub. Due to high call volumes, Amex has asked travelers who do not have a travel or specific cancellation date within the next 72 hours to call back at a later time.
Bank Of America
Bank of America states that it is focused on devoting customers “all necessary resources” to ensure their safety “while maintaining all of the services [they] count on.”
If you are having trouble paying your credit card bill due to the coronavirus, you can request a payment deferral online. Some small businesses may be able to take advantage of Bank of America’s hardship program.
Finally, those that opened a Bank of America credit card account between January 1 and March 31 get an extra 90 days to trigger the spending requirement of their welcome offer. This welcome offer window extension is being offered to both consumer and business cardholders.
This British bank, which co-issues several travel-focused business credit cards in the US, states that those impacted by the coronavirus can request payment relief online. You can further dispute credit card transactions and report fraudulent activity via your online account too.
An upstart fintech company based in San Francisco, Brex has launched a new opt-in rewards program for its corporate card for startups focused on rewarding remote work. This new program includes these base rewards:
- 7X points on collaboration tools (includes Zoom, Slack, GoToMeeting, Gong, and Monday.com)
- 3X points on food delivery (includes Caviar, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Seamless)
- 2X points on recurring software
- 1X point on everything else
As part of its coronavirus response, Capital One is encouraging users to utilize online and mobile app tools to manage their accounts. If you are struggling financially, Capital One suggests that customers contact the company to “discuss and find a solution.”
Capital One has also told The New York Times that customers are allowed to skip payments without interest.
Select cardholders can also take advantage of new redemption options:
- Venture and VentureOne cardholders can redeem miles for restaurant delivery/takeout and streaming service purchases. Capital One includes DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates as delivery options while Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Disney+, and Kindle Unlimited are named as eligible streaming services. Originally slated to end June 30, cardholders can take advantage of this promotion through September 30.
- Up through June 30, Spark Miles and Spark Miles Select cardholders can redeem miles for restaurant delivery/takeout purchases and for purchases made from wireless phone service providers (including providers such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile).
Chase suggests that you fill out a form online to request a payment deferral — you can currently delay up to three payments if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus.
For other assistance, cardholders should call the number on the back of their credit/debit card or monthly statement. Because the bank’s call centers have limited hours, however, be wary of extremely long wait times. That means you should first attempt to do as much as possible through Chase’s mobile app first. For more info, check out Chase’s coronavirus hub.
Chase has additional card-specific perks you may be able to take advantage of:
- Extended welcome offer windows are available for those who signed up for a Chase card between January 1 and March 31. Those who qualify get an extra three months to hit their offer’s minimum spend requirement.
- As part of Chase’s new “Pay Yourself Back” feature, Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for groceries, dining, and home improvement purchases May 31 through September 30. Sapphire Reserve cardholders will get 1.5 cents per point for those categories, while those with a Sapphire Preferred card will snag 1.25 cents per point.
- Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred cardholders can earn 5x and 3x rewards, respectively, on grocery story purchases between May 1 and June 30 (up to $1,500 spent per month).
- For those hunkering down at home, Chase has enabled 5x rewards (up to $500 spent) on delivery and takeout through DoorDash and Tock for Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited cardholders. This bonus rate runs through May 31.
- A $100 annual fee credit for Sapphire Reserve cardholders whose renewal date is between April 1 and July 1. This effectively knocks the card’s $550 annual fee down to $450. Starting July 1 and running through December 31, those renewing a Sapphire Reserve card will only be charged $450.
- The Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit will automatically be applied to gas station and grocery store purchases made between June 1 and December 31.
- Chase’s gamut of Marriott cards (both defunct and actively offered) are eligible to receive 6x Marriot Bonvoy points on groceries up to $5,000 spent through July 31.
- If you have Chase’s co-offered World of Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll be able to earn three nights towards elite status (instead of the usual two) on every $5,000 you spend though June 30. Also, new sign-ups for the card through June 30 will snag a bonus of 10 nights towards elite status (in addition to the card’s standard of 10 nights).
- Chase’s co-branded stable of Southwest Airlines credit cards can now earn you elite status solely via card purchases. The earn rate has also been doubled to 3,000 tier points per $10,000 spent. You can take advantage of this perk until the end of 2020.
For credit card customers, Citi has mentioned “always-on” assistance programs that include “credit line increases and collection forbearance programs.”
You can also request assistance by filling out this online form. The bank states that card users may be eligible to have their minimum payment due requirements and late fees waived for two statement cycles. For further help, the bank suggests calling the number on the back of your card for support.
Citi has also offered a few tweaks to provide customers with relief:
- An extra three months to hit welcome offer minimum spend requirements for card accounts opened between December 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020.
- The Citi Prestige card’s $250 travel credit has been extended to be usable for purchases made at supermarkets and restaurants. This extension is active now through the end of 2020.
The company recommends that personal cardholders reach out to customer service online, by mobile app, or by phone. Discover has further stated that “customers may receive assistance that can include support related to payment timing, fees, and late payments.”
Discover has also created an FAQ page for those affected by the coronavirus. It specifically states that they “have support in place for qualified […] customers who experience hardship as a result of the outbreak.”
The bank that offers several co-branded business credit cards suggests that those experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus should contact customer service.
This bank recommends that customers financially impacted by the coronavirus call 888-287-7817 to discuss options; however, there may be long wait times. U.S. Bank also advises that customers avoid scammers who may pop up in response to fears spread around the virus.
The bank is also offering loans and on-demand lines of credit for small business accounts, which could help smooth out cash flow during the coronavirus’s impact.
For those experiencing hardships, including from the coronavirus, Wells Fargo states that “on a case-by-case basis, [they’re] offering fee waivers, payment deferrals, and other expanded assistance for credit card, auto, mortgage, small business, and personal lending customers who contact [them].” The bank also points customers to online banking services as well as being mindful of scams.
Other Options If You Can’t Pay
If your issuer isn’t on the above list, we suggest you call the support number of the back of your credit card. Even if they don’t have an officially-announced policy, your issuer may be flexible in working with you should you be facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus — according to a survey by LendingTree, 91% of cardholders who asked for a monthly payment break because of coronavirus-related hardships were successful.
Some credit cards also offer 0% APR for the first few months, which could shield your business from paying credit card interest during the initial stages of this pandemic. To look at available options, check out our list of the best 0% intro APR business credit cards. Should you be looking for monetary support outside of credit cards, we have a guide to loan resources for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
For more small business information covering the coronavirus pandemic, check out Merchant Maverick’s COVID-19 hub.
For more general info on the coronavirus, we recommend visiting the CDC website.