As COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, 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 some relief by lowering interest rates on loans, some credit card issuers have begun to roll 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 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:
While not a business-specific card, if you are one of the three million Apple Card users, you will be able to skip your March payment without having to worry about incurring interest. As shared on Reddit, Apple Card (offered in conjunction by Apple and Goldman Sachs) notified customers via email that they can enroll in its Customer Assistance Program to avoid interest on balances from March.
For support questions, contact an Apple Card specialist at 877-255-5923 or through the Wallet app’s chat function.
At the time of writing, American Express has not made a public statement outside of travel regarding the coronavirus. 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.
If you are having problems paying your credit bill on time, it is otherwise recommended to call the Amex support number on the back of your card. Amex does offer a financial hardship program that could help with those impacted by the coronavirus.
Bank Of America
Bank Of America states that it is focused on providing customers “the solutions, support, and advice [they] need to manage [their] finances.” If you are having trouble paying your credit card bill due to the coronavirus, reach out to the bank’s customer service. Some small businesses may be able to take advantage of Bank of America’s hardship program.
This British bank, which co-issues several travel-focused business credit cards in the US, encourages customers impacted by the coronavirus to contact customer service. Some may also be able to apply for a temporary increase to their credit card limit. Barclays has also stated that it is “rolling out a package of financial assistance for our personal, business and corporate customers.” However, it is unclear if that package is intended for only British-based customers.
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.”
Chase suggests that cardholders call the number on the back of your credit/debit card or on your monthly statement if you need help with your account or making payments. Chase’s CEO of consumer banking, Thasunda Brown Duckett, further said in a statement: “… weâre doing all we can to make sure our branches are open, our bankers and advisors are there and our call centers are staffed. If youâre affected by COVID-19 and need help with your accounts or making payments, please reach out to us.”
Chase also recommends that users remain wary of scams. Official contact when reached out from Chase “wonât ask for confidential information — such as your name, password, PIN or other account information.”
For credit card customers, Citi has mentioned “always-on” assistance programs that include “credit line increases and collection forbearance programs.” For further assistance, the bank suggests calling the number on the back of your card for 24/7 assistance.
Citi also specifically mentions small business bank accounts. The bank states that effective March 9, for an initial 30 days, small business customers can reach out for assistance with “fee waivers on monthly service fees and remote deposit capture” and “waived penalties for early CD withdrawal.” Citi also notes that bankers will be “available after hours and on weekends for support.”
While Discover does not offer business cards, 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.”
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. 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 advises calling 1-800-869-3557 “to discuss options available for your consumer lending, small business, and deposit products.” The bank also points customers to online banking services as well as being mindful of scams.
Other Options If You Canât 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.
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, you might want to consider applying for a line of credit. You may also find financial help via SBA disaster loans or emergency business loans.
We also have a coronavirus pandemic guide for small businesses, as well as an in-depth article detailing the Federal Reserve’s decision to lower interest rates.
For more general information on the coronavirus, we recommend visiting the CDC website.
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