The types of relief credit card companies are offering during the coronavirus crisis

Apr 7, 2020

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The coronavirus crisis is affecting us in many ways, from canceled trips to lost jobs to closed businesses. If you’ve been adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis and are struggling to make payments on your credit cards, you may be wondering what type of relief credit card companies are offering to their cardholders.

(Photo by Shutterstock)
Credit card relief is available for those struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic — but you have to ask for it. (Photo by Shutterstock)

There is one constant across all of the issuers: relief won’t be provided automatically. You’ll need to actively seek out relief if you need it. Here’s what we know about the types of relief being provided by the major issuers.

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In This Post

American Express

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

American Express has a coronavirus support page. No advice regarding relief is provided on it. But, if you’re having trouble paying your Amex credit card bills, you may be able to get relief on a case-by-case basis.

After several TPG readers commented in our Facebook groups that they’d received relief from interest, late fees and other fees on both their personal and business American Express cards, TPG reached out to American Express to confirm this and ask how cardmembers can gain assistance. An Amex spokesperson provided the following response:

Yes, American Express is ready to assist our customers having financial difficulties due to the effects of COVID-19. They can reach our Customer Care Professionals anytime by calling the number on the back of their card or through our digital servicing channels – online chat or the Amex app.

As you know, the situation is changing rapidly, so our approach to providing the best possible support and service to our customers is also evolving in real-time. We will work together to find a solution for each customers’ particular situation, which can include waiving late fees, return check fees, and interest charges. We have several financial hardship programs offering a range of short-term to long-term assistance. Details can be found here about these programs.

Who qualifies for this relief

Qualification decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, but the Amex spokesperson’s statement references “customers having financial difficulties due to the effects of COVID-19.”

How to claim relief

You’ll need to call the number on the back of your card, log in to your online account or use the Amex App to discuss your situation with an Amex customer care representative. This representative can determine what relief, if any, is available to you.

Extra time to earn welcome bonuses

Amex announced on April 2 that the period to make purchases to earn a welcome bonus on eligible card accounts approved from Dec. 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020, will be extended for an additional three months. So, if you’ve opened an Amex card since Dec. 1, 2019 — or if you do so by May 31 — you will have extra time to reach your minimum spending requirement.

Related reading: Choosing the best American Express credit card for you

Chase

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Chase has a dedicated coronavirus webpage and JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon recently announced various coronavirus-related relief measures in his annual letter to shareholders. In his letter, he noted the following types of relief may be available to Chase cardholders:

  • Removing minimum payment requirements on credit cards and waiving associated late fees
  • Not reporting payment deferrals such as late payments to credit bureaus for up-to-date clients
  • Waiving or refunding some fees

Indeed, I could enroll each of my Chase cards — either individually or all at once — in a payment-assistance relief program that would allow me to delay three monthly payments. However, you can request this assistance only one time per account, so you may not be eligible if you’ve requested this type of assistance previously.

Here are the terms and conditions that were listed for all of my Chase consumer and small business cards:

Who qualifies for this relief

In the letter to shareholders, Chase’s CEO said Chase cardholders “who tell us about their financial struggles as a result of the crisis” may be eligible for relief. If you request relief online, you’ll need to click a checkbox asserting that “I acknowledge that I’m experiencing a hardship related to COVID-19.”

How to claim relief

You can visit Chase’s dedicated coronavirus webpage to determine how to get general assistance with Chase products. But, if you’re looking to delay payments on a credit card for yourself or your business, you’ll want to go directly to Chase’s credit card payment assistance page. You can enroll online for assistance without needing to visit a branch or wait for an account specialist online or over the phone.

Related reading: Maximize your wallet with the perfect quartet of Chase credit cards

Citi

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Citi has a webpage with information for cardholders looking for assistance related to the coronavirus crisis. Two main types of relief may be available to Citi credit cardholders upon request:

  • Waiver of the minimum payment due requirement and late fees for two statement cycles. Citi will report your account as current to the credit bureaus during the waiver period unless your account was delinquent before the waiver period began.
  • Collection forbearance program

Who qualifies for this relief

Citi’s webpage states that you may be eligible for relief if you’ve been impacted by COVID-19.

How to claim relief

You can request assistance digitally for a waiver of the minimum payment due requirement and late fees for two statement cycles. Simply follow the link for this assistance from Citi’s main coronavirus assistance page and log in to your account. However, note that you’ll have to wait seven to 10 days to see if you’ve been approved for this assistance.

Here’s some additional information that’s provided about this relief.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to use the collection forbearance program, Citi encourages you to use the Citi Mobile App to send a secure message asking for relief.

Related reading: The best Citi credit cards

Bank of America

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Bank of America has a coronavirus help page detailing the support it’s offering to cardholders through its Client Assistance Program. From this page, you can submit an online request for a payment deferral if you need help making credit card payments.

You can also call the number on the back of your card to work with a specialist from the client services team on a case-by-case basis to provide relief. In particular, consumer and small business credit card clients may be eligible to get late fees refunded.

Who qualifies for this relief

There are no published guidelines on who can get relief. So if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus crisis and need relief, it is worth submitting an online request for a payment deferral or calling the number on the back of your card to determine your options.

How to claim relief

You can submit an online request for a payment deferral. But you’ll need to call the number on the back of your card to discuss your specific situation with a specialist if you’re seeking any other type of relief.

Related reading: The best Bank of America credit cards

Capital One

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Capital One has a coronavirus customer assistance webpage. This webpage states:

We also understand that there may be instances where customers find themselves facing financial difficulties. We encourage customers who may be impacted or need assistance to reach out.

However, no specific relief is noted. So customers will need to contact Capital One to discuss options on a case-by-case basis.

Who qualifies for this relief

There are no published guidelines on who can get relief. So, if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus crisis and need relief it is worth calling the number on the back of your card to determine your options.

How to claim relief

You’ll need to call the number on the back of your card to discuss your specific situation with a representative and determine your options.

Related reading: The best Capital One credit cards

Other banks

Many other banks, large and small, are offering various types of relief during the coronavirus crisis. If you need relief for yourself or your business, it doesn’t hurt to log in to your account and check to see whether there are any notices. You can also contact your bank via secure chat or phone to see if they’re willing to work with you during this crisis. In short, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

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Featured photo by Bloemenmarkt/Getty Images.

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