Amex waiving interest, late fees on accounts requesting COVID-19 relief

Mar 17, 2020

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Over the weekend several TPG readers commented in our Facebook groups they had received relief from interest, late fees and other fees on both their personal and business American Express cards when requesting help over the chat feature on the American Express website.

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We reached out to American Express this morning to confirm the relief being offered and requesting how cardmembers can gain assistance. Amex offered the following statement:

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.

On the American Express Financial Hardships page, you can log in to your regular Amex accounts and begin a chat session with a live rep to evaluate your individual situation.

I logged into my own Amex account to try and replicate reader experiences. I asked what criteria would be needed to invoke the financial hardship relief and what all was included. The chat agent requested I provide clarification on how COVID-19 has impacted me. I said I was inquiring for informational purposes and the agent suggested I call the Account Services Department at 1-866703-4169 to have my accounts reviewed for potential relief.

There are some important caveats I learned to accepting the offer. According to reader Alex, who spoke with the Account Services Department, if you accept the relief, your accounts are frozen and may not be used further until they are paid off. Your Membership Rewards points are also frozen and cannot be used. However, if financial relief is what you need, this seems like a fair trade-off to prevent accruing further indebtedness.

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

Bottom Line

Thousands of small and medium businesses are going to continue to be on hard times over the coming weeks. Restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, caterers and service providers are just a few of the businesses that will benefit greatly from the generous move by American Express. We’ll be checking shortly with the other credit card issuers to see what reliefs they may or may not be offering.

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