A number of financial relief options are available to Americans affected by the unprecedented health situation caused by the spread of the coronavirus. Mortgage banks offer leniency; Insurance companies have reduced premiums for cars that are not driven. Credit card companies have also recognized that cardholders may have trouble keeping up with their bills. While many companies like to help with debt and interest, there are a few things you should know before you pick up the phone.
The good news: If you can’t make your minimum monthly payment in a given month, major card issuers like Chase, Capital One and others are ready to be lenient. That means you can skip the minimum due without being affected by a negative strike in your credit report for a missed payment.
Forbearance is not a free journey. Interest continues to accrue as usual and the card issuer can consider the missed payment as deferred and not as waived. For example, if you pay $ 50 a month and can skip a May payment, make sure the card doesn̵
The skipped payment does not directly affect your FICO credit rating. However, be aware that this can still have consequences. Since many minimum payments mainly cover interest, your balance will not remain the same – it will continue to grow. And because these rates are still adding up, your total amount owed will still increase in proportion to your available balance, which can affect your score.
If you have a significant amount due, the National Foundation for Credit Advice (NFCC) recommends looking for alternatives for leniency, such as: For example, using savings to repay some high-interest cards, using wire transfer offers without interest, or even taking out a personal loan with a lower interest rate.
If you have multiple credit card balances and the prospect of reaching someone to discuss payment options seems daunting, the NFCC offers their support. The agency can put you in touch with a credit advisor who can act on your behalf and receive leniency or other relief from the card companies. Note, however, that card issuers may want to get your permission to contact the advisors directly. The program is free and you can reach the NFCC through their website.
Keep in mind that emergency relief is different from a debt management plan that consolidates debt and can have a negative impact on your credit card accounts.
In many cases, it is best to pick up the phone and contact the card issuer directly. Explain your situation and ask about the options available. Some may choose not to make payments. Others may offer to lower your interest rate. No two card issuers are alike, and it’s in your best interest to take the time to see what’s available.