With vitally important stay-at-home orders issued in most states and many businesses closed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be one of the millions who are taking a financial hit. While you pay attention to your health, you need to pay attention to your credit cards and your spending. It will be very easy to spiral deeper into debt and rack up some serious balances on your credit cards. There is also some potentially good news coming out of this situation that may help you with your credit card bills.
The Good News
Starting with the good news, the Federal Reserve has lowered the benchmark rate to almost 0%. This means that borrowing money is cheap and your credit card interest may drop a few percentage points.
If you carry balances and can afford to, now is a great time to pay down your credit card. You’ll save on interest charges and see your balances drop.
If you can’t afford to pay down your credit card, you will see small savings on your interest rates. You may also be able to get low interest loans or balance transfer credit cards to help pay off your balances.
If you get a stimulus check, you should use the cash instead of your card if at all possible. It may be tempting to pay down your balance, but the cash may be more important to your everyday survival.
The Bad News
If you have a fixed rate card, you will not see any changes to your rate.
If you are one of the many people out of work, be very cautious about using your credit card to buy staples and medications in response to the pandemic. Instead, think carefully about what you are buying and don’t succumb to panic buying.
Always check your statement for inaccuracies. Scammers are running rampant and your card may get hacked.
** Don’t give financial information over the phone without verifying the identity of the person or company you are dealing with. Contact your bank DIRECTLY via the number on your card or their official website.**
Options for Credit Card Payments
If you have a credit card with rewards at stores or that can be used against your balance, now is a great time to use those perks to either stretch your dollar or pay down your balance.
If you need to get a loan to tide you over, you should find that interest rates are in your favor. If you have an emergency account, try to carefully and thoughtfully use that instead of running up a balance on your credit card.
If you can find a balance transfer card with good introductory rates, consider transferring your credit card balances to that card and paying them off. Just read the small print and be aware that the rates after the introductory period may be worse than what you started with! Zero balance cards may be hard to find right now, but they are out there.
Personal loans can be a great way to pay off higher interest credit cards, especially now. As always make certain that you can afford the payments AND that you avoid running up more credit card debt.
If nothing else works, making only your minimum payments on time may not help you pay down the balance, but you won’t take any hits on your credit score either.
Contact your credit card company and ask them to lower your interest rate or for help. They may be willing to help you. We’ll discuss that in the next section.
If you need to miss a payment, contact your credit card company. They may be able to help and some of the cards are working with consumers. However, be aware that the credit card company may require you to make up waived payments or fees, so verify those details!
Credit card companies that are offering Coronavirus relief include:
- Apple Card – skip your March payment without interest charges
- Capital One – assistance with minimum payments, fees and deferred loan payments. Contact your card issuer for help
- Chase – call the number on your card for assistance
- Citi – some customers can get a credit line increase or fee waivers
- Discover – some customers can get help with fees, late payments or payment due dates
- PNC Bank – contact the bank for assistance
- Wells Fargo – call 800-219-9739 for options
If You Need More Help
If you are unable to make even minimum payments, you may be in need of debt relief. There are many companies that can help you with credit counseling, debt consolidation, or debt settlement.
Pacific Debt, Inc is an award-winning debt settlement company. Our expert case managers will help you explore your options for debt relief during the coronavirus pandemic. If debt settlement is not your best option, we will refer you to a trusted partner who offers services that more closely match your unique situation.
More About Pacific Debt, Inc
Pacific Debt Inc is one of the leading debt settlement companies. We have consistently been named one of the best debt settlement companies in the US for years. This year, we earned two #1 rankings for our customer service. Our account managers help you understand your options and whether or not debt settlement is your best option. If it is not, we will refer you to a trusted partner more appropriate for your situation.
For more information on debt settlement or if you have more than $10,000 in credit card debt that you can’t repay, contact Pacific Debt, Inc. We may be able to help you become debt free in 2 to 4 years. We have settled over $300 million in debt for our customers since 2002.
Once you’ve completed our debt settlement program, your financial situation should improve. You’ll be able to use money you once used for debt, and be able to use it for saving, investing, retirement, etc.
Pacific Debt, Inc is accredited with the American Fair Credit Council and is an A+ member of the Better Business Bureau. We rate very highly in Top Consumer Reviews, Top Ten Reviews, Consumers Advocate, Consumer Affairs, Trust Pilot, and US News and World Report.
Pacific Debt is currently providing debt relief coverage in the following states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin
* Other states can be connected to one of our trusted partners