Stepping Up: We’re All In This Together

On the positive side of this pandemic and economic crisis, many companies and individuals are stepping up: car makers altering their assembly lines to make ventilators, clothing makers and individuals sewing masks, distilleries and perfume factories making hand sanitizer and the list goes on. On the personal finance side, financial institutions, lenders, credit card issuers, utilities and others are also trying to lend a helping hand to their customers.

Financial Institutions:  One example of financial help is JP Morgan Chase who announced they will be offering a 90 day grace period on mortgages, auto loans and lease payments while removing minimum payment requirements on credit cards. In some cases payment deferrals such as late payments won’t be reported to the credit bureaus. They will also wave or refund some fees, including early withdrawal fees on certificates of deposit. Other financial institutions are also stepping up. Here is a list: https://www.bankrate.com/banking/coronavirus-list-of-banks-offering-help-to-customers-financial-hardship/

Credit Card Companies: A number of credit card issuers have released statements that they will work with their individual card holders experiencing financial difficulty. For example, American Express is working with customers on an individual basis to find personal solutions which may include waiving late fees, return check fees and interest charges for a period of time. AMEX may also temporarily reduce interest payments and monthly payments. AMEX may be able to keep your account from going past due (or further past due) if you abide by the terms and conditions of their program. Here is a list of credit card holders offering assistance: https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/issuer-assistance-programs-amid-coronavirus-fears/

Auto Insurers: Insurers realizing policy owners are not commuting to and from work, school and shopping have announced different relief programs for their policyholders. Allstate is sending a refund check of 15% of April / May premiums to policyholders. American Family will make a payment of $50 per vehicle covered by one of their policies. GEICO is providing a 15 percent credit to all auto and motorcycle customers as policies come up for renewal, between April 8, 2020 and October 7, 2020 as well as any new policies purchased during this period. USAA, State Farm, Progressive and others are also considering. 

Other companies:  Places like fitness centers, cell phone companies and utilities are also giving their clients a break. Some gyms are freezing drafts while the club is closed (ex, Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Anytime Fitness, etc), while others are offering online / at home training. Utilities and cell providers may waive late fees and not turn off service if you’re experiencing financial difficulty and contact them in advance. The key is to reach out while you are still in good standing. 

This is in no way an all inclusive list. Many companies are doing many things to help their clients and customers. Just remember, we are all in this together. Check with the companies you do business with to see what their policy is if you are in need of financial assistance. You could receive some financial breaks that you weren’t expecting.