Bank of America COVID-19 Credit Card Relief, Explained

Here's what Bank of America is offering, how to ask for it and what to keep in mind about the assistance.
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Written by Claire Tsosie
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This article describes COVID-19 pandemic assistance, relief and hardship programs that may no longer be available, so it should be considered out of date.

Bank of America® is one of several credit card issuers offering payment assistance to customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For a limited time, eligible cardholders can defer payments and get late fees refunded on consumer and small-business credit cards. Requesting this assistance is relatively easy, too; you can apply online, an option some other issuers don't offer.

What relief can I get?

Bank of America® puts it this way: "You may qualify for a payment deferral for future due dates on or before June 15, 2020 for consumer and business accounts." The issuer notes that any late fees assessed on deferred payments will be refunded.

As is the case with other payment assistance programs from issuers, relief isn't automatic; you have to apply for it either by phone or online.

Will interest continue to accrue when payments are deferred?

Yes, the issuer notes that interest will continue to accrue and get added to your balance.

How do I request relief?

The fastest way to request credit card payment assistance from Bank of America® is to apply online. Here's how to do this on desktop:

  1. Go to Bank of America's COVID-19 assistance page, click "Request payment deferral," and log in to your account. You'll be able to select products you want assistance with from a list.

  2. Check the "Credit Cards" box and click "Request Assistance" at the bottom.

Here's how to do it on the mobile app:

  1. Click the "Menu" icon on the bottom rail, then select "Help & Contact" and "Coronavirus Information."

  2. Check the "Credit Cards" box and click "Request Assistance" at the bottom.

"Requests are generally processed in 24 to 48 hours," Bank of America® tells NerdWallet. "We will provide a confirmation via email."

While most cardholders will be able to get this assistance, some won't be eligible. "Clients who are 150 days past due or more are not eligible for our Client Assistance Program," the issuer tells NerdWallet.

Will this void my 0% APR period?

No, Bank of America® confirms that participating in this program will not void your 0% APR period if you have one.

Will my limit be lowered if I participate?

No, Bank of America® confirms that participating in this program won't cause your limit to be lowered.

Will I still be able to make purchases?

Yes, Bank of America® confirms that cardholders will still be able to make purchases on their cards "as long as their account is not past due" at the time you request assistance.

Will this hurt my credit?

"The program does not impact credit reporting," Bank of America® confirms to NerdWallet. "There will be no negative credit bureau reporting for up-to-date clients."

This is in line with the limited credit protections provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: Issuers must report credit card accounts with payment accommodations as current if they were current previously. For consumers who had fallen behind on payments before seeking assistance, issuers can continue to report the account as delinquent until the account is made current.

Will my autopay preferences get updated automatically?

No. Once you qualify for payment assistance, you'll have to make changes to your autopay preferences yourself.

Updating credit card autopay on Bank of America® can be complicated. It's possible, for example, that you could log on to your account — which you've been paying automatically for years — only to find that the Bill Pay center says you're not enrolled in autopay. That could be the case if you enrolled for direct debit autopay from your Bank of America® account previously, an option that's no longer available. If that's you, you can't change your preferences online; you have to call Bank of America® customer service to remove the direct debit autopay selection from your account.

Otherwise, you might have Bank of America® autopay and eBills set up in the "Bill Pay" portion of the Bank of America® website. Here's how you can adjust those settings on desktop:

  1. Log on to your Bank of America® account.

  2. Click "Bill Pay" on the top rail. Below each credit card listed, a small green box that says "On" should appear next to "AutoPay" and "eBills" if you have those services turned on. (To set up autopay for credit cards on Bank of America®, you first need to sign up for eBills. That tells the autopay feature about how much you owe and your due date.)

  3. Select "Autopay" underneath each card name to edit preferences, if it's already on. Select "Stop Autopay."

Here's how to do it on the mobile app:

  1. Open the Bank of America® app and log on to your account.

  2. Click the "Bill Pay" icon on the bottom rail and click on the name of the credit card you want to edit.

  3. Review your selections under the "AutoPay" heading. If you have autopay on, it should say what your autopay choice is — such as "Pay amount due on due date" alongside a button that says "Cancel." Click the button to cancel your autopay selection.

Bank of America® doesn't send a confirmation email when you stop autopay, as of this writing. If you want confirmation or you're unsure of where you stand, call Bank of America® customer service.

Will I still get statements?

Yes, Bank of America® confirms cardholders who participate in this program will continue to receive statements.

Whom should I contact for more help?

If you have more questions, call Bank of America® customer service. Here's the contact information:

  • Credit cards support: 800-732-9194

  • Online banking help: 800-432-1000

Because of increased call volume, though, you'll likely need to wait on hold for longer than usual.

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