» Citi's formal program has ended
Citi said it ended its formal COVID-19 assistance program on Dec. 31, 2020, after a steady decline in the number of cardholders seeking help. But the issuer said it is still providing assistance on a case-by-case basis. As a result, the instructions below on applying for COVID-19 relief are out of date. As of Jan. 1, 2021, cardholders looking for help can call the number on the back of their card or log into their account online and send a message to customer service.
Citi is one of many major issuers offering opt-in COVID-19 relief to its credit card customers. For qualified cardholders who request assistance, the issuer will waive late fees and the requirement to make minimum payments for a time. It's possible to apply online, too.
What relief can I get?
Citi puts it this way: “We will waive late fees and the requirement to make the minimum payment due shown on your billing statement for two consecutive billing periods, starting with any minimum payment that is currently due but not yet paid.”
This issuer also notes that during the payment assistance period, the amount due on promotional plan balances will also be deferred for two billing periods and the promotional period will be extended. This could be useful if you're currently using Citi Flex Pay to pay off a larger purchase in fixed monthly amounts, for example.
Cards may be ineligible for relief if they're already in an active hardship or forbearance program or if they're already more than 60 days past due, the issuer notes on its website.
Will interest continue to accrue when payments are deferred?
Yes, the issuer notes that interest will continue to accrue during this time.
How do I request relief?
Nerd tip: Citi's formal COVID-19 program has ended, so the online assistance form is no longer available. Citi said it is still providing help on a case-by-case basis. Call the number on the back of your card, or log onto your account online and send a message.
You can apply quickly online. Here's how it works on desktop:
Log in to your account. At the top, you’ll see a banner that says “Credit Card Customers: Need account assistance related to COVID-19? Request help here." Follow the link to submit your request online.
Select cards for which you're seeking payment assistance by checking the boxes beside them.
Click "confirm" at the bottom of the form.
In the Citi mobile app, a similar banner may appear at the top. If it does, you can follow the same steps to request assistance.
If you're unable to submit a request online, you can call Citi's customer service line. However, the issuer warns that it's experiencing high call volumes, which could result in long hold times. Cardholders have lodged complaints about Citi with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, noting difficulties requesting COVID-19 credit card payment assistance by phone. NerdWallet has sent Citi requests for comment.
Will this hurt my credit?
"We will report your account as current to the credit bureaus during the waiver period unless your account was delinquent before the waiver period began," Citi notes on its website.
This is in line with the limited credit protection provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. By law, COVID-19 payment accommodations must be reported as current if the account was current previously. If the account was delinquent previously, it can continue being reported as delinquent during the accommodation period unless the cardholder brings it current.
Will my autopay preferences get updated automatically?
No. You'll have to update these yourself.
Citi helpfully includes a link for updating autopay in the COVID-19 payment assistance request form so you can change this while applying. But if you miss that link, here's how to do it on desktop:
Log in to your account, and on the top rail, click "Payments & Transfers" then "Pay Citi Credit Cards."
Click on "Autopay" at the top.
Click "Edit Series." To cancel autopay, scroll to the bottom and click, "Remove Autopay from this card."
Here's how to do it on mobile:
Log in to your account and select a card.
Click "Edit/Skip AutoPay" under the "Make a Payment" button. Then, click "Edit AutoPay Series."
Click "Delete AutoPay" at the bottom to cancel autopay on your card.
Whom should I contact for more help?
For more help, contact Citi customer service. You can do that via instant messaging on the Citi app or on desktop. You can also call:
General account information: 1-800-950-5114
Online support: 1-866-831-3207
Lost or stolen credit cards: 1-800-950-5114
Again, though, prepare for long hold times.