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Wells Fargo is one of many credit card issuers offering payment assistance to customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its program is also one of the most generous: Cardholders can defer monthly payments for three consecutive billing cycles and have all fees and interest waived during that time. You can also apply online for assistance, an option some other issuers don't offer.
What relief can I get?
Wells Fargo says cardholders can defer monthly payments for up to three consecutive billing cycles. During this time, all fees will be waived. If you have an annual fee that comes due between your payment assistance activation date and Sept. 30, 2020, that fee will also be waived. Special financing offers on Wells Fargo retail cards will be extended, too, according to the terms and conditions.
You can apply for help either by phone or online. Generally, you won't have to wait long to find out if you qualify. "Most customers receive payment deferment right away," the issuer tells NerdWallet.
How COVID-19 is affecting credit card customers
Will interest continue to accrue when payments are deferred?
No interest will accrue on your balance during this time, according to the issuer's site. That's a generous policy. In contrast, several major issuers are continuing to charge interest during the deferral period.
How do I request relief?
The fastest way to request credit card payment assistance from Wells Fargo is to apply online. The process is the same on both desktop and the issuer's mobile app. Here's how it works:
Log in to your account. At the top, you'll see a banner that says, "Need payment relief due to COVID-19?"
Click the "Get Help Now" button on the banner. That will take you to a page where your accounts that are eligible for relief will be listed. Select the accounts you want help with and click "Continue."
Check the boxes acknowledging you're experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 and have reviewed the terms and conditions.
Click the "Submit" button to submit your request.
According to the issuer's terms and conditions, you won't be eligible for relief if you've already requested or are currently receiving COVID-19 relief for three billing cycles, are on an active settlement — that is, you've already settled a past-due debt with the issuer for less than the full amount and are in the process of paying it back under new terms — or your account has been charged off.
However, if you're getting COVID-19 relief for one or two billing cycles, you'll be able to apply and receive additional relief, for up to a total of three billing cycles. For instance, if you previously qualified for one billing cycle of payment deferment due to COVID-19, you may qualify for an additional two billing cycles of relief.
Will participating void my 0% APR promotion?
No. "Deferring a payment will not void the 0% APR period," the issuer tells NerdWallet, noting that such promotions will expire on the original expiration date.
Will I still be able to make purchases?
If your account is in good standing when you enroll for help, you can continue making purchases up to your credit limit, according to the issuer. If your account is past due, your ability to make purchases may be impacted.
Will this hurt my credit?
Wells Fargo doesn't specify how these deferred payments will be reported in its terms and conditions and hasn't responded to NerdWallet's questions on this topic.
Here's what we do know, though: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act comes with certain credit protections. Issuers must report credit card accounts with eligible 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?
Generally, yes. Terms and conditions reviewed by NerdWallet for select Wells Fargo credit and retail cards note that automatic payments will be paused during the deferment period, then resume afterward. Terms may vary by account, though.
"Customers should refer to their card’s terms and conditions for details on automatic or recurring payments that may be set up, and any actions they may need to take during and after the deferment period," the issuer tells NerdWallet.
In some cases, your statement may show the automatic payment was deducted but the payment won't be drawn from your account. If your payment was processed due to timing, it will be reserved, according to the issuers' terms and conditions.
Your due date will remain the same, the issuer notes.
Will I still get statements?
Yes, you'll continue to receive monthly statements. While these may reflect a payment due, you don’t need to make payments during the deferment period, the issuer notes in its terms and conditions. After your payment deferment is processed, your statements should be updated.
Whom should I contact for more help?
If you have more questions, call Wells Fargo customer service at the number on the back of your card or on your monthly billing statement. Don't expect to get through instantly, though. The issuer says it's experiencing "extremely high call volumes resulting in long wait times."