If the COVID-19 crisis has already had an impact on your finances, and you’re worried about covering your bills or monthly payments, one of the best things to do now is to reach out and ask for help.
That means triaging your top-priority bills, like housing, utilities and cell phones. If you can’t cover the balances due, pick up the phone and work out an arrangement with each company that helps you remain in good standing.
The same goes for your bank, insurance company, mortgage lender or credit card issuer.
The sections below detail the steps some financial institutions have taken to help customers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Note that many phone lines are overwhelmed, so do what you can online before picking up the phone.
Bank of America
Bank of America can waive overdraft fees and defer payments on credit cards, auto and mortgage loans for customers, according to its COVID-19 response page. Customers can log in to submit a payment deferral request online.
General contact: Find the correct phone number by using the company’s contact page.
Capital One isn’t offering specific information about plans to help consumers on its COVID-19 response page. The company encourages customers who are having financial hardships to contact the bank directly.
General contact: 877-383-4802
Chase recommends customers do what they can — including requesting credit card, mortgage and auto loan deferments — by enrolling online or logging in.
The company has a separate page for small businesses, which includes a link to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.
General contact: 800-935-9935
For eligible customers Citi says is waiving non-Citi ATM fees, monthly service fees and early-withdrawal fees on CDs through May 8, according to the company’s COVID-19 response page.
Customers may get two statement cycles’ worth of monthly payments and late fees waived on credit cards and personal loans.
Small businesses may get monthly service fees and remote deposit capture fees waived. Small business customers can also get penalties waived on early CD withdrawals.
General contact: 800-374-9700
Discover cardholders who are having financial difficulties may be able to make changes in payment timing and receive waived fees on personal loans, according to a spokesman.
The company offers an FAQ on its COVID-19 response page.
General contact: 800-347-2683
U.S. Bank is offering small personal loans and small-business loans to those who have suffered financially because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The company says it’s offering deferred payments to those with auto, boat and RV loans. Mortgage customers may get their payments suspended for up to 180 days.
- Fee: $6 for every $100 borrowed.
- Loan amount: $100 – $1,000.
- Term: 3 months.
- APR: 2.99%
- Loan amount: $1,000 to $4,999.
- Term: Up to 48 months.
- Interest rate: 2% lower than the rate a business would normally qualify for.
- Loan amount: $5,000 to $250,000.
- Terms: 12 to 84 months.
Cash Flow Manager (secured and unsecured line of credit):
- Interest rate: 1% lower than the rate a business would normally qualify for.
- Line of credit amount: $10,000 to $250,000.
You can check for other updates on the U.S. Bank COVID-19 response page.
General contact: 888-287-7817
Customers who contact Wells Fargo may be able to get fees waived or payments deferred on credit card, auto, small-business and personal loans, according to the company’s COVID-19 response hub. The bank says it has suspended residential property foreclosure sales, evictions and involuntary vehicle repossessions.
Customers can log in or contact the bank to suspend mortgage payments for an initial three months, according to an FAQ page dedicated to mortgage assistance.
Small-business customers interested in the Paycheck Protection Program can log in and request assistance. Wells Fargo will then email customers with next steps, according to an informational page on the program.
You can find out whether your local branch is open on the bank’s ATM and branch locator page.
Wells Fargo is also supporting a free financial counseling program put on by Yellow Ribbon Network and the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. The program provides advice on spending, how to use the government relief check and can address other concerns. You can apply on Yellow Ribbon Network’s website.
General contact: 800-869-3557
American Express: 866-703-4169
Associated Bank: 800-236-8866
Fifth Third: 866-601-6391
M&T Bank: 800-724-2440
Navy Federal: 888-842-6328
SunTrust/BB&T (Truist): BB&T customers can call 800-226-5228.
SunTrust customers can call 877-820-2103.
TD Bank: 888-751-9000
Help by financial product
To ask about options, you’ll have to start by contacting customer service. Call the number on the back of your card, or log into your account online and start a chat, if the issuer offers live chat. Be prepared to wait, though.
The phone number printed on the back of your card is the best one to call. Here’s a list of popular credit cards and customer service numbers, along with the contact pages.
American Express: 866-703-4169
Bank of America: 800-732-9194
Capital One: 800-227-4825
U.S. Bank: 800-285-8585
Wells Fargo: 800-642-4720
Be wary of third parties offering advice or assistance; if you want guidance from someone other than your lender, you can talk to a HUD-approved housing counselor about relief options free of charge. Find a counselor near you on the HUD website.
You can reach your lender using the phone number on your mortgage statement. Below, we’ve listed loan servicers’ contact information, along with links to any COVID-19 statements.
Ally: 866-401-4742 (existing mortgages); 855-256-2559 (loan in process)
Alterra Home Loans (PHH): 800-936-8705
Bank of America: 800-669-6650
BNC National Bank: 800-262-2265
Caliber Home Loans: 800-401-6587
Citizens Bank: 800-456-8855
Fairway Independent Mortgage: 800-201-7544
Flagstar Bank: 800-393-4887
Freedom Mortgage: 855-690-5900
Guaranteed Rate: 800-263-4159 (if you receive statements from Chicago)
866-397-7238 (if you receive statements from another location or aren’t sure where your mortgage is serviced)
Guild Mortgage: 800-365-4884
loanDepot: 877-420-4526 (if you receive statements from Newark, NJ)
866-258-6572 (if you receive statements from Chicago or aren’t sure where your mortgage is serviced)
Mr. Cooper: 888-480-2432
Navy Federal: 800-258-5948
NBKC Bank: 855-230-0480
Network Capital: 800-300-0018
New American Funding: 800-893-5304
Quicken Loans: 800-863-4332
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans: 888-452-8179
U.S. Bank: 800-365-7900
Veterans First (WinTrust): 866-718-7899
Veterans United: 833-593-5026
Wells Fargo: 800-219-9739
Federal student loan borrowers can get relief by suspending payments on their loans for 60 days retroactive to March 13. Whether you pause payments or continue to make them, federal loans will automatically not incur interest during this period.
More relief for federal loan borrowers is expected.
If you think your income won’t recover or your job will be impacted for the long term, consider applying for income-driven repayment, which sets payments at a portion of discretionary income — between 10% and 20% — and forgives the balance after 20 or 25 years. Sign up at studentaid.gov.
For borrowers who experience short-term job loss, forbearance is the way to go. But if you expect to be underemployed or unemployed for a longer period of time, ask your servicer about unemployment or economic hardship deferment for your student loan.
Private lenders typically offer forbearance or deferment up to 12 months or longer, but interest will accrue during a pause in payment.
During the coronavirus crisis, some lenders are offering additional relief, such as additional short-term forbearance or deferments, or waiving or refunding fees.
Many lenders are continuously updating their relief efforts with COVID-19-related FAQ pages on their websites. This includes:
When in doubt, contact your lender to find out what options are available before you skip payments.
Your loan isn’t usually in default until it’s at least 30 days late, but lenders have different rules.
Some lenders already have hardship plans for personal loans set up. You may be able to defer a payment or avoid late fees if you contact them and explain your situation.
Here’s a list of lenders, links to any COVID-19 responses they’ve issued and the best way to content them.
American Express: 866-703-4169
Chat with AmEx customer service by logging in
Email: [email protected]
Best Egg: 855-282-6353
Email: [email protected]
Citizens Bank: 888-333-0246 for questions about personal loan applications
866-999-0107 for questions about existing personal loans
Earnest: System & Services Technologies services Earnest’s personal loans; the phone number is 866-798-9888
You can also contact Earnest via the company’s online form. There’s an option to choose financial hardship due to the coronavirus as the reason for making contact.
Email: [email protected]
U.S. Bank: 888-287-7817
Variable Universal Life: 800-340-2765
Guardian Life: 888-482-7342
John Hancock: 800-732-5543
Lincoln Financial Group: 800-487-1485
All life insurance: 800-272-2216
Guaranteed acceptance and simplified whole life insurance: 844-872-2200
New York Life: 800-225-5695
Northwestern Mutual: Try your local office or call 866-950-4644
Pacific Life: 800-800-7646
Penn Mutual: 800-523-0650
State Farm: Call your State Farm insurance agent. The general number is 1-800-782-8332.
Auto, home and life insurers
Allstate: Call your Allstate agent. The general number is 800-255-7828.
American Family: 800-692-6326
Auto Club of SoCal (AAA in Southern California): 800-924-6141
Auto Club MI Group (AAA in several Midwest states): 800-222-1134
CSAA (AAA in Northern California and several other states): 800-922-8228
The Hartford: Non-AARP members call 877-896-9320; AARP members call
Liberty Mutual: 800-290-7933
MetLife: Call 800-438-6381 if you have MetLife home or auto insurance through an
employer; call 800-422-4272 if you have individual coverage.
National General: 888-293-5108
Safeco: Call your local independent agent. The general number is 800-332-3226.
State Farm: Call your State Farm insurance agent. The general number is 800-782-8332.
If you have questions about deferring your taxes, try one of these little-known IRS phone numbers.
Self-employed taxpayers with account or tax law questions: 800-829-4933
Balance due questions: 800-829-0922; 800-829-7650; 800-829-3903
To check the status of a tax refund: 800-829-1954
To check the status of a tax refund being held: 866-897-3315
If you would rather check the status of your refund online, NerdWallet can walk you through that.
If you’re concerned about falling behind on your taxes, you have a few options to get relief. You can set up a payment plan with the IRS, apply to settle back taxes for less than you owe or temporarily put them on hold.
You can pull out Roth IRA contributions at any time, but withdrawals on earnings may be taxed. If you take the money out while the market is down, you’re likely to miss part or all of the recovery that follows.
NerdWallet has a running list of airline, hotel and travel agency websites that breaks down policy changes.