Unemployment rates are soaring across the country. In addition to these basic resources, people are also facing the reality of having limited means to pay of debts like student loans and credit card balances.
Fortunately, many companies have begun offering ways to mitigate the impact of bills associated with debt. With salaries and overall household income subsequently dropping, certain companies have recognized the need to relieve some of the strain debt is having on customers’ wallets.
According to CNBC.com, the average American has $38,000 in personal debt. Credit card companies have begun to offer ways to help people deal with their financial burdens at this time. Many of them list information on their websites about the specific ways they are helping their members.
Bank of America has unveiled an assistance program that includes the option to request deferment of payments as well to have any late fees refunded. Some of the other benefits of this “Client Assistance Program” are the ability to request refunds for fees due to overdrafts, monthly maintenance, and insufficient funds.
Capital One is offering to reduce monthly payments for some customers in addition to waiving certain fees. For customers who have earned Venture or VentureOne miles and are unable to travel, Capital One is now allowing these card users to redeem their points for things like streaming and takeout food from restaurants.
Truist (the merger of BB&T and Suntrust) has also posted payment relief options on its website. They are waiving ATM fees and providing 5% cashback for certain purchases. Truist has also begun donating to non-profits and community endeavors to support those affected.
Student loan companies have also responded to federal legislation requiring adjustments to their billing requirements. The CARES Act has benefitted federal student loan borrowers. For these federal student loans, all payments are automatically placed in forbearance from March 13, 2020 – September 30, 2020. StudentAid.gov has a detailed list of FAQs that covers an expansive list of various circumstances borrowers may encounter.
If you are in the position to make payments on your student loans, you may wish to do so at this time because there is a 0% interest rate on many of these loans at this time. No interest means if you do choose to make a payment towards your loan balance, the payment amount will go completely towards your principal which can help reduce your overall balance quicker.
While finances can be an especially worrying subject these days, companies have been quick to offer support to their customers. If you have specific questions about your financial institution’s policy around COVID, be sure to ask the company’s customer support department for details about current offers. Debt does not need to add on extra stress and anxiety at this stage in your life. Develop a plan to take care of your priorities (like health and safety) first, and then looks towards paying off your debt when possible.