The coronavirus is proving to be more than just a health threat.
The precautions put in place will likely have far-reaching effects, including some major financial implications for the average citizen.
Late payment fees, overdraft fees or penalties for early withdrawals can escalate a situation from bad to worse. Conversely, waiving fees and penalties can ease a hard situation.
Many banks are encouraging people to use their online and mobile banking options as a way of promoting social distancing.
The banks are also advising customers to take steps to protect themselves from scams, especially phishing scams. If you receive an email that appears to be from your bank, do not click the links or give out your personal information. Go directly to the bank’s website or call the bank if you have questions or concerns. Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission says about these kinds of scams.
Below is a list of banks who have shared what kind of assistance is available for customers affected by the coronavirus. We will update this list as more information is released.
Bank of America
On March 19, Bank of America announced it’s taking the following measures to support its customers:
- Mortgages and home equity lines of credit: Clients can request to defer payments, with those payments added to the end of the loan.
- Credit cards: Clients can request to defer payments and refunds on late fees.
- Auto loans: Clients can request to defer payments, with payments added to the end of the loan.
- Bank accounts: Clients can request fee refunds, including overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds fees, and monthly maintenance fees.
The bank says no negative credit bureau reporting will happen for up-to-date customers.
In addition, the bank is pausing all evictions, repossessions and foreclosure sales. Read the full list of the available assistance for Bank of America customers.
The bank encouraging customers to take advantage of online and mobile banking during social distancing. The bank has also instituted the CDC’s cleaning guidelines to help protect its staff and the people who need to use its brick-and-mortar locations. A list of which branches are still open can be found on the bank’s location tool
The bank encourages anyone who has been “affected negatively by illness due to coronavirus” to contact it.
More information can be found on the bank’s coronavirus information page.
Capital One asks customers to use online and mobile banking to help with limiting the spread of the virus.
Any customer in need of help is asked to contact the bank, but the bank warns customers to anticipate call wait times that may be longer than usual due to the volume of customers seeking assistance.
More information can be found on the bank’s coronavirus assistance page.
Chase Bank is encouraging the use of online and mobile banking to limit the opportunities for the coronavirus to spread. For the benefit of customers who visit physical locations and ATMs, the bank’s staff is using EPA-approved cleaners to keep screens and keypads clean.
Customers who need help are asked to contact the bank for assistance. The bank is offering three kinds of help:
More information can be found on the bank’s dedicated Coronavirus COVID-19 Readiness web page.
Citibank is urging its customers to use its online and mobile banking options to promote social distancing. The bank has also stepped up its daily cleaning procedures with stronger disinfectants on surfaces that are touched a lot.
It has also implemented a temporary plan to help aid those who are impacted by the coronavirus that is currently in place for 30 days as of March 9:
- Customers should contact the bank for help with obtaining waivers on monthly service fees and penalties for early CD withdrawals.
- Small business customers should also contact the bank for help with waivers for monthly service fees and remote deposit capture fees, as well as penalties for early CD withdrawals.
The bank also offers its standard assistance programs, including collection forbearance, credit line increases and hardship programs for mortgage customers.
Keep an eye on the Citibank coronavirus information page for updates.
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank asks its customers to use their mobile and online banking options and to limit their use of physical locations. However, the bank has also escalated its cleaning procedures at its physical locations, for the sake of both staff and customers.
The bank notes that special policies are in place to help people who are facing disaster-related hardship as it relates to auto loans, credit card balances and loans secured by real estate.
For more information, visit the bank’s coronavirus impact page.
PNC Bank has urged customers facing hardship due to coronavirus to contact them to see what options are available.
The bank is encouraging customers to use their mobile and online banking tools. The bank has also put contingency plans in place to avoid the disruption of service.
More information can be found on the bank’s coronavirus update page.
SunTrust Bank is encouraging customers who are experiencing financial hardship to contact the bank for assistance. Some of the assistance available includes:
- Payment relief assistance is available for customers with consumer loans, personal credit cards, business credit cards and business loans.
- ATM surcharges are being temporarily waived.
- Customers will get 5% cash back when they use their BB&T and SunTrust credit cards for qualifying purchases at grocery stores and pharmacies. (This is available until April 15, 2020.)
The bank also encourages customers to use mobile and online banking in lieu of a trip to a brick-and-mortar location.
For more information, visit the bank’s dedicated coronavirus information page.
U.S. Bank is encouraging customers to use mobile and online banking tools. In addition, the bank has reduced hours at its locations to 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to protect its employees’ health.
The bank has made some temporary adjustments to several products, primarily loans. More details can be found at the bottom of their coronavirus page.
Wells Fargo is asking customers to use mobile and online banking to reduce social contact, and asks customers to check their location page for any changes to their brick-and-mortar locations.
They ask customers who may be experiencing hardship due to coronavirus to contact them.
More information is available on the bank’s coronavirus response page.
Tyler Omoth is a contributor to Codetic.
Deputy managing editor Caitlin Constantine contributed to this report.