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With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on our lives, many banks and cities in Canada are offering temporary financial relief through a variety of payment deferrals, including mortgages, property taxes, and yes, credit card payments (now with reduced interest rates as well).
So if your credit card bill is looking like a bit too much to stomach right now, this could be exactly what you need to hear.
Let’s go through these 7 banks and review their credit card payment deferral terms, how to request them, and what eligibility criteria they have listed.
A few rules to note about credit card deferrals
Before going into what each issuer is offering, a few rules apply to every one of them.
It’s just a deferral – not a cancellation of what you owe
First, it’s just a deferral – what you owe doesn’t change, and you’ll still be expected to make your payments once your deferral period is over.
That being said, your credit score won’t be impacted by using a deferral.
Interest will still be accruing
Second, while you can defer your payments, credit card interest will still be accruing. So, not only will your bill need to be paid in full, interest will be tacked on as well.
With an average interest rate of 20%, that’s a lot of extra money that’s going to be added to your future payments, especially if your deferrals continue for more than one month.
If you’re looking at long term deferrals, it may be worth the time to investigate getting a balance transfer credit card, where you can get a rate as low as 0% for 10 months.
You must contact your bank first
Third, you need to contact your bank and make an arrangement for payment deferrals.
Even though payment deferrals are being offered, if you don’t call and make a plan with them first, you’re going to be charged late payment fees and hits to your credit score if you don’t make your minimum payment on time.
Best only as a last resort
And remember, these are only to be used when you have no other options. It’s best to first explore what financial assistance you can get from the government before committing to a payment deferral. You can learn more about what they’re offering here.
If you can get some money this way, it’s better than putting off credit card payments and accruing more debt you’ll have to pay down the road.
BMO is offering a wide variety of payment deferrals, including credit cards. There’s not a specific amount of time given for credit cards, but mortgage deferrals can be up to 6 months.
This page has the information on what BMO is offering, including an online form to get started on requesting payment deferrals.
The requirements are a little vague. BMO states anyone impacted by COVID-19 can request a deferral, even if they’re still employed, so it may be worth a try no matter your situation.
CIBC is offering deferred payments on credit cards until July 2020 right now. Once your July statement comes in, your payments will resume.
All of CIBC’s info on financial assistance can be found here. To get started on requesting a deferral, there’s an online form to fill out or you can speak to an advisor.
There’s no specific information on who might qualify for a deferral and they state it’s determined on a case-by-case basis.
Desjardins is offering deferred payments on a variety of products, including credit cards. You can request payment deferrals for up to 6 months, depending on the product and your situation.
Desjardins provides a list of who can qualify for deferred payments:
- unable to work due to the virus,
- unable to work because of travel restrictions,
- job loss, and
- other reasons closely related to COVID-19.
You can request a payment deferral online. All of Desjardin’s relief measures are on this page.
National Bank is offering credit card deferrals for up to 90 days. To find out if you’re eligible and to request one, you can call National Bank at 1‑800‑361‑5205.
To view all the financial assistance National Bank is offering, it can be viewed here.
Royal Bank is currently offering up to 2 months relief on credit card payments. To request payment deferrals, simply login to your online banking, and click on the link below your credit card that says “Need to defer a minimum payment due to COVID-19?”.
If you need more than 2 months of relief, you’ll have to request a phone meeting with an RBC representative.
You can learn more about what RBC is offering on this page.
Scotiabank is offering credit card payment deferrals for up to 3 months. To qualify, any member of your family has to have become unemployed or has lost income in some way. To set up a credit card payment deferral, you’ll need to call Scotiabank at 1-800-476-2842 (1-800-4SCOTIA).
All of Scotia’s COVID-19 financial support information is on this page.
For TD credit cards, you can get up to 3 months of payment deferrals. There’s a list of criteria to be eligible for a payment deferral:
- you’re the primary cardholder,
- your credit card account has been open for more than 4 months,
- your account is in good standing,
- you haven’t request a previous payment deferral due to COVID-19, and
- it’s not a business credit card.
To make a deferral request, TD has an online form which you can access on TD’s COVID-19 page.
Is your bank not listed here?
Above are the major banks that are offering assistance.
If you have credit cards with other issuers and need some relief, it’s best to call the number on the back of your card and ask what they may be offering.
What about you?
Will you be taking advantage of credit card payment deferrals?
Let us know in the comments below.