Get All Your Credit Card Payments Deferred With One Call


Illustration for article titled Get All Your Credit Card Payments Deferred With One Call
Photo: Shutterstock

While most credit card issuers have announced programs to aid consumers having trouble paying their bills during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s far from a universal free pass. Customers need to contact their card issuer to make a case for why they’re encountering an economic hardship; then the creditor needs to offer adjustments on a case-by-case basis.

That means you need to pick up the phone (and probably wait on hold for a while) to ask for help. And if you’re phone-shy, like a certain author of this post, you may not be super keen on ringing your credit card 1-800 line for help.

But if there was ever a time to ask for help, it’s now. And to help make it a little easier, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is offering assistance in contacting your creditors.

Instead of calling your creditors individually, you can make one call to a credit counselor and have them handle the details for you. A counselor may be able to secure one to three months’ deferment on your card payments—and you’ll also be connected to a counselor if you want to keep talking about your financial challenges and goals.

This new service is a bit different from the usual debt counseling experience.

Typically, a counselor won’t negotiate with your creditors unless you’re enrolled in a debt management plan (DMP), which consolidates your debt repayment into one monthly amount administered by the counseling agency. Usually, this process requires closing your credit accounts while you pay off that debt.

You don’t need to be enrolled in a DMP to ask a credit counselor for temporary hardship help, and you won’t need to close any accounts. Counselors are simply facilitators for securing short-term assistance and helping you determine your options for easing any financial tension you’re experiencing right now.

You can access a counselor via NFCC’s member agencies by visiting www.nfcc.org/locator/ or by calling 1-800-388-2227.