Coronavirus and Personal Loans

A guide to managing your debt

Note: this resource page is being updated regularly. It was last updated on Aug. 30, 2021.

By Erika Giovanetti and Rebecca Safier | Edited by Michael Galvis

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The coronavirus pandemic has created financial challenges for many Americans. If you’re having trouble making payments on your personal loans or student loans, relief might be available. Below is a growing list of lenders offering help during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need assistance, contact your lender to learn about your options.

In this resource, we’ll take a look at:

Affirm

  • Affirm doesn’t charge late fees. If you’re experiencing difficulty repaying your loan, contact Affirm. You may qualify for loan modification.

Align Credit Union

American Express

  • American Express offers a Financial Relief Program, which may include temporarily lowering monthly payments and interest rates.
  • How to apply: Call 866-703-4169 or log into your online portal for assistance.

Avant

  • Avant recommends their borrowers seek financial assistance on the Avant app or call 800-712-5407.

Axos Bank

  • Axos Bank customers who are unable to make their personal loan payments due to COVID-19 should contact [email protected] Expect a response within five business days.

BBVA

  • BBVA offers payment deferrals on personal loans. Interest may accrue during this time.
  • How to apply: Fill out the COVID-19 Loan Payment Assistance form on BBVA’s website.

Best Egg

  • Best Egg recommends that personal loan customers log into their account portal to see what options are available as part of their coronavirus response.

Capital One

  • Capital One recommends that its customers who are having trouble making payments due to the coronavirus get in touch with customer support online or via the Capital One mobile app.

Citibank

  • Citi may offer solutions to help you lower your APR, reduce monthly payments or waive account fees.
  • For help, call 800-685-0935.

Citizens Bank (RI)

  • Citizens Bank (RI) recommends that customers request a personal loan deferment if they can’t pay their loan due to COVID-19.
  • How to apply: Personal loan customers who applied before July 13, 2019 should call 855-819-7137, while customers who applied after that date should call 866-999-0107. They may also apply online by logging in to their account.

Earnest

  • Earnest offers one month of postponed personal loan payments or up to three months of interest-only payments. Interest accrues during this period.
  • How to apply: Fill out the request form on the Earnest website with details about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your income/employment, the industry in which you work and when you anticipate being able to make payments on your loan.

Eloan

  • Eloan is offering three-month payment deferrals to eligible customers who opt in to the payment forbearance program. Interest will accrue during this time.
  • How to apply: Eloan customers should have received an email to opt in to the program. If you need further assistance, call customer service at 855-854-9395.

First Midwest Bank

  • First Midwest Bank consumer loan customers who are unable to make a payment due to the coronavirus may be eligible for deferred payments or a fee waiver.
  • How to apply: Contact First Midwest customer service at 800-322-3623.

HSBC

  • HSBC personal loan customers may request support by calling 800-524-9686.

LendingClub

  • LendingClub offers a 15-day grace period for making payments without penalty available to all members. Further loan payment assistance may be available.
  • How to apply: Call 877-644-4446 for assistance.

LightStream

  • LightStream personal loan clients who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for assistance.
  • How to apply: Reach out to customer service via email at [email protected]

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

  • The Marcus by Goldman Sachs® customer assistance program lets you postpone payments on your personal loan for one month. No interest will be charged during this period, and your repayment period will be extended by one month.
  • How to apply: Enroll in the disaster recovery program by signing into your account portal.

Mariner Finance

  • If you’re unable to pay your Mariner Finance personal loan due to financial strain caused by COVID-19, call the branch nearest you for assistance.

NetCredit

  • NetCredit has a number of options to help its customers who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including temporary due date adjustments.
  • How to apply: Email [email protected] or call 877-392-2014 if you can’t make your personal loan payment.

OneMain Financial

  • OneMain Financial customers who are unable to make payments should contact the branch nearest them for further assistance.

Oportun

  • Oportun may offer reduced payments and payment deferrals, depending on your situation.
  • How to apply: Call or text 650-419-5779 or email [email protected] to get in touch with a representative.

Opploans

  • Opploans customers who can’t make a payment due to COVID-19 should call 800-990-9130.

PNC Bank

  • PNC Bank offers hardship-assistance programs to personal loan customers.
  • How to apply: Fill out the Consumer Loan Hardship Request form on PNC’s website.

Regions Bank

  • Regions Bank is offering assistance programs, such as loan modification, payment postponement and reduced payments for those who are financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • How to apply: Customers struggling with personal loan payments should call 866-298-1113.

SoFi

  • The SoFi Unemployment Protection Program suspends monthly loan payments while interest accrues in three-month increments, with a cap at 12 months over the life of the loan.
  • How to apply: Visit the FAQ page on SoFi’s website to find links to the payment deferral program, as well as more info on the Unemployment Protection Program.

TD Bank

  • Through the TD Cares program, personal loan customers can request financial relief. This may include waived fees and delayed payments.
  • Waived late payment fees for personal lending credit card, residential mortgage, home equity loan and HELOC customers.
  • How to apply: For more info, personal loan customers can call 1-800-742-2651.

Truist

  • Truist offers payment relief, including temporarily suspending monthly payments, for BB&T and SunTrust personal loan customers.

Wells Fargo Bank

  • Wells Fargo Bank personal loan customers who are struggling to make payments due to the coronavirus pandemic may qualify for fee waivers, payment deferrals and other financial hardship assistance.
  • How to apply: Use the online payment assistance form by signing into your online banking account.
If your personal loan lender isn’t listed here, that doesn’t mean they can’t help; this is not an exhaustive list. We recommend reaching out to your lender on an individual level to ask what COVID-19 personal loan relief they may have available, including forbearance or payment plans.

What to do if you can’t pay your personal loan due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many Americans uncertain of their ability to pay bills. If you’re not sure how you’ll pay your personal loan by the time the payment is due, know that you have options. The first thing you should do if you can’t pay your personal loan is contact your lender or bank. They may be able to work with you to set up assistance programs, such as:
  • FORBEARANCE

    In certain circumstances, your lender may allow you to forgo making payments for a few months. Your loan will continue to accrue interest and you’ll still have to make the payments at the end of the term, either in one lump-sum payment or as an installment loan.

  • REFINANCING

    Borrowers who can’t afford their entire loan payment but can still pay some amount could consider refinancing for a lower APR or longer terms. This can help bring your monthly payment down without the need to go into forbearance or default. Keep in mind that you might be on the hook for a loan origination fee with your new loan, or prepayment penalties if your old lender decides not to waive them.

  • PAYMENT PLANS

    If you’ve missed multiple payments on your personal loan, your lender may allow you to break up the missed payments across a number of months going forward.

If these options don’t offer the help you need, you may consider entering a debt management plan through a nonprofit credit counseling agency. This type of program can help you become current on past due accounts and reduce costs on your debt. Although they can come with fees, the credit counseling agency may be willing to offer reduced or no fees on your plan.

But generally, you should first see what options your lender has that are available to you. While there may not be specific programs listed on their website, many banks and lenders suggest contacting them if you need loan assistance due to the coronavirus.

Your options for student loan relief

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Education paused payments and interest accrual on federally-held student loans in March 2020. Since then, this period of zero-interest forbearance has been extended several times.

If you owe federally-held student loans, such as direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans or direct PLUS loans, you won’t have to make payments until this forbearance ends on Jan. 31, 2022. After this date, your payments and interest accrual will resume.

While private student loans are not eligible for this federal forbearance, many private lenders offered relief in response to the pandemic. If you’re struggling to pay back your private student loans, contact your lender to see if it can provide any assistance.

Understanding your stimulus payment


On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion relief package that includes a one-time $1,400 stimulus payment (also known as an economic impact payment) for Americans. Individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples earning $150,000 or less qualified for the full payment amount. Households that qualify also received $1,400 per dependent.

The bill also extended federal unemployment insurance payments at $300 per week until Sept. 6, 2021. The first $10,200 in unemployment payments were nontaxable for households earning no more than $150,000.

Understanding the Child Tax Credit

Starting in July 2021, millions of families started receiving checks as part of the enhanced child tax credit. Qualifying families receive up to $300 per month for each child under the age of 6 and up to $250 per month for each child between the ages of 6 and 17.

The amount that each family gets starts to phase out at higher incomes, specifically for single filers earning more than $75,000 per year and married filers earning more than $150,000 per year.

Which debts are most important to pay first


The average American pays more than $1,200 toward debt each month, and many have long fallen behind on other bills due to reduced income, unemployment and other financial emergencies.

When you can’t pay all your bills, prioritize them. Generally, it’s most important that you pay secured debts and court-ordered debts before all else. If you fail to pay your auto loan or mortgage for multiple months, your assets could be seized by the bank. Plus, failing to pay court-ordered debt may result in wage garnishment or even jail time.

It’s also important to pay your utilities like water and energy bills every month to avoid them being cut off. While many utility providers and state legislators have stopped shut-offs during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been no official moratorium to stop utility shut-offs in any federal coronavirus relief bills so far.

Unsecured loans and credit cards are lower-priority debts. Since they’re unsecured, you don’t risk losing an asset. However, you will risk your financial institution reporting you to the credit bureaus, which will lower your credit score. If you can, try to make the minimum payments on your credit cards to avoid late fees and a ding on your credit report.

Tip: In response to COVID-19, the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion) are offering free weekly credit reports to all Americans on www.AnnualCreditReport.com through April 2022.

Beware payday lenders in an economic downturn


The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the temporary closures of many restaurants, schools, travel destinations and other gathering places. Because of this, many people may struggle to make ends meet. In times of high unemployment, predatory lenders take advantage of the helpless situations that people find themselves in.

Predatory lending refers to a lender that imposes unfair practices on borrowers, which are often accompanied by high interest rates and short repayment terms. In late March 2020, the Federal Reserve and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), among other financial entities, encouraged banks to issue small loans to Americans who are struggling. The announcement was met with criticism, since the Fed didn’t put any protective measures in place when urging banks to issue these small loans.

One type of predatory lending, payday lending, has already faced scrutiny amid the coronavirus pandemic. Payday lending refers to a type of short-term loan that requires no credit check and can help tide people over with small amounts of money, typically $500 or less. However, these loans have sky-high interest rates — typically around 400%, according to the CFPB.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, payday lenders were able to sidestep regulations banning them from advertising on Google and Facebook by partnering with out-of-state banks, a report from the Wall Street Journal found. To make sure you don’t fall victim to predatory lending, look out for these red flags:

  • Fees and very high interest rates, that can range into the triple-digits.
  • Short repayment terms, which may be as little as two weeks, in the case of payday loans.
  • No credit check required, since financial institutions rely on your credit score to determine eligibility.

Before you turn to a payday loan or another type of predatory lending, consider the alternatives, such as small personal loans, credit cards with favorable terms or even borrowing from friends and family. Plus, the LendingTree coronavirus hubpage has plenty of resources for people who can’t pay their debts.