Coronavirus and Personal Loans

A guide to managing your debt

Note: this resource page is being updated regularly. It was last updated on July 1, 2020.

By Erika Giovanetti | Edited by Michael Galvis

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The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on the personal finances of many Americans. If you are having trouble making personal loan payments, relief may be available. Below is a growing list of lenders offering help during the pandemic, but you should contact your lender if you need assistance.

Affirm

  • According to Affirm’s COVID-19 support page, it is working with credit bureaus to minimize the impact of credit reporting on customers who have been affected by the coronavirus.
  • How to apply: If you’re experiencing difficulty repaying your loan, fill out Affirm’s Coronavirus Payment Flexibility form. Affirm will follow up with the next available steps within the next few weeks.

Align Credit Union

American Express

  • AmEx suggests getting in touch with customer service if you need assistance. They are reporting high call volume and recommend getting help via their app.

Avant

  • If you’ve been affected by the coronavirus and need financial assistance, Avant recommends their borrowers call 1-800-712-5407.

Axos Bank

  • Axos Bank customers who are unable to make their personal loan payments due to COVID-19 should contact [email protected].

BBVA

  • Payment deferrals on personal loans, as well as mortgages, credit cards and small business loans.
  • Waived and refunded ATM fees and overdraft fee refunds for banking customers, upon request.
  • How to apply: Fill out the COVID-19 Loan Payment Request Form on BBVA’s website.

Best Egg

  • Best Egg recommends that customers log into their account portal to see what options are available as part of their coronavirus response.
  • Expanded accessibility to short- and long-term payment programs.
  • Temporary payment holiday, in which loans can be extended two months while interest accrues.
  • How to apply: Log in to the Best Egg Account Portal to see if you are eligible for any COVID-19 assistance programs.

Capital One

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

Citibank

  • Monthly payment deferral and late fee waiver for two statement cycles for eligible Citibank personal loan customers.
  • How to apply: Call 1-800-685-0935, or visit their COVID-19 page for more info.

Citizens Bank

  • Citizens Bank 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 1-855-819-7137, while customers who applied after that date should call 1-866-999-0107. They may also apply online by logging in to their account.

Discover

  • Personal loan customers who need assistance due to COVID-19 should call 1-877-256-2632.

Earnest

  • Up to three months of postponed personal loan payments through the Earnest disaster forbearance program (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 with no credit bureau impact. Plus, First Midwest is suspending all late fees on consumer loans through June 30.
  • How to apply: Contact First Midwest customer service at 800-322-3623 to apply.

HSBC

  • Under their coronavirus hardship assistance program, HSBC personal loan customers may be able to secure a 120-day payment deferral period. Those enrolled may either pay back the amount in one lump sum or agree to new loan terms.
  • How to apply: Log into your HSBC account and send a message to customer support via BankMail.

LendingClub

  • A 15-day grace period for making payments without penalty available to all members.
  • Deferred payment plans to qualified customers who are affected.
  • How to apply: Sign into your account and visit the Member Center to get started. You should receive an email confirmation within 7 to 10 days to let you know if you’ve been approved.

Lightstream

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

  • Customer assistance program, which 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 through 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

  • For customers who have been impacted by the coronavirus, NetCredit has a number of options to help its customers, including temporary due date adjustments.
  • How to apply: NetCredit suggests that you 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

  • Reduced payments and payment deferrals are available, depending on your situation. Oportun will not report missed payments to the credit bureaus as long as you make arrangements in advance.
  • How to apply: Call or text 650-419-5779 or email [email protected] to speak with a representative.

Opploans

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

PNC Bank

  • Payment postponement on personal loans with no late fees. Also includes auto loans, credit cards, personal lines of credit, mortgages, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.
  • Payment assistance for personal loan borrowers, who may qualify for a 0.25% APR discount by enrolling in autopay.
  • Waived late payment fees for customers who are enrolled in the payment hardship program.
  • How to apply: Fill out the Consumer Loan Hardship Request form on PNC’s website.

Regions Bank

  • Regions Bank is offering assistance programs, fee waivers and payment relief programs to customers who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • How to apply: Customers struggling with personal loan payments should call 866-298-1113.

SoFi

  • Customers financially affected by the pandemic can get a one-month payment deferral, during which all fees are waived. Some customers may qualify for an additional 30-day deferral.
  • Unemployment Protection Program, which 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 loans and mortgages customers can call 1-800-742-2651. More info is available on TD Bank’s COVID-19 page.

Truist

  • Payment relief for BB&T and SunTrust personal loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, business credit cards and business loans.
  • How to apply: Follow the links on the Truist coronavirus response page.

Upstart

  • Hardship program allowing borrowers to move two of their monthly payments to the end of their loan without incurring interest or late penalties.
  • How to apply: Upstart borrowers should sign into their account and complete the hardship assistance request form or contact the support team.

USAA

  • 90-day payment extension on consumer loans for borrowers who qualify for USAA’s special payment assistance programs.
  • Also includes 90-day credit card payment deferral as well as special mortgage and HELOC payment assistance.
  • How to apply: Call 855-764-4617 for personal loan assistance, and visit the coronavirus financial assistance page on USAA’s website for more information.

Wells Fargo

  • Wells Fargo 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 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.

If you can’t pay your bills, what debts are most important to pay first?

The average American pays more than $1,200 toward debts each month, and it’s going to be hard for borrowers to make these payments if they’ve been laid off and aren’t making an income. Unemployment benefits and the Economic Impact Payment (the $1,200 per person stimulus check) will only go so far when you have bills to pay.

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 garnishments, and 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 are 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 20, 2021.

Beware: Your stimulus check could be seized by the bank

Economic Impact Payments, released as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are an emergency measure to keep Americans’ finances afloat. But the people who need the payment the most ー borrowers who already owe debts and can’t make those payments ー may have their stimulus checks garnished by debt collectors.

Some states, including New York, have blocked debt collectors from being able to garnish stimulus checks. For a full list of states, cities and counties that have put a ban on impact payment garnishment, visit the National Consumer Law Center’s (NCLC) resource center.

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, millions of Americans were left out of work, and with 13.3% unemployment in May, 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 when a lender imposes unfair practices on borrowers, and is often accompanied by high interest rates and short repayment terms. In late March, the Federal Reserve and 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.