Why You Should NOT Skip Credit Card Payments During the Pandemic

A reader of The Gate sent to me a notice from a credit card company under the guise of being helpful to its customers during the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic by allowing them to skip payments for a couple of months if doing so would assist them financially…

Why You Should NOT Skip Credit Card Payments During the Pandemic

Visa Signature credit card

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

…except that in this specific case — as sent to me — skipping the payment does anything but help the customer financially, with the identifying information replaced with the letter X and pertinent verbiage highlighted in red:

Skip-Payment Plan:
Enroll Today if Needed
Log in online or call 855-XXX-XXXX

The impacts of COVID-19 are now felt in communities across the nation. It’s affecting different households in different ways, and XXXX is here to help during these trying times.

If it would assist you financially, you have the option to skip your XXXX Visa® payments until your June payment due date.

This process is not automatic. To enroll, simply log in to your account at www.xxxxxxxx.com and select to enroll in the Skip-Payment Plan when prompted or call our Customer Care Center at 855-XXX-XXXX to discuss waiving your April and May payments.

During the skip-payment timeframe, you won’t incur any late fees or have a minimum payment due, but your account will still accrue interest per the terms of your Cardmember Agreement.

We hope to provide you time to secure your financial well-being if it is needed.

We are here to help.

Xxxxx Xxxxx
Senior Vice President

Despite the assurance, this is of little help — especially depending on what percent of interest is charged on the account monthly; and if the interest compounds each month that the payment is not received in a timely manner, the customer can potentially lose even more money.

Summary

I would dare say that this “gesture of financial kindness” of “securing your financial well-being” helps the credit card company significantly more than the customer.

If you are having problems paying your bills, consult with your accountant, your local government, or the local office of the state or federal government in which you reside for assistance. Many programs exist which are truly designed to help you — especially during a pandemic which has affected many people around the world — and you are far from alone.

Corporations and businesses using a major emergency as a marketing opportunity is bad enough; but when a legitimate company attempts to use that emergency to profit off of a customer under the guise of being helpful, then it becomes a scam within the bounds of the law and is little more than shameful, in my opinion.

If you happen to be the target customer, do not fall for this. You may be able to save money on the late fee — something which you would otherwise not incur if you pay your bill on time every month and therefore not save money at all — and postpone the minimum payment due for those months, on which you do not save money either…

…but in this case, you are better off paying your bill on time each month.

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2 — pandemic in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources…

…as well as attempt to maintain a reasoned and sensible ongoing discussion towards how to resolve this pandemic.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

All photographs ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Why You Should NOT Skip Credit Card Payments During the Pandemic”

  1. Carl WV says:

    Call me distrusting, but I have a strong suspicion that those needing to skip payments this soon, and doing so, will be red flagged for some future closer monitoring by the banks. I’d never want to let a bank know I was in bad financial shape until there was nothing left to lose.

  2. Jackson Aimson says:

    That is a very unfair and uncalled for assessment of banks offering deferred payments for their credit card holders in need due to COVID-19. Banks are being very generous to ensure people are not having their credit scores impacted and are allowing minimum payments to be deferred. There is nothing nefarious about it but a show of solidarity and kindness from banks who are better equipped than 2008 at handling crisis. It helps everyone to allow people to defer payments at agreed to interest rates and give them some extra cash in their pocket until they receive the stimulus checks, unemployment or go back to their jobs.

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