The coronavirus crisis has left millions of Americans suddenly without work or with their reduced hours. For those who are faced with upcoming bill payment deadlines, there is a little extra hope on the part of many lenders.

Auto loan anxiety

Topping the list: auto loans. the US Federal Reserve says Americans collectively owe $ 1.2 trillion on their cars. Ally, one of the nation’s largest lenders, says it allows drivers to defer car payments for up to 120 days with no late fees or finance charges.

If you just signed up for an Ally loan for a new car, they can delay your first payment for 90 days.

Please take note: Ally says you need to call them to activate these offers. You can find out more on the Ally website.

This policy applies to all lenders we have contacted. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, recommends picking up the phone before you miss a payment.

“Monthly payments on auto loans can easily reach $ 500 or $ 600 per month, especially on new cars,” McBride said. “It takes a big chunk of the budget. If you have an income crisis, go for it. Contact your lender and let them know about your situation. “

Credit card crisis

Fed says Americans wear a combined balance of $ 1,000 billion on our credit cards. You may be able to defer monthly payments and interest during the pandemic. Several banks and credit unions offer assistance, such as fee waivers, no interest, and payment breaks.

Again, this is not automatic. You need to call for help, and you need to reach out before you get too late.

If you prefer to talk to someone in person, you can. Banks are considered essential services and can remain open. Be sure to check their hours; some have reduced their operations and their hours of operation may be shorter than usual.

Talking with your lender early on could have an added benefit: the bank might be less eager to report your credit report that you are overdue.

There is also help with mortgages

As previously reported, many mortgage lenders offer forbearance, allowing borrowers to stay in their homes while temporarily suspending payments. Click here to find out more.

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