How to Manage Credit Card Payments During COVID-19

By Neha Goyal
  | Published: 02 April 2021 | Last Updated On: 05 April 2021
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With the entire world reeling from the devastating impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic, everything has been disrupted. People, cities, economies and everything in between has been thrown out of equilibrium. People are not only scared for their life as well as the lives of their loved ones but many have even lost their jobs, thus losing their source of income in these difficult times.

As a consequence, paying bills has become difficult for many, especially making credit card payments regularly. The pandemic has made it difficult to keep up with bill payments for a lot of people. Thus, in an attempt to offer some form of relief to their customers, banks and many other financial institutions have come up with policies that hope to offer help, albeit temporarily.

If you too own a credit card and are finding it challenging to make regular payments during the widespread attack of the coronavirus, this article attempts to offer tips to best manage your credit card bill payments. But first let us look at the financial relief measures provided by some of the card issuers in the UAE:

Top credit card companies offering temporary financial aids during COVID- 19:

Each credit card issuers have been using its own judgement when it is the matter of offering financial relief to their respective customers who are dealing with a financial crisis during the COVID- 19 pandemic. The form of help offered can vary depending upon your card issuer but most companies are lending a helping hand to their cardholders during these troubled times. Check with your credit card issuers about the various measures taken by them to ease payments for cards in case you are facing difficulty in being regular. We have however tried our best to assimilate some of the relief measures opted by various card issuers for your convenience:

For those affected:

  1. First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has temporarily deferred 3 monthly instalments for individual customers with 50 percent reduction on the late payment fees. Additionally, FX fee is waived on cancelled hotels and airlines booking.
  2. HSBC Bank has postponed up to 3 months of payments, including the minimum payment on your credit card. However, credit card limit is reduced to AED 5,000.
  3. Standard Chartered Bank has reduced 50 percent on the cash advance fee. There’s also a facility 0% interest rates on EMI and zero processing fee. You can also get a refund on your travel booking.
  4. ADCB has offered a payment deferment of up to 6 months.
  5. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has increased free temporary limit increase on ADIB covered cards. There’s 5 % cash back on utility and grocery bills for 3 months on ADIB covered cards. 

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB): This is among the largest banks in the UAE and is therefore deemed as a financially secure institution. They have declared a bunch of COVID relief measures to financially support their customers during the ongoing pandemic. They have tried to cover the interest of all their customers including individual customers, businesses as well as the Islamic banking customers, offering relief on fees as well as repayments since the beginning of the pandemic in April.

Apart from offering payment deferment on mortgages as well as loans for a period of up to 3 months, First Abu Dhabi Bank’s credit card users also get the benefits of 50 percent reductions on late fee payments as well as from their instalment programs. These reductions on fees come without any service charges on tuition or utility bills. These efforts by te bank show their commitment towards helping their customers.

Contact information to get help:

  • Use the registered email id to seek help by writing to here2help@bankfab.com 
  • Request help using their Mobile App

HSBC Bank: For all the customers whose finances were affected by the onslaught of COVID- 19, HSBC bank attempted to offer some relief by providing a payment holiday to its credit card owners. Card users who are stressed about being able to make their payments are given the option to delay payments for up to 3 months. During this payment holiday, customers will not be required to make payments for outstanding balances or any of the new transactions made during this period. The interest however will continue to be accrued as usual. Once the payment holiday is over, the card holders will be expected to resume the payments.  

Contact information to get help:

  • Write an email at contactus.me@hsbc.com
  • Call their help centre at 800 5233/ 800 4320/ 800 4420

Standard Chartered Bank: The Standard Chartered bank has put in motion several different measures aimed at easing the burden of paying credit card bills for those who are severely affected by the pandemic or have suffered loss of employed during this period. To avail the benefits of these relief measures, card owners need to have any one of these required documents mentioned below:

  1. A letter from our employer stating that the pandemic is the reason behind your termination
  2. A letter by the Ministry of Health attesting to the fact that you were infected by COVID- 19
  3. Anny relevant document evidencing to the fact that travel restrictions due to COVID- 19 has directly or indirectly affected your ability to make payments
  4. A bank statement showing the loss of revenue up to 20 percent monthly for those who are self-employed

Contact information to get help:

  • Write at covid.19relief@sc.com for help

ADCB: ADCB is committed to offering any support and help required by their customers in these troubled times. They have eagerly participated in the supportive measures undertaken by the concerned authorities in the UAE and have actively made changes to the way they handle their banking operations.

Deferment of six EMIs among other relief offers has been provided to any customer who falls in the category of the COVID- 19 Targeted Economic Support Scheme. Started in the beginning of April, their support program has been extended up to December 2020.

Contact information to get help:

  • Write an email seeking help at contactus@adcb.com 
  • Call the contact centre at 600 50 2030 or 600 56 2626 (Islamic Banking)

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB): Amidst the uncertainty that has overpowered almost everything in the times of the pandemic, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has been active and responsive to the needs of their customers. Keeping all channels of communication open for their customers, ADIB bank has ensured no customer hesitates to come to them to discuss their relief program. Offering cashback than can prove to be valuable during the difficult times of the pandemic, ADIB’s credit cards also come with no cost instalment schemes for card expenditures up to a period of 6 months as well a temporary increase in the limit of all covered cards.

Contact information to get help:

  • Contact their help centre at 600503033

Health is our top most priority in a world struggling with COVID- 19 but our credit scores are also a looming concern. Thus, it is essential for our financial health as well to plan ahead. To be in a safe spot financially during these difficult times one needs to be proactive. Monitor your credit card payments and debt so that they don’t add to the stress of the extreme uncertainties that surround us.

Credit cards are vital for our lifestyles today, but especially during the present circumstances, they should be handled cautiously. Here are some of the tips to efficiently manage your credit cards during the COVID- 19 outbreak to derive the most benefits out of them:

  • Plan ahead by making a budget: Draw out a plan for yourself that takes into consideration your income, your expenses as well as the payments you have to make monthly. Set up a budget and stick to it to avoid any hassle later.
  • Avoid withdrawing cash from Credit card: Even if you are in dire need of some cash, try to choose credit card withdrawal as your last resort in order to avoid the high fees and interest rates.
  • Avoid increasing credit line limit: If you increase the credit limit on your existing cards, or avail new credit line during the pandemic, it will make you susceptible to credit card debt easily. Thus, try to decrease your expenses rather than increasing it.
  • Transfer balance to other banks: Several banks in the UAE are offering 0 % balance transfer for new card holders these days. In case you have outstanding balance and are forced to pay high interest on your existing card, then it is better to apply for a new card and convert the outstanding balance to a 0 % or low rate instalments.
  • Opt for a 0 % EMI plan: Always try to match your shopping expenses to the minimum transaction requirement of your card to avoid penalties. Choose a 0 % Easy Payment Plan or convert to one if you don’t already have one.
  • Decrease your non-essential expenses: Discipline is an important virtue for anyone using a credit card. It is especially necessary if you are trying to reduce the burden of debt on you. Managing a few credit cards is not so difficult as long as you follow some strict rules levied on your expenditures. Avoid adding debt as it will only prove to be hazardous in the longer run.
  • Pay your minimum dues: If you enjoy having multiple cards but have hit rock bottom financially, try paying the minimum due on each card. If you delay doing this, it will only pile more penalties upon you and that will further make it challenging for you to repay your debts. Prioritize paying credit card bills that come with the maximum interest rate as it will significantly reduce your ongoing burden of debt.

The Bottom Line

We have tried to cover as much information for you as possible but remembers that banks and credit card providers keep on updating their policies and so the COVID- 19 relief policies will also follow suit. If your card issuer was not a part of our list, make sure to reach out to them through their mobile app or email to understand the benefits offered by them to provide some financial relief to their customers.