People around the world are concerned with the COVID-19 virus (also known as corona virus). While some are concerned about their immediate financial health as widespread job loss and cutting of employment hours is taking place, others are concerned about the economy in the future. Here are some tips to help anyone dealing with financial changes:

  • If you can’t pay your bills, the best thing to do is contact your creditor. Many creditors are offering help to customers. Be prepared to explain:
    • Your situation – that you lost your job, that your hours were cut at work, that you had to take unpaid time off because you were sick, or another situation.
    • How much you can pay right now. If you can, pay a small amount. If you can’t afford to pay anything tell your creditor you cannot pay.
    • When you think you will be able to restart regular payments. If you are unsure, tell them you are unsure. Then call them back next month to update them until you can pay your regular amount.
    • If your credit score will be damaged by what they are offering. If they say it will, is there another option that will not hurt your credit score?
    • If calling about a mortgage (a loan for a home) be ready to discuss your income, expenses and assets
  • Know what to ask for
    • Some creditors are offering
      • Waiving certain fees like ATM and late fees – this means not charging a fee for these services
      • Delaying billing, adjusting payment amounts, or skipping payments
      • If you are normally good about paying your bills, make sure you tell the creditor this. A person who pays regularly may be able to get more help then someone who does not pay regularly.
  • Want to know more about what your bank is offering during this time? Here are some official statements from commonly used banks.
  • Understand what bills are the most important to pay
    • Most important bills: rent, utilities (electricity, gas, water), transportation expenses (gas for your car, money for the bus to get to work or to get groceries)
    • Next most important: pay day loans
    • Also important: high interest loan or credit card bills, student loans
    • Less important: internet (We know, it’s hard to give up internet! But consider your other bills first!), entertainment bills like Netflix or a gym membership
  • Be aware of scams! For tips on avoiding scams click here.

For refugees and immigrants that need support, please contact us! We have volunteer mentors who would love to help you with budgeting, how to approach a landlord or creditor, and any other financial question you have. Please contact us in English or Spanish at info@projectprosper.org for more information.