Keep Up With Your Credit During Coronavirus

These are unprecedented times, for the world, for your health, and for your money. The stock market has taken a deep dive, businesses have transitioned to at-home work, and major U.S. cities have taken measures to close all non-essential establishments. Headlines are telling investors what to do with their money in the markets, and personal finance experts are urging savers to keep their hands (and eyes) off their 401(k)s. But what about credit?

Yes, it’s true. The coronavirus pandemic can affect your credit (particularly if it impacts your livelihood and ability to keep up with your monthly bills). It’s crucial to keep an eye on things for the time being. Here’s how you can keep your credit healthy even if you’re feeling under the weather.

Keep an eye on your credit report. Check your credit score with CreditSense to monitor any unauthorized inquires. Though this practice is always important, it is even more important during a time of financial vulnerability.

Understand your credit. During a time like this, you might need available credit for a last-minute emergency. If you feel like you don’t have enough, ask your lender to increase your credit limits to help you get through the pandemic. It’s important to do this while your income remains solid.

Beware of fraudsters. At a time like this, fraudsters are likely to strike therefore we must stay vigilant. You can do this by checking your bank and credit card statements regularly to ensure that everything on there is accurate. The American Bankers Association urges you to be aware of phishing scams that are posing as your bank. Note: Your bank will never ask you for your pin or your password, so if you get an email asking you for one of those items, you should immediately delete and ignore it.

Refinance with patience. Since the Federal Reserve cut short term interest rates to 0%-0.25% this week, many are rushing to refinance their loans. Be patient — your lender will get back to you with options as soon as possible. The same is true if you’re applying for a home equity line of credit or HELOC.

Pay what you can. A release from Equifax urges consumers to pay at least the minimum on their credit cards during the pandemic to avoid late fees or other penalties.

Talk to your lender. If you are feeling strapped or like you won’t be able to make a payment on time, talk to your credit lender. Many may be offering forbearance or deferred payment plans to help consumers stay on track during these precarious times, lenders will likely work with their customers to create options that are right for them.

At South Shore Bank, we have been working diligently to provide loan relief options for our current loan clients who may be affected by the pandemic. We encourage you to reach out to our Customer Information Center to discuss potential options should the need arise.

For all other banking needs, we continue to be here for you. Our Client Information Center (CIC) is available for telephone assistance Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm and Saturday’s from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Online banking, mobile banking with mobile deposit, and the automated telephone banking line will continue to be in operation 24/7. South Shore Bank branches will be limited to drive-up and ATM/Face2Face transactions only. All banking lobbies will be temporarily closed to the public until further notice. If you haven’t used one of our Face2Face “virtual teller” machines yet, we encourage you to give it a try! Bring your ID with you and tap the screen to video chat with a live teller. More than an ATM, you can cash checks and make deposits or withdrawals to accounts that you may not have linked to a debit card. And of course, the live teller can answer any questions you may have about your accounts. Hours are the same as our CIC (noted above). Appointments for in-person, in-branch service such as access to your Safe Deposit Box, please contact 781-682-3715 and let us know which branch you need to set an appointment with.

The Client Information Center team can be reached at 781-682-3715 or via email at CIC@SouthShoreBank.com.

We are deeply committed to serving our clients and understand that financial institutions are a vital part of economic stability. As a community bank, we will continue to meet the needs of our clients and communities while maintaining a safe and healthy place of business for our clients and employees.

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