Apple Card to Allow Some Users to Skip March Payments Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
It has been a historic week in the United States as the country attempts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Beyond the health risks that this virus presents, the pandemic has also had an impact on the U.S. economy as several businesses are being forced to closed or have events canceled. In a bid to help those financially struggling due to the outbreak, Apple has informed Apple Card customers that they may be able to offer some relief.
An e-mail sent to Apple Card users on Saturday invited them to join the Customer Assistance Program. Those who enroll will be able to skip their March payment without incurring interest charges. Apple says that those who apply should receive confirmation in a few days, with no further actions being required after that.
In their message about the Customer Assistance Program, the company explained, “We understand that the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation poses unique challenges for everyone and some customers may have difficulty making their monthly payments. Apple Card is committed to helping you lead a healthier financial life.”
Although Apple and Goldman Sachs (who issues the Apple Card) have been the most direct with what their Customer Assistance Program will currently entail, other credit card issuers have also said that customers who need assistance may be able to seek relief. For example a note on Capital One’s site says, “Capital One is here to help, and we encourage customers who may be impacted or need assistance to reach out to discuss and find a solution for you. Should you find yourself in need of assistance, please contact us.” Meanwhile a banner on Barclaycard’s site reads, “To our customers impacted by the COVID-19 ‘coronavirus,’ we’re here to help if you need assistance with your account.”
The move by Apple does support what the company has boasted about the offering from the beginning: a credit card created by Apple, not a bank — implying a friendlier finance experience. Furthermore, at the time that the card was originally announced, Apple’s VP of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey said. “Apple Card is designed to help customers lead a healthier financial life, which starts with a better understanding of their spending so they can make smarter choices with their money, transparency to help them understand how much it will cost if they want to pay over time and ways to help them pay down their balance.” It’s also worth noting that, to the surprise of many, some subprime applicants found themselves getting approved for the Apple Card. That said, the product has not been without some controversy and calls of unfairness, such as accusations that Apple and Goldman’s approval algorithm was sexist, awarding larger credit limits to males than females.
In this unprecedented time, it’s nice to see that Apple and partner Goldman Sachs are making efforts to work with their customers and help them through their troubles. It’s also encouraging to see other issuers doing the same — although to what extent is unclear. Hopefully these programs will give Americans impacted by the current crisis one less thing to worry about as we attempt to make it to the other side of the global event.