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Coronavirus: Banking and Credit Cards


Banking and Credit Cards

Financial institutions regulated by the Department of Financial Services are required to provide financial relief to consumers in New York experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic under Executive Order 202.9 and 3 NYCRR Part 119.

If your credit card is issued by a national bank, that bank is regulated by the Office of Comptroller of Currency, an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury not the New York State Department of Financial Services.

While this Department has urged all financial institutions to do their part to alleviate the adverse impact caused by COVID-19 on consumers and small businesses, only New York State-regulated entities are required to comply with the following:

  • Waive overdraft fees.
  • Provide new loans on favorable terms.
  • Waive late fees for credit card and other loan balances.
  • Waive automated teller machine (ATM) fees (for the use of ATMs owned or operated by that state regulated bank.)
  • Increase credit card limits for creditworthy customers.
  • Offer payment accommodations, such as deferring payments, extending due dates or adjusting terms of existing loans which would avoid delinquencies, default and negative credit agency reporting.
  • Ensure consumers and small businesses do not experience a disruption of service if financial institutions close their offices, including making available other avenues to continue to manage their accounts and make inquiries.
  • Proactively reach out to customers to explain any available assistance.

New York State regulated banks are not limited to offering the above relief, but must ensure they operate in a financially safe and sound manner at all times. Any claims by a New York State regulated bank that it cannot offer certain forms of relief to New Yorkers while still meeting industry operating standards will be reviewed for accuracy by the Department’s bank examiners during routine inspections.

Talk to your bank and ask what relief they may offer to those who can demonstrate financial hardship from COVID-19.

New York vs. Non-New York-Regulated Banks

New York State only regulates credit cards issued by New York State regulated companies. You can search for New York State regulated companies on the Department’s Who We Supervise page. If you have a problem with your credit card company and they are regulated by New York State, you can file a complaint with the Department.

New York limits the amount of interest that New York State regulated credit card companies can charge to 25%, so most credit cards are issued by companies that are not regulated by New York State. These companies are regulated by another state or by the federal government.  You can learn more about companies regulated by other states and by the federal government on the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s website. If you have a problem with your credit card company and they are regulated by another state or by the federal government, you can file a complaint with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How to Apply for Relief

Talk to your bank and see what relief they may offer to those who can demonstrate financial hardship from COVID-19.

If you have an urgent circumstance you may be able to request expedited processing.

New York State-regulated financial institutions must:

  • Provide clear, easy to understand criteria for how to apply for relief.
  • Respond to relief requests no later than ten (10) business days after receipt of all the necessary information.
  • Promptly request missing information and indicate how it should be submitted if an application for relief is lacking any information required to process it.
  • Let you know in writing if the relief is granted and what, if anything you need to do to get the relief.
  • Tell you the reason for denial, if your application is denied.

In some case you may have to seek a refund for a fee you have already paid.

Questions and Complaints

If you have a question send us an email or call (800) 342-3736 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM).

If you feel you have been unfairly denied requested relief, you may file a complaint with DFS via our online Consumer Complaint Portal.

Note: Certain banks, credit unions and other financial institutions may not be New York State regulated. If you are not sure, here are some resources to help you determine who supervises your bank or credit card company.