CNBC Select may receive an affiliate commission when you click on the links for products from our partners. Click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.
CNBC Select

Apple Card users can request to skip their April payments, penalty-free

Long-term credit card relief programs are as-yet unclear amid a growing coronavirus pandemic, but Apple offers temporary relief for March and April.

Getty Images

NOTE: This article was updated on April 1 to reflect the latest offerings for Apple Card users. If you previously enrolled in the March Customer Assistance Program, you will need to enroll again to be eligible to skip April's payment.

On April 1, the Goldman Sachs-backed Apple Card emailed its customers to offer support as more and more consumers are bracing for the negative economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cardmembers can contact Apple Card Support and request to enroll in Apple's Customer Assistance Program. Upon enrollment, you will be able to skip your April credit card payment without incurring interest charges. 

In its April 1 email to customers, the company wrote:

If you previously enrolled in the March Customer Assistance Program, you will need to enroll again.

Note that on May 1, your standard purchase APR will apply.

Apple Card customers can submit an enrollment request either online or via the Wallet app by asking an Apple Card Specialist. You'll receive an email confirmation within the next few days after your enrollment is confirmed.

At this point, according to Apple's email, no further action is needed.

Other card issuers are stepping forward with solutions

Apple's efforts to ease the financial hardship facing its cardmembers are similar to the steps other major issuers are taking to provide emergency support to consumers.

But while financial institutions have acknowledged the strain that the current pandemic has placed on businesses and individuals, long-term relief options remain largely unclear. Cardmembers are encouraged to call the customer service numbers on the back of their credit cards and explain how they've been affected the coronavirus. But the kind of support you'll receive from your bank or credit card company will likely vary on an individual basis.

In a statement on Chase's website, Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, encourages Chase customers to take advantage of the Chase Mobile® app during this period of social distancing. As for other assistance, she writes:

"If you're affected by COVID-19 and need help with your accounts or making payments, please reach out to us."

Through American Express' Financial Hardship program, Amex cardmembers might be able to temporarily lower monthly payments and/or APR for qualifying credit card accounts. If you have an Amex card, you must log in and chat with a representative to see if you are eligible.

Citi Bank has announced credit line increases and collections forbearance, but there is no information on its website about lowered APR or other waived fees. On March 16, Citi spokesperson Jennifer Bombardier wrote to CNBC Select:

Customers impacted by the virus may be eligible for a range of assistance measures including fee waivers, hardship programs and small business support. We encourage any customers impacted by the virus to contact us if they need assistance, and we will work with them on an individual basis to understand their particular needs and ensure that they have the assistance they need during this challenging time.

And as for canceled vacations, trip insurance is not offered by every credit card, and it's up to each cardmember to read their card agreements carefully.

The Apple Card's financial hardship assistance is temporary, but straightforward 

Amid the confusion and financial unease brought on by coronavirus, Apple's Customer Assistance Program is a simple, albeit temporary, fix:

Enroll through the link provided in Apple's email, or connect with an Apple Card Specialist through the Wallet app (you'll choose to either text, call or chat online).

Then, await your confirmation. No other steps are necessary.

The Apple Card is one of CNBC Select's best cash back credit cards, thanks in part to its user-friendly interface.

Apple Card

Apple Card
Information about the Apple Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple (including Apple retail stores, the Apple online store, the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and other Apple-owned properties) on Uber and UberEats, at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, on the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com, in T-Mobile stores and at Nike, 2% cash back on Apple Pay purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    12.49% to 23.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    N/A

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple, on Uber and UberEats, at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, on the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com and in T-Mobile stores and at Nike
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • No late payment fee

Cons

  • Apple Pay isn’t accepted everywhere
  • Purchases with the physical card only earn 1% cash back
  • No special financing offers or welcome bonus
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $231
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,156

To calculate the rewards you could earn using your Apple Pay card, we assumed that cardholders will use Apple Pay for 70% of their purchases at a rate of 2% cash back, since 70% of all merchants accept Apple Pay, according to an Apple spokesperson. We also assumed the cardholder would use the physical Apple Card for the other 30% of their purchases at a rate of 1% cash back. You may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.