During these unfortunate times, it’s convenient to know that your bank is there to assist you with any financial questions or issues you may have - even if not able to visit a branch personally.
In a recent press release, BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodríguez Soler said it was their responsibility to help their clients in this time of need.
BBVA has prepared a quite substantial amount of online resources to help you get through this without having to leave your home or wait for too long to get their call center customer support. If, however, you do need to get in touch with an agent, then better use your BBVA Mobile app and contact them within the Assistance Center.
Otherwise, let’s see what the bank’s doing to facilitate your banking!
If you need to access your bank services:
While you can always use BBVA’s Online and Mobile Banking, you should know most of their branches are offering drive-thru services in order to ensure all the distance rules are being respected. The drive-thrus are completely and frequently sanitized to ensure proper hygiene.
You can access these services during normal business hours, Monday - Friday, with ATMs being available 24/7. This not only speeds the things up, but it also helps customers stay safe as they don’t need to walk into the bank, and be in close contact with other people. Instead, a customer gets to press a button to request assistance, and then, a canister with a deposit or withdrawal slip to fill out arrives. Once you’ve completed your slip, you send it back, including all the required items, and wait for your request to be handled. If you want to withdraw money, you should check to see whether there’s any limit as to the amount you can withdraw. Same applies when cashing in checks or depositing money.
Do note that, if your branch doesn’t have a drive-thru, it doesn’t mean it will stay closed, but work limited hours.
If you’re experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19:
BBVA fully understands the struggles everyone’s going through at the moment, and wants their customers to know the bank’s there to ease their troubles, and help them find appropriate solutions to any issues they might be experiencing due to COVID-19 lockdown.
For example, consumers and small business customers can have their ATM fees charged by other banks or networks waived and refunded. Also, they can avoid penalty fees for CD withdrawals, if certificates of deposit were opened before March 1. Both of these are available upon request, meaning you’ll have to ask the bank to waive and refund the fees - it won’t be done automatically. You can also request a refund of overdraft fees, as well.
Also available upon request, other solutions are offered to small businesses, such as a temporary waiver of the monthly maintenance fee for the desktop Remote Deposit Capture Service, and a temporary waiver of the deposit account monthly Service Charge. Current Clover Merchants can access a free virtual terminal, while the new merchants can request this, too.
If you’re looking to learn how to avoid financial scams:
Many people will take advantage of the crisis to trick others into fraudulent schemes, and steal their money or personal information. According to the Federal Trade Commission, during the crisis, over 7,800 consumers have reported some sort of fraud complaints, whether it be mobile texting scams or government and business imposter scams, and a total of $4.77 million was lost due to coronavirus-related scams, with a reported median loss of $598.
BBVA shared some useful tips and advice to help you protect your finances during this period:
1. Never disclose your information as your bank, the IRS or any verified financial institution will never ask you for your personal or financial information (account number, password, etc.), especially not over the phone. These are ways scammers use to collect your information, and steal your money.
2. Never open emails from unverified senders or click random links you receive in your inbox, as they will often contain malicious software, viruses, or take you to a fake bank website, and trick you into entering your financial information, which is then sent to scammers.
3. Don’t respond to urgent requests pretending to be from your bank: scammers will often try to get your information by conveying a sense of urgency, so you’re not given the time to check out what’s really happening.
4. Avoid any quick-money-earning schemes: this is of vital importance, especially now, that so many people have lost their jobs. If you receive a job offer that looks suspicious, even a bit, don’t fall for it: particularly are dangerous any offers that require you to invest some money to start working. Also, if anyone asks you to transfer money to someone else, and get an amount for doing it - don’t!
5. Be aware of any other schemes, as many will impersonate health institutions or businesses to try and sell fake test kits, masks, gloves, vaccines, cures, etc. Others might ask for donations or investment funds while pretending to represent a charity or company that might cure the virus.
If you’re looking for some (financial) stress relief during the crisis:
It’s important to stay organized, and ensure you are calm enough to manage your finances responsibly. You should take advantage of online tools your bank is offering to check your balance, accounts, payments, etc. These tools help you track your spending, debt, and make future plans. Also, a clear insight into your financial health will enable you to consider and evaluate your spending habits, and, eventually, create a new strategy, so you can better allocate your budget. This is vital if you want to avoid compulsory purchases now that you’re at home, so you don’t spend too much unnecessarily on things you would never buy under normal circumstances. Creating a budget is a great way to manage your money.
In case you’re worrying too much about your retirement or credit, don’t forget about The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which includes various measures and plans to protect American families and businesses from health and economic impacts caused by COVID-19. You can check them all out directly on the website of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
We'd like to add that finding an interesting way to spend your time at home could really help you go through the crisis, and get your mind off things. You will worry less as you will have less time to think and stress over the situation. Do some yoga, bake, read, start a DIY project.. It will relax, and calm you down, so you'll be able to organize your finances and manage your budget more efficiently than you would in an upset state of mind. Good luck, and stay at home.
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