With economic and health news changing quickly, here’s what we know about important topics that touch your pocketbook: taxes, paychecks, bills, and banking. Take a moment to read a letter from Varo’s CEO Colin Walsh to our community.
The information below is aggregated from government and credible media sources. Please double check the information as the situation continues to change. — Editors at Varo, March 30, 2020
👉What about taxes?
If you have already filed your taxes and received your refund: Great job. There is little else to do at the moment. Keeping that refund in your savings account could be a good idea as having an emergency fund has never felt so important.
If you have filed your taxes and are waiting for your refund: There should be no change and your refund should be deposited or sent to you on the original timeline, according to the IRS. You can track your refund here.
If you have not filed your federal tax return, the new deadline is July 15: The IRS has extended the deadline to file your tax return and pay taxes to July 15. Please check with the IRS website for ongoing updates. Check with your state for your state tax return deadline.
👉What about income?
Many people are temporarily losing streams of income as the economy changes with the national pandemic response. You are not alone—and we aim to provide clear information to help you navigate this.
If you’re a salaried employee: Your employer may reach out to you with information relevant to your company and hopefully there are few changes for you. They might also provide programs to help you and your family. You might ask your human resources department or manager if you need special arrangements to account for childcare.
If you’re working hourly or in a tip-based or gig-economy position, or you’re self-employed: Things might be very different and you may be already out of work. Here are some resources to help:
Will there be aid from the government? The government will be sending stimulus payments up to $1,200 for the majority of Americans. Learn if you qualify and what you need to do to receive it.
Who can apply for unemployment? For workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, the unemployment insurance supplies temporary income. Under the CARES Act, the government has extended benefits due to coronavirus; learn more about filing for unemployment. Each state has its own specific regulations about unemployment insurance, and you’ll want to check who is eligible to apply and the length of term you can receive it. You can find more information about your state with the Department of Labor’s website.
What about paid sick leave? Federal and state governments, and private employers, are moving quickly on programs to assist affected workers and their families. Here’s information on new unemployment and sick leave benefit programs for workers impacted by the coronavirus. Information is changing daily, and please refer to your state and city resources.
Where can you find more assistance? Many states and cities have local resources to help with specific things like food banks, diapers, and other essential supplies. Check your local food banks, churches or places or worship, and even community Facebook groups or NextDoor.
👉What about finding a job?
Many national employers have said they are not laying off workers—and even have programs to hire more people. Other ideas to consider at this time:
- Teaching online by donation: If you have shareable skills such as teaching fitness or yoga, consider offering streaming classes on live video platforms and requesting donations through a peer payment system.
- Use Steady to find remote job opportunities: If you’re a Varo customer you can access the Steady app directly from the Varo app under Offers.
- Look to major national employers: Amazon, 7-11, and other national chains offering essential services have said they will add jobs this year. Food and convenience stores, delivery, IT and healthcare are all industries expected to need more workers in coming months.
👉What about your bills?
Don’t stop paying your bills—work with your companies to find a solution that will help you stabilize if you’re experiencing a change in income. It is better to work with a creditor and alert them to your situation than to stop payments altogether, which will have a negative impact on your credit. Many lending companies are putting more lenient policies into place to extend payment deadlines or offer a forbearance period.
- Mortgages: Major lenders are taking steps to proactively extend payment deadlines and work with borrowers. Please call your lender if you anticipate having a problem paying your mortgage. Foreclosures have also been paused until the end of April and potentially beyond, according to CNBC.
- Rent: Many cities are placing moratoriums on evictions for the foreseeable future; if you anticipate having trouble making rent in coming weeks, please work directly with your landlord and other housing agencies in your city.
- Auto loans: Many lenders are putting programs into place to accept late payments with no penalty—call your auto loan lender and explain your situation. More information about how the car loan industry is reacting is available here.
- Student loans: If you will be unable to make student loan payments, contact your servicing company or get more information about their forbearance policy. Navient, the largest student loan servicing company in the country, has more information here.
- Utilities: Many local utility companies are extending or deferring payment periods and you’ll want to check with your local providers. More information about low-cost utility services is available here.
- Credit cards: Some of the biggest credit card companies are asking customers to reach them directly if they know they won’t be able to make payments. Here’s a list with updates from major credit card companies.
👉What about banking?
Banks are considered essential businesses—like grocery stores and gas stations—and we are here for you. While many companies have moved their work forces to work remotely temporarily, you might face longer wait times for calls at traditional branch banks.
- Update your mobile banking app to the latest version: If you rely on a mobile banking to do all your money movement, make sure you have the latest version of the app.
- Be mindful with cash: Many stores are opting to take only digital payments (debit or credit card) as a way to reduce handling paper money. While having a certain amount of cash on hand is always a good idea for an emergency—for example up to $500 —there is no reason to believe you need extra cash, which could only pose a temptation for theft.
- Use digital payment platforms for peer-to-peer to payments: Moving money to friends and family can be instant and free with many banking platforms, provided both parties are using the same company. For example, Varo-to-Varo allows you to instantly move money between Varo customers’ bank accounts.
- Turn on your notifications: This is the best way to stay on top of what’s coming in and going out of your bank account. Most of the new mobile banking apps have this feature.
- Keep your phone clean: Practicing increased cleanliness is an important part of keeping illness at bay, and that includes keeping personal devices clean.
Stay safe online
With so much confusion and potential changing of income and bills, please be on the lookout for unscrupulous characters—fraudsters—trying to take advantage of this situation.
Varo will never call, message or email you to request any of your personal information, including your account number. Be careful with any urgent messages that want you to follow a link or provide your personal information, and always double-check the source before sharing your information.
A few things to watch for:
- A text message that appears as if from your bank but is really a fraud actor “ phishing” for information—do not respond or react to this.
- With any emails, check carefully that the email address is valid. Often fraudsters will use similar emails but with a slightly different spelling.
- Watch for phone calls from people or organizations you do not know, and do not provide your account information if asked.
- Remember not to share your passwords or PINs, and keep them in a safe place.
Stay healthy 🙏
Links to external websites are not managed by Varo or The Bancorp Bank.
Bank Account Services provided by The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.
Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).