Some major Canadian banks are lowering credit card interest for clients that may be facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

BMO and the Bank of Nova Scotia were the first to announce on Friday that they will temporarily reduce the interest rates to 10.99% for personal and small business customers receiving payment deferrals due to the outbreak.

TD, Royal Bank, CIBC and National Bank of Canada are also following suit with similar measures.

“By lowering rates, we want to help reduce stress that Canadians are feeling as a result of COVID19 and provide them with additional flexibility for every day purchases,” Laura Dottori-Attanasio, senior executive vice-president of personal and business banking for CIBC said in a statement.

TD Bank said it will cut credit card interest rates by 50% for customers experiencing hardship, and Royal Bank said it will reduce charges by the same extent for clients receiving minimum payment deferrals.

CIBC will also lower interest rates to 10.99% on personal credit cards for users who request to skip a payment, the lender said.

Most of these banks’ credit cards charge interest between 19.99% and 20.99% on purchases, generally.

In an effort to continue to support physical distancing, two major credit card companies are also raising their tap limits.

Both MasterCard and Visa are increasing the tap limits on their credit cards to $250 from $100.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged banks to help with the current burden credit card interest rates place on Canadians.

On April 3rd, Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance stated he had been working with Canada’s banks to ensure they support customers impacted by COVID-19.

These new moves are the latest in relief measures offered by banks to customers affected by the pandemic, including mortgage deferrals, as announced on March 18th.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 1,312,628.

Over 72,600 people have died from the illness and 275,087 have made a full recovery.


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