Vancity reduces credit card interest rate to 0%

Vancity has one-upped the major credit card issuers by offering to temporarily cut its card interest rates to 0% and defer minimum payments for those facing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19.

While many credit card issuers have offered to cut interest rates to 10%, the credit union, which has three branches in Victoria, will offer payment deferrals of up to six months at a 0% interest rate. Eligible cardholders can call Vancity to request the relief.

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“Vancity has been working from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the financial needs of our members and help them through these uncertain and difficult times. As we’ve been doing that, we’re seeing the impact this situation is having, through no fault of their own, on people’s credit cards,” said Tamara Vrooman, Vancity chief executive.

“Having access to credit for things like online grocery buying is vital for many families. Whether it be credit cards or something else, I’d encourage any of our members who are facing financial concerns to contact us.”

Before the announcement Vancity had been working with affected business and individual cardholders to offer lower credit card interest rates and individually tailored payment plans, on a case-by-case basis.

Vancity is also working with clients to defer loans, such as mortgages, for up to six months.

The credit union has stressed that when it defers members’ loans, interest is accrued only on the balance of the loan — it does not compound interest on interest during the deferral period.

Vancity has approved 97% of the 4,000 loan-deferral requests it has processed.

The credit union has waived Interac e-transfer fees and ATM fees in Canada until the end of September to encourage people to do banking away from branches.

aduffy@timescolonist

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