FDIC-Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Consumers Posted in IMPORTANT INFORMATION | March, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions for Bank Customers Affected by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Referred to as COVID-19)
Bank Operations / Deposit Insurance
1. If my bank has temporarily reduced branch access or is not open, is my money still insured?
A. In difficult circumstances, some banks may need to temporarily limit operations to protect the
health of their employees and customers. This may include closing a lobby, converting to drive-
thru only services, or encouraging customers to use ATMs or digital channels to access their
Regardless of the bank’s operating conditions, your money is insured by the FDIC. Deposits with an
FDIC-insured bank or savings institution will continue to be protected up to at least $250,000.
Please see additional information regarding deposit insurance.
2. Will there be enough cash during a pandemic or other national disaster? Do I need to keep
large amounts of cash in my possession to protect myself in case there is not enough cash available in the future?
A. The Federal Reserve System has and will continue to meet the currency needs of banking
customers. Be assured that sufficient resources are available to handle customer needs. Consumers
are encouraged to continue to conduct transactions as they normally would. Credit and debit cards
and other payment systems will operate as normal.
Keep in mind, the safest place for your money is inside an FDIC-insured bank. Having significant
sums of cash to fund more than your normal activities might seem like a good idea, but cash is also
subject to loss or could make you a target for theft. Banks will continue to ensure that their
customers have access to funds either directly or electronically, and inside an FDIC-insured bank,
your funds are protected by the FDIC. Since 1933, no depositor has ever lost a penny of FDIC
3. Is there anyone I can speak with if I have detailed questions about my FDIC deposit insurance
A. Yes. The FDIC has a team of subject matter experts available to answer your questions. Please
call 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342) and ask to speak to a Deposit Insurance Subject Matter Expert
between 8:30AM- 5:00PM Monday-Friday.
If you prefer, you can also contact the FDIC in writing through our FDIC Deposit Insurance Form via
the FDIC Information and Support Center at:
4. I have deposits at a bank that I think may exceed the FDIC’s deposit insurance limits. What
should I do?
A. At https://www.fdic.gov/deposit/, the FDIC has a number of deposit insurance resources to help
you determine your deposit insurance coverage. A key tool for determining deposit insurance
coverage is the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE), which is available at
https://edie.fdic.gov/. In addition, the FDIC website has a wide range of other links that can
help you determine your deposit insurance coverage.
The FDIC also has a team of subject matter experts available to answer your questions. Please call
1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342) and ask to speak to a Deposit Insurance Subject Matter Expert
between 8:30AM- 5:00PM Monday-Friday.
If you prefer, you can also contact the FDIC in writing through our FDIC Deposit Insurance Form via
the FDIC Information and Support Center at:
5. Who can I contact for information about banking services?
A. Customers with questions can contact the FDIC toll-free at 1-877-ASK-FDIC or 1-877-275- 3342 or
TDD 800-925-4618 for information about accessing banking services or how to reach their bank. This
hotline operates from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Please note the FDIC does not have access to your specific bank
account information. For immediate assistance, you should contact your bank directly. Additional
information can be found online at https://www.fdic.gov/COVID- 19/index.html.
Economic Impact Payments (New Section 05/01/2020)
6. If I don’t already have a bank account to receive an Economic Impact payment and want to set
one up, how can I find a bank that can open an account online? (05/01/2020)
A. Please visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) Economic Impact Payments webpage to locate banks in your area and to view lists of banks offering accounts that can be opened
online. Many banks are offering accounts with zero balance opening deposits, low fees and no
possibility of overdraft. After opening your bank account, you can provide your banking information to the IRS, so long as it has not already mailed a check to you.
7. I have received an Economic Impact paper check. Is a bank required to cash my check even if
I am not a customer? (05/01/2020)
A: No. As a general matter, a bank is under no legal duty to honor a check even if drawn on the
bank itself by an accountholder. However, the FDIC encourages institutions to work with consumers
affected by COVID-19. These efforts may include easing restrictions on cashing non- customer
8. Can my bank take the money I receive from the government because of the Coronavirus to pay off negative overdraft balances in my checking account or loans I am late in paying? (05/01/2020)
A: Yes. Generally, the bank has the right under state law to take these funds to repay any
delinquent loans or negative accounts you have with the bank. This is called the right of
“set-off.” The FDIC encourages banks to work with consumers affected by COVID-19. These efforts
may include waiving certain fees, including overdraft, ATM, late payment, early withdrawal, and
other fees. The FDIC suggests that you contact your bank as soon as possible to request that when
the Coronavirus-related payments are deposited, the bank will deposit the full amount directly into
your checking or savings account and not use the funds to pay delinquent loans or offset negative
9. What can I do if the bank account I used for my tax return has been closed? (05/01/2020)
A: If your bank account is closed, the bank will reject the deposit and you will be issued your
payment via a paper check to the address the IRS has on file for you. If the IRS Get My Payment
application indicates your payment has been processed, you cannot change your bank account
10. Can my Coronavirus-related payments be garnished? (05/01/2020)
A: Yes. Once funds are deposited into your account, they can be used to satisfy certain garnishment orders. For example, the payments may be subject to garnishment if you are behind on
child support. Some state and local jurisdictions have temporarily suspended enforcement of garnishment orders.
COVID-19 related developments continue to evolve. We recommend that you monitor the IRS Economic Impact Payment website in the event they issue any new information addressing garnishment protections regarding economic impact payments.
11. I have received an Economic Impact payment for my spouse who is deceased. What should I do? (05/01/2020)
A. Contact the U.S. Department of Treasury to determine if the check needs to be returned or
reissued in the name of a decedent’s estate. You may also want to contact a qualified lawyer for
Access to Money
12. I’ve relocated due to COVID-19, will local banks cash my checks if I’m not a customer of that
A. The FDIC is encouraging banks to consider easing restrictions on cashing out-of-state and
non-customer checks. Ask the new bank you are dealing with to call your bank to determine your
account balance and to consider allowing you to complete your transactions with them, as a
non-customer of that institution. However, you may want to consider opening a new banking account
in the area in which you have relocated. Opening a deposit account at a financial institution does
not affect a consumer’s credit report.
13. I’m concerned about ATM fees increasing as I don’t have access to my bank’s ATM network but need cash due to COVID-19 related issues. Who do I contact regarding this concern?
A. Please contact your bank and explain your situation. The FDIC is encouraging depository
institutions to consider waiving these fees for customers and non-customers impacted by the
14. I need to withdraw money from my certificate of deposit to help pay for unexpected expenses as a result of COVID-19. Will my bank let me withdraw my money without penalty?
A. The FDIC is encouraging banks to consider waiving certain fees to assist customers affected by
COVID-19 related developments due to temporary business closures, slowdowns, or sickness. These
fees include early withdrawal penalties on time deposits and overdraft fees on checking accounts.
You should contact your bank directly to confirm their current policy regarding fees on early
withdrawals in connection with any planned withdrawal of funds from a time deposit account.
15. Our community is being encouraged to use social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19. My bank is restricting lobby access to branching facilities and I need to go to my bank to get cash and conduct transactions. What should I do?
A. Contact your bank’s customer support line to ask for assistance in meeting your banking needs.
Banks may be offering expanded services through the use of drive-up teller windows, or providing
assistance at ATMs located outside of the branch office. Bank employees may also help you set up
or use online banking, or the bank’s mobile app and digital channels, to complete transactions such
as depositing a check to your bank account or paying bills. In addition, you may want to consider
signing up for direct deposit so that a paycheck or public benefits payment goes directly into your
account at the financial institution.
16. I can’t reach my bank by phone or internet. What should I do?
A. Some bank branches heavily impacted by COVID-19 may have limited personnel in place to respond to calls and some may need to temporarily close to protect their employees. You can use the FDIC’s BankFind to obtain a bank’s contact information, and you can contact the FDIC if you have questions at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
17. I would like to send money to a relative or friend affected by COVID-19. How do I wire money
to or from an institution?
A. Here are some steps for wiring money to or from an institution:
• Find a bank’s telephone number, email address, and physical address on the FDIC’s BankFind.
• Contact the institution to which you want to send or retrieve money and determine if the bank
can accept or send wire transfers.
• Provide the following information:
o Either your account number or the account number of the individual who will receive the money (in the middle of the check or deposit slip) and the bank routing number (in the lower left hand corner of your check or deposit slip). If you cannot find a bank’s routing number, it may be listed on the bank’s web page.
o The address of the bank to which you are wiring money.
• If you are transferring the funds over the internet, ask the institution to fax or email you a
confirmation so you know the person receives the money.
You should understand the identification verification process at the receiving institution. Some
institutions will accept incoming wires for non-customers but will require proof of your identity
before they release the funds. Ensure you have the identification required or explain up front
what you have and ask the bank if that is acceptable. Also, determine up front whether there are
any fees associated with wiring funds.
18. How can I protect against fraud or scams?
A. Protect your personal and financial information. Understand that some people may take advantage
of COVID-19 by using fraudulent websites, phone calls, emails, and text messages claiming to offer
“help” but may be trying to trick people into providing Social Security numbers, bank account
numbers, and other valuable details. Do not divulge your bank or credit card numbers or other
personal information over the phone unless you initiated the conversation with the other party and
you know that it is a reputable organization. In addition, you should be cautious about online
solicitations. Be on guard against imposters who contact you claiming to be government employees
or volunteers and who ask for personal financial information or money. Reject offers to cash a
check for someone in exchange for a fee, even if the bank makes the funds available to you right
away, as it may later turn out that the check was fraudulent.
19. I didn’t receive my direct deposit. What should I do?
A. Contact your employer to ensure that payroll operations are functioning as normal and to verify
that funds were sent to the correct account, and when they are scheduled to be deposited into your
20. I am no longer working due to COVID-19 and don’t have the income to live on and meet my
payments. If I miss some loan payments, how will this affect my credit? Will I be charged late
A. The FDIC is encouraging banks to be understanding during this time and work with customers
seriously affected by COVID-19 related developments, including temporary business closures,
slowdowns, or sickness. In certain situations, the FDIC is encouraging banks to allow customers to
skip loan payments with no adverse consequences for the borrower, extend loan terms, and
restructure loans. However, before skipping payments or otherwise operating in a manner that
differs from the terms of a loan, contact your bank to determine its flexibility during this time.
• Immediately contact your creditors if you do not think you can pay your bills or make credit
card or loan payments on time. Paying your debts late or not at all can result in penalties,
interest charges, and damage to your credit score. Your creditors should be able to work with you
on a solution, but it is important to contact them as soon as possible and explain your situation.
• If you have additional concerns or a complaint with a business such as a financial institution
or an insurance company, be proactive. First, contact the firm directly. If that does not produce
the desired results, you may contact the appropriate federal or state regulatory agency for help or
21. I am using my credit card to fund unexpected living expenses. What if I go over my credit
A. The FDIC has encouraged banks to consider increasing credit card limits for creditworthy
borrowers. The FDIC is also encouraging banks to consider waiving late payment fees on credit
cards and other loans. Contact your bank to see whether and how they can help you meet your
Identity Theft / Verification
22. What steps can I take to prevent identity theft and what can I do if someone steals my
A. If you feel ID theft is a concern, or have reason to believe you may be a victim of ID theft,
you may place a “fraud alert” on your credit file, by contacting the fraud department at one of the
three major credit bureaus for which contact information appears below:
• Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com/;
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374- 0241
• Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN or 1-888-397-3742; www.experian.com/;
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
• TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872; www.transunion.com/;
Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
You only need to notify one credit bureau. The one that processes your fraud alert will notify the
other two. Those two then must place fraud alerts in your file.
Placing a “fraud alert” on your credit file can help prevent a thief from opening new accounts or
making changes to your existing accounts. Be aware, however, that placing an alert on your credit
file also may prevent you from opening an account unless the bank can contact you and positively
confirm your identity and that you are applying for credit.
In addition, people who think their personal information has been misused should contact the local
police. They also can contact and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by phone at
877-IDTHEFT or 1-877-438-4338 or TDD 1-866-653-4261 or on the Internet at www.identitytheft.gov/.
As always, protect your Social Security number, bank account and credit card numbers, and other
personal information, especially in response to unsolicited requests from strangers.
Fraudsters may try to trick you into divulging personal information, or they may steal sensitive
mail or documents from homes and offices.
23. I do not have access to my personal IDs or financial records due to an unexpected quarantine
caused by COVID-19. How do I rebuild my financial records?
A. These tips will help you begin to re-establish your financial records. You should call the bank
office first if you are trying to conduct business in person to make sure they have not temporarily
closed or restricted lobby access due to COVID-19.
• Replace your driver’s license or state identification (ID) card.
A driver’s license and a state ID card for non-drivers are the most commonly used IDs for proof of
identity. These documents should be replaced as soon as possible. Contact the Department of Motor
Vehicles in the appropriate state.
• Replace your Social Security card.
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) card replacement process requires another form of
identification, such as a driver’s license. For more information, call 1-800-772- 1213 (TTY
1-800-325-0778) or go to www.SSA.gov and click on “Get Or Replace A Social Security Card.” The website also provides information about Social Security benefit payments at www.socialsecurity.gov/emergency.
• Consider replacing other documents that may serve as proof of identity, such as:
• Employer ID card
• School ID card
• Military ID card
• Marriage or divorce record
• Adoption record
• Health insurance card (not a Medicare card)
• Life insurance policy
• Replace your credit cards, debit cards, and checks and inquire about your safe deposit box.
Contact your financial institution. You can call the FDIC’s toll-free number 1-877-ASK- FDIC
(1-877-275-3342) for bank contact information. Once connected, your financial institution should
explain the process for replacing your cards, checks, and financial records. If you kept documents
in your bank’s safe deposit box, you may want to inquire to the institution about how you can
access your box.
For credit cards, if you are unsure of which financial institution issued your card, contact
information for the four major credit card companies appears below:
American Express – 1-800-528-4800 or TDD 1-800-221-9950
Discover – 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683) or TDD 1-800-347-7449
MasterCard – 1-800-627-8372
Visa – 1-800-VISA-911 (1-800-847-2911)
If you do not remember the credit cards you have, you can obtain your credit report from one of the
three major credit bureaus (Equifax at 1-800-525-6285, Experian at 1-888-397-3742, or TransUnion at
1-800-680-7289). Your credit report should list all credit cards in your name and a copy of this
information may be provided to you at no cost under a new federal law. For details, contact a
central service set up by the credit bureaus at 1-877-322-8228 or go to
24. There are unauthorized charges on my credit card. What should I do?
A. You should contact the bank at the address your credit card specifies (or through an alternative
mechanism provided by the bank) and provide information regarding the disputed transactions no later than 60 days after the bank sent the first statement containing the disputed charges. The bank has 90 days to investigate and resolve the dispute. For more information about credit card dispute resolution procedures, see:
25. How do I file a complaint against a bank?
A. As part of our supervisory responsibility, the FDIC provides support to the public by responding
to complaints and inquiries involving financial institutions and deposit insurance coverage. The
FDIC Information and Support Center allows users to submit a request or complaint, check on the
status of a complaint or inquiry, and securely exchange documents with the FDIC. If the bank
involved is an FDIC-regulated bank, the FDIC will initiate an investigation into the matter.
Complaints or inquiries involving banks that are not primarily regulated by the FDIC will be
referred to the appropriate federal banking regulator for handling. To find a bank’s primary
federal regulator, you may search the FDIC’s BankFind.
In order for the FDIC to investigate your concerns, you must submit specific details regarding the
incident in writing. You can submit your complaint or inquiry online at the FDIC Information and
Support Center at https://ask.fdic.gov/fdicinformationandsupportcenter/s/. Alternatively, you can
submit a complaint or inquiry by fax to the Consumer Response Center at 703-812-1020.
26. I mailed a complaint to the FDIC last week. Did you receive it and what is the status?
A. As of March 16, 2020, FDIC employees have been mandated to work from home to limit exposure from COVID-19. There may be some delays in processing physical mail. To avoid delays, and if possible, it is recommended that complaints and inquiries be submitted to the FDIC Consumer Response Center by visiting the FDIC Information and Support Center at
https://ask.fdic.gov/fdicinformationandsupportcenter/s/. From there, consumers may submit an
inquiry or complaint, check on the status of a submission, and view the FDIC’s response. Please be
aware you will need to create a user account in order to track the status of a complaint or inquiry
and to securely view certain documents the FDIC obtained from a bank, which may contain
personally identifiable information.