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How to Contact Your Bank Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Find out how to contact your bank with busy phone hold times during the coronavirus pandemic, including digital channels such as social media.

If you used to grumble about customer service before the coronavirus hit, you aren’t likely to be too excited about the current situation.

The reality is:

If you’re trying to call your bank (or any other major company), because you have questions that have come up due to the coronavirus pandemic, be prepared to be on hold for a very long time.

Many people are trying to speak to someone at the bank too.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have a positive customer service experience – at least, in terms of reaching representatives -- even with the coronavirus inanity.

So if you’ve been having trouble reaching businesses in the wake of this coronavirus craziness, we have some suggestions.

Avoid Calling Customer Service

Really, don’t.

Many of the banks’ customer service websites will come right out and tell you that you’re in for a long wait.

“Our service centers are experiencing very high call volumes and our hold times are long,” says a Chase customer service page.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo warns, “Due to coronavirus concerns, there may be higher call volume and longer wait times in our Call Center.”

And it isn’t any better at Capital One. “As we address the needs of our customers including those impacted by the COVID-19 situation, call wait times may be longer than usual,” its website reads.

But what’s also typical is that the banks’ websites will suggest that you reach them in other ways, like social media. You may not get your answer for a little while, but at least you won’t have to wait on hold until what feels like the end of time.

Believe us, there are better approaches to reaching customer service:

Try the online contact form

Many banks and businesses have online contact forms at their customer service page, that you can use to set up a time to be called or get everything resolved over email.

Keep in mind that every bank has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page, and you might find the answer to your question by reading through it.

But if you do contact your bank or a business through its online contact form, you’ll want to offer up your name, ZIP code, phone number (of course), the best time to reach you and briefly explain what your problem is.

A warning:

Do not include sensitive information like your Social Security number, your customer account number or your PIN (personal identification number).

In other words, if this is information you don’t want falling into the wrong hands, don’t include it in your message.

But this is my bank, you might be thinking.

Yes. Still, don’t do it.

Even banks will tell you on their online contact forms not to put that information out there to them.

“Please remember,” Bank of America’s website cautions customers. “Don't include account numbers or Social Security numbers for security reasons and check to ensure you are using our verified accounts.”

It’s that whole “abundance of caution” thing. Even though a hacker probably isn’t going to get your online contact form, you never know.

And as Bank of America alludes to with its reference to “verified accounts,” you also want to be careful since scammers will set up fake websites that look like the real thing.

Often, yes, you can spot the signs.

For instance, if there is no “s” in the https//: part of the URL, that’s a good sign you’re at a bogus website. If the bank’s website seems awfully grammatically challenged, another good reason to run.

But, anyway, even if you feel confident you can include your account info and Social Security number in an email or direct mail to your bank, don’t test it.

Find ‘em on Facebook

Yes, you may think of Facebook as the place to go to send messages to your friends and family – or maybe complain about a business.

But you can go to a bank or brand’s website and send a direct message through Facebook to customer service.

Explain your situation, again, without too much personal info, and customer service will get back to you.

You may be able to resolve your issue without a phone call, of course, and if not, you can gravitate to the phone.

Twitter Direct Messages

Same deal.

You can go to most brand’s Twitter pages and send a DM and work things out that way, either through social media – or by giving out your phone number, so you can talk to a live person.

Sure:

While you can post something about a company on your own Twitter or Facebook feed, and rage about them and hope that customer service sees it. 

and get back to you before the national media sees it and does a big story about how you’ve been wronged by your bank, it’s really better to reach out to them first directly. You’ll probably get things resolved much faster.

Of course, if they don’t get back to you, then it may be fair game to start complaining on Twitter or Facebook. But chances are, they’re going to get back to you.

Contact Info for the Top U.S. Banks

We aren’t the phone book or Google, and so we don’t have every bank listed here, but some of the bigger banks, if you’re trying to reach them, may be listed here.

Bank of America

Chase

Wells Fargo

Citibank

U.S. Bank

Capital One

Discover

TD Bank

Ally Bank

PNC Bank

Before You Contact Customer Service

Just a few hopefully helpful tips.

Mention your zip code

That does two things.

They’ll know ahead of time what part of the country you’re calling from, and it may help the customer service rep look up your information faster – but that’ll also let them know what time zone you’re in.

If you’re trying to set up a phone call, rather than asking a general question over social media, you don’t want them calling two or three hours before or after you were expecting a call.

Keep your blood pressure in check

There will be people chewing out customer service reps, who are trying to do their jobs and are probably as worried about the coronavirus as you are.

You’ll probably emerge from the experience happier, and definitely the customer service rep will, if you go into this issue assuming that everything is going to be fixed.

Keep the hours of the day in mind

You might contact a bank online at 2 a.m., but that doesn’t mean they’ll be contacting you 15 minutes later.

Many banks’ customer service reps, even the ones who you’re reaching online, work typical shifts, like 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some banks are pretty strict with their customer service hours.

As PNC Bank says on Twitter, “The official PNC Twitter Customer Care Team, here to answer your questions and help you achieve more with your money. Mon-Sun 6am-Midnight ET.”

But many banks, it’s pretty much the 9-to-5 thing, or maybe up until 7 p.m. So that’s something to remember if you’re a furious customer at 9 p.m. and want justice now.

Even if you do this online, you’ll probably have to wait for an answer until tomorrow.

You may want to visit your bank

Sounds crazy and a little irresponsible in this age of social distancing and sheltering in place, but some bank branches are still open, and odds are, the bank associates are protected behind a sheen of glass or plastic.

If you have a pressing issue that you feel needs to be solved immediately, you could go to your local branch and talk to somebody in person.

But before you do, in case your bank is closed due to the coronavirus, first, you might want to make sure they’re open and give them a call. Oh. Never mind.