When you’re facing financial hardship, it can seem like you don’t have any options – you’re going to have to skip paying some bills. But, there are hardship programs designed to help you meet your financial obligations and preserve your personal credit.

Discover’s Financial Education Center provides information for anyone interested in financial advice or assistance. In addition, consider the tips and resources below if you need help managing a financial hardship.

  1. Before Financial Hardship
  2. During Financial Hardship

1. Before Financial Hardship

No matter how well you manage your expenses based on your income, life can throw you a curve ball that derails your financial plans. Financial struggles can be caused by a variety of issues, but some of the most common include:

  • Job Loss
  • Medical Bills
  • Unexpected Expenses

Discover has local assistance resources and financial hardship assistance programs to help cardmembers who experience financial difficulty caused by the unexpected — which can range from medical emergencies, disability, a serious accident, job loss, or sudden negative changes in income.

When facing a potential financial hardship situation, the goal is to find solutions that empower you to reestablish your financial footing and get back on the right track. These programs are designed to provide temporary financial relief, so you can maintain your financial obligations until your situation improves.

Discover cardmembers: If your income has been eliminated or significantly dropped, or you struggle to meet your monthly payment obligations for other reasons, contact a Discover representative to talk through your situation.

Proactive communication with creditors is key to minimizing the long-term impact of financial hardship:

  • Seek out the help you need to manage your bills and potentially make arrangements for a payment assistance program as soon as you think you may not be able to afford your monthly payments.
  • Explain your situation honestly with creditors, and try to reach a mutually agreeable solution that will help manage your financial strain, while honoring the agreement you made with the creditor.
  • Don’t wait until creditors are seeking you out; at the first sign of financial hardship, get the information you need to keep your accounts current and address your situation.

2. During Financial Hardship

Almost 80 percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck, so any disruption in income or unexpected bills can have a major impact. If you’re struggling to make ends meet during a difficult time, CNBC offers eight tips that may help:

  1. Contact creditors right away
  2. Create an emergency budget
  3. Consider a personal loan
  4. Use the product with the lowest interest rate
  5. Send temporary hardship letters
  6. Use community and government assistance programs
  7. Draw on retirement savings
  8. Avoid payday loans

If you’re in danger of missing a credit card payment, try your best to take action before your payment due date. Discover cardmembers can contact Discover to discuss their specific situation, review available payment methods and explore financial hardship options that may be available.

Representatives can also suggest non-profit resources that can help people experiencing financial challenges with budgets and debt management plans.

Published June 30, 2017

Updated June 16, 2020

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.