But, Cartisser warns, borrowers must call their banks before stopping payments. She urges anyone making such calls to make a record of the representative they are talking to, as well as the day and the time, so, if there is a discrepancy, the taped phone call can be pulled.
Credit card companies are also offering relief to card holders with mounting debt, including payment deferral and waived fees. Cartisser suggests card holders also research different credit card rates and consider transferring from one card company to another to get, for example, a year's worth of interest forgiveness.
For those considering reaching into their 401Ks, the 10% early withdrawal penalty will be waived up to $100,000, if the person is experiencing a coronavirus-related financial hardship. Cartisser warns only to touch one’s retirement fund as a last resort.
"If you can take out a line of credit on your house, it's better to do that than to take out your retirement funds," Cartisser said. "Because, when you think about it, you contribute to your retirement money with pretax earnings. So a dollar earned is a dollar into your retirement account. And when you go to pay that back, it's post-tax money."
While most are staying in, not spending money on restaurants, entertainment and gas, there is an opportunity to limit spending. Using free Wi-Fi hot spots and taking advantage of free movies networks are offering during the pandemic are other ways to save, Cartisser said.
Cartisser recommends taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates and refinancing, if the borrowers are still employed, encouraging borrowers to make calls and get the paperwork ready.
"I think people have less time on their hands, because they're juggling so much. But it is really worthwhile to set that time aside and make those phone calls and do your research," Cartisser said. "Search the internet and see what's available, because there is a lot out there, and there are ways to be smart about this and be thrifty and help yourselves."