Personal Banking COVID-19 FAQs

Personal Banking COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 situation, we have collected many of our clients’ frequently asked questions along with their answers. As always, if you have questions that are not addressed below, or need further assistance, please call First Merchants Customer Service at 1-800-205-3464 or your local banking center. Find your banking center’s phone number.

 

FAQ Category: Accessing Your First Merchants Accounts and Bankers

What transactions can be handled in the drive thru?
  • Please use the drive thru for common transactions including check and cash deposits, change orders, payments and cash withdrawals. For your safety, please refrain from walking up to the drive thru.
How will transactions that cannot be performed at an ATM or drive-up be handled?
  • Please call your local banking center to speak to a banker about making an appointment to handle your request.  If you feel sick, or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat, please stay home. We will work with you to reschedule your appointment or help find an alternative banking solution. Find your banking center’s phone number.
Are there other ways I can access my account?
  • Yes! You can use the available tools and resources for self-service banking and 24/7 account access through our digital banking services including mobile, online and voice banking services. Using these services, you can check balances, transfer funds, deposit checks, make payments or find the nearest ATM. If you are not enrolled in Online or Mobile Banking and you need assistance, please visit the following links or contact First Merchants Customer Service at 1-800-205-3464.

Will customers be able to access their safe deposit boxes?
  • Please call your local banking center to make an appointment so we can best service your needs. If you feel sick, or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat, please stay home. We will work with you to reschedule your appointment or help find an alternative banking solution.  Find your banking center’s phone number.
How will you service individuals with special needs?
  • First Merchants is committed to serving all clients, including those with special needs. Please call your local banking center to make an appointment so we can best service your needs. If you feel sick, or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat, please stay home. We will work with you to reschedule your appointment or help find an alternative banking solution. Find your banking center’s phone number.
Will business customers still be able to make Night Drops?
  • For banking centers with night drops, employees are currently monitoring our night drop throughout the day, and all transactions dropped before 4:00 PM will be processed the same day.
Is it safe to use ATMs?
I noticed the team that usually works at my banking center isn’t there, are they ok?
  • Due to the privacy of our team members we cannot disclose details about any of our employees.  Although you may see different bankers today, rest assured the bankers you know will be back soon.  First Merchants is taking extra precautions in all of our locations to protect our employees and clients while continuing to offer excellent service in our communities.
Does the shelter in place order mean that I can’t come to the bank if I need to?
  • Banks, to include First Merchants are deemed “essential services,” and as such, continue to serve our customers and communities by providing valued financial services. We encourage you to use our digital banking tools. If you feel sick, or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat, please stay home. We will work with you to reschedule your appointment or help find an alternative banking solution. Otherwise, please call us to make an appointment at a banking center. Find your banking center’s contact information.
Will I still be able to access ATMs?
  • Yes! If you find that you need to make a cash withdrawal, in addition to our drive-thru services, be assured you have access to cash 24/7 through our wide ATM network, including more than 25,000 free ATMs throughout the country using MoneyPass. Find a MoneyPass ATM.
What should I do if I need to close on a loan that I applied for?
How do I make an appointment at a banking center?
  • Please call your local banking center to make an appointment. If you feel sick, or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat, please stay home. We will work with you to reschedule your appointment or help find an alternative banking solution. Find banking center phone numbers at https://www.firstmerchants.com/locations
How long will the temporary limited lobby service changes be in effect?
  • The safety and well-being of our clients, employees and communities remains our top priority, while continuing to serve you with as minimal disruption as possible. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates via our website on our COVID-19 Updates page.
Should customers withdraw extra money given this pandemic?

FAQ Category: Banking From Home

How can I contact a banker without visiting a banking center?
I need to open an account but don’t want to risk coming into a banking center and exposing myself. How can I open an account?
Can you help me set up access to my accounts online?
What about the limits for mobile deposit?
How do I manage my accounts and banking needs if I suspect I have contracted COVID-19?
  • You can use the available tools and resources for self-service banking and 24/7 account access through our digital banking services including mobile, online and voice banking services. Using these services, you can check balances, transfer funds, deposit checks, make payments or find the nearest ATM. If you are not enrolled in Online or Mobile Banking and you need assistance, please visit the following links or contact First Merchants Customer Service at 1-800-205-3464.

What resources do you offer for those that are not as familiar with banking digitally?

FAQ Category: Financial Relief Initiatives

My income has been impacted by the COVID-19 virus, can you help?
  • Effective immediately, impacted clients may request to defer payments up to 90 days on installment and auto loans, mortgage loans and home equity loans without impacting their credit report or incurring late fees during the deferral period. The bank is also suspending vehicle repossessions and will not initiate foreclosure actions for residential properties for the next 60 days. If you are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 impact, please call us at (877) 556-8721 to discuss your options. We are here and are ready to work with you. You can also fill out a request online.

I lost my job and cannot make my next loan payment. What should I do?
  • Effective immediately, impacted clients may request to defer payments up to 90 days on installment and auto loans, mortgage loans and home equity loans without impacting their credit report or incurring late fees during the deferral period. The bank is also suspending vehicle repossessions and will not initiate foreclosure actions for residential properties for the next 60 days. If you are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 impact, please call us at (877) 556-8721 to discuss your options. We are here are ready to work with you.
Are there financial assistance options available for my credit card payments?
I’ve been impacted by COVID-19 and I am worried about account fees. What are my options?
  • We understand your concerns about fees such as overdraft, insufficient fund, service and maintenance fees on your accounts. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and are concerned about account fees, please call us at 1.800.205.3464 or contact your local banker. Find your banking center’s phone number.
Where can I learn more about the U.S. government’s stimulus payments program through the CARES Act?
What changes did the CARES Act make to Health Savings Accounts?
  • The CARES Act improves Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to make them more versatile by covering telehealth services and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
What about student loan relief?

FAQ Category: Understanding Your Economic Payment Stimulus Check

I received a call or text from someone claiming to represent First Merchants related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and asking for my information. What should I do?
  • Unfortunately, fraud-related schemes associated with COVID-19 are on the rise, including a text scam. Fraudsters try to take advantage of times like this. Please be extra careful and aware. First Merchants will never make an unsolicited request for any confidential information from you via email or phone call or require that you update your account details on a Web page. Do not respond to or click on links from unsolicited emails, and do not provide confidential information on an unsolicited phone call. Protect yourself against fraud using these recommendations in our Security Alert.
I have a suspicious transaction on my account. Who should I contact?
  • If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft with respect to any of your accounts or transactions with us, please notify us through any of the following channels:

    • Your local banking center
    • Your business account representative
    • Customer Service at 1.800.205.3464

    Please provide as much detail as possible about the accounts or transactions in question including dates and account or transaction numbers along with any additional information you may be aware of.

    Read more about reporting fraud.

What can I do as a consumer to prevent online and mobile fraud and protect myself from scams?

FAQ Category: Understanding Your Mortgage and Consumer Payment Options

What is a forbearance plan?
  • A forbearance plan is an agreement between a homeowner and their mortgage servicer (the company they send their monthly mortgage payments to) that establishes an alternative payment schedule to reduce or suspend payments for a period of time. Importantly, mortgage forbearance plans do not reduce the principal amount owed on a mortgage, and interest continues to accrue for the duration of the plan. Homeowners who can afford to make partial payments should do so in order to lessen the amount due at the end of the forbearance.
What is a payment extension?
  • A payment extension allows the borrower to “extend” the maturity of their loan and add the current month’s principal payment to the end of the loan agreement.  The borrower then “skips” making the designated payment(s). The interest will still accrue and the customer will pay the accrued interest when they resume making their regular monthly payments.  The loan does not show as past due for any payments that are “extended or skipped”. 
Is there a fee that is charged or assessed for requesting a forbearance or extension agreement?
  • No. There are no fees or additional charges for requesting a forbearance or extension agreement. 
What if my taxes and insurance are escrowed? Will the bank continue to pay them during a forbearance or extension period?
  • Yes, First Merchants Bank will continue to pay your taxes and insurance if your loan is currently escrowing for those items.  Once you resume make regular payments, the bank will adjust your escrow payments to get your escrow account back on schedule.
Will the forbearance or extension agreement affect my credit report?
  • No. First Merchants Bank will not report you mortgage account as past due during your forbearance or extension agreement.
Will I be charged any late fees for pausing or extending my payment?
  • No. All late changes will be waived during the forbearance or extension period. Additionally, you will not be charged any additional interest during your agreement period.
How will I know if I am approved for a forbearance or extension agreement?
  • No approval is required. The forbearance or extension agreement is available for any First Merchants Bank customer that is experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19.  Please complete this online form to request forbearance or extension.
Can I get a forbearance or extension agreement for my vehicle or unsecured loan that I have with First Merchants Bank?
  • Yes. You can get an extension agreement for any First Merchants consumer loan that has regular monthly payment. Please complete this online form to request forbearance or extension.

FAQ Category: Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Fraud and Scams

Why is my balance less than the amount of my check?
  • Please contact us for assistance.

Why is my stimulus check not in my account?
  • The IRS will soon have a portal where you can go online to check the status of your payment. Go to IRS.gov to check the status of your payment starting Friday, April 17. 

According to the IRS portal, I should have received my deposit, why isn’t it in my account?
  • There are a number of reasons why your payment may not deposit into your account. Please contact us for assistance.

I am not a First Merchants customer but am expecting to receive a stimulus payment, will you cash my check?
  • If you receive a check in the mail, you must be a customer with a checking or savings account at First Merchants to cash your check at one of our banking centers. If you expect to receive a check in the mail and need to open a checking account, you can open an account online in about 10 minutes at firstmerchants.com.

I am not a customer but I have my stimulus check. Will you cash it?
  • We apologize, due to the risk of fraud, we are only able to cash checks for First Merchants customers with a checking or savings account.

When can I expect to receive my payment?
  • The IRS will begin rolling out economic impact payments in April 2020. For most people, you won’t have to do anything – the payment will be directly deposited into your bank account or sent to you by check. Be aware, however, that if it’s sent by check, it might take a little longer. Visit IRS.gov for more information.

Do I qualify and how much will I receive?
  • You likely qualify for an economic impact payment if:

    • your filing status is single or married but filing separately, and you make less than $99,000;
    • your filing status is head of a household, and you make less than $136,500;
    • your filing status is married and you file jointly, and your combined income is less than $198,000;
    • your income is above $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a joint filer, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100; or
    • you don’t typically file taxes and receive Social Security benefits from the Social Security Administration or Social Security Equivalent Benefits (SSEB) from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board.

    Taxpayers

    The majority of Americans will receive an economic impact payment that’s based on their income and the filing status on their 2019 tax return. If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes, your 2018 return will be used to calculate the amount you’ll receive.

    Single or married filing separate

    • If your adjusted gross income is below $75,000, you’ll receive the full $1,200. You will also receive $500 for each child under the age of 17 you claim on your taxes.
    • If your adjusted gross income is above $75,000, you’ll receive an amount that will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in adjusted gross income above $75,000.
    • If your adjusted gross income is more than $99,000 and you don’t claim any children under the age of 17, you won’t receive an economic impact payment.

    Head of household

    • If your adjusted gross income is below $112,500, you’ll receive the full $1,200. You will also receive $500 for each child under the age of 17 you claim on your taxes.
    • If your adjusted gross income is between $112,500 and $136,500, you’ll receive an amount that will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in adjusted gross income above $112,500.
    • If your adjusted gross income is more than $136,500 and you don’t claim any children under the age of 17, you won’t receive an economic impact payment.

    Married filing jointly

    • If your adjusted gross income is less than $150,000, you’ll receive the full $2,400. You will also receive $500 for each child under the age of 17 you claim on your taxes.
    • If your adjusted gross income is above $150,000, you’ll receive an amount that will be reduced $5 for every $100 in adjusted gross income above $150,000
    • If your adjusted gross income is more than $198,000 and you don’t claim any children under the age of 17, you won’t receive an economic impact payment.

    If you don’t typically file taxes because you’re not required to based on your income level, the IRS launched a web portal where Americans who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 can submit basic personal information to the IRS so that they can receive payments.

    Also, if your 2019 adjusted gross income was less than $69,000, you may be able to find one or more online tools to file your taxes for free. Review each company's offer to make sure you qualify for a free federal return. Some companies offer free state tax returns, but others may charge a fee.

    There are a few additional cases in which you may not receive an economic impact payment, including if someone claims you as a dependent on their taxes, you have a non-resident alien status, or you’re filing on behalf of estates or trusts.

    Social Security beneficiaries

    If you don’t file taxes but receive Social Security or SSEB benefits

    If you don’t typically file taxes because you receive Social Security and have a limited income, you’re automatically qualified – based on either your SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 form – to receive the full economic impact payment of $1,200 per beneficiary. You’re also automatically set up to receive your money in the same way you receive your benefits.

    Also, if you have dependent children under the age of 17, you’ll qualify to receive an additional $500 per child, but the IRS will need you to complete a form to provide information on the number of qualifying children so they can send you an additional economic impact payment.

    If you do file taxes and receive Social Security (or SSEB) benefits

    If you receive Social Security (or SSEB) and do file your taxes because you receive additional income through a pension or another source, you’ll receive your economic impact payment based on your latest tax return and the income categories above. If you haven’t filed a 2019 tax return, it will be based on your 2018 tax return.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

How will the IRS send my payment?
  • Your economic impact payment will either be directly deposited into your bank account or a check will be mailed to you.

    If you’re a Social Security (or SSEB) beneficiary who doesn’t need to file taxes, you’ll receive your economic impact payment the same way you receive your benefits, either by direct deposit or by check.

    No matter how you receive your payment, the IRS will send you a letter in the mail to the most current address they have on file about 15 days after they send your payment to let you know what to do if you have any issues, including if you haven’t received the payment.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

Can I provide the IRS with my bank account information for direct deposit?
  • Later this month, the IRS will launch a separate online application, “Get My Payment,” which allows taxpayers, who filed their tax return in 2018 or 2019 but did not provide their banking information on their return, to submit direct deposit information so that they can receive payments immediately, as opposed to checks in the mail. “Get My Payment” will also allow taxpayers to track the status of their payment.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

I’ve moved since I filed my taxes. How can I update my address?
  • If you provided your bank account information when you filed your taxes, the IRS will directly deposit your money into this account. They won’t need your updated address.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

If I still need to file my 2018 and 2019 taxes, can I still receive the economic impact payment?
  • Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.

    Keep in mind that the IRS has extended the deadline for filing your 2019 taxes until July 15, 2020, and you’ll have until the end of 2020 to claim your money.

    For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

I’m not typically required to file taxes. Can I still receive the economic impact payment?
  • Yes, but you will need to visit IRS.gov and then click on “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” If you didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, this web portal allows you to submit basic personal information to the IRS so that you can receive payments. To receive your payment quickly, enter your bank account information so that your payment will be directly deposited in your bank account.

    The tool will request the following basic information to check your eligibility, calculate and send the economic impact payments:

    • Full names and Social Security numbers, including for spouse and dependents
    • Mailing address
    • Bank account type, account and routing numbers

    If you qualified automatically because you receive Social Security (or SSEB) benefits but you also have dependent children under the age of 17, the IRS will soon have a way for you to provide information on your dependents so you can receive additional economic impact payments.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

Not everyone in my household has a Social Security number. Can I still get an economic impact payment?
  • No. In almost all cases, everyone in the household – meaning everyone on your tax return – needs a Social Security number (SSN).

    The only exception to this is if you’re a member of the military and file a married tax return. Your spouse isn’t required to have a SSN for you to get the economic impact payment.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

Can the government reduce or garnish my economic impact payment?
  • No. Your economic impact payment will not be subject to most types of federal offset or federal garnishment as a result of defaulted student loans or tax debt. However, the payments are still subject to garnishment if you’re behind on child support.

    Visit IRS.gov for more information.

I received a message from the IRS asking for my personal information. Is this a scam?
  • Yes, this is a scam. With the rollout of economic impact payments, there’s an increased risk of scams. It’s important to stay vigilant and aware of unsolicited communications asking for your personal or private information – through mail, email, phone call, text, social media or websites – that:

    • Ask you to verify your SSN, bank account, or credit card information
    • Suggest that you can get a faster payment if they fill out information on your behalf or if you sign over your check to them
    • Send you a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, and then ask you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash that check

    Be aware that scammers are also able to replicate a government agency’s name and phone number on caller ID. It’s important to remember that a government agency will never ask you for your personal information or threaten your benefits.

How will I know when my stimulus payment is deposited into my First Merchants account?
Will banks have enough cash on hand to cash the checks?
  • Yes. The industry is prepared for the increased demand for cash. Banks are working closely with the Federal Reserve to ensure that there is plenty of cash on hand for customers that need immediate funds. Keep in mind that the safest place for your money is in the bank—it’s federally insured and physically secure. 

Is cash an infection risk?
  • While there has been no conclusive study on the viability of the coronavirus on U.S. currency, the CDC has indicated that there is no increased risk of viral transmission through the use of cash. We encourage customers to follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves from the virus.

I thought my stimulus check would be deposited to my checking account, but it was deposited to my savings account (or vice versa).
  • The account number the IRS has associated with your taxes, or the detail you entered into the IRS portal is the account to which your payment will be deposited, which may be different than the account type you selected. You can quickly transfer between accounts using First Merchants Online Banking or First Merchants Mobile App.