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Forbearance is a temporary postponement or reduction of loan repayments, granted by the lender during a borrower’s financial hardship. It’s often used in the context of student loans and mortgages. The principle typically doesn’t decrease during forbearance and interest generally still accrues.


The phonetic spelling of the word “Forbearance” is /fɔːrˈberəns/.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Temporary Relief: Forbearance provides temporary relief for borrowers during periods of financial hardship, it doesn’t forgive the owed amount but rather delays the payment.
  2. Interest Accrual: During a forbearance period, interest often continues to accrue, leading to a potentially higher loan balance once the forbearance period ends.
  3. Impact on Credit Score: Unlike a defaulted or missed payment, forbearance does not negatively affect your credit score. However, it might make it difficult to get new credits while in forbearance.



Forbearance is a crucial business/finance term as it refers to a temporary postponement or reduction in debt payments, usually for mortgages or student loans. It is particularly important for borrowers facing financial difficulties. During the forbearance period, lenders agree not to foreclose on or penalize the borrower, providing essential relief during financial hardship. It’s a key tool in financial management and debt restructuring, helping individuals or businesses navigate through tough financial times. However, it’s important to note that forbearance does not forgive the debt. Interests typically still accumulate and the borrower must eventually repay the debt.


Forbearance is a tool provided by lenders, such as banks or financial institutions, to help borrowers who are experiencing temporary financial hardships. The purpose of forbearance is to defer or reduce a borrower’s loan payments for a certain period of time in order to provide them some breathing room to get back on their feet financially. This helps prevent the borrower from defaulting on the loan, which can have severe financial and credit consequences. It may be applied in various situations like student loans, mortgages, or other types of loans. The use of forbearance is not limited to individual borrowers; it can also be extended to businesses and corporations which are struggling to repay their corporate loans due to unexpected challenges or economic downturns. By offering forbearance, lenders can potentially avoid the complex, costly procedure of recovering their money through foreclosure or liquidation. Although forbearance helps the borrower avoid immediate penalties, the loan continues to accrue interest during the forbearance period, which means a longer term length for the loan repayment. Thus, forbearance is primarily seen as a last resort for borrowers facing temporary hardships, and not as a go-to solution for persistent financial issues.


1. Mortgage Forbearance: One of the most common examples of forbearance is in mortgage lending. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, many lenders offered forbearance options to borrowers who were financially impacted by the crisis. This allowed mortgage holders to pause or reduce their payments for a set period of time, allowing them to regain their financial stability.2. Student Loan Forbearance: In the United States, the government has often granted forbearance on federal student loans during times of crisis. For example, interest and payment on federal student loans were paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. This type of forbearance helps to reduce the financial burden on recent graduates or those still in school who may not have a steady income yet.3. Credit Card Debt Forbearance: In some cases, credit card companies may offer a forbearance program for customers who are unable to meet their debt obligations due to unforeseen circumstances, such as an illness, job loss or a natural disaster. During this forbearance period, the credit card company might reduce or stop interest charges, and waive late fees to help the customer to manage their debts without drastically affecting their credit score.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is forbearance?

Forbearance is a term used in finance that refers to a special agreement made between lenders and borrowers to delay a foreclosure. The literal meaning of forbearance is “holding back”.

What does forbearance imply for a borrower?

For the borrower, forbearance implies an agreement to reduce or suspend payments for a certain period, not to eliminate them. The borrower will have to repay the amount later on or extend the loan term.

Is Forbearance a form of debt forgiveness?

No, forbearance is not debt forgiveness. Instead, it’s a temporary suspension or reduction of regular loan payments. The borrower is still expected to fully repay the debt.

How can I apply for forbearance?

You can apply for forbearance by contacting your lender and explaining your current financial situation. However, keep in mind that it is entirely up to the lender’s discretion whether to grant forbearance or not.

Does forbearance affect credit score?

In most cases, forbearance does not affect your credit score directly. However, depending on the agreement with your lender, late or missed payments occurring before the agreement may affect your credit score.

What situations can justify a forbearance agreement?

Extreme financial hardship caused by circumstances such as job loss, serious illness, or a natural disaster can justify a forbearance agreement.

Can forbearance be granted for student loans?

Yes, forbearance can be granted on student loans. The U.S. Department of Education can temporarily suspend your student loan payments, reduce your payments, or extend the time for making your payments.

How long does a typical forbearance period last?

A forbearance period typically lasts anywhere from a few months up to a year, depending on the individual’s situation and agreement with the lender.

What happens when my forbearance period ends?

After the forbearance period ends, the borrower will have to resume the normal payment schedule and pay additional money to make up for the missed payments. One should check with their lenders for specific terms.

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