Live Better Blog: Financial support
Extended financial support
A new national lockdown has now begun, and the previous wave of financial schemes and payment holidays have either come to an end, or been extended in order to support those who continue to suffer financially whilst the economy is once again put on pause.
Now more than ever, it’s important to understand how you can maximise your income, which includes ensuring you make the payments you need to so your finances are in the best possible position they can be when things begin to return to normality.
You may already be aware of some of the extended measures being implemented to help customers who are struggling with their payments, but in case you aren’t, we’ve summarised these changes below…
Changes to payment holidays
As of October 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial services regulator, have estimated that at least 1.8 million people have taken a payment break on their mortgage since the option became available to homeowners.*
The current mortgage payment holiday already in place is now being extended. This means that customers who have not yet had a mortgage holiday are able to request one from their lender – this pause in repayments can last up to six months.
- Anyone who has already had one payment deferral of three months, including those who resumed payments, can apply for another three-month deferral by 31st January 2021.
- Those who haven’t already deferred their payments are able to have 2x 3-month deferrals (a total of six months) if they apply by 31st January 2021.
- Customers who haven’t yet deferred their mortgage, but have already agreed alternative financial support with their lender (such as reduced interest or lower payments), likely won’t be eligible for an automatic deferral.
Other payment holidays.
Six-month payment freezes on credit cards, car finance, and personal loans can be requested from your lender, and short term credit (such as payday loans) can be deferred for one month.
The above payment holidays will also apply to those with rent to own and buy-now pay-later deals, but only if those customers are outside of promotional periods – otherwise the promotional period will be extended.
In addition, anyone already benefitting from a payment deferral will be able to apply for a second deferral.
Lenders will provide information shortly about how to apply for additional support however, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have advised customers who are still experiencing payment difficulties to speak to their lender to agree on tailored support. This includes those who have applied for overdraft support from their bank (usually in the form of an interest-free amount of up to £500), which came to an end on 31st October.
But be wary – unlike payment deferrals, this kind of tailored support will likely be recorded on your credit file however, this is still looks better on a credit report than missing payments altogether.
Good to know.
It’s important that you make as many payments as you can, as your debt won’t disappear. If you choose to take a payment holiday, or reduce your normal payments to lenders, you will be required to make these payments at a later date.
Interest may also continue to be applied over that period, which can extend the amount of time it will take you to repay your debts, and could end up costing you more over time.
If you can afford to maintain your priority bills, such as a mortgage, you should continue to do so.
You matter to us.
Whilst the pandemic is here, and when it’s gone, we’ll always be here to help you get your finances back on track.
If you find your finances have taken an unexpected hit lately, or you could use a little help to get things under control, we’re only a message away. To find out more about the different options available to you over the lockdown period, and how MoneyPlus Advice can help you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0161 837 4000.
We’re here to help you live better, every day.
*Figures provided by the Financial Conduct Authority.