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Financial help: Creditors’ responses to coronavirus

These are uncertain times for all of us. Naturally, we're all worried about our health, but many of us also have growing money worries.

However, payment holidays for credit cards, new overdraft rules and laws to protect people struggling to pay their rent are just some of the measures introduced to provide financial help during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you’re worried about your debts and how you’ll be able to pay them, we’re here to support you. Together, we can work out a plan to get you through this difficult time. Find out more about how we can help you.

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus, it’s a good idea to make a budget so you can get a clear picture of your new financial situation. Then, contact your creditors to discuss the options available to you.

alert iconUPDATE: Government legislation re: bailiff home visits in England and Wales

From 23 August, bailiffs in England and Wales can resume visits to people's homes in order to collect goods towards debts owed.


If you've been contacted by a bailiff, and you're worried about a potential home visit from 23 August, please get in touch with us.

At present, home visits from sheriff officers in Scotland are on hold until further notice.

Here, we explain what creditors are doing to support their customers through the coronavirus crisis if you:


  1. Can't afford your mortgage payment
  2. Can't pay your rent
  3. Can't pay your credit card bill
  4. Need to use your overdraft to get by
  5. Are going to miss a car payment
  6. Can't make your payday loan repayment
  7. Will miss your buy-now, pay-later repayment
  8. Can't afford your personal loan payments
  9. Can't pay your household bills
  10. Can't pay your mobile phone bill
  11. Are worried about what happens after a payment holiday

alert iconIf you’re worried about money, don’t wait to get help. Call us on 0800 138 1111 (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm) or use our debt advice tool 24/7.

1. I can’t afford my mortgage payment

Many people have been left struggling to pay their mortgage after the impacts of coronavirus caused their circumstances to change. If you’re worried about paying your mortgage, help is available.

Help with mortgage payments

Creditors are helping to support their customers who are struggling to make their mortgage payments due to coronavirus. However, it’s important to be aware that the options available to you depend on whether your account was up to date before the crisis began.

Before coronavirus my mortgage payments were up to date

All creditors are offering three-month payment holidays for customers affected by coronavirus, if they were up to date with their payments beforehand.

I had mortgage arrears before coronavirus

The mortgage support available from creditors varies for customers who were already in arrears. If you were already behind with your mortgage payments before the effects of coronavirus, you should contact your creditor as soon as possible to discuss your options.

2. I can’t afford to pay my rent

If you rent your property but you’re struggling to pay your landlord, help is available throughout the UK. However, the laws put in place to protect tenants vary depending on where you live.

Help for tenants in England and Wales

The Government has introduced the following new laws to help protect renters during the coronavirus crisis:


  • Landlords must give all renters three months’ notice if they want to end the tenancy
  • No court processes can start until the three-month notice period is complete
  • All housing possession action has been frozen
  • No one can be evicted

These laws will be in place until at least the end of July 2020. They’ll then be reviewed and extended if needed.

I rent in Scotland – what help is available?

If you live in Scotland and you’re struggling to pay your rent because of coronavirus, you’ll now have up to six months to pay any rent arrears.


The Scottish government has also launched a scheme to offer interest-free loans to private landlords whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent during the coronavirus crisis.

I rent in Northern Ireland – what help is available?

If you rent property in Northern Ireland, the above points also apply to you, as well as:


  • Tenants of social housing – the NIHE and housing associations have committed to not evicting anyone during the outbreak
  • Private tenants – landlords must give 12 weeks’ notice to quit before they can start possession proceedings. Possession claims are deemed ‘non-urgent’ by the courts and are therefore unlikely to go ahead

Universal Credit and rent arrears

The DWP has suspended certain deductions from Universal Credit (UC). If you have a suspended possession order (SPO) and normally have rent arrears deducted from your UC, you will need to make your rent arrears payment directly. If you’re unable to do this for any reason, contact us immediately, as not paying may lead to your breaching your SPO, and put you at risk of eviction.

signpost iconBeen furloughed or had an income reduction because of coronavirus?

Read our free 'reduced income' guide on how to avoid a debt problem.

3. I can’t afford to pay my credit card

If you’re struggling to make your usual monthly credit card payment due to coronavirus, there are a number of ways creditors may be able to help you.

Help with credit card debt

To support customers who are struggling with their finances, creditors may be able to help by:


  • Offering credit card payment holidays for up to three months
  • Ensuring your credit rating won’t be affected if you use a payment holiday
  • Increasing credit card limits – it’s important to consider the longer-term impact this could have on your credit file. Be aware that if you’re on a debt solution, taking out extra credit could go against the terms of your agreement. Always speak to your debt solution provider before considering this as an option

What if I’ve received a ‘persistent debt’ letter?

If you have a persistent debt that your credit provider's asked you to increase your payments on, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has relaxed these rules for the time being.

The deadline for customers to respond to persistent debt letters has been extended until 1 October 2020. They've also been given more time to increase payments on any persistent debt.

Need debt advice?

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Get debt help

4. Overdraft debt and coronavirus

Many people use overdrafts in times of crisis like this, when their income has reduced, or they have an unexpected expense they hadn’t budgeted for. However, with interest and charges added, an overdraft can be an expensive form of credit.

Help with overdraft debt

The FCA has instructed banks to support customers affected by the coronavirus by:


  • Offering interest-free overdrafts of up to £500 for up to three months
  • Ensuring customer credit ratings won’t be affected if they use an interest-free overdraft
  • Introducing a flat rate of interest on all overdrafts to make sure nobody is worse off as a result of the changes

Some banks may also be willing to increase overdraft limits to support customers who are struggling with their finances. However, it's important to consider the longer-term impact this could have on your credit file.

Be aware that if you’re on a debt solution, taking out extra credit could go against the terms of your agreement. Always speak to your debt solution provider before considering this as an option.

5. I have a car on finance and can’t afford it

If you can’t afford your monthly car payment, you should tell your creditor as soon as possible, as they may be able to help.

Help with car payments

To support customers who aren’t able to keep up with their motor finance payments because of financial difficulties caused by coronavirus, creditors are now able to:


6. I can’t afford my payday loan payment

Taking out high-cost, short-term credit can be very expensive, so if you’re struggling to get by, a payday loan will only make your situation worse. However, if you already have an existing payday loan, and can’t afford to make your agreed payments, your creditor may be able to help.

Help with payday loan payments

Payday loan companies are being asked to help their customers who are struggling financially due to the coronavirus. If you’re unable to make your payday loan payment, speak to your creditor as soon as possible. They may be able to:


  • Temporarily freeze high-cost, short-term credit payments for one month. This option will be available from Monday 27 April 2020

7. I can’t afford my buy-now pay-later payment

Taking out buy-now pay-later credit can seem like a good idea at the time, but now that people’s financial situations have changed unexpectedly, many may struggle to keep up with their agreed payments.

If you can no longer afford to make your agreed payments, contact your creditor as soon as possible to find out how they can help.

Help with buy-now pay-later payments

Buy-now pay-later creditors are being asked to help their customers who are struggling financially due to coronavirus. If you’re unable to make your monthly payment, they may be able to:


  • Temporarily freeze payments for three months. This option will be available from Monday 27 April 2020

Need debt advice?

Free, online debt advice available now

Get debt help

8. I can’t afford my loan payment

If your financial situation has been negatively affected by coronavirus, it’s understandable that loan payments which were affordable when you agreed to the terms of the loan may suddenly be much harder to pay. If this is the case, get in touch with your creditor to discuss your options.

Help with personal loan payments

Creditors are helping to support personal loan customers who are struggling to make their agreed payments due to coronavirus by:


  • Reducing loan repayments for two or three months
  • Offering payment holidays for up to three months
  • Ensuring payment holidays won’t affect customer credit ratings

9. I need help with water, gas and electric bills

Utility bills include your water, gas and electricity. These are considered ‘priority debts’ because, if you fall into arrears, your supplier can disconnect your supply.

Utility providers can usually help customers who are struggling to pay their bills, so it’s worth contacting them to discuss your options.

Help with utility bills

Many utility providers are offering additional support to help customers who are having financial difficulties caused by coronavirus. These include:


  • Reducing or pausing your energy bills
  • Reassessing your energy arrears

signpost iconStruggling to afford food and other essentials?

Find out what to do if you need urgent help with money.

10. Mobile phone debts

Staying connected is more important now than ever, so it’s natural to be worried and upset if you’re struggling to pay your phone bill. Every provider is different in the support they’re able to provide, so contact them to discuss your options if you can’t afford to pay your bill.

Help with mobile phone bills

Most providers already have support in place for customers who are struggling to pay their bill. This may include:


  • Changing your bill date to a more affordable date
  • Moving from ‘pay monthly’ to pay-as-you-go
  • Staying on ‘pay monthly’ but moving you onto a lower tariff
  • Delaying payments for a period of time depending on your circumstances

Need debt advice?

Free, online debt advice available now

Get debt help

11. What will happen at the end of a payment holiday?

Creditors are making huge efforts to support their customers affected by coronavirus. However, it’s important to consider what will happen to your finances once these temporary measures come to an end.

Interest may still be charged for the period your payments were frozen, leaving you with higher payments to make in the future.

What happens after a mortgage payment holiday?

Once your payment holiday comes to an end, your payments will resume with the ‘missed’ amount still outstanding.

For mortgages, this means your monthly payment for the remainder of the term will be higher to cover the missed payments and additional interest charged during the payment break.

How much higher your payments will be, depends on how long is left on your mortgage term. Generally, the longer the remaining term, the lower the increase in payments will be.

What happens after a payment holiday on a personal loan?

Once your payment holiday comes to an end, your payments will resume with the ‘missed’ amount still outstanding.

For loans, this means your monthly payment for the remainder of the term will be higher, to cover the missed payments and additional interest charged during the payment break.

How much higher your payments will be, depends on how long is left on your loan term. Generally, the longer the remaining term, the lower the increase in payments will be.

What happens after a credit card payment holiday?

If you take a payment holiday on your credit card account, your minimum payment will rise, because of the additional interest that has been added on during the holiday.

Get free, online debt advice

If you’re worried about your finances, we can help.

Use our free, online debt tool for advice tailored to your situation.