/ Money

Are you struggling with financial commitments during the pandemic?

Banks, credit card providers, and other lenders have offered payment holidays or other special support measures during the lockdown. What would it mean for you when those measures end?

When the UK shut down in March, many suddenly faced a difficult decision: how to pay the bills when your income has suddenly disappeared. 

In some instances help was available via the Furlough scheme, helping many to stay financially afloat.

Banks, utility companies, landlords, and other institutions also offered payment holidays on bills, rent, and other financial commitments.

Since the start of lockdown, roughly 3.4 million people have taken a payment holiday on a financial product, which includes mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, overdrafts, payday loans, rent-to-own, buy-now pay-later, pawnbroking and insurance products.

Have you taken a payment holiday on a financial product during the pandemic?
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How has it been since April?

When we last asked the question of how worried you are about your financial situation back in April, some 43% of you answered you were somewhat or very concerned about your financial situation. 

The majority of respondents, however, said they would not be proactively looking for financial assistance. 

Now, our research has shown that the majority of furloughed workers (60%) have considerably changed their spending habits. 

Has anything changed for you in these past four months?

Has how you felt about your financial situation changed since the start of the pandemic?
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Share your stories

The FCA has published proposals last Friday on extending support measures for consumers beyond October. These proposals apply to payment holidays for financial products. 

You can also currently get payment holidays for insurance products, but this is not covered by this consultation. 

We’re keen to share your stories as part of our response to this consultation before it closes on Friday, 7 August. We would still like to hear from you if you have had a payment holiday from an insurer.

What has been your experience with payment holidays or with any other financial help you may have sought during the lockdown? 

We are particularly concerned if lenders haven’t been treating you fairly. This might include:

  • Your lender has refused to grant an initial or extension of a payment holiday (or interest-free overdraft);
  • Your lender granted a payment holiday but chased you for arrears or charged you as if it were a missed payment;
  • Your lender granted a payment holiday but this has been marked negatively on your credit file; 
  • You were given an interest free amount on your overdraft, but the amount you have been since expected to pay is more than before you were given this support;
  • Your lender has not told you about your payment holiday coming to an end;
  • You have not been able to get in touch with your lender about a payment holiday; or
  • Any other behaviour which you think has been unfair.

Would you be able to resume your normal payments after the end of October?  

What would you like to see happen with payment holidays? 
Share your experiences below. If you would rather share your experiences more privately, contact us at conversation.comments@which.co.uk.

Comments

There is a typo in the second poll: “I have grown less worried about my fiances”

We all need a little humour.

Maybe it wasn’t a typo if they are fellowed.

SANDRA says:
10 August 2020

I am too frightened to ask for a payment holiday as I know it may be found and viewed negatively in my credit rating. I am furloughed for 5 months without any top up after the first month so am losing £500 per month. I don’t have any back up to help me out with this and consequently am hardly eating. I have cereals for dinner.

M Joyce says:
10 August 2020

If you get a payment holiday it will not affect your credit rating as this is an unusual situation.

Indeed . . . if there is an official payment holiday there will be no default justifying any sanction.

Me and my partner have tried to be careful as we’re both nervous still about the future but kept going on our mortgage payments. Somehow although I’m saving on travel costs to and from work, our overall shopping bills have gone up!

Thinking about the topic though none of my credit providers such as the mortgage or car provider have been in touch to offer any form of adjustment or support to help over the past few months. I get the impression they would rather wait to be asked.