Consumer credit support

Supporting credit card and personal loan customers through Covid-19 payment difficulties 

Lenders are committed to supporting customers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.  Since April 2020, working with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), lenders have provided payment deferrals. These are sometimes also referred to as ‘payment holidays’ and were in response to the sudden financial impact of Covid-19 on personal finances. Under the FCA’s guidance, all payment deferrals must have ended by 31 July 2021.   

If you are still concerned about your finances, it remains essential that you contact your credit card or personal loan provider before you miss a payment. Customers can contact their lenders through several channels. These include mobile and online banking services in addition to telephone services. Your credit card or personal loan provider’s website will also provide helpful information.

Where you do still require support, credit card and personal loan providers can offer you what is called ‘tailored support’, which will be focussed on your individual circumstances.

This can be short- or longer-term support, depending on the circumstances and can include: 

  • accepting reduced payments for a further short period where your circumstances are expected to improve 
  • accepting reduced payments via a longer-term repayment plan where you are experiencing more severe financial difficulties 
  • considering whether the refinancing of the outstanding credit at a sustainably affordable payment rate is an option which will be in your interest. 

Providers will explain to you what the tailored support being offered means, including whether contractual payments due to be made on the account would be considered to be in arrears.  

During a payment deferral period under the FCA guidance, the missed monthly payments were not reported at credit reference agencies as a worsening arrears.  Where you require tailored support, this will be reported on your credit file in line with your provider’s standard policy. This may, for example, include indicating where a reduced repayment arrangement has been agreed with you. This helps to ensure that an accurate reflection of your circumstances is recorded at the credit reference agencies. 

If you feel you need debt advice because, for example, you have a number of unmanageable debts across a number of lenders, you should speak to your providers as soon as possible – the sooner you have a clear picture of your options, the quicker they can help you to start managing things.

MoneyHelper provides information on free and impartial debt advice. This includes organisations that can provide online support, as telephone and face-to-face advice services can be very busy at the present time.  https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/money-troubles/dealing-with-debt