Providing temporary financial relief for customers with unsecured credit

On 9 April, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a package of measures to assist lenders to provide relief for customers whose finances are temporarily affected by the coronavirus.  The measures include the provision of payment holidays on personal loans and credit cards and are designed to help lenders support customers to get through these difficult times.

UK Finance supports the FCA's decisions, which align with work that was already in train among firms.  We are grateful that the FCA supported requests to relax certain regulatory rules that would have been at odds with the principle, or practice, of offering payment holidays.

We would remind customers that the FCA's guidance makes it clear that customers should think carefully before making use of these measures and only do so if they need immediate assistance.  We have today published a brief set of Frequently Asked Questions (credit card payment holidays FAQs here, personal loan payment holidays FAQs here), which we hope will help customers to make that assessment and we would encourage those who want to find out more information about the help available, or who want to apply for temporary relief, to go online where possible.  We would remind customers that lenders have a number of options available to help those in financial difficulty, and that payment holidays aren't always the right solution for everyone. It is really important that customers do not cancel direct debits before they have been advised by their credit card provider that a payment holiday has been granted and they will advise the customer whether this is necessary.

Lenders will have further information available about how they will apply these measures on their own websites and we would encourage customers to read this carefully, Customers should look online in the first instance, as telephone lines are extremely busy at this time.

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