Save, make, understand money

Credit Cards & Loans

Santander hikes interest-free overdraft buffer to £500

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Santander has increased the interest-free buffer on its overdrafts to help customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bank will automatically waive the interest on the first £500 of any arranged overdraft used between 6 April and 9 July. This is an increase to the £350 buffer announced last week.

It will also temporarily cut its overdraft interest rate from 39.9% to 19.9% for three months from today (6 April).  Other overdraft charges will also be removed from today, as planned.

In a further move to help financially strained customers, Santander is offering three-month payment holidays on credit cards for anybody who was up-to-date with their repayments before Covid-19 as well as on personal loans.  Applications can be made online and repayment holidays will not affect a customer’s’ credit rating. All account terms, such as 0% interest-free periods, will continue after the payment holiday.

Santander has already announced the removal of fees for late payments and cash advances on credit cards as well as payment holidays on mortgages, penalty-free immediate access to fixed term savings, and a coronavirus helpline for customers who are unable to reach the bank via online or mobile channels.

Susan Allen, chief executive retail and business banking at Santander UK, said: “As the situation with the coronavirus develops we will continue to review the support we can offer our customers.”

What other banks are doing with overdrafts

Barclays has scrapped overdraft charges until the end of April.

Nationwide said it would not charge overdraft interest from 20 April until 1 July for customers financially impacted by coronavirus.

Metro Bank has waived overdraft charges until 30 June.

Starling Bank has waived overdraft charges for customers struggling during the coronavirus crisis from 1 April for three months.

HSBC has increased the interest free buffer on overdrafts from £25 to £500 for a three-month period.

Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland are offering customers a £300 interest-free overdraft buffer for three months from 6 April.

Virgin Money, Clydesdale Bank, and Yorkshire Bank are offering a £500 buffer from 1 April.

First Direct and M&S offer a £250 buffer – but they did this even before the crisis.