You are here: Home - Credit Cards & Loans - News -

Time running out to apply for Covid payment holidays

Written by:
Borrowers have just one day left to take advantage of payment holidays on a range of credit products.

When the pandemic hit last year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)  ‒ the financial regulator ‒ pushed lenders to offer borrowers payment holidays to provide them with some additional breathing space should they require it.

However, that help is being wound down now as we approach the end of what’s hoped to be the final lockdown, with 31 March the final date to apply for a payment holiday.

What is a payment holiday?

A payment holiday is when a lender allows a borrower to delay their repayments for a set period. So with a three-month payment holiday, you wouldn’t have to pay anything towards your outstanding debt for three months.

Crucially, this doesn’t mean that those payments are written off entirely ‒ you will still have to pay them eventually.

What’s more, interest continues to be charged on your debt over the period of your payment holiday, so while you’re provided with some short-term breathing space, the eventual cost of paying off that debt will go up compared with if you had continued with your normal repayments.

What debts can I get a payment holiday on?

If you want to ask your lender for a payment holiday because your finances have taken a hit due to Covid-19, then you have until the end of the month to do so.

This is available across a host of different forms of credit, from mortgages to credit cards and personal loans.

There are certain rules that cover the holidays for most of these forms of credit.

For example, generally you can request a three-month payment holiday, though this drops to just one month for payday loans. If you are already on a payment holiday for your home loan, you can also request an extension of up to three months, taking you to a total of six months. 

Importantly though, all mortgage, credit card and loan payment holidays must have concluded by 31 July.

If you’ve already had six months of payment holidays, then you can request more support though this may take a slightly different form, for example requiring you to make smaller monthly payments.

You can request a payment holiday from your lender directly. Many of the big names have dedicated online portals allowing you to do so, while you can also call them to request a holiday.

Will payment holidays hurt my credit score?

Technically, taking a payment holiday won’t be recorded on your credit record. That doesn’t tell the whole story though. Lenders will be able to see that you have had a period off paying off your debts because they’ll be able to see that your various credit balances haven’t decreased over a certain period.

What’s more, if you agree some further support measures after your initial payment holiday ends ‒ such as a period of reduced payments ‒ then this will be explicitly recorded on your credit record.

Is a payment holiday a good idea?

Payment holidays can provide some welcome relief if your finances are in a difficult position due to the pandemic, perhaps because you are on furlough or have lost your job.

However, there has been confusion among borrowers about what the impact of these holidays can be on your finances.

Given the fact that they will increase the eventual cost of your loan, and potentially have repercussions on your chances of getting credit in the future, mean that you should only ask for a payment holiday if you really need one.

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Your right to a refund if travel is affected by train strikes

There have been a wave of train strikes in the past six months, and for anyone travelling today Friday 3 Febru...

Could you save money with a social broadband tariff?

Two-thirds of low-income households are unaware they could be saving on broadband, according to Uswitch.

How to help others and donate to food banks this winter

This winter is expected to be the most challenging yet for the food bank network as soaring costs push more pe...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week