The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have announced that you can freeze your freeze loan and credit card payments for another three months - until 31 October.
Payment freezes wereto help people who are struggling with their finances due to coronavirus.
The new announcement means that:
- If you're already on a payment holiday, you can extend it for a further three months. Remember, you should only do this as a last resort. If you can start paying again, you should do so, to avoid financial difficulty in the future.
- If you haven't yet applied for a credit card or loan payment holiday, you have until 31 October 2020 to apply. This means there's no rush to make your application.
- You can now take partial payment holidays. This is a good idea, as you'll rack up less interest.
The three month extension also applies to zero interest overdrafts - if you have an arranged overdraft on your main personal current account, you can borrow up to £500 at zero interest for three months. Banks will also have to make sure that you’re no worse off on price compared to what you were charged before the recentcame into force.
What is a payment freeze?
A payment freeze is where you stop making repayments on your credit card or loan for a period of time. This measure isn’t free - you’ll need to pay any interest you’ve accrued once the payment holiday is over.
The rules don't just apply credit cards and personal loans. They also include guarantor loans, logbook loans, home collected loans, a loan issued by a Community Development Finance Institution, and some loans issued by regulated credit unions.
The benefit of freezing your payments is that it can help you free up cash for the things you need most during the COVID-19 crisis, such as paying your utility bills and buying essentials like food and prescriptions. However, you will still build up interest.
You can also organise aif you’re struggling with your finances.
How can I arrange one?
To set up a payment holiday,inside our COVID-19 hub. Most lenders have online application forms, or if you prefer, you can phone them (but you may have to wait in line as call centres are likely to be particularly busy during this period).
Next step:in our COVID-19 hub and apply for a payment holiday now.
Unfortunately it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be granted a payment holiday. The FCA has reminded people that there are situations where a lender might refuse a payment deferral, for example, where it’s not in the customer’s interests to do so.
Should I get a payment freeze?
You should only take a payment freeze if you really can’t make your repayments. Your balance will still gather interest while it’s ‘frozen’, so this measure is only intended to provide you with short-term financial support.
If your debts are becoming unmanageable and you’re worried you won’t be able to meet your repayments after this period, a payment freeze might not be the answer. If this is the case, reach out to StepChange for free, impartial advice on your finances.
Will freezing payments impact my credit score?
No, the FCA have confirmed that taking a payment freeze won’t affect your credit score as long as it’s arranged in advance.
Remember that missing any payments before discussing this with your bank or lender is likely to damage your credit score and could make it harder for you to borrow in the future.