This section provides information for customers who have already been provided with a payment break to help them manage the financial impacts of COVID-19.
If you need information on applying for a COVID-19 Payment Break, please visit the Covid 19 Information and Support page of our website.
If you currently have a COVID-19 Payment Break or have had one previously, below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which you may find helpful.
1. Will my credit file be affected by having taken a payment break?
No. Your credit file will reflect the status of your account at the point when we agreed your payment break, so if you had no missed repayments beforehand, your credit file will continue to show this for the duration of the payment break period. You should bear in mind, however, that lenders may take information from other sources into account when making lending decisions, such as from your bank account.
2. Is my account in arrears as a result of taking a payment break?
No, your account won’t be in arrears as a result of taking a payment break as long as you make your contractual monthly repayments as they become due when it ends. If, however, your account was in arrears before your payment break started and this amount remains outstanding, then your account will continue to be in arrears and this will be reflected on your credit file held by credit reference agencies.
3. Why did you send me a Notice of Sum in Arrears letter?
Whilst your account may not be in arrears as a result of your COVID-19 Payment Break, we are legally required under the Consumer Credit Act (Section 86B) to send you a ‘Notice of Sum in Arrears’ if there’s a shortfall of no less than the sum of the last two payments you’re required to make. These will continue to be issued, as per Consumer Credit Act requirements, on a 6 monthly basis until the end of your agreement.
No action is required by you, as long as you make your contractual monthly repayments as they become due when your payment break ends.
If you’ve missed any of your contractual repayments (for example you missed one or more repayments other than those agreed as part of your payment break), you will have received other correspondence from us. We would encourage you to contact us to discuss your circumstances as soon as possible so that we can see what we can do to help you. If, however, you’ve already been in contact with us about your repayments or already have a repayment plan in place, then there’s no need to contact us again.
4. I’ve cancelled my direct debit to you with my bank – do I need to do anything?
Yes. It’s important that there’s an active direct debit in place. If not, we’ll be unable to recommence your repayments at the end of the payment break period. This may result in your account going into arrears which could impact your credit file and make obtaining future finance more difficult. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to provide us with a new direct debit mandate. A blank form can be downloaded from here. You should do this as soon as possible so that we have enough time to set the direct debit up before your next repayment becomes due.
5. Can I apply for an additional payment break?
Yes. The Financial Conduct Authority has issued updated guidance which provides information to lenders about what they should do when customers are coming to the end of their original payment break. This includes an option for lenders to provide a further payment deferral period to those customers who continue to be financially impacted by COVID-19. The options available may depend on your individual circumstances and/or product or on how many months any previous break lasted (the maximum cumulative number of payment breaks months is 6).
Remember that if you can afford to start making your full repayments again, it would be in your best interests to do so. If, however, you’re struggling with your finances and worried about whether you’ll be able to resume or maintain your repayments, please click here for more information about what steps you can take or refer to Question 6 below.
Car Finance Customers (Hire Purchase, PCP, Lease): For more information about your options at the end of your original payment break please click here.
Personal Loan Customers (eg Bank of Ireland personal loan beginning 00092xxxxxxx): If you would like to enquire about or apply for an extension to your payment break, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information
6. I’m worried that I’m going to have difficulty resuming my repayments at the end of my payment break period – what should I do?
If you find you’re struggling with your finances when your payment break ends, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible so we can look at your circumstances and see what we can do to help. We can be contacted by email to email@example.com *or by telephone on 0800 9170932 (please note that due to increased call volumes as a result of COVID-19, there may be a longer than normal wait for us to answer).
You should also be aware that you can obtain free, confidential and impartial debt advice from organisations such as Money Advice Service, StepChange Debt Charity and Citizens Advice. More information and contact details can be found in the ‘Managing Your Finances’ section of the Customer Toolkit.
*Email warning: any email(s) you choose to send us will not be secure, unless, you appropriately encrypt (protect) the information contained in your email.
7. Will I be reminded before my payments recommence?
Yes, we’ll send you a reminder either by email or letter approximately 2 weeks before your repayments are due to recommence. This will give you time to ensure you have enough money in your account before we apply for the direct debit.
8. Why have you sent me an email / letter advising that my payment break is about to end when I no longer have a payment break?
We sent reminders to all of our customer who availed of a payment break to ensure they were kept fully informed. If, however, you’ve already started making your monthly repayments again or perhaps even settled your agreement, no action is required by you and you can disregard the reminder.
9. I have a PCP agreement, the term of which has been extended – will the mileage cap still the same as stated in my agreement?
Yes. We can confirm that we will pro-rata the mileage cap on PCP agreements, so there’s no disadvantage to you. For example, if you selected a 3 month payment break and your agreement was for 36 months, with a mileage cap of 10,000 miles per annum (30,000 in total), the cap will be extended by 2,500 to 32,500 (2,500 being equivalent of 3 months mileage).
10. I’d like to settle / close my agreement, how do I do this?
Please visit the customer toolkit section of our website for details on how to do this.
11. I need to discuss another matter, how can I contact you?
Please visit the Contact Us section of the customer toolkit on our website.
12. Where can I find more information to help me decide what to do?
You can find additional information on the FCA information page ‘Dealing with financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic‘ and the Money Advice Service “How to prioritise your debts” page. The Money Advice Service also have a “Money Navigator Tool” which can help you create an action plan based on your individual circumstances.