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Mortgage, Credit Card and Loans – What are my rights?

One of the biggest impact of the virus has been on people’s finances and many of the measures introduced by the Government have been to try and help individuals and businesses weather the financial impact of this virus and the steps that have been taken to mitigate its effects. The main forms of help are detailed below:

Mortgages

Since the 17 March 2020, it has been possible for a homeowner to apply for a three-month mortgage holiday and at the time of writing, over a million people have already done so. Bear in mind this is a “holiday”, i.e. a break from paying. You will still be charged interest; it will be added to the total cost of the mortgage and will either be factored into your monthly payments when you start paying again or the length of your mortgage will be extended by three months.

Most providers allow you to apply for this by telephone or online (of the “big providers”, only NRAM at the time of writing is telephone only). Online will usually be better if you don’t fancy spending several hours on hold on the phone.

The Money Saving Expert website has a handy calculator that gives you a rough idea of what this will cost over and above what you are already paying. We would suggest that you use this before applying for a payment holiday. The link is:
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/

Loans and Credit Cards

The FCA is the regulator of the finance industry and has said that lenders need to offer payment holidays where a customer is struggling to pay.

This also covers log-book loans, door-step credit and guarantor loans (like Amigo loans). It also applies to debt collection agencies who may have bought the debt and are now chasing for it (although, if you are being pursued by a debt collection agency, there are other options available. Use our contact form to find out more).

You have until 14 July 2020 to request a payment holiday and, at the time of writing, most lenders will not ask for proof that you are struggling but they only need to give you a payment holiday if it is a suitable solution. So, if you already have a debt problem, they may refuse a payment holiday, but they should try and find a more suitable solution for you.

Remember, like mortgages, these are payment holidays so interest will be charged on the monies owed.

Pay Day Loans

There are proposals for a one-month pay freeze. This should be finalised on 24 April 2020. When these proposals are finalised, we will update this section.

Rent to Own

Companies like Bright House who rent you a TV or a washing machine, can be asked for a three-month payment holiday. For as long as the temporary rules are in place, these items should not be re-possessed if you fail to pay but, obviously, interest will continue to accumulate. Again, you must ask for a payment holiday; do not assume that you are just entitled to one.

By Now, Pay Later

Extremely popular amongst certain furniture manufacturers, these deals typically offer a 0% interest free period after which you can settle the balance or pay a monthly finance charge.

A three-month payment holiday can be requested for these arrangements. If you are in a 0% period, this should be extended for three months. If you are in an interest charging period, then the interest will continue to be charged but you will not have to make any re-payments for three months.

Generally

If you are having trouble financially, consider taking advice from a Debt Councillor or Citizen’s Advice. If someone proposes an IVA to you, be very wary about entering into it without establishing if it is suitable. Many IVA’s look to have been mis-sold. If you need guidance, use the contact form to contact us and we will call you back.

 

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