Coronavirus: what it means for mortgages & savings – Which? News

Some of the UK’s biggest banks have pledged to help customers who face financial difficulties if they’re affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

A handful of major banks including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and TSB have announced they will allow affected customers to defer their mortgage payments, increase their credit card limits and access their savings accounts early.

We’ve contacted more than 40 lenders to find out whether they’ll be changing their policies on mortgage repayments, savings, loans, credit cards, access to cash and benefits in light of the outbreak.

Find out whether your bank has announced any changes below. We’ll update this article as soon as individual lenders clarify their policies.

Coronavirus and mortgage payments

RBS and TSB say they will allow affected customers to defer mortgage repayments by three and two months respectively. Lloyds Banking Group is waiving fees for missed mortgage payments, and offering payment holidays.

Several other banks told us that any affected customers should call them as soon as possible to discuss their options.

LenderPolicy
BarclaysCustomers should speak to specialist teams if they’re facing financial difficulties.
Cambridge Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
Ipswich Building SocietyNo immediate plans to change lending policy, but will work to help members facing financial difficulties.
Leeds Building SocietyNo immediate policy changes, but borrowers concerned about financial difficulties should get in touch as a number of options are available. Solutions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Lloyds Banking Group (inc Bank of Scotland/Lloyds Bank/Halifax)No fees for missed payments on mortgages, plus payment holidays with additional support provided where customers need it.
Metro BankNo immediate policy changes.
Newcastle Building SocietyCommitted to supporting customers struggling with mortgage payments. Affected customers should get in touch as soon as possible.
Royal Bank of Scotland (inc Natwest/Ulster Bank)Borrowers can apply to defer their mortgage payments for up to three months.
SantanderAffected customers should call 0800 9 123 123 to discuss their options.
Tipton Building SocietyNo immediate policy changes.
TSBBorrowers can apply for a repayment holiday for up to two months.
Virgin MoneyEncourages affected customers to get in touch to discuss their options. Will consider options such as payment holidays and debt restructuring.

Savings accounts

Barclays, RBS, Lloyds Banking Group and TSB will all allow people with fixed savings accounts to close their accounts early with no additional charges.

LenderPolicy
Bank of London and the Middle EastNo immediate policy changes.
BarclaysFixed savings accounts can be closed early with no charge.
Cambridge Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
Ipswich Building SocietyNo immediate plans to change savings policy but will work to help members facing financial difficulties.
Lloyds Banking Group (inc Bank of Scotland/Lloyds Bank/Halifax)Emergency access to fixed term savings.
Leeds Building SocietyNo immediate policy changes. Fixed bonds can be broken in exceptional circumstances.
Metro BankNo immediate policy changes.
Newcastle Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
RCI BankHas never imposed financial penalties for those who close fixed accounts early. Will handle enquiries on a case-by-case basis and will take factors such as illness into consideration.
Royal Bank of Scotland (inc Natwest/Ulster Bank)Fixed savings accounts can be closed early with no charge.
SantanderAffected customers should call 0800 9 123 123 to discuss their options.
Tipton Building SocietyNo immediate policy changes.
TSBFixed Isa accounts can be closed with no charge and fixed bond customers can surrender their policies early.
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Personal loans

RBS says customers can defer their personal loan payments for up to three months, while other lenders advise customers to get in touch if they’re worried about facing financial difficulties. Lloyds Banking Group will waive fees for missed loan payments, and is offering payment holidays.

LenderPolicy
BarclaysIndividual customers can contact a specialist team who can help with financial difficulties. Business customers can get 12 month repayment holidays on loans over £25,000.
Cambridge Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
Ipswich Building SocietyNo immediate plans to change savings policy but will work to help members facing financial difficulties.
Lloyds Banking Group (inc Bank of Scotland/Lloyds Bank/Halifax)No fees for missed payments on loans, plus payment holidays and additional support where customers need it.
Metro BankNo immediate policy changes.
Newcastle Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help
Royal Bank of Scotland (inc Natwest/Ulster Bank)Borrowers can apply to defer loan payments for up to three months.
SantanderAffected customers should call 0800 9 123 123 to discuss their options.
Tipton Building SocietyNo immediate policy changes.
TSBPersonal loans already allow repayment holidays as standard for customers who need short-term relief.
Virgin MoneyEncourages affected customers to get in touch to discuss their options. Will consider options such as payment holidays and debt restructuring.

Credit cards

RBS, TSB and Barclays will all allow customers to apply for a temporary increase to their credit card limit. RBS will also offer refunds on any fees charged for withdrawing cash on a credit card. Lloyds Banking Group is waiving fees for missed credit card payments.

LenderPolicy
BarclaysAffected customers can apply for a temporary increase to their credit limit. Customers should call its specialist team for advice.
Cambridge Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
Ipswich Building SocietyNo immediate plans to change savings policy but will work to help members facing financial difficulties.
Lloyds Banking Group (inc Bank of Scotland/Lloyds Bank/Halifax)No fees for missed credit card payments.
Metro BankNo immediate policy changes.
Newcastle Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
Royal Bank of Scotland (inc Natwest/Ulster Bank)Refunds offered on credit card cash advance fees. Affected customers can apply for a temporary increase to their credit limit.
SantanderAffected customers should call 0800 9 123 123 to discuss their options.
TSBAffected customers can request an emergency credit limit increase.
Tipton Building SocietyNo immediate policy changes.
Virgin MoneyEncourages affected customers to get in touch to discuss their options. Will consider options such as debt restructuring and temporary increases in credit.
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Cash withdrawals and overdrafts

RBS and TSB will allow customers to apply to increase their maximum cash withdrawal limit at an ATM to £500. Lloyds Banking Group is offering increased deposit limits for online banking to help people who may not be able to access branches, including up to £500 using cheque scanning.

LenderPolicy
BarclaysIndividual customers should speak to specialist teams who can help with financial difficulties. Business customers can get increased or new overdraft facilities.
Cambridge Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
Ipswich Building SocietyNo immediate plans to change savings policy but will work to help members facing financial difficulties.
Leeds Building SocietyUsual daily cash withdrawal limit of £300 applies but customers can make special requests. Cash can be transferred by faster payment to a customer’s linked bank account.
Lloyds Banking Group (inc Bank of Scotland/Lloyds Bank/Halifax)Increased deposit limits in online banking to help people who may not able to access our branches.
Metro BankNo immediate policy changes.
Newcastle Building SocietyAffected customers should get in touch as soon as possible for help.
Royal Bank of Scotland (inc Natwest/Ulster Bank)Customers can apply for an increased cash withdrawal limit of £500.
SantanderAffected customers should call 0800 9 123 123 to discuss their options.
TSBCustomers can apply for an increased cash withdrawal limit of £500. Business banking customers should contact TSB.
Virgin MoneyEncourages affected customers to get in touch to discuss their options. Will consider options such as debt restructuring and temporary increases in credit.

Universal Credit and other benefits

The government has introduced a number of temporary measures to help workers who have to take time off work to self-isolate.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that statutory sick pay will be available to all employed workers from day one when self-isolating, rather than day four. 

On Monday 9 March, the government has confirmed that any Universal Credit claimants who cannot attend their job centre appointment due to being in self-isolation should tell their work coaches, and will not be sanctioned.

However, this is at the discretion of the work coach, who must be contacted before the appointment is due.

Under normal circumstances, Universal Credit claimants would need to meet with their work coach to demonstrate their claimant commitments. Failure to do so results in a ‘sanction’, which is when your benefits are cut.

Self-employed and gig economy workers will also be able to apply for Universal Credit, or new-style employment and support allowance (ESA) to compensate for the fact that they are not entitled to statutory sick pay.

Advances for Universal Credit are available immediately (as the benefit usually takes around five weeks to set up).

Which? Coronavirus advice

Experts from across Which? have been compiling the advice you need to stay safe, and make sure you’re not left out of pocket.


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