In line with FCA guidelines, payday lenders
are allowed to offer customers a 1-month payment holiday if they are struggling to repay their payday loans. This is known as a ‘payment holiday’ or a ‘freeze.’
Due to Covid-19, the FCA has committed to helping customers
and offering forbearance to those struggling to keep up with payments.
Many Britons have suffered financially due to Covid-19 and for existing payday loan customers, having a payment holiday is designed to give you a bit of breathing space, without impacting your credit score.
Must check the deadline (currently 31st Oct 2020 but likely to be extended) Must request a payment holiday from the lender before payment is due You can request a one-off payment holiday The payment holiday lasts for just one month (no longer) You may need to pay just £1 as a deferral fee Your credit score will not be impacted
How long can I get a payday loan payment holiday for?
As a borrower, you are only allowed to request a one-off payment holiday for a period of one month. Given the short term nature of payday loans, you can have a break from paying for just one month, with no impact to your credit score.
For other longer-term products such as credit cards, car finance and mortgages, you may receive up to 3 months of payment holidays.
With a payday loans holiday, you can only request this on a one-off occasion during the loan term. You cannot have multiple payment holidays for the same payday loan. You can request a payment holiday if you have multiple lenders, so you would approach each lender separately.
How do I ask my lender for a payment holiday?
You can simply call or write to your payday lender and request a payment holiday of one-month. Each case will be assessed separately and if you have been struggling to pay off the same loan for a long time, they may give you general forbearance measures, as according to the FCA.
So rather than having a month off, you may be required to enter a ‘payment plan’ whereby you pay smaller amounts each month, for longer, until the debt has been cleared. This will be recorded on your credit file.
What information does the lender need to grant my payment holiday?
A lender will typically need to know why you have requested a freeze or payment holiday. You can mention any loss of income or earnings or whether you are taking precautionary measures just in case. The lender may also look at other factors such as your credit score and previous payment history of the same loan.
What happens once the payment holiday has been approved?
Once approved, you will not be required to pay for the upcoming month and this payment is just deferred until the following month. The total loan amount and interest repayable will stay the same and your credit score will not be affected.
What if I am still struggling to pay afterwards?
If you have used the payment holiday but are struggling to repay your loan
, there are other options you can take.
The most common is to enter the forbearance guidelines as presented by the FCA. This may include setting up a payment plan or deferring payments until a later date, however, this may incur extra charges and negatively impact your credit rating.
If you are having long-term financial difficulties, you can obtain free advice from the MoneyAdviceService or Citizens Advice Bureau or you enter a debt management programme to help you pay off your debts over several months or years.