Finance advice during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for our finance customers

Published 20 March 2020. Updated 4 November 2020.


Important information

Following the new national restrictions from the government on 31 October, the Financial Conduct Authority has announced it will issue guidance to lenders regarding further support for customers affected by the coronavirus situation.

Until we receive this guidance, you can still apply for a payment break. We'll update our support pages when we have further details.


The AA is committed to supporting its customers through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and we're here ready to help you.

The safety and welfare of our colleagues and customers is our priority at all times. We've provided guidance in line with the World Health Organization and Public Health England for all our colleagues. And we're working closely with financial institutions to best manage the provision of banking services if the situation escalates.

Payment breaks

Many of you are worried and have questions about your arrangements in the face of financial difficulties. We've therefore put the following arrangements in place:

  • Mortgage payment break of up to 3 months – we'll provide this option until 31 October 2020 for customers who have owner-occupier or buy-to-let mortgages.

  • As your mortgage is provided by Bank of Ireland (UK) plc you'll be redirected to their website. Or you can call us on 0800 169 6010.
  • Personal loan payment break for 3 months – if your financial circumstances have changed due to the impacts of the coronavirus crisis, and you don't already have a payment break, you can apply for one until 31 October 2020.

  • As your loan is provided by Bank of Ireland (UK) plc you'll be redirected to their website. While we deal with your application, don't cancel your direct debit payment.
  • You already have a personal loan payment break – if you're concerned that you won't be able to start repayments when the break ends or need immediate assistance then call us on 0345 266 0124.

    In the meantime, don't cancel your direct debit payment.
  • Credit card payment break of up to 3 monthsif you’re struggling to make your monthly credit card payments, you can apply for a payment break until 31 October 2020 by calling us on 0800 600 5606.

See the FAQs below for full details of our payment breaks.

These offered payment breaks won't affect customers' credit files held by credit reference agencies.

Contacting us

You can use our online services to access and manage your accounts. If you do need further assistance, here's how to contact us:

Our call centre times are below. Bear with us, our phone lines are very busy while the coronavirus crisis continues.

We want to prioritise those with immediate financial concerns. If you're planning to call us, consider the critical nature of your enquiry to help us prioritise those who need us most.

Fraud and coronavirus

Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). To protect yourself from fraud and cybercrime, be vigilant with phishing emails or emails with attachments that may contain malware. We want you to stay safe.

Call centre times
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

Mortgages

9am to 5pm

9am to 5pm

9am to 5pm

9am to 5pm

9am to 5pm

Closed

Closed

Loans

8am to 7pm

8am to 7pm

8am to 7pm

8am to 7pm

8am to 7pm

8am to 2pm

Closed

Savings deposits

9am to 7pm

9am to 5pm

9am to 5pm

9am to 5pm

9am to 5pm

9am to 2pm

Closed

ISAs

9am to 7pm

9am to 7pm

9am to 7pm

9am to 7pm

9am to 7pm

9am to 1pm

Closed

Credit cards

8am to 8pm

8am to 8pm

8am to 8pm

8am to 8pm

8am to 8pm

8am to 8pm

8am to 8pm

FAQs about our loans

Payment breaks

Do you offer a coronavirus payment break for loans?

Yes. Many of our customers are worried about their accounts during the coronavirus situation.

A coronavirus payment break can be applied to your personal loan if you're struggling to meet the monthly repayments due to the impacts of the coronavirus crisis.

As your loan is provided by Bank of Ireland (UK) plc you'll be redirected to their website.

If you want to discuss your loan first, you can call us on 0345 266 0124.

While we deal with your application, don't cancel your direct debit payment. This could have a negative impact on your credit files.

Otherwise the break won't affect your credit files held by credit reference agencies. But lenders may take into account other information when making future lending decisions, including information provided by you or bank account information.

If you take a payment break we're legally obliged to send you a Notice of Sums in Arrears. This tells you that you've fallen behind with your payments and are in breach of your agreement with us.

However, this is not the case. Your account won't be in arrears as long as you make your contractual monthly payments when the payment break ends. We'll contact you before it ends and remind you of the date when your payments restart and the amount.

What happens if I take a payment break?

If a payment break is applied to your loan:

  • Your loan payments will be paused for 3 months.
  • After the 3 month period, we'll contact you to reassess your circumstances.
  • Your monthly repayment will remain the same after the payment break.
  • As your loan has been paused for 3 months, your final loan term will be extended by 3 months.
  • We'll contact you before your payment break ends to remind you that the loan repayments are due to restart.
  • If you're not able to resume the repayments then contact us. We can discuss the range of options and agree the best way forward for you.

Will applying for the payment break affect my credit score?

No. There won't be any impact on your credit score. But lenders may take into account other information when making future lending decisions, including information provided by you or bank account information.

What happens after I apply for a payment break?

We aim to confirm the payment break by email within 5 to 7 working days from when you submitted your application. The email will also confirm when your payments will start again.

Where we can, we'll start the payment break from your next payment. However, if your payment is due in the next few days, the payment break may start the following month.

Don't cancel your direct debit payment with your bank, as this could have a negative impact on your credit score.

Along with the email we're legally obliged to send you a letter with a Notice of Sums in Arrears. You can be assured that your account is not in arrears, provided you make your contractual monthly payments when the payment break ends.

What happens when my payment break ends?

We'll send a reminder before your payment break ends. This will tell you the amount of your contractual monthly payments and when they're due to restart.

If you can making your full payments again – and they're affordable – it would be in your best interests to do so.

If you still have financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus situation, and are struggling with payments, contact us as soon as possible on 0345 266 0124. We can then discuss a range of options and agree the best way forward for your circumstances.

One option when your payment break ends could be a second break. But if this isn't appropriate we'll work with you to agree an alternative, such as a reduction in your monthly payments for an agreed period.

You should only contact us if you've already received a reminder letter or you're in immediate need of support.

I've received a Notice of Sums in Arrears. Do I need to do anything?

No. We have to send a Notice of Sums in Arrears where there is a shortfall of no less than the sum of the last two payments which you were required to make. This is in compliance with the Consumer Credit Act (Section 86B). However, during the agreed payment break you're not in arrears.

If you do miss your contractual payment which becomes due when the payment break ends then the notice will become relevant. In this outcome, you should try to clear your arrears.

What if I'm not eligible for a payment break but still impacted by coronavirus?

Even if you're not eligible for a payment break, we'll still offer you support at this time. Normal arrears relief measures will apply for the period of distress.

Our call centre team can explain your options.



Further help and support

If you want free, confidential and impartial advice about your finances, you can contact these organisations:

The Financial Conduct Authority also provides consumer information and details of free sources of impartial financial help.

And the The Money Advice Service has a Money Navigator Tool which can help you create an action plan based on your individual circumstances.



When is your call centre open?

Due to staffing restrictions arising from the coronavirus situation, we've had to adjust our opening hours. The times are shown above. We apologise for any inconvenience.


FAQs about our savings and ISA accounts

Can I break my fixed term ISA and withdraw my money early?

If you have a 1 or 2 year fixed rate ISA, we can help if you're facing difficult circumstances.

Supporting you is our priority, so do call us on 0333 220 5069.



Are my savings with the AA safe?

Savings products with the AA are provided by Bank of Ireland (UK) plc.

Your eligible deposits with Bank of Ireland (UK) plc are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the UK's deposit guarantee scheme.

The total limit is applied to the all deposits you have with the following:

  • Bank of Ireland (UK) plc
  • Post Office Money
  • Savings accounts under the AA brand provided by Bank of Ireland (UK) plc

Any deposits you hold above the total limit between these brands are unlikely to be covered.

If you've any more questions about your savings, call us on 0345 266 0001.



When is your call centre open?

Due to staffing restrictions arising from the coronavirus, we have had to adjust our opening hours. The times are shown above. We apologise for any inconvenience.


FAQs about our credit card

Can I manage my account online?

Our lines are currently very busy and we're sorry for the inconvenience. Meanwhile, you can still use our online or automated services:

  • Log into or register your account online, or download our Credit Card app from the Google Play or Apple App stores. Services include checking your balance, viewing transactions, PIN services and updating your contact details.

  • Call our 24/7 automated phone self-service on 0345 600 5606 to check your balance, previous transactions and make a payment.


Payment breaks

Do you offer a payment break?

If you think you'll struggle to make your monthly credit card payments due to the coronavirus situation, you can request a payment break of up to 3 months. You can apply up to 31 October 2020.

This means we can temporarily reduce your monthly credit card payment to just £1.

However, you'll still be charged interest on the full balance for each month during the payment break.

The payment break won't impact your credit score.

While a break can help short-term problems with your cash flow, do consider if it's right for you. If you can afford to pay at least your contractual minimum payment, you should continue to do so. This will reduce the amount of interest you pay, and pay off the balance more quickly.

 

Am I eligible for a payment break?

At the moment, we're only offering a payment break if:

  • You're up to date with your payments, or you've only missed your most recent payment.
  • Your income has been impacted as a result of the coronavirus situation.
  • You are the primary cardholder.

If you're already in arrears, or have financial difficulties that are likely to last more than 3 months, then a payment break might not be right for you. If this is the case, call us on 0345 600 5606 and we can discuss your individual circumstances.

What should I know before requesting a payment break?

  • Only the primary cardholder can apply for a payment break - we can't accept applications from additional cardholders.
  • The payment break is for a 3 month period. During this time we'll reduce your minimum payment to £1.
  • You'll be charged interest on the full balance for each month during the payment break. Your monthly statement will show you the interest charged and estimated interest for the following month.
  • By taking a payment break it'll cost you more to repay your balance. Your minimum payment will increase after the payment break due to the interest charged and any spend that has taken place during this period.
  • At the end of the payment break, your monthly payment will go back to your contractual minimum payment. Your statement will show your minimum payment amount due when you need to pay it.
  • During the payment break, you can carry on using your card up to your available credit limit.
  • You can continue to make additional payments to reduce your balance if you want to during the payment break.
  • If you usually pay by Direct Debit, we'll advise you of any changes required. Check your monthly statement too as this will confirm how much and when your Direct Debit will be taken.
  • We won't report this payment break to credit reference agencies. However, lenders may obtain payment break information through other sources and take account of it in future lending decisions.

How much might a payment break cost?

During the payment break we'll reduce your minimum payment to £1. You'll be charged interest on the full balance for each month during the payment break so your balance will increase. As a result your minimum payment will go up once the payment break has ended.

Examples of how much a payment break could cost are shown below:

  • The figures used are for illustration only and don't show exactly what will happen to your account. The minimum payment in these examples is calculated as the maximum of £5, 2.5% of balance or 1% of balance plus interest. 
  • The examples above show how a 3 month payment break could impact the minimum payment due. They assume no additional spend on the account during the payment break - any additional spend will increase the balance and this will mean your minimum payment will be higher.
  • The amount of interest charged to you during the payment break will depend on your balance, your interest rate, and the amount you spend on your card. This will also determine the minimum payment due when the payment break has ended.
  • Estimated additional interest per year assumes minimum payments resume after the break period and no further spend on the account..

How will I know when my payment break is ending?

We'll contact you by email before your payment break ends. When it's ended, your next statement will show your new contractual minimum payment, and when it's due to be paid.

Be aware this payment will be higher: it will be based on the outstanding balance, including any new spend and interest accrued during the payment break.

If you can resume your minimum payments at the end of the payment break, you should do so. You don't need to contact us to do this.

And if you can afford to pay more than your minimum payment, this will help to pay off your balance more quickly, and save money through reduced interest charges.

What if I can't afford to pay my minimum payment once my payment break ends?

If you're confident that you can resume your minimum payments within the next 3 months, but need further temporary support due to the coronavirus situation, we may be able to offer you a further payment break.  

If you're worried that you won't be able to resume your minimum payment once your payment break ends, call us as soon as possible. We'll ask about your everyday spending, so it will help to have details about your income and outgoings to hand.

Your income will include salary, any benefits and other income. Outgoings can include:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Utility bills, such as gas, electricity, water
  • Phone
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Insurance
  • Credit card or loan payments
  • Vehicle expenses, such as fuel, insurance, tax, maintenance
  • Gym or sports membership
  • Savings

If you want free, confidential and impartial advice about your finances, you can contact these organisations:

They will explain the different options available to you. If you're already in touch with an organisation that's giving you financial advice, tell us and we can deal with them directly.

The Financial Conduct Authority also provides consumer information and details of free sources of impartial financial help.

You should seek help that you feel best suits your circumstances.

Can I apply for a further payment break?

If you can resume your monthly payments, it's in your best interests to do so.

If you still have or are likely to experience short term issues with your finances as a result of the coronavirus situation, you can apply for one further payment break for up to 3 months.

Remember that if you do apply for a further payment break the amount you owe will increase, because interest will continue to be charged on the outstanding balance and on any new spend.

Accordingly, your contractual minimum payments will increase once your payment break ends, so do consider if you can afford the increased payments.

We won't report to credit reference agencies that a payment break has been requested. But lenders may take into account other information when making future lending decisions, including information provided by you or bank account information.

We can only offer a maximum of 2 consecutive payment breaks on your credit card account

 



A payment break isn't right for me but I'm still impacted by coronavirus

If you're concerned about your ability to repay your credit card, call us on 0345 600 5606 and we can discuss your circumstances.

For more help, the following organisations offer independent financial advice:



Persistent debt update

If you received a letter from us saying your account is in persistent debt, and that your card will be suspended if you don’t contact us within 30 days, don’t worry.

Due to the coronavirus situation, and following advice from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), we’re extending the deadline for you to get in touch with us until 31 October 2020.

This means that if we don't hear from you, your card won't be suspended and you can continue to use the card for now.

We recognise that these are challenging times. If you're having financial difficulties and are concerned about paying your credit card, do call us on 0345 600 5606.



How can I claim for something I've paid for with my card?

If a transaction paid for by your credit card has been affected by the coronavirus crisis, such as the cancellation of an event, you can make a claim by writing to us at:

Chargeback Unit, AA Credit Cards, PO BOX 2138, Belfast BT1 9RX

You'll need to include the following information:

  • 16 digit card number
  • cardholder's name
  • cardholder's address
  • your phone number
  • copies of all documents regarding the purchase
  • the name of the payee shown on your credit card or bank statement, for example easyJet, Ticketmaster
  • date of purchase – DD/MM/YYYY
  • payment amount shown on your card or bank statement

Due to the large number of transaction claims, processing them is taking longer than usual, so bear with us.

If you've already made a claim, there's no need to call us. We'll be in touch if we need more information.



When is your call centre open?

Due to staffing restrictions arising from the coronavirus situation, we've had to adjust our opening hours. The times are shown above, and we're sorry for any inconvenience.

Meanwhile, you can log into or register your account online, or download our Credit Card app from the Google Play or Apple App stores.



Is the contactless card limit changing?

From 1 April, the limit for contactless payments increased to £45.

The new limit may take some time to be introduced by retailers at this difficult period, so do bear with them.