Finance advice during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for our finance customers

Published 20 March 2020. Updated 1 April 2021. 


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 breaks – you have until 31 March 2021 to apply for an initial payment break or a payment break extension:

  • Personal loan payment break – the guidance issued by the Financial Conduct Authority allowed for customers to apply for initial payment deferrals up until 31 March 2021.  Further payment deferrals are only available after this date if:
  1. You are currently in a payment deferral period and you have reached your scheduled date to resume repayments. For example if you requested an initial payment deferral in January 2021 with payments scheduled to resume in May 2021, then provided request is received prior to the May resumption date, a further payment deferral may be considered; AND
  2. You have not yet availed of the maximum period of 6 months (cumulative) payment deferrals. Please note that as per FCA Guidance, the last date that a payment deferral can be in force is 31st July 2021.

If you’re eligible for a further payment break as above please call us on 0345 266 0124. In the meantime, don't cancel your direct debit payment.

If you’re not eligible to apply for a payment break but find you’re struggling with your finances, please also call us on 0345 266 0124 and we can talk about your current circumstances and what support we can offer you.

  • Credit card payment break if you’re struggling to make your monthly credit card payments, you may be able to apply for a payment break for up to 3 months at a time, with a total break of 6 monthly payments, ending no later than 31 July 2021. To apply call 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
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9am to 5pm

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Savings deposits

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ISAs

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Credit cards

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FAQs about our loans

Payment breaks

I've been financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis – can you help me?

We understand that the coronavirus situation is affecting our customers in different ways, and have a number of options to help you.

If you're in financial difficulty or need to discuss repayments, call us on 0345 266 0124.

What is a payment break?

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued guidance which sets out how we should help customers who are financially impacted by coronavirus.

In line with this guidance, one of the options we have available is a payment break. This means you can skip some of your normal monthly repayments – up to a maximum of 6 months' payments – and then make the missed payments at the end of the original term of your agreement.

The FAQs below relate to a payment break granted under this Financial Conduct Authority guidance.

Can I apply for a payment break?

The guidance issued by the Financial Conduct Authority allowed for customers to apply for initial payment deferrals up until 31 March 2021.  Further payment deferrals are only available after this date if:

  1. You are currently in a payment deferral period and you have reached your scheduled date to resume repayments. For example if you requested an initial payment deferral in January 2021 with payments scheduled to resume in May 2021, then provided request is received prior to the May resumption date, a further payment deferral may be considered; AND
  2. You have not yet availed of the maximum period of 6 months (cumulative) payment deferrals. Please note that as per FCA Guidance, the last date that a payment deferral can be in force is 31 July 2021.

How do I apply for a further payment break?

You can apply for a further payment break by calling us on 0345 266 0124.

Before applying, do think carefully about whether you really need a further payment break. If you can afford to make your monthly repayments it will be in your best interests to do so.

The missed payments will be added to the end of your loan, and the duration of your agreement will be extended by the total length of the payment breaks. Accordingly, you should be able to afford the repayments over a longer period than you originally applied for.

Will taking a payment break have any impact on my credit file?

Normally, if you miss any monthly repayments to your loan this would show on your credit file held by credit reference agencies. But this won't be the case if you're granted a payment break under the Financial Conduct Authority guidance.

Bear in mind that lenders may take other sources into account when making lending decisions, such as your bank account, where they'll be able to see changes to your regular payments, or other information you provide about your payment break. You could therefore find it more difficult to get additional credit.

What will happen when my payment break is coming to an end?

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

If you're able to start making your full repayments 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 coronavirus and are struggling with payments, call us on 0345 266 0124 as soon as possible. We can look at the options available and agree the best way forward to suit your circumstances.

Will my loan account be in 'arrears' if I take a payment break?

No, taking a coronavirus payment break won't mean you're in arrears, as long as you make your contractual monthly repayments as they become due when it ends.

Why did you send me a Notice of Sums in Arrears letter?

Although your account may not be in arrears as a result of your payment break, we're legally required under the Consumer Credit Act (Section 86B) to send you a Notice of Sums 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, or until you clear the shortfall.

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're unable to make any of your contractual monthly repayments, we'll send you a letter or email along with the Notice of Sums in Arrears which will explain what you need to do. It's important you read this carefully as you may have to take immediate action.

I'm not eligible to apply for a payment break – what other options are available to me?

If you're not eligible for a payment break but are struggling with your finances, please call us on 0345 266 0124.

Some potential options we could offer are:

  • A reduction in your monthly repayments for a length of time which suits your current situation.
  • Giving you time to engage with a debit advisor to work out how you can deal with your debt and create a budget.

In order to understand your financial circumstances, we may ask you to complete an income and expenditure assessment. 

To make sure this is as accurate as possible, you'll need information about your incomings and outgoings to hand when you call us. 

You'll find a lot of the information on your latest bank statement, for example your mortgage, rent and electricity payments. Think also about other things you buy from time to time, such as school uniforms.

You need to be aware that if you do take any of these options, they'll show on your credit file held by credit reference agencies. So you may find it more difficult to get credit, or it may be more expensive.



Further help and support

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

StepChange offers a Covid Payment Plan, which allows you to make reduced payments towards your monthly financial commitments for up to a maximum of 12 months.

The The Money Advice Service has useful help too:

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



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?

Our opening times are shown above.


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 may be able to request a payment break.

    Until 31 March 2021:
  • If you haven't had a payment break before, you can request one for up to 3 months at a time.
  • If you're currently on a payment break, you can request an extension for up to 3 months.

In total, you can have a break of up to 6 monthly payments to end no later than 31 July 2021. Call us on 0800 600 5606 to request a break.

    After 31 March 2021:
  • If you're already on a payment break you may be granted an extension for up to 3 months, to end no later than 31 July 2021.
  • If your payment break has come to an end and you're still experiencing difficulties, call us on 0800 600 5606.

If you do take a payment break, we'll 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 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:

Coronavirus COVID 19 update 20200320

 

  • 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. If you had previously requested a 6-month payment break, the balance after the payment break and estimated additional interest per year will be different.
  • 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 does end, your next statement will show your new contractual minimum payment, and when it's due to be paid.

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

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. If you don’t resume your payments, it will impact your credit file.

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're currently on a payment break and 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 a further payment break for up to 3 months, which must end no later than 31 July 2021. In total, you can have a break of up to 6 monthly payments to end no later than 31 July 2021.

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.



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:

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



Persistent debt update

If you received a letter from us saying your account is in persistent debt and you're concerned about paying your credit card, do call us on 0345 600 5606.