A comprehensive support package for those financially impacted by coronavirus has been set out by Nationwide Building Society as it increases help for those struggling.
Britain's biggest building society has developed a dedicated coronavirus support page to make it as easy as possible to arrange payment breaks. The online resource is intended for anyone who is or anticipates being in financial difficulty due to coronavirus - from loss of income or employment to anyone struggling to pay their bills or meet financial obligations.
It is hoped that the resource will not only accelerate applications but also free up telephone lines in order to reduce waiting times, particularly for elderly and vulnerable members who may not use online services.
The expanded support now covers three-month payment breaks across credit card, personal loan and mortgage payments for both residential and Buy-to-Let home loans, in addition to an overdraft interest holiday until 1 July.
Once members have selected the payment holiday they require, a simple online form needs to be filled out, which will then be processed by Nationwide. The measures will not impact someone's credit score although the interest will continue to accrue and will be factored into monthly payments after the payment-free period ends. However, overdrafts payment holidays will not carry the interest over.
Credit cards: from Thursday 26 March via Nationwide's coronavirus support service:
Nationwide will provide a grace period on card repayments for three months, starting from April. Monthly payments will be reduced to £1 a month in that time to help people in financial hardship due to coronavirus. Late payment fees will also be waived for anyone on a credit card payment holiday.
Credit card holidays will be notified in the member's next statement, with the payment break starting from the following month.
Overdrafts: from Friday 27 March via Nationwide's coronavirus support page:
The Society will not charge overdraft interest from 20 April until 1 July for those financially impacted by coronavirus. Members can request a fee-free overdraft interest holiday by competing the online form, which will be available from Friday, March 27. Nationwide will text to acknowledge requests.
This means that financially impacted members will not pay any interest on their overdraft in the period – a move to ensure the hardest hit aren't charged for borrowing more when they need it the most.
Personal loans: from Friday 27 March via Nationwide's coronavirus support page:
Like credit cards, Nationwide will provide a three-month grace period on card repayments, starting from April. Again, monthly payments will also be reduced to £1 a month to help people struggling financially as a result of coronavirus.
Personal loan holidays will start from the next payment due although if the Direct Debit is already in process the payment break will begin the following month.
Mortgages - residential: from now via coronavirus support page:
Nationwide is offering members, regardless of arrears status, a three-month mortgage payment break for those impacted by coronavirus. These will not be registered as arrears on a person's credit file and will be offered until at least 30 April. The payments breaks can be applied for online with the Society aiming to respond to those applications within five to seven working days, although this may take longer given the high volume of requests.
As with personal loans, a mortgage payment holiday would take effect from when the following month's mortgage payment is due. In the event a direct debit is already in progress, the break would take effect from the following month.
Mortgages - Buy-to-Let: available via coronavirus support page:
Nationwide is supporting landlords and their tenants financially impacted by coronavirus by extending mortgage payment holidays to include rental properties. These can be arranged via The Mortgage Works – Nationwide's buy-to-let arm.
The Society's support package comes in addition to the work Nationwide already does to provide support for those who are vulnerable or in financial difficulty. This includes penalty-free early access to savings in fixed term accounts and increased credit card or overdraft limits to help get through a short period of reduced income.
Sara Bennison, who oversees Nationwide's products and propositions, said: “These are difficult and uncertain times and we want to do what we can to provide support for those who most need it. Our support package is aimed at providing short-term relief to those who have been financially affected by coronavirus and to ease their worries by giving greater reassurance.
“We have focussed on providing a simple online service which will not only help streamline applications but also free up our telephone lines for those who are unable to get online.
“As a mutual owned by our members, we have a responsibility to help those who require additional financial support. Never has that been truer than now."