Coronavirus (Covid-19): Information for firms on consumer credit

Information for firms on credit cards (including store cards and catalogue credit), personal loans, overdrafts, motor finance and high cost credit agreements.

On 25 March 2021, we published an assessment of firms’ support for consumers financially impacted by coronavirus and a statement of ongoing relevance of Tailored Support Guidance.

We have updated our guidance for firms on the approach to repossessions from 31 January 2021. Consumer credit firms will be able to repossess goods and vehicles from 31 January 2021.
However, this should only be as a last resort, and subject to complying with relevant government public health guidelines and regulations, for example on social distancing and shielding.
Importantly, we expect firms to exercise particular care when dealing with vulnerable customers and carefully consider the potential impacts when deciding whether repossession of goods or vehicles is appropriate.

Previous guidance

On 19 November, we confirmed updated support to help people facing payment difficulties due to coronavirus. This includes support for those who are newly affected, and those who have already benefitted from support under the guidance. 

These measures cover some of the most commonly used consumer credit products, including; personal loans, credit cards, motor finance, high-cost short-term credit and buy-now pay-later, rent-to-own and pawnbroking. 

The measures don't cover overdrafts, which will continue to be covered by the September guidance.

On 30 September 2020, we confirmed the next steps of support for consumers with overdrafts and consumer credit products. This includes what support may be needed for consumers who have already made use of our temporary guidance but are still in financial difficulty. 

On 15 July 2020, we confirmed further measures to support users of other consumer credit products facing payment difficulties due to coronavirus. These measures covered motor finance and high cost credit agreements including high-cost short-term credit, buy-now-pay-later, rent-to-own and pawnbroking:

On 1 July 2020, we confirmed further support to help people facing payment difficulties due to coronavirus with some of the most commonly used consumer credit products. These measures cover credit cards (including store cards and catalogue credit), personal loans and overdrafts. For the users of these consumer credit products we've published updated guidance:

On 24 April 2020, we first confirmed a package of measures to support consumers using these consumer credit products:

On 9 April 2020 we first confirmed a package of temporary measures to help users of these consumer credit products:

Unsecured debt products – persistent credit card debt

 

On 25 March 2021, we published as assessment of firms’ support for consumers financially impacted by coronavirus and a statement of ongoing relevance of Tailored Support Guidance.

 

Under our rules, firms are required to take a series of escalating steps to help customers who are making low credit card repayments over a long period. After 36 months of a customer being in persistent debt (PD36) the firm must offer the customer options to help repay the debt more quickly. If customers do not respond to the PD36 communication within a reasonable period set by the firm, the card must be suspended.

In March 2020, we updated our website setting out an expectation (in light of the effect of coronavirus on customers) that firms should show greater flexibility to customers who had been in persistent credit card debt for 36 months.

We said that credit card firms should give these customers until 1 October 2020 to respond to firms’ PD36 communications. This meant that firms were not required to suspend the cards of non-responders before then. This expectation applied both to those who had already received communications from their provider and those that were yet to receive them.

For those customers who are yet to receive a PD36 communication, firms can now decide what is a reasonable period of time to give these customers to respond to a PD36 communication. This should not be earlier than 1 October.

Payment deferrals and PD36 communications

For those customers granted a payment deferral under our credit cards and coronavirus temporary guidance for firms which we first published in April and updated in July, firms should take account of the disapplication of the persistent debt rules to customers granted a payment deferral, for the duration of any payment deferral granted.

When the provisions start to apply again after the payment deferral period, as we set out in the guidance, firms should take account of the duration of any payment deferral when considering what is a reasonable period within which the customer should be requested to respond to the PD36 communication.

Page updates

27/01/2021: Information changed Finalised Guidance – Consumer credit and coronavirus: Tailored Support Guidance
09/12/2020: Editorial amendment Correction to link in the right hand navigation