HOUSEHOLDS whose finances have taken a hit from coronavirus may be given a lifeline from their bank in the form of bigger overdrafts and mortgage repayment holidays.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the UK has now risen to 115 – see our live blog for the latest.
But financial trade body UK Finance says banks, building societies, and credit card providers will show understanding to customers who contract the virus.
It's told lenders to offer support, which could include increasing an overdraft or allowing repayment relief for loan or mortgage repayments.
UK Finance says this could be because customers have suffered a drop in income or because of unexpected expenses or bills they've had to pay, for example.
But crucially, you won't be offered assistance unless you ask, so it's vital anyone struggling gets in touch with their provider.
The trade body wouldn't go into any more detail, saying it's up to lenders exactly how they deal with cases, and for how long they continue to offer help.
Of course, if you go to your bank and you're unhappy with its response or you don't get one for more than eight weeks, you can complain to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance said: "Banks, building societies and credit card providers understand that some of their customers may be worried about the effect that contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on their finances, for example due to a drop in income or because of unexpected expenses or bills to pay.
"All providers are ready and able to offer support to their customers who are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19, which could include offering or increasing an overdraft or allowing repayment relief for loan or mortgage repayments: asking for help early is key.
“We would encourage customers who think they may be affected to contact their provider as soon as possible to discuss the support available to them."
UK Finance adds that it's also "committed to supporting" small- and medium-sized businesses suffering cash flow issues because of coronavirus.
In this scenario, it's also advised businesses get in touch with their lenders to discuss how they can be supported over the coming weeks.
For more information, check out how to coronavirus-proof your finances from booking a holiday to stockpiling.
Also see our full guide to your rights to sick pay if you have to self-isolate due to coronavirus.
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