If you can’t pay your bills because of coronavirus
There are things you can do if you're struggling to pay your bills because of coronavirus. This includes things like your:
- council tax
- energy bills
- court orders
- tax bill
It’s important you don’t ignore your bills. Speak to the organisation you owe money to - they might be able to help by letting you pay smaller amounts or take a break.
It’s also worth telling your bank or building society you’re struggling because of coronavirus. If you don’t normally have an overdraft, they might agree to let you have one. If they give you an overdraft or you already have one, they should agree not to charge interest on the first £500 for 3 months.
Some bills can cause you more problems if you don't pay them. It's worth checking what bills you should pay first.
If you normally have to leave the house to pay your bills
You might have difficulty paying if for example you usually pay in cash or post cheques.
Ask if you can pay your bills in a different way, such as a card payment over the phone or an online transfer. You can also contact your bank for advice about different ways to pay.
Check if something is a scam
Make sure you only use trusted sources of information and help about coronavirus and your debts.
Don’t give money or personal details to anyone you don’t know or trust – for example, if someone knocks on your door and offers to help.
You can check if something is a scam.
If you've got less money because of coronavirus
If you’ve been affected by coronavirus, you might be able to claim benefits or get more money on your current benefits if:
- you have coronavirus, or you’re following guidance to stay at home
- you’ve lost your job
- or you’re self-employed and can’t get work
- you can’t work because your workplace has closed
You can contact your local council to see if they can give you any extra help from a hardship fund. Check your local council on GOV.UK.
If you don't already get a council tax reduction
You might qualify for a reduction if your income has dropped or if you started claiming benefits recently.
You should check your local council's rules to see if you qualify for a council tax reduction.
If you don't think you qualify, it's still worth asking your local council if you can get a council tax reduction.
You can find your local council on GOV.UK.
If you can’t pay your mortgage
If you ask your mortgage provider, they might agree to pause your mortgage payments for 3 months. This is called a ‘payment holiday’.
You can ask for a payment holiday for somewhere you live or somewhere you’ve bought to let. If your mortgage provider agrees, it won’t affect your credit rating.
It’s best to ask your mortgage provider for a payment holiday on their website if you can. They have to agree to give you a payment holiday if you can’t pay your mortgage because of coronavirus – for example because you can’t go to work.
If you can, keep making your payments until your mortgage provider agrees you can take a payment holiday.
After your payment holiday you’ll still need to make up the payments you missed, plus interest added during the 3 months. This means you’ll have to either:
- pay more each month
- keep making payments for longer
You can find out more about payment holidays on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website.
You can also find out more about dealing with mortgage problems.
If you’re behind with your mortgage payments
At the moment, your mortgage provider shouldn’t try to repossess your home. They should pause any action they’re already taking until at least 18 June 2020.
Courts have also paused all possession cases.
If your mortgage provider’s still trying to repossess your home, get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.
If you can’t pay your energy bills
Speak to your energy supplier as soon as you can. You might be able to set up a payment plan with them to help spread the cost of your bills.
Find out more about what to do if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills.
If you have a prepayment energy meter
Your supplier will try to help you find ways to keep your energy supply connected if you can’t top up your meter because of coronavirus.
Tell your supplier as soon as possible if you can’t top up. You’ll find their contact details on their website or on your bill.
Check our advice on what to do if:
If you can't pay your mobile, phone, internet or TV bill
The government have announced you should get extra help if you’re a customer of:
- Virgin Media
Contact your supplier and ask what they can do to help. For example, they might agree to help you by:
- reducing your bill
- giving you more time to pay
- increasing your data or download limit
- moving you to a contract that suits your needs better
If you’re a customer of a different provider, you should still ask if they can help. If they refuse, you might be able to switch to a different provider.
If you can’t pay your water bill
It’s best to speak to your water company as soon as you can if you’re having problems paying your bill. You might be able to get a payment holiday on your bill, or move to a cheaper tariff.
You can find out more about what to do if you’re struggling to pay your water bill.
You can also read the information for customers on Water UK's website.
If you can't pay a county court judgment or court order
You might be able to change the amount you have to pay. Find out how to change what you pay.
If you can't pay your tax bill
If you're struggling to pay your tax bill, you should speak to HMRC straight away. You can call them on their coronavirus helpline:
HMRC coronavirus helpline
Telephone: 0800 0159 559
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
Calls to this number are free.
You can read more about what to do if you can't pay your tax bill on time on GOV.UK.
If your individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) includes tax debt
If you have an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) that includes tax debt, you might be able to delay your payments.
Speak to your insolvency practitioner - they'll let you know if it's possible to delay your payments.
You can find out more about what to do if you're struggling to pay your IVA.
If you’re paying back a benefit overpayment or budgeting loan
You don’t have to make any repayments until at least 1 July 2020 – this includes payments to debt collection companies.
If money’s normally taken off your benefits or earnings to repay them, this will stop – you don’t have to do anything.
If you normally repay them yourself, you can stop making payments. If you pay by direct debit, you can ask your bank to cancel it.
If you got an advance payment of Universal Credit, you’ll still have to pay this back.
If you can’t pay your credit card bills
At the moment, your credit card company won’t stop your credit card – even if they’ve said they might.
They might also agree to reduce or pause your payments for 3 months.
If you can’t repay a loan
Your lender might agree to reduce or pause your payments temporarily.
This might be money you’ve borrowed from a bank or a loan company. It could also be a payday loan or money from a pawnbroker.
If you can’t pay for something you bought on finance
The finance company might agree to reduce or pause your payments for 3 months.
You might have used finance to buy things like:
- a car
- something for your home - like a washing machine or furniture
Buying something on finance is sometimes known as ‘rent to own’ or ‘hire purchase’.