Money and energy during coronavirus

Last updated: 17/04/2020

This section has information on energy bills, overdrafts, credit cards, loans and car finance.

Energy bills

If you’re going to have trouble paying your gas or electricity bill, dig out a recent copy of your bill for details of the number to call to talk to your provider. They will be able to tell you about ways you can make affordable repayments and they should also check if you’re on the best tariff for your needs. It’s also possible to switch providers even if you’re in arrears to get a better tariff. If you’re struggling to pay your bill, you will receive support and no meter disconnections will take place.

The Government and energy suppliers have agreed to new emergency measures to help prepayment meter  customers unable to top up during the pandemic, including posting cards loaded with emergency credit to those who are self-isolating, adding discretionary credit to your meter, and allowing you to nominate someone to top up for you. See Money Saving Expert.

How to get help if you can’t afford to pay for your power top-up. Useful information here from Citizens Advice.

Read the Money Advice Service guide on How to save money on gas and electricity bills.

Overdrafts, credit cards, loans, store cards and catalogue debt

Banks should offer a temporary payment freeze on credit card and loans for three months and offer interest-free overdrafts of up to £500 on current accounts. Don’t just stop paying though – agree it with your lender first. Then these payment holidays can’t hurt your creditworthiness. For more information check Money Saving Expert.

Car Finance

Over nine in ten of us now pay for our vehicles on Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreements. If you’re going to struggle to meet your repayments because of coronavirus, talk to the car finance company as soon as you can. They might offer to extend the cost of the contract which would lower your monthly payments or come to another arrangement to help you out.

For more information on what to do if you want to end a lease agreement early read Money Advice Service guide on Cutting car finance costs.