Coronavirus FAQs for credit card customers

Santander, cahoot and Business Banking credit card customers

We understand at the moment that you may be worried about paying your credit card. On this page you can apply for a payment holiday, find out what happens if your payment holiday is coming to an end, and learn about changes to our fees.

Apply for a payment holiday

Taking a credit card payment holiday means you won’t need to make a payment to your card for up to 3 months. However, interest will be added to your balance each month, so your credit card balance will increase during the payment holiday. 

The below table shows how much interest will be added to your balance if you take a 3 month payment holiday and don’t use your card for any further spending during that time. You’ll receive a statement each month during your payment holiday which will show you exactly how much interest you’ve been charged.

 Example 1Example 2Example 3Example 4
Current card balance

£1,000

£1,000

£4,000£4,000
Interest rate (APR)18.9%

29.9%

18.9%29.9%
Current minimum payment£24.57£32.04£98.26£128.16
Minimum payment during holiday£0£0£0£0
Minimum payment after holiday£25.65£34.20£102.62£136.82
Card balance after holiday (with no further spend made)£1,044£1,068£4,177£4,270
Estimated additional interest per year£10£21£42£83

 These are illustrative examples only. 

  • The minimum payment is made up of 1% of the balance plus any interest charged.
  • The examples show how a 3 month payment holiday could impact the minimum payment due.  If you spend on your card during this time, the balance will increase and so will the interest charged.
  • The amount of additional interest charged to you during the payment holiday, and the minimum payment due at the end of it will depend on: 
    • your balance
    • your interest rate, and 
    • the amount you spend on your card.
  • Estimated additional interest per year means the extra interest you’ll be charged as a result of taking the payment holiday.  It will be charged in the 12 months following the start of the payment holiday. It assumes you’ll only be making the minimum payment each month once the payment holiday ends, and that there is no further spend on the card.

You can still make payments during the payment holiday period should your circumstances change. This will help reduce the interest charged and won’t affect your payment holiday.

It’s easy to apply using our online form. Please read the FAQs before deciding whether a payment holiday is right for you. To apply, you’ll need:

  • to be up to date on your credit card payments. If you’re in arrears (which means you’re behind on your payments), and you need support, please visit our money worries page. If you’ve already set up a payment arrangement for the arrears amount and need further help, please call us on 0800 389 6655. If you’re a Business Banking customer, please call us on 0800 169 3371
  • an email address. If you don’t have one, then read our ‘I don’t have an email address’ FAQ below for more options
  • to complete our online form by 31 March 2021.

If you’ve already had a payment holiday, please don’t use this form. You can find further details about support available within the FAQs below. 

If your circumstances have recently changed and you can no longer afford to make your credit card payments, we might be able to offer you another payment holiday. You’re not able to apply for another payment holiday if:

  • you’ve already taken a total of 6 months payment holiday in the past or
  • you’re behind on any of your credit card payments or
  • you’ve got a payment arrangement in place to pay off existing arrears.

If none of the above applies to you, please complete this form to apply for another payment holiday.

If you’ve had a total of 6 months payment holiday in the past, or you’re behind on your payments or have a payment arrangement in place, you’ll need to fill in our budget planner. For details about how to do this, please visit the ‘Budget planning’ section of our money worries page. 

If you’ve already filled in our budget planner in the past, you don’t need to do it again. Please call us on 0800 389 6655 so that we can find a way to help you.

How long can I take the payment holiday for?

You can choose 1, 2 or 3 months when you apply 

When will the payment holiday start?

Your current minimum payment as shown on your latest statement will still need to be paid. The payment holiday you choose will start from your next statement and will show as £0 minimum payment to be paid that month, so you know the payment holiday is in place. 

I have several credit cards with Santander, does the payment holiday apply to all of them?

Yes it can, but you need to submit a separate form for each card online. 

Will it impact my credit file if I miss these payments?

No - we’ll make sure this doesn’t happen. If applying for credit in the future, please be aware lenders will look at other sources as well as your credit file, such as details provided on an application or bank account information. 

Will I still be sent a statement?

Yes - you’ll continue to receive your monthly statement, however the minimum monthly payment due will show as £0.

Can I make a payment during the payment holiday if my circumstances change?

Yes - you can make a payment at any time and it won’t impact your payment holiday.

I currently pay my credit card by Direct Debit, do I need to do anything?

During the payment holiday the Direct Debit won’t be taken, we’ll take care of this. 

My Direct Debit is set up to clear my full credit card balance but I can’t afford this now – is there anything I can do?

Unfortunately because the payment holiday won’t start until after you’ve made the current payment that’s due, your Direct Debit will still take the full amount. If your next payment due date is within 4 working days we can’t stop this Direct Debit being taken.  If it’s outside of 4 working days, you could cancel the Direct Debit using Online Banking and make a payment for a lower amount. 

I don’t pay my credit card by Direct Debit, can I still take the payment holiday?

Yes – if you normally pay your credit card online, in branch, at a Post Office or over the phone you can still take the payment holiday.

I’ve recently missed a payment on my credit card, can I still take a payment holiday?

If your credit card is in arrears, which means that you’re behind on your payments at the moment, you’ll need to speak to us. Please visit our money worries page for details about how to do this. 

My account is currently in arrears, what happens at the end of the payment holiday?

If you applied for a payment holiday on or before 25 November 2020 and you were in arrears (behind on your credit card payments) when you started your payment holiday, we’ll have cancelled any payment arrangements you had in place then. You do need to pay off the arrears, so you’ll need to get a new payment arrangement in place. We’ll be in touch about this at the end of your payment holiday and – as with any late payments – if you don’t pay or make an arrangement, it will impact your credit file. 

Can I still spend on my card during the payment holiday?

Yes – you can continue spending on your card up to your credit limit unless you’ve had your card blocked for another reason, such as part of persistent debt measures

What happens after I apply?

Once you have submitted the form we’ll take care of everything so there is no need to call us. We’ll send you a text or email to keep you updated on your request. This could take up to 72 hours to arrive if you’ve applied over a weekend.

I’m currently in a 0% promotional period for balance transfers / purchases on my Santander card

During a promotional period you still have to pay the minimum amount due. However if you take the payment holiday, you won’t need to make these payments for up to 3 months. Please be aware that the length of your 0% promotional period will remain the same, it won’t be extended by 3 months.

Can an additional credit card holder request a payment holiday?

No – the request must come from the main account holder.

I normally pay my Santander credit card at a branch but I can’t get there because of coronavirus – what other options do I have?

The quickest and easiest way to make a credit card payment is in Online Banking. You can also pay over the phone but unfortunately due to high demand it’s taking us much longer than usual to answer calls.

I don’t have an email / don’t want to provide this – is there any other way I can get the payment holiday?

The quickest way to do this is via the online form which requires an email address. We will only use the email address to keep you updated about your payment holiday.  If you don’t have an email address, you can call but we are experiencing a very high number of calls at the moment so it will take longer than normal to deal with your request.

  • Santander credit card customers 0800 9 123 123
  • cahoot credit card customers 0800 587 1111
  • Business credit card customers 0800 218 2345

If I don’t want to take a payment holiday, do I have any other options?

There are a number of useful websites you can visit for free impartial advice if you’re worried about your financial situation due to coronavirus or more generally. They give a range of information from practical advice about managing your money to budget planning. 

You could also talk to us about your situation if you’re concerned about missing a payment. We may be able to offer you some much needed breathing space. To talk to us about your credit card call us on 0800 389 6655 or visit our money worries page.

Independent Advice Services
Money Advice Service                                                

How to prioritise your debts 

Financial Conduct Authority Coronavirus support

StepChange

Citizens Advice 

Business Debtline

 

What happens at the end of a payment holiday?

What happens at the end of a payment holiday on my Santander/ cahoot credit card?

If you’ve received a communication from us about your payment holiday ending soon, we’d like you to let us know about your situation. Visit the ‘If your credit card payment holiday is ending’ section of our money worries page and follow the steps to find out how we can help you.

You’ll find a deadline date you need to respond by in the communication from us, to make sure there’s no interruption to the payment holiday if you’re eligible for an extension. 

What happens at the end of a payment holiday on my Business Banking credit card?

If you are a Business Banking credit card customer and would like to discuss the options available to you, please call us on 0800 218 2345. 

Can I extend my payment holiday?

Once you’ve received the text, email or letter from us and followed the steps we talk about above, you’ll know whether we can extend your payment holiday or not. You’re not able to extend your payment holiday if:

  • you’ve already taken a 6 month payment holiday or
  • you’re in arrears on your credit card (behind on your payments) or
  • you’ve had a previous payment arrangement suspended whilst on your payment holiday.

Please think carefully before deciding to extend your payment holiday and remember that interest will continue to be added to your balance, meaning the amount you owe overall will increase.  The interest will continue to show on your monthly statement. The table below gives some examples of how much your balance could increase during the payment holiday period.

 Example 1Example 2Example 3Example 4
Current card balance

£1,000

£1,000

£4,000£4,000
Interest rate (APR)18.9%

29.9%

18.9%29.9%
Current minimum payment£24.57£32.04£98.26£128.16
Minimum payment during 6 month holiday£0£0£0£0
Minimum payment after 6 month holiday£25.79£36.52£107.17£146.06
Card balance after holiday (with no further spend made)£1,090£1,239£4,362£4,558
Estimated additional interest per year£18£36£72£145

These are illustrative examples only. 

  • The minimum payment is made up of 1% of the balance plus any interest charged.
  • The examples show how a 6 month payment holiday could impact the minimum payment due.  If you spend on your card during this time, the balance will increase and so will the interest charged.
  • The amount of additional interest charged to you during the payment holiday and the minimum payment due at the end of it will depend on:  your balance, your interest rate, and the amount you spend on your card.
     
  • Estimated additional interest per year means the extra interest you’ll be charged as a result of taking the payment holiday. It will be charged in the 12 months following the start of the payment holiday. It assumes you’ll only be making the minimum payment each month once the payment holiday ends, and that there is no further spend on the card. 

If I’m eligible for a payment holiday extension when will it start?

You’ll need to get in touch by the date in the email / letter we sent you. If the payment holiday extension request is received after this date, you’ll need to make your next minimum payment before the extension begins.

Six months is the maximum payment holiday you can take. Our money worries page contains details of what you can do next.

If you’re a Business Banking credit card customer, and need further support, you can call us on 0800 169 3371.

I want to start my repayments again at the end of the payment holiday – what do I need to do?

The payment holiday will automatically end and you’ll see the minimum payment due on your statement. If you had a Direct Debit set up on your account before the payment holiday it will restart. Please make sure it’s still suitable for your current circumstances, particularly if it was set up to pay the full balance. 

What happens to my Direct Debit?

If you had a Direct Debit set up on your account before the payment holiday, this will restart. Please ensure this is still suitable for your current circumstances, particularly if it was set up to pay the full balance.

For a payment holiday extension, the Direct Debit will continue to be suspended for the period of the payment holiday.

What if I cancelled my Direct Debit?

You’ll need to set it up again. The easiest way is using Online Banking. We suggest you do this as soon as possible as it can take a while to process.

Will it impact my credit file if I miss these payments?

No we’ll make sure this doesn’t happen. If applying for credit in the future, please be aware lenders will look at other sources as well as your credit file, such as details provided on an application or bank account information. 

I don’t have an email address/ internet access – what can I do?

You’ll need to call us to discuss your options: 
Santander credit card customers 0800 9 123 123
cahoot credit card customers 0800 587 1111

What happens if I have a payment holiday on more than one credit card?

You’ll receive a separate communication for each card. You’ll need to visit the money worries page to tell us your situation for each 
card you set a payment holiday up for. 

If I don’t want to take another payment holiday, do I have any other options?

There are a number of useful websites you can visit for free impartial advice if you’re worried about your financial situation due to coronavirus or more generally. They give a range of information from practical advice about managing your money to budget planning. 

You could also talk to us about your situation if you’re concerned about missing a payment. We may be able to offer you some much needed breathing space. To talk to us about your credit card call us on 0800 389 6655 or visit our money worries page. 

Independent Advice Services
Money Advice Service                                                

How to prioritise your debts

Financial Conduct Authority Coronavirus support

StepChange

Citizens Advice

Business Debtline 

What happens if I don’t respond to the communication you send me?

Your payment holiday will automatically end and your next statement will show the minimum payment due. If you don’t make this payment the missed payment will be reported to the credit agencies which will have a negative impact on your credit file.

If you feel concerned about making a payment please visit our money worries page.

Fees and charges

What is the change? 

We’re removing the late payment fee on our Santander, cahoot and Business Banking credit cards from 31 March 2020 until 31 January 2021.

What is a late payment fee?

As part of your credit card agreement terms and conditions, you are required to make a minimum payment by the date shown on your monthly statement. If a payment is not made on time, then a £12 late payment fee will be charged.

Will this impact my credit rating?

You need to continue to make your minimum payments each month as missing your payment can affect your credit rating. (Please note this is different to a payment holiday where your credit rating won’t be affected)

Does this mean I don’t need to make a credit card payment?

No. Please try and pay at least your minimum payment each month. If you can’t, you’ll have the peace of mind that you won’t be charged a late fee until 1 February 2021 if you miss a payment.

Will I still have to pay interest?

Yes.  Interest will still be applied to your balance and cash transactions in line with your credit card terms and conditions.

Do I need to do anything?

No. We will automatically waive any late fees going forward and they won’t appear on your statement. 

Are cash advance fees removed?  

These were removed for all credit cards between 31st March and 6th July 2020. From the 7th July, these reverted to: 

Cash Advance Fee – 3% (minimum £3)

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