Coronavirus FAQs for credit card customers

Santander, cahoot and Business Banking credit card customers

Applications for new payment holidays on credit cards ended on 31 March 2021. The FAQs below give you some important information about what happens if you’re still in a payment holiday and what happens when it ends.

We understand that life isn’t back to normal yet for many. So although we’ve stopped offering payment holidays, if you’re worried about paying your credit card check our money worries page - we’re here to help.

Payment holidays – general information

If you started a payment holiday before 1 April 2021, you’ll have arranged with us not to make payments on your card for up to 6 months. However, interest is still added to your balance each month, so your credit card balance will increase during the payment holiday. 

The below table shows an example of how much interest would be added to a balance if you took a 3 month payment holiday and didn’t use your card for any further spending during that time. You’ll have received a statement each month during your payment holiday which shows 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.

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

If 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

Can I cancel my payment holiday?

Yes – you can cancel your payment holiday by calling us:

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

Remember, you can always make up for any missed payments during your payment holiday. For information about how to do this, please see the ‘One-off payments’ section of our credit card repayments page

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.

What happens at the end of a payment holiday?

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

Before you restart your payments, we’ll send you an email or text message (if you gave us your email address or mobile number) or a letter outlining what you need to do next. If you’re worried about restarting your credit card payments, please visit the ‘If your credit card payment holiday is ending’ section of our money worries page for more information. If you need further support with your credit card payments, you must get in touch with us by the date in the communication. 

If your financial situation has improved and you’re able to restart your monthly payments, your statement will show the minimum payment you need to make, the date it’s due and all the payment options. For more information about this, please see the ‘Direct debits and repayments’ section below. 

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, you’ll know whether we can extend your payment holiday or not. If you are eligible for an extension, you must get in touch with us by the date in the communication. Your payment holiday extension can’t cover any payments that are due after 31 July 2021.

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 must get in touch by the date in the email/letter we send you. If the payment holiday extension request is received after this date, we may not be able to give you a further payment holiday.

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. 

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

You’ll receive a separate communication for each card. If you’re worried about restarting your payments on every card you have with us, you only need to speak to us once. If you’ve been asked to complete an online budget planner, again, you only need to do this once. 

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.

I was in persistent debt when I took my payment holiday. What happens next?

If you took a payment holiday while you were in persistent debt, we’ll contact you after your payment holiday ends. If you extend your payment holiday after the date in the email or letter we send you, we may contact you again about persistent debt before the extension begins.

Find out more about persistent debt

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