Three out of four consumers call for payment holiday extension as deadline looms

A new survey from digital payments expert, PayPoint, sees 75% of respondents calling for the Government’s payment holiday deadline to be extended to match or exceed the furlough scheme. The support scheme allowing consumers to take payment holidays from credit repayments has helped countless families manage the financial impact of COVID-19. However, the scheme comes to an end on 31st March, withdrawing essential support for families who may face redundancy or unemployment when furlough ends.

“While rates of infection are falling and things are beginning to look more positive for the health of the UK population, we have a very long way to go before the economy recovers,” Danny Vant, Client Services Director at PayPoint commented.

“Sadly, the long-term impact of the pandemic means we are likely to see more businesses struggle, and fail, and more people could lose their jobs in the coming months as a result. Ending the payment holiday scheme now will hit struggling families at just the wrong time. The Government must consider extending its vital support to avoid pushing more people into post-COVID poverty.”

PayPoint’s survey of 500 people saw 3 out of 4 people believe the deadline should be extended until 31st October, in line with the furlough scheme. 32% of respondents want to see it extended even further to help people manage their finances once the furlough scheme ends and redundancy and potential unemployment fears allayed.

Two in three respondents believe lenders should change their future approach to collections, offering greater flexibility and moving away from fixed-term and fixed payment date commitments. Almost one in three would like lenders to be given the authority to make their own assessment on extending payment holidays for those in financial difficulty.

PayPoint’s PayByLink solution is already helping businesses collect with care. Available through digital payment solution, MultiPay, PayByLink allows businesses to collect due or arrears payments without damaging the customer relationship, by engaging with them sensitively and responsibly. Businesses can communicate with customers by SMS or email to remind them of upcoming payments due or to offer options that start the customer on a journey to repayment, whilst being flexible and sensitive. PayByLink not only increases the effectiveness of customer communication but also the likelihood of collecting full or part payment.

Danny Vant continued: “One of the key life lessons we have all learnt in the past 12 months is the importance of working together and supporting each other. Now that things are beginning to head towards something resembling ‘normal’, it is vital that we do not forget that lesson. Now is the time for the credit industry to support our consumer and business partners effectively and flexibly. The Government scheme should not end now, when so many consumers still need that vital support, but solutions such as PayByLink can bridge the gap by allowing businesses to provide customers with the payment flexibility they need, responsibly and with care.”