Equifax UK response to FCA temporary financial relief for customers impacted by coronavirus
Patricio Remon, President of Europe at Equifax, comments on the FCA temporary financial relief for customers impacted by coronavirus:
“The FCA proposals will have a welcome impact on the lives of consumers in financial difficulty and should provide clarity for lenders and credit providers. We have worked closely with other credit reference agencies and developed reporting guidelines to help minimise any adverse effects on UK consumers’ credit files when lenders agree to an emergency payment freeze. The principles of the current CRA guidance were already designed to cover a range of portfolios including mortgages, credit cards and personal loans. Lenders who follow the principles of this reporting guidance should help minimise the impact of an emergency payment freeze on a consumer’s credit file.”
Looking beyond the here and now
“The next important consideration is how lenders should treat consumers when the emergency payment freeze ends. A consumer that had an up-to-date payment status prior to being granted an emergency payment freeze should not see their payment status worsen when they exit from the emergency payment freeze. If a consumer is able to resume their normal contractual monthly payments, and pay each month when due, their payment status should continue to be reported as up-to-date moving forward.
“This is something that Equifax are encouraging lenders, trade associations and regulators to look at. Equifax will continue to work with regulators, lenders and other credit reference agencies to deliver the most appropriate customer outcomes in this unprecedented time.”
Any consumer who is experiencing financial difficulties that will impact their ability to make a payment must contact their lender or credit provider to discuss the support available.
A wide range of additional information and educational support around credit files is available via the Equifax Knowledge Centre at equifax.co.uk. There are also a number of organisations consumers can contact for free debt advice*.
*SOURCES OF FREE DEBT ADVICE
Advice NI (Northern Ireland)
0800 917 4607
Advice NI offer information, advice, advocacy and representation on tax and benefits; debt; housing; employability / help to work; consumer rights; and older people’s issues.
0300 777 0107
AdviceUK is the UK’s largest support network for free, independent advice centres.
Citizens Advice Bureau
0344 411 1444
The Citizens Advice service is a network of charities that provide free, confidential and impartial advice on a wide range of problems from over 3,500 locations across the UK, including debt and consumer issues.
Civil Legal Advice (CLA)
0345 345 4345
Get legal advice in England and Wales if you’re eligible for legal aid.
Money Advice Service
0800 138 7777
Money Advice Service provides free and independent advice for those in debt.
0808 808 4000
National Debtline is a free, independent and confidential debt advice service run by the charity Money Advice Trust.
0808 280 2816
Payplan offers comprehensive advice, guidance and support for anyone struggling with debt. Its purpose is to help people find a way out of debt and enable them to take back control of their money.
0800 138 1111
StepChange is the UK's leading debt advice charity, and has been helping people break free from problem debt for 20 years.