Top Other Money News

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 26/03/2020

As the UK copes with week one of the Covid-19 lockdown, many consumers will struggle with their finances over the coming weeks and months. To try and help ease the financial pressure the new restrictions will have on personal finances, we’ve looked at how consumers can prepare for the next few months, along with the financial help and support available from the Government and banks.

The Moneyfacts Weekly Product News is a round-up of the latest products or rate changes to hit the consumer finance market this week. The deals are available right now, but may be subject to change. Find the best product for you.

From 1 April 2020, consumers will be able to use contactless payments on amounts of up to £45, as concerns about hygiene when shopping continues.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today made the announcement that the limit on contactless payments was being increased from £30 to £45. It stated that while this increase had been considered for a while, the FCA, along with retailers, decided to bring the decision forward in response to the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent rise in consumers wanting to use contactless for making payments.

Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said: “The payments industry has been working closely with retailers to be able to increase the contactless payment limit to help customers with their shopping at this critical time for the country.

“This will give more people the choice to opt for the speed and convenience of purchasing goods using their contactless card, helping to cut queues at the checkout.

“The industry continues to work closely with the government and regulators to support customers impacted by Covid-19 and ensure that they can pay in a way that suits them.”

This evening the Chancellor announced a range of new “unprecedented” measures that are “one of the most comprehensive in the world” to help businesses and consumers financially cope with the Covid-19 outbreak.

In this evening’s announcement the Chancellor revealed that through its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme it will provide UK businesses with a grant to cover 80% of wages of employees who are not working up to £2,500 per month. This grant can be back dated to the 1 March 2020 and will last for a minimum of three months. The Chancellor stated that there would be no limit to the amount of money the Government will pay towards this grant. These grants can be applied for through the HMRC and it is aiming for the first to be paid within weeks, with the grant completely rolled out by the end of April.

The Chancellor also announced that the Government was extending the interest-free period on its Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme loan to 12 months. In addition to this, it was also announced that no business would pay VAT from now until June and businesses had until the end of the financial year to pay it back.

For consumers who are unemployed the Chancellor stated that the Government was increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 for the next 12 months.

In a measure to help those who are self-employed the Chancellor revealed that through the universal credit they will be able to access the Statutory Sick Pay on offer for employees, which will entitle them to £94.25 per week. Those who are self-employed will also be able to defer self-assessment payments until January 2021.

While it is never advisable to take on debt to manage day-to-day costs, we are currently living through extraordinary times when having access to cheap credit might be a sensible back-up plan. Saying this, there are already signs that lenders will start making borrowing more expensive, as loan rates have started to increase, as well as the suggestion that lenders could start tightening their application processes. As such, consumers might want to consider acting now rather than leaving it for later to ensure they have access to cheap borrowing. Here we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular forms of borrowing and the cheapest options available.

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