Beware: mortgage payment holidays could cost you

Taking a break from mortgage or credit-card debt could ultimately cost you more in extra interest than the money you save.

If you are taking a payment holiday from your mortgage or credit-card debt, tread carefully. Not paying your bills – even with the approval of your lender – could lead to problems with your credit rating and cost you hundreds of pounds. So far 1.6 million homeowners have taken a repayment holiday on their mortgage. It means you won’t have to make your monthly repayments for a few months, which could come in very handy during lockdown. But your bank is going to do very well out of the arrangement. 

Lenders are set to make at least £821m in extra interest as a result of people taking a break from their mortgage repayments, says Kate Palmer in The Times. The average borrower will save £2,256 in repayments over a three-month mortgage holiday. But “they will ultimately pay £500 more than without the break because of the interest accrued on the unpaid sum”.

Anyone taking a mortgage holiday also needs to be careful it doesn’t lead to problems with their credit report. Don’t cancel your direct debit until your lender has confirmed that your application for a repayment break has been accepted. Banks are struggling to cope with the number of customers wanting a mortgage holiday, leading to delays in approvals.

“Those who miss a mortgage payment because a break has not yet been confirmed by the lender could be marked as going into arrears,” says Marianna Hunt in The Daily Telegraph. “This could affect their credit score and result in extra interest being charged.”

Even if you do everything by the book, a mortgage repayment holiday could affect your future ability to get a mortgage. The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed that “banks could take a holiday into account when they decide whether to offer a mortgage”, says Hunt. 

The same advice applies if you are stopping your credit-card repayments. Your interest will continue to build, so you will owe more when you restart paying and it could affect your credit rating – even though it shouldn’t. Some borrowers are taking a hit to their credit report as lenders accidentally report repayment breaks as missed payments. 

Pre-empt this by waiting until you have received formal approval for a payment holiday before you cancel your direct debit. If you have taken a repayment holiday keep an eye on your credit report. If a payment is marked as late or defaulted contact your lender and ask them to correct it.

Recommended

A sophisticated trio of scintillating whites
Wine

A sophisticated trio of scintillating whites

An Australian sauvignon blanc that is as sophisticated and refreshing as any Loire superstar’s creation, plus a chardonnay and shiraz, too.
18 Jan 2022
Made money in cryptocurrencies? Don’t forget to pay your taxes – in sterling
Bitcoin & crypto

Made money in cryptocurrencies? Don’t forget to pay your taxes – in sterling

Speculating on cryptocurrencies is akin to gambling in all but one respect, says Merryn Somerset Webb: you must pay tax on any gains, and you must pay…
18 Jan 2022
HubSpot: a tech stock set to tumble
Trading

HubSpot: a tech stock set to tumble

US tech stocks have had a fantastic couple of years. But this year is unlikely to be so bullish for high-fliers that can’t turn big profits.
18 Jan 2022
How to help your business cope with rising energy costs
Small business

How to help your business cope with rising energy costs

With rising energy costs putting cost pressures on the country's businesses, the best way to keep the lights on is to make sure you’re turning them of…
18 Jan 2022

Most Popular

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022
Stockmarkets

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022

Forget Covid-19 – it’s the unexpected twists that will rattle markets in 2022, says Matthew Lynn. Here are five possibilities
31 Dec 2021
Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise
Tech stocks

Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise

The realisation that central banks are about to tighten their monetary policies caused a sell-off in the tech-heavy Nasdaq stock index and the biggest…
14 Jan 2022