Worried how coronavirus could affect your mortgage payments, loans and investments? Vicky Shaw finds out.

The spread of coronavirus is causing many big financial worries for people, on top of health concerns.

People's pensions, incomes and insurance could all be affected.

For consumers who are concerned about their immediate financial situation, getting help early could be key, so it's important to talk to your provider sooner rather than later. Free-to-use debt help charities may also be able to help. You may find there's more help out there than you realised.

In the meantime, here is a look at how your finances could be affected by coronavirus and what help may be available...

What if I'm struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments because of coronavirus, or I need to get my hands on money that's locked away in a savings account quickly?

Many banks and building societies have announced the extra help that they will offer to customers with coronavirus.

Several lenders have said this could include mortgage payment holidays for homeowners, or people with other types of debt for certain periods of time, while they get back on their feet.

Some savings providers will also allow people to break out of fixed-term savings accounts without facing penalties, if customers affected by coronavirus are urgently in need of cash.

The provision being put in place varies from bank to bank - so if you are worried, make sure you get in touch with them sooner rather than later to find out exactly how they can help you.

Some businesses are also holding special opening hours for elderly and vulnerable people to shop and make financial transactions.

Meanwhile, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus - 0800 0159 559.

Would taking a payment holiday with a bank dent my credit score?

Kelli Fielding, managing director of consumer interactive at TransUnion, one of the UK's main credit checking companies, explains: "Generally, an agreed mortgage payment holiday shouldn't have a negative impact on a consumer's credit score with TransUnion but they (the borrower) would need to clarify with the lender how it would be recorded on their credit file.

"It's not uncommon for lenders to allow payment holidays at times of illness or in exceptional circumstances outside the customer's control," she adds.

"Consumers should check their credit file regularly to ensure the information held is accurate."

What about my pensions and investments?

Nathan Long, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says savers should think about the longer term.

"It's important to look past short-term fluctuations when saving for long-term targets like retirement, even though fresh news could see more variation in your pension value," says Long.

"Holding your nerve is the biggest challenge facing those with at least 10 years to retirement. It can be painful seeing your pension fall in value, but it could actually be a good time to make a lump sum top up and buy in to the market at lower prices.

"Of course, the value of your pension may still fall lower in the short term, but it should be worthwhile when retirement comes around."

But what if I'm close to retirement?

Long does say those who are closer to retirement may find themselves more vulnerable to stock market falls.

"The first step is to be brave and check how your pension is faring," says Long. "Many pension plans actually start de-risking your investments as you approach the retirement age you've set, which could mean your pension has fallen less than you've feared."

How about travel insurance?

On March 17, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised people against all but essential travel worldwide. The advice was applied initially for a 30-day period.

Several insurers had already temporarily paused the sale of travel policies. Bear in mind that some new policies may carry exclusions related to coronavirus.

This makes it all the more important to check the small print to understand exactly what's covered, and shop around. If you're unclear, ask your insurer.

As the situation develops, help is available online to understand how you may be affected. The UK Government's gov.uk website has general information (gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response).

And MoneySavingExpert.com could help you understand your rights (moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/02/coronavirus-travel-help-and-your-rights).

Meanwhile, Citizens Advice is warning people to beware of scammers preying on those affected - so be cautious if you're contacted by someone offering to act for you to recover your money.


Insurance provides a financial lifeline just when you need it most - but giving incorrect details when taking out policies can lead to costly mistakes.

Some customers may have lost out on their claims, in some cases having to pay tens of thousands of pounds due to not being fully covered, according to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The service, which resolves complaints from consumers about financial firms,is highlighting the problems people can face when they find that they are not fully insured for what they need.

Hundreds of people bring complaints to the ombudsman service every year because they are not satisfied with how their insurer has dealt with a claim where not being fully insured, also known as underinsurance, is an issue.

Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman and chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service, says: "The Financial Ombudsman Service hears from hundreds of people every year who have had problems with not having the right level of insurance for their needs. The implication of being underinsured can be costly, so it's important that customers give their insurer the right information when taking out cover.

"Businesses need to ensure that they ask clear, specific questions - and treat customers fairly when claims are made. If you've had a problem with your insurer and aren't happy with how it has dealt with your complaint, get in touch with our service and we'll see if we can help."

To avoid costly mistakes, the FOS has these tips:


Read the small print to make sure you know what your policy does and doesn't cover.

Talk to your insurer if your circumstances change.

For buildings and contents insurance, get a full estimate of the value of the items you want to cover.


Always go for the cheapest deal - as this may not necessarily cover what you want.

Assume you need the same level of cover year after year.

Be tempted to not give your insurer the full information.


Financial fact: The average price tag on a home across Britain reached a new record high of £312,625 in March, Rightmove has said.


Self-assessment taxpayers will no longer receive automatic paper returns, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced.

Blank copies of self-assessment returns will no longer be sent automatically, as part of paper-saving measures and moves to encourage people to use HMRC's online services.

The government department emphasised that the change does not prevent taxpayers filing a paper return if they still want to, although it said those who are able to file online will be encouraged to do so.


Seven in 10 (70%) people think banks and other savings providers should do more to show where their money is being invested, a survey by Triodos Bank found. Two-thirds (65%) did not know whether their money or savings currently go towards supporting fuels which may have an environmental impact, such as oil, gas or coal.


The Bank of England is exploring the potential risks and benefits of a central bank digital currency. This would be an electronic form of central bank money that could be used by households and businesses to make payments, alongside cash and money held in bank accounts.

The Bank has not yet made a decision on whether to introduce one, and it intends to engage widely with people and organisations on the benefits, risks and practicalities of doing so.

The Bank is inviting feedback to its discussion paper by June 12. It wants to hear from the public, technology providers, the payments industry, financial institutions, academics, other central banks and public authorities.