What to do if you need a payment holiday on your van or pickup finance

  • Coronavirus pandemic is putting pressure on business finances
  • What to do if you’re worried about meeting your monthly payments
  • Issues and payment holidays will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis

With the enduring seriousness of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, some van and pickup owners and operators will be wondering how they’re going to be able to keep up with their finance and leasing payments. Don't worry - help is potentially at hand in the form of payment holidays.

To try and help with any concerns, we’ve been speaking to van and pickup manufacturers to see how they are responding to customer needs at this time – and the information we’ve been getting back has been overwhelmingly similar.

Without exception, all of them say that anyone who is facing financial difficulties and is concerned about meeting monthly payments should speak directly to their finance or leasing provider – whether that be the manufacturer directly or a third-party finance or leasing company.

What's more, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Britain's financial regulator, has said that all consumers affected by coronavirus can apply for a temporary freeze.

While decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, it should be perfectly possible for many people to set up what’s known as a payment holiday if their needs require it.

What is a van payment holiday?

Whether it’s for a van, a car or your mortgage, a payment holiday works in the same way. It involves a customer temporarily stopping payments during a period of financial difficulty.

At the end of the payment holiday, the finance company then recalculates your monthly payments to make up for the shortfall.

This is attractive to both parties, because it helps the customer in the first instance but should still ensure the finance firm gets all of its money in the end.

Repossession of the vehicle in the event of non-payment will recover the asset for them, but in the current climate it may be difficult for them to re-sell that asset, so the option of continuing payments in the future should be attractive to them in most cases.

The payment holiday, originally due to end on 31 October 2020, has been extended by a further six months. People struggling to make van finance payments now have until 31 March 2021 to apply for an intial or further payment deferral.

After that, people will be able to extend existing deferrals to 31 July 2021, provided these extensions cover consecutive payments and are subject to the maximum six months allowed.

The extension means that:

> Those who have not yet had a payment deferral will be eligible to apply for payment deferrals of up to six months in total.

> Those who currently have a payment deferral will be eligible to apply for a further deferral, as long as the total length of deferrals doesn't exceed a maximum of six months in total.

> Those who have previously had a payment deferral of less than six months will also be eligible to apply for a further payment deferral, as long as the deferrals don't exceed six months in total.

> Consumers who have already had six months of payment deferrals or who are in arrears or receiving tailored support, will not be eligible for a further payment deferral. Instead, firms will provide tailored support appropriate to their circumstances. This may include the option to defer further payments.

What does this mean for you?

The scheme is extending - meaning you have another chance of applying if you haven't already.

However, if you've already paused payments for six months you won't be entitled to another break. Instead, lenders should provide 'tailored support' - although this type of support could be reported on your credit file.

It should also be noted that firms assesing your deferral request can deny it if it's obviously not in your interest. While the FCA has urged customers who can afford payments to continue to do so.

Interim Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, Sheldon Mills, said: 'For those continuing to face payment difficulties as a result of coronavirus, these measures will ensure they continue to be able to access much needed support during this crisis. We also want to highlight that tailored support will still be offered and remains the most appropriate option for many borrowers.'

Peugeot Partner van

Van and pickup manufacturer advice about payment holidays

If you’re looking for info about a specific brand’s guidance about payment holidays, the rest of this page is devoted to the info we’ve received back from them.

In alphabetical order:

Fiat Professional

Fiat is communicating the following to its Fiat Automotive services and Leasys customers:

'We ask those customers who are experiencing payment issues to please contact our customer support team. We will look at the individual circumstances and address them on a case by case basis.'

Ford

The official line from Ford Credit is the following:

'With customers always a top priority, Ford Credit Europe offers a number of tools to help vulnerable customers regardless of the situation. These differ slightly country by country but currently include reduced payments, payment extensions, payment holidays and pre-arrears forbearance.

Additionally Ford Credit Europe is urgently preparing to introduce additional special measures to help anyone leasing or financing their car through Ford Credit to offset the potential economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Plans include extended payment arrangements, payment holidays for all markets, cancellation of late fees and charges, and flexibility on payment methods.'

See also the note above about Ford offering payment holidays for new van buyers - a very unusual development.

Iveco

Iveco is telling customers to contact their finance companies.

Mercedes-Benz Vans

Mercedes' statement is as follows:

'The health and safety of our customers, employees and business partners is our top priority and these measures are constantly updated, guided by current alerts and information from the World Health Organization (WHO).

'Mercedes-Benz Finance knows that this is a difficult time for many of our customers. Some will be in financial difficulty and will understandably want to discuss what this may mean for their vehicle finance agreement.

'We ask that customers in this position email us at mbfscv@daimler.com and put “Coronavirus” in the subject line.'

PSA Group: Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall

The word from Groupe PSA, which includes the Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall brands, is that customers struggling with payments should speak to their finance company. Each case will be treated independently.

Renault Pro+

The official statement from Renault is as follows:

'As a responsible lender, Renault Finance understands that a number of customers may be affected by the impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus. If any of our customers have been impacted, we will be here to support them. Customers can contact us via our customer portal, email or telephone to discuss any concerns they may have.'

Toyota Professional

We’ve checked with Toyota’s Financial Services Division, and again it’s an individual process on a case-by-case basis, rather than a blanket approach.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

We have an updated statement from Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) as of 28.04.2020, reproduced below:

'At VWFS, we have been working hard to make sure we have the best possible solutions for our customers during this difficult period. Our ultimate objective is to keep customers in their vehicles as long as possible, and we know that our customers have varying individual circumstances.

There are a number of options to support our customers who find themselves in financial difficulty; these include (not limited to) agreeing an affordable repayment plan over an extended period of time and allowing customers breathing space to consider their finances for up to 60 days.

'As always, we have been working closely with the regulator during this period and following the release of the FCA’s temporary final guidance on the 24 April, we are now offering payment deferrals (payment holidays) alongside our current solutions from Monday 27 April.

'We have responded to the guidance quickly, and have worked extremely hard to ensure customers are now able to submit a request for a payment deferral using our online form. 

'Each customer will have their own individual circumstances, and it’s important to note that the regulator acknowledges that a payment holiday may not be in the interests of all customers experiencing temporary financial difficulty and where it is not considered appropriate, organisations must offer other ways to provide temporary relief. We will work with the customer to provide the best possible solution for their individual needs and deferral requests are subject to a suitability check. This is to ensure that this will not worsen the financial situation of the customer, based on their individual circumstances.

'Customers can find more information about payment deferrals and how to apply, including FAQs, on our website.'

Also read:

>> Coronavirus COVID-19 advice for van and pickup drivers

>> Nine tips to keep your van in working order

>> Payment holiday advice for car drivers

>> Does my van or pickup need an MOT during the coronavirus pandemic?

>> Van and pickup warranty advice during the coronavirus pandemic