Barclays has confirmed it will be making changes to its overdrafts and the application process for its mortgage holidays to help customers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
From March 27, the bank will be waiving all interest on agreed overdrafts until the end of April 2020, meaning customers will pay no charges. Customers will not need to set this up, Barclays will automatically remove the interest, it said.
The bank will also be speeding up the application process customers must go through to gain a mortgage holiday. Customers will be able to complete a form online and submit it to Barclays directly.
Gillean Dooney, managing director at Barclays said: “It’s crucial we offer the right support to our customers through this challenging time. We have therefore decided to waive all overdraft interest until the end of April, meaning there will be no charges for customers to use their arranged overdraft. We are reviewing all options to help customers after this time to ensure we support those in financial difficulty.”
Barclays had already brought in a package of support for customers, such as the option to switch capital repayment mortgages to interest-only for up to 12 months, ceasing late payment and cash advance fees for the next 90 days for credit card customers and removing penalty charges to access fixed savings accounts early.
There had been calls from some quarters for banks to defer or abandon their planned increase in interest charges for overdrafts as part of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Writing for Credit Strategy, Baroness Ros Altmann said: “Given the huge bailouts that banks were given during the last crisis, surely it would only be right for them to help their customers in the current situation”.
Responding to Barclays’ decision, she said: “This is excellent news and it is absolutely right that our major banks step up to help customers during this time of crisis. Having received billions of pounds of support since 2008, I am delighted to see one of our major banks taking this decision to help customers forced to borrow to tide themselves over.”