Payment difficulties - Topaz

Missed payments – how we can help

 

If you’ve missed a payment or think you might – we’re here to help you.

On this page, you’ll find information about what to do if you’ve fallen behind with your monthly payments or if you don’t think you can make your payments in the future.

Our wider Payment difficulties section contains a range of other information that might be useful for you, depending on your situation. If something has changed or you’re going through a tough time, we can help support you in situations such as bereavement, illness, divorce or separation. You’ll find a range of helpful information in the Life events and Health & wellbeing sections of our website. To see this content, just click on the links in the Support menu at the top of each page.

Talk to us about your situation

We know it can be difficult to talk about your finances, but we’re here to support you, so please call us to discuss your situation. We’ll work with you and explain your options based on your individual circumstances.

The sooner you get in touch with us, the more options you’ll have. Talking to us won’t impact your credit rating or appear on your credit report. We have lots of experience helping customers who are having difficulties making payments and we’ll try to help you in any way we can.

For customers having payment difficulties, we’re open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and on Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

During your call, our agents will always consider your individual circumstances and look at different ways we may be able to help you. On a typical call:

  • We’ll ask questions to understand the extent of your financial difficulties. This will often include you providing your income and expenditure details so that we can better understand your financial situation.
  • We’ll discuss various short and long-term options, with the aim of agreeing a suitable temporary payment plan or other solution that’s affordable and sustainable for you – so you can repay your arrears and then get back on track.
  • We’ll confirm a reasonable time frame in which you can consider your options, review your budget, or potentially seek wider debt advice.
  • We may refer you to sources of free, confidential and impartial advice, which could be helpful, especially if you have debts with other providers.
  • We may highlight potential government support schemes that could be useful and share details of the Mortgage Charter if this is relevant to you.

We’ll send you a letter to confirm any key decisions made or agreements with you.

Extra help and assistance

We aim to provide a service that is accessible and inclusive for all our customers. If you have any difficulties understanding written or spoken English, or you’d like to request information from us in different formats, there are ways we can help.

See more details about support if English is not your first language.

If you’d benefit from a third-party such as a trusted friend or family member having access to help you manage your account with us, you can find more information about setting up third party authority on the Making a change page of our website.

What happens if you miss a monthly payment

If you fall behind with a monthly payment, this is known as being in arrears. If that happens, we’ll write to you and let you know. We may also send you text messages or try to call you to discuss how we can help.

Please respond promptly to our letters, calls or texts. If you don’t get in touch with us and your arrears increase, we may eventually have to take further action. Our letters will explain the potential steps we may take if you don’t speak with us or are unable to bring your mortgage payments up to date.

We don’t charge any arrears fees if you fall behind with your payments, but you’ll continue to be charged interest on your outstanding balance, including any arrears. So if you can bring your account up to date at any point, it can be best to do so as soon as possible. You can see details of all the ways you can make a payment to us on our website.

If you’re unable to make up any missed payments, or you can’t make your next payment please get in touch.

We do report missed monthly payments to credit reference agencies, but if you talk to us, we’ll try to help you with a plan that’ll reduce any negative impacts on your credit file.

Tell us about your income and expenditure

To ensure we understand your circumstances, we’ll usually need an accurate picture of your current monthly income and expenditure. This includes details of any income and benefits that you receive, payments that you need to make, regular outgoings and other costs.

You can share your income and expenditure details with us at any time using our online affordability tool. This secure system is called Embark – and is managed on our behalf by our trusted partner Paylink Solutions.

After creating your own account, you add details of your income and outgoings to build up an accurate picture of your budget. This can take time, so you can save your details at any point, then login again when you’re ready.

When you’ve entered all your details, your information will be shared securely with us. We’ll then aim to be in contact with you within five working days to review your situation and discuss how we can help.

Register now
To use Embark for the first time, please register and create an account. To do this, you’ll need to know your mortgage account number and have an email address or mobile phone number.

Login now
If you’ve already registered, you can login to your account at any time, from any device.

If you can’t use our online affordability tool, or you’d rather tell us your income and expenditure details directly, please call us. You can also ask for a printed copy of our income and expenditure form to be posted to you. To do this, you can send us a secure message, or contact us by phone or in writing.

Ways we can help

Once we fully understand your situation, there are often various ways we can help you repay your arrears and get back on track. We’ve included information on some potential options below.

Please note – the options we’ll consider are always based on your individual circumstances. Some or all of these options could be unsuitable or unavailable for you, as they may not provide an affordable or sustainable solution to your arrears.

This is where you agree to make your monthly payments and an additional amount to clear (or reduce) your arrears over a defined period.

We’ll check that you can afford the combined monthly payments and consider a timeframe that’s suitable – often a few months to a year.

This type of solution is typically suitable for a customer who has had a temporary fall in income, such as through an unexpected job loss, who is now in a position to get back on track.

A temporary payment plan can help to minimise the impact of any arrears on your credit file and may reduce the total amount of interest you’ll pay due to your arrears.

This is where we agree that you can pay a lower amount than your normal monthly  payment for a period of time. This is typically up to three months, although can be longer.

During a concession, you’ll continue to be charged interest on the outstanding balance, which will be reducing at a slower pace than if you’d maintained your full monthly payment. As a result, you’ll pay more interest overall. Because of this, we’ll only consider a concession where we think this is in your best interests.

We may sometimes agree to a concession whilst we’re helping you to consider other options or if you’re seeking independent debt advice.

If you have a capital and interest (repayment) mortgage, we may agree to extend the term of your mortgage. This will reduce your monthly payments, as the capital you’ve borrowed is then being repaid over a longer period.

Whilst this may allow you to maintain your monthly payments and pay an additional amount to clear the arrears, the overall amount of interest you’ll pay will increase because of the term extension.

When looking at this option, we’ll look at whether you can afford to make your monthly payments over the new extended term. As part of this, we’ll consider your potential income levels as you get older.

A term extension can sometimes be suitable if you’ve experienced a permanent, or longer-term reduction in your income levels.

Please note – a term extension is not a suitable option if you’re struggling to make your payments with an interest only mortgage, as extending the term will not reduce the amount you need to pay each month.

This is where we agree to switch your mortgage from capital and interest (repayment) basis to interest only for a temporary period.

By switching to interest only, your monthly payments will reduce over the agreed period, as you won’t be repaying any of the capital you borrowed during this time. This may allow you to afford your monthly payments and repay your arrears. It can also help you avoid your arrears building up further, provided you maintain the new monthly payments for your interest only mortgage.

Once the temporary interest only period ends, your mortgage will revert to a repayment mortgage. At this point your monthly payments may well be higher than they were before, as you’ll now need to repay the underpaid capital that you owe over the remaining term of your mortgage.

To reduce the chance of you being unable to afford your future higher monthly payments, we only allow a temporary switch of up to 12 months at a time. After the 12-month period, we may allow a further two temporary interest only periods – subject to a full assessment of your income and expenditure.

This option is most likely to be suitable if you’re experiencing affordability issues which are not permanent but are likely to impact you for a medium or long-term period, of up to three years.

Please note – this option will only be considered if you’re currently on a capital and interest (repayment) or part and part mortgage.

Other steps you can consider

There may be other options to consider which could help improve your financial position or may prevent you falling behind with your mortgage payments.

We can’t give any advice about these options, but they may be worth considering, depending on your situation.

If you want to rent out a room in your home, you don’t need our permission and we won’t charge you a fee to do so.

You’ll need to let your insurance company know and you may need to pay more council tax. You’ll also need to make sure you’re following all appropriate legislation. You should think carefully and seek further professional advice if you’re not sure about anything you need to do.

You can also consider investigating the rent a room scheme from the government.

If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments and have payment protection insurance, you may want to consider making a claim.

Some people also take out accident, sickness, or unemployment cover alongside their mortgage, so it’s always worth checking to see if you have an active insurance policy in place that could support you.

Support with payment difficulties

Our wider Payment difficulties section contains a range of other information that might be useful for you, depending on your situation.

Please note, this page contains links to external websites. We are not responsible for the content of external websites.

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