As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, individuals and small businesses may find themselves unable to make payments on loans and credit cards. This is called financial difficulty.
If you need assistance, you should contact your financial firm for help as soon as possible.
Financial difficulty in meeting repayments
Most financial firms are offering to help borrowers who are in financial hardship because of the pandemic. If you are in financial hardship and you need help meeting your loan repayments, we encourage you to contact your financial firm as soon as possible to find out what options may be available.
Many financial firms have a dedicated team which specialises in helping people experiencing financial difficulty. See the Useful links below to find the correct contact information.
The type of help offered by your lender will depend on your circumstances, but can include:
- Delaying scheduled loan repayments
- Reducing your loan repayments for a fixed period
- Waiving fees and charges
- Interest-free periods or no interest rate increases
- Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.
Applying for help with financial difficulty
- Contact your bank or credit card company. Many have a dedicated team which specialises in helping people experiencing financial difficulty. See the Useful links below to find the correct contact information.
- Explain your situation and the assistance you’re asking for. Your financial firm will have 21 days to look at your situation and provide a response.
- If they don't respond or you are unhappy with their response, you can contact AFCA for help.
Important - if your financial firm is taking legal action against you, contact AFCA immediately.
How to submit a complaint to AFCA
If you have contacted your bank or financial firm, and you are not happy with the outcome, you can submit a complaint to AFCA.
The best way to submit a complaint is through our easy to use online form. If you have any questions or can't access the form, call our hotline on 1800 337 444.
Support and resources
Talk to a financial counsellor
Financial counsellors provide their services free of charge and can talk with you about what options might be available. You can contact a financial counsellor by calling 1800 007 007. The National Debt Helpline website also has step-by-step guides on how to tackle financial problems.
Prepare a budget
A budget is the best tool to find a suitable solution and will help you understand your financial position and the repayments you are able to make.
AFCA's Statement of Financial Position sets out details of your income, expenses and debts you owe your financial firm and other financial institution.
Mental health support
Experiencing financial hardship can have an impact your mental health. If you need help dealing with the emotional impact of financial difficulty or the coronavirus pandemic, there are resources available.
Beyond Blue provides mental health support services. You can contact them through their website or by calling 1300 22 4636.
- National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007
- Find a financial counsellor near you
- Financial Rights Legal Centre
- MoneySmart Budget Planner
- Australian Banking Association – financial hardship contacts.