Financial support and coronavirus

Impacts of coronavirus on personal finances

The latest guidance about coronavirus

Updated on Monday 2nd November

As we are now in the second wave of the pandemic, the UK Government has announced new measures to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. This includes a national lockdown across England from the 5th of November.

Visit government websites for guidance on what you can and cannot do in:


Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a huge impact on all of our lives. It’s affecting people in lots of different ways, and one of those is financial.

The news right now can be overwhelming. With the situation constantly changing and regular announcements from the government, it can be hard to keep track. To help you find your best way through you can speak to one of our Financial Guides. They can explain all the options available and the things you need to consider.

Talk to our Financial Guides on 0808 808 0000 about:

  • Budgeting and planning
  • Mortgages
  • Pensions
  • Insurance
  • Financial products such as overdrafts
  • Managing debt

Our Financial Guides are available Monday-Friday 8am - 6pm.

We’ve also put together some key information and resources for you below.

Benefits you can claim

Our online benefits calculator works out which benefits and financial support you are entitled to. You can use it if you have cancer or if you are caring for someone with cancer. It includes financial advice for people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The calculator is free to use, and the details you provide are anonymous. To use the calculator, you will need to have information about your savings, income, pensions and existing benefits. It will take around 10 minutes to complete, and if you run out of time, you can save your calculation and come back to it later.

Find out more about the benefits calculator.

Help with energy bills

Right now, we're all staying home more because of coronavirus. If you're also going through cancer, you can end up with higher energy bills. You may need to use more heating, especially in the winter.

We have information to help you cut down your energy bills and keep warm in winter. We also have tips to help you save money by being more energy efficient. We'll do everything in our power to help.

Ways to bank

Managing your everyday banking without leaving the house is now easier than ever with online and mobile banking.  You can view your account balances or transactions, move money between accounts and manage your bills. It’s easier and safer than ever to sign up and if you need a helping hand, your bank will be able to guide you through the process.

Video banking is another option readily available. Instead of going into a branch, you can use your phone, tablet or computer to have a chat with your bank via video.

Dedicated customer support helplines have been set up by some banks specifically for elderly customers or customers in periods of extended isolation, to help them to get set up with online banking and to provide emergency banking support and lending assistance.

Accessing your money

Bank branches are doing everything they can to remain open for essential services but opening hours can vary and there will be longer queue times than usual as the banks seek to keep their customers and colleagues safe by following correct social distancing guidance. 

You can get cash and make deposits at the Post Office using chip and pin. Several banks are also offering increased standard debit card withdrawal limits - on request - to enable you to access an increased amount of cash when you make a withdrawal.

You may also be able to access cash via telephone or mobile banking if you are having issues with your debit card or if you have a lost or stolen card. Speak to your bank to find out the options available for emergency cash access.

For customers whose income is affected by coronavirus, a number of emergency measures have been put in place by banks such as the removal of overdraft fees and charges, as well as mortgage and loan payment holidays, so customers have less to pay over the next few months.

Watch out for scammers

Sadly, we know that scammers are taking advantage of this situation, so please be extra careful and alert to suspicious phone calls, texts or emails about coronavirus from anyone claiming to be from the bank or other trusted organisations.

Your bank will never contact you out of the blue and ask you for your full PIN, password, card reader codes, passcodes or to move money from your account. If anyone gets in touch unexpectedly and asks you for information like this, please hang up or don’t reply and get in touch with your bank directly using the number on the back of your card. If possible, call back from a different phone.

Should anyone come to your door pretending to be from the NHS, World Health Organisation (WHO) or another organisation offering products or services relating to coronavirus, then please do not hand over money or personal details and get in touch with your bank straight away.

If you need help getting supplies, like food or medicine, only ask people you know well and trust. Never give your card, PIN, money, or details to a stranger promising to collect goods on your behalf.

Impersonation scams and emails offering health updates or cures

  • Scammers are sending out emails that look like they come from trusted organisations, like the World Health Organisation (WHO).An attachment in the email claims to provide safety measures to combat coronavirus but opening it will actually infect your device with malware that monitors your online activity and captures your information.
  • Criminals are bombarding mailboxes with emails saying you’re entitled to a tax refund due to coronavirus – but it’s a scam. HMRC will never contact you by email to discuss tax refunds, so don’t click or respond. Report emails like this to phishing@HMRC.gov.uk. Your email address and phone number will be shared with other organisations if that's necessary to close down the scam. Find out more on the GOV.UK website.     
  • Watch out for emails, ads, social media posts, texts or phone calls advertising anything to do with coronavirus – whether it’s for face masks, vaccines or access to testing kits – any deals that look too good to be true usually are. These approaches are very likely to be a scammer trying to get their hands on your money or personal details.
  • Never download attachments, software or let anyone remotely log into your computer following a call or email you’ve received out of the blue.

You can find out more by visiting the Action Fraud website.

Temporary help from your lender

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused short term financial difficulties for many people. In response to this most lenders have introduced temporary measures to help people facing monthly payment problems on their mortgages.

You can read more about this on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website.

The FCA have also introduced new rules which means that lenders can provide temporary support for people struggling to meet monthly payments on their credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts. This includes things like a payment freeze on loans and credit cards for up to 3 months or an interest free overdraft of £500 for customers with existing overdraft arrangements.

You can read more about these new rules on the FCA website.

There are lots of things to consider when choosing which option is best for you, particularly if you are also suffering from a cancer diagnosis which may continue to cause you financial difficulties beyond these short-term measures.

If you are affected by cancer and have financial concerns, we’d urge you to speak to one of our Financial Guides on 0808 808 0000 who will be able to give you tailored guidance on your options.

Support from your bank

During this uncertain time, Macmillan is continuing to work in partnership with a number of banks to support customers who may be impacted financially following their cancer diagnosis.

If you have an account with Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, you can speak to their Cancer Support Team. If you bank with Nationwide Building Society you can call and speak to their Specialist Support Team. This service may be able to help if you are having money problems. For example, if you are struggling to meet your mortgage, loan or credit card repayments. You can reach these teams by calling the numbers below.

  • Lloyds Bank: Call free on 0800 015 0016 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
  • Halifax: Call free on 0800 028 2692 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm)
  • Bank of Scotland: Call free on 0800 015 0166 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
  • Nationwide Specialist Support team: Call free on 0800 917 2393  (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm)

Natwest Group

NatWest Group offer lots of ways to bank from home so customers can manage many of their banking essentials via online banking, mobile app or video banking services.

Their branch network remains open with reduced operating hours and also created a dedicated support line for customers most in need. They are available to help customers set up online and mobile banking and to help with emergency banking, lending assistance and accessing cash safely. The support line is open 8am – 8 pm, 7 days a week and is free to call:

NatWest – 0800 051 4176 (Relay UK – 18001 0800 051 4176) 
Royal Bank of Scotland – 0800 051 4177 (Relay UK – 18001 0800 051 4177) 
Ulster NI – 0800 092 4238 (Relay UK – 18001 0800 092 4238) 

They have a range of emergency measures in place to support customers financially during this challenging time.

To find out more visit the NatWest website.

Barclays

Customers should contact Barclays via the usual channels (phone, online live chat or via the Barclays App). If you are calling, you can use the telephone number featured on the back of your card.

Barclays have introduced a range of measures to help customers manage their money through this challenging time. We would encourage any Barclays customer who is worried about their finances to visit the Barclays website.

Financial help for people with cancer

Although coronavirus is a big financial concern to people at the moment, we also know that cancer can affect your ability to pay for everyday things. The options available and things to consider for people who are also suffering from a cancer diagnosis may be different, so it’s important to get tailored information and support to suit your circumstances.

We have dedicated teams of specialist advisors for you to talk to. 

Talk to our Financial Guides about:

  • Budgeting and planning
  • Mortgages
  • Pensions
  • Insurance
  • Financial products such as overdrafts
  • Managing debt

Talk to our Welfare Rights team about:

  • what benefits you might be entitled to
  • other types of support which are available.

Talk to our Energy Advisors about:

  • help with paying your gas, electricity and water bills, no matter who your supplier is
  • getting access to schemes to help with your gas, electricity and water charges
  • charity grants
  • help with boiler schemes
  • dealing with water companies.

This guidance is available to anyone who calls the Macmillan Support Line, open 5 days a week, 8am - 6pm.

Find out more about financial help for people with cancer.

StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange is the leading debt charity. It provides free, impartial debt advice and solutions to anyone struggling with debt problems.

It has also created a dedicated coronavirus section of their website. It includes information such as:

  • Coronavirus and your finances
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and claiming benefits
  • What creditors are doing to help
  • Coronavirus-related fraud.

The Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is information provided by the government-funded Money and Pensions Service. They have put together guidance on how to deal with any of the financial effects of coronavirus. Here is an overview of the information available.

  • Coronavirus – what it means for you and what you’re entitled to
    Here you can find out information about what you’re entitled to depending on your situation. It includes information about your rights to sick pay and what benefits you can claim if you are self-employed or not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). It covers information for the employed, self-employed, business owners and people worried about losing their job. There is also information about benefit changes because of coronavirus and disability benefits.
  • Coronavirus and your money
    The coronavirus and your money section has lots of advice to help you plan ahead. It includes things like creating an emergency budget, paying your mortgage or rent, and paying bills like gas, electricity and water.
  • Mortgage payment holidays
    The official guidance for payment holidays ends on October 31st. Find out more about the tailored support firms will be providing from November 1st.

You can speak to someone from the Money Advice Service online, via WhatsApp and over the phone. They’ve also set up a Facebook group to be a safe space to discuss money concerns during the coronavirus crisis.