Adrian Aurelius, Chair of the NatWest Cymru Board, offers these simple tips on how to get through the next few weeks and months without getting caught out financially, including how to access cash while self-isolating:
Get a payment holiday
Most banks are offering payment holidays on mortgages for up to three months. If you think this could help, it’s worth checking your bank’s website before you call, as many lenders have an option to submit your details for a payment break online. Similarly, interest free overdrafts of up to £500 are on offer, again via online applications. Also and many lenders are automatically pausing fees and charges on late payments for the next few months – check online before you call, as you might already be benefitting.
Make secure transfers
Following the introduction of the Confirmation of Payee system, you can now transfer money even more safely via your mobile app or online banking. The changes mean the name of the person you are paying is checked against the sort code and account number to make sure it matches. However, you should always be cautious when transferring money and remember that the bank nor the police would ever contact you and request money to be transferred to a ‘safe’ account.
It seems a long way off at the moment but the UK will eventually come out of lockdown and it is important to plan ahead. If you are spending less than normal while social distancing it could be a good time to think about opening a savings account and setting savings goals. People who set a savings goal are found to save double compared to those who don’t set a goal.
Ask the experts
NatWest offers free financial health checks to customers which can help identify opportunities to better manage your finances. Services such as pre-booked video banking sessions can also help you chat through your options from home at an agreed time that’s convenient for you. And our call centre in Menai provides a bilingual service for Welsh speakers.
Reduce your use of cash
Using contactless or card payments for goods or services is the most efficient way to manage your money. However if that is not possible and you or someone you know is not able to get to an ATM, there are still ways to access your cash. Using NatWest’s mobile app, for example, you can generate a code for an agreed amount, which can be passed onto a trusted volunteer, friend or family member and be used to withdraw money from any NatWest cash machine. For those in extended self-isolation, those over-70 and/or those in vulnerable situations and NHS workers, there are often special services to help, such as NatWest’s dedicated 08:00-20:00 phoneline (0800 051 4176) which can be used to generate a code, or alternatively order cash directly to your door.
For more information on what NatWest can offer to help you visit www.natwest.co.uk