These are difficult times for everyone. The coronavirus outbreak is having a profound effect on people’s health – physical, mental and financial.
Here are some ways to help maintain your financial health during this period.
1. Where to get support
Firstly, if you’re worried about your finances, there are ways to get support. If your income has been affected – through losing your job, losing business or being offered fewer hours – you may be concerned about covering your normal monthly costs.
We’re helping customers get through this period in several ways, including mortgage payment holidays, creating breathing space on other debts and support for small business owners.
Find out more about the financial support we’re providing.
You can also find more information to help you deal with the impact of coronavirus here:
- support for those affected by coronavirus
- guarantee pay during lay off or short-time working
- extra work or claiming benefits
Money Advice Service
2. How to get your money back
Whether it’s holidays, festivals, sport or other events, most people’s social calendars have been ripped up for the time being. Seeing your plans fall through can be upsetting – and the prospect of losing money can add to that feeling.
In some instances, you’ll be able to rearrange or reschedule. But if not, it may be worth looking into refunds.
How this works will depend on what you’ve bought, when you bought it and how you paid for it.
If you had travel plans, you can find answers to many of your questions on our travel guidance page.
And if you’re wondering whether you can get money back on purchases made on your credit card, read our guide on what you can claim.
3. Budgeting: a new (temporary) reality
The temporary restrictions on how we live may, for some, mean a significant change to spending habits.
You may find your outgoings will change during this period. Of course this will be different for everyone, but it could mean a pause in commuting costs, for example.
Some of these savings will be enforced but – if you’re looking for further ways to cut back – you may be able to cancel or reduce some of your regular expenses.
- train season tickets – if you have a rail season ticket, you may be entitled to a refund
- gyms, clubs and other activities – if you’ve pre-paid for memberships or classes, check with the company to see if you can get a refund or freeze any regular payments
- TV sports subscriptions – you may be able to pause your subscriptions and stop making payments
- energy – as it may be one of your biggest monthly costs (especially when you’re at home more) shop around to see if you could switch energy suppliers to get a better deal
- monthly subscriptions – review your monthly Direct Debits and standing orders to see if there are any other subscriptions you no longer need or could pause during this period
Registered for online banking?
If you’re trying to minimise any further outgoings, here are a few useful questions to ask yourself before spending money:
- do you need it?
- can you afford it?
- will you use it?
- is it worth it?
It may of course be harder to cover your costs - even after making cutbacks - if your income has fallen.
Creating a revised budget based on your spending decisions above can help you get a clear picture of your finances and help you plan ahead.
If you think you’ll struggle financially in the coming weeks and months and don’t have savings to fall back on, visit our financial help pages for guidance.
But if your income has not been impacted and you’re able to make savings as a result of changes to your budget, think about where to store any money you put aside.
You might want to keep it separate from your main account, especially if you’re earmarking the money for something in particular. That could be rebooking a holiday when the time comes, building an emergency fund or saving towards another goal.
You can read our guide on how to save for more on this.
4. Managing your pension or investments
If you’ve got a pension or other types of investments, they could be a further source of anxiety at the moment. The coronavirus outbreak is having a big impact on the global economy and the value of your pension or investments could have fallen in line with stock markets.
As with everything else that’s going on, it’s important to try to stay calm. Investing is for the long term, and that of course applies to your pension too.
Stock market falls are part and parcel of investing. It’s true that some are steeper and more prolonged than others. Although nothing is certain, throughout history, markets have had a habit of bouncing back over time, bringing the value of investments back up again.
Ultimately, the performance of your investments is beyond your control. So, you may be able to reduce your stress levels by not checking your balance too frequently. Instead, it can help to stay focused on your long-term plan and to think twice before cashing in any investments, where possible.
For HSBC analysis of how coronavirus is affecting global markets, visit our Wealth Insights hub. And for details of how to access and manage investments you hold with us, visit our existing investment customers’ pages.
5. Making the most of online and mobile banking
If you normally do your banking in a branch, there are plenty of ways to take care of your money digitally instead.
Through digital banking you can:
- check your balance
- send money
- set up or cancel Direct Debits or standing orders
- pay in a cheque through our mobile banking app (on compatible devices)
Once you’re set up, this is simple and secure, and you don’t need to leave the house.
You can also use tools like Balance After Bills on our mobile app (on compatible devices). It accounts for your regular bills to let you know how much money you could have left over.
Find out more about how easy it is to do your banking at home.
6. Know your money is safe
When you’re concerned about your finances, it can be reassuring to know that money you have deposited in a bank is safe. HSBC is backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS guarantees your money up to £85,000 per person, per institution. Joint accounts are protected up to £170,000.
You can see which other financial institutions are backed by the FSCS at fscs.org.uk.
Find out more about accessing your money during the coronavirus outbreak.