News Article

Consumer Credit

Severe weather puts payment misery on the cards this Christmas

By CreditMan Sunday, December 19, 2010

Millions of British bill payers could be hit hard in the pocket if the expected severe weather conditions forecast by the Met Office cause delays to postal payments, according to Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs). Store and credit card holders alone could end up with financial penalties totalling an estimated £26.7 million¹.

Currently, over 2.2 million people send credit and store card payments through the post and the snow and icy conditions combined with the already hefty seasonal demands on the postal system could mean cheques genuinely are held up "in the post", missing deadline payment dates.

Mike Hutchinson is head of marketing at Bacs, the organisation behind Direct Debit. He said: "In anticipation of more snow predicted across the country this week, we urge everyone who usually relies on the post to pay their bills to avoid penalty charges by using Direct Debit and on-line banking services instead."

Bacs estimates that weather-enforced delays could affect over 3.4 million bills that are paid using the postal system. The delays could affect just over a million people who normally send cheques to cover electricity, gas health club and gym membership, childcare, landline telephone services and subscriptions to digital or cable television.

Mike concluded: "Direct Debit can provide the peace of mind that, irrespective of the weather, bill payments will not be delayed, and late penalties will be avoided. After all, Christmas is expensive enough without adding unnecessary charges, and there are far more enjoyable ways to spend your hard earned cash during the festive season."

Benefits of making the switch to Direct Debit
* Direct Debit offers a safe, secure way to pay bills that enables you to stipulate when regular payments are made
* You can stay in complete control of their money; ensuring regular bills are paid on time, every time
* The Direct Debit Guarantee protects you against incorrect payments and ensures that you will get your money back immediately if a mistake is made
* Many companies offer discounts for paying by Direct Debit, which means you could save around £435 each year
* You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time

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