Struggling financially | Ulster Bank

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Struggling financially

Managing your money

Get in touch
Coronavirus support

Where you have had a direct financial impact caused by the coronavirus, we may be able to support you. Financial impact may be caused by a delay in income, a reduction in income or increased expenditure, unexpected loss of income or other serious change to your circumstances. See the section below to find out more about the financial support available to you. 

Or visit the dedicated business coronavirus guidance and support hub.

Ulster Bank Personal customers

We're here to support you. Please visit the dedicated coronavirus guidance and support hub.

 

 

Financial support available to your business
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Repayment holiday on existing loans

If you're an existing business customer and your business has been impacted by coronavirus, you could be eligible for a repayment holiday on your existing business loan.

How to apply for a Repayment holiday on your existing business loan

If you are an existing Ulster Bank customer you could be eligible for a Repayment Holiday on your Business Loan.

  • Repayment Holiday is available for up to 12 months.
  • Interest may accrue during any repayment holiday, meaning it may take longer to repay the loan and may cost more in the long run.
  • If you have a Relationship Manager you need to contact them in the first instance to discuss your needs.
  • If you do not have a Relationship Manager you can Apply Online. We will contact you within 7 business days.

Repayment holiday period ending

If you already have an existing repayment holiday, we'll get in touch before this ends with more information about the next steps available to you.

If your repayment holiday is coming to an end

If you've already had a repayment holiday on your loan account which is coming to an end, you'll need to consider your circumstances and select the best option for you.

Depending on the type of loan you have there are a number of options available to you. 

As your repayment holiday period is ending, we'll be in touch by email to outline these options in more detail. It's important you let us know your intentions as soon as possible so that we can support you through this time. 

Additional support for your business

If your business has been negatively impacted by coronavirus there may be alternative support we can provide beyond extending your repayment holiday. These could include options such as

  • Refinancing your loan 
  • Repayment plans 

It's important you get in touch as soon as possible about your situation.

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We’re here to help you prepare for the unexpected.

Find out if our business overdraft could support you with covid cashflow challenges.

Security may be required. Product fees may apply. Over 18s only. Subject to status, business use only.

More about business overdrafts

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Charge card payment dispute

If you’ve not received the goods or services you’ve paid for by charge card, the first step in making a claim is speaking to the retailer to see if they can resolve. If the payment was made through PayPal, please refer to their Disputes team for details on how to resolve.

How to dispute a charge card payment

If you’ve tried to contact the company and still need our support you can raise a dispute with the company by calling the OneCard helpdesk

If you are in the UK, call us on 0345 300 7295

If you are abroad, call us on 0044 345 300 7295

Lines are open Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm

Contactless limit increase

The limit for contactless spending with your credit card has increased from £30 to £45. Retailers need to update their systems to accept these changes, so you don’t need to contact us if your contactless payment over £30 is declined, simply continue to use chip and PIN. You’ll still need to occasionally enter your PIN when presenting your card to prove it’s really you.

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Contactless limit increase

The limit for contactless spending with your Debit Card has increased from £30 to £45. Retailers need to update their systems to accept these changes, so you don’t need to contact us if your contactless payment over £30 is declined, simply continue to use chip and PIN. You’ll still need to occasionally enter your PIN when presenting your card to prove it’s really you.

Trade Finance

Flexible funding options tailored to business needs of domestic and international traders.

We have four types of trade financing options

Thanks to our expertise in global trade finance, we could help you by improving your companies cashflow, and gaining control over your imports and exports. Our trade finance products aim to ensure any risks are mitigated and provide you and your trading partners with reassurance.

Security may be required. Product fees may apply. Over 18s only. Subject to status, business use only. Any property or asset used as security may be repossessed or forfeited if you do not keep up repayments on any debt secured on it.

Trade finance options

Business services

Tools for your trade. There are a number of ways we can help your business. Our support services are ready to take your business to the next level. 

Our business services

 

 

Debit Card payment dispute

If you’ve not received the goods or services you’ve paid for by Debit Card, the first step in making a claim is speaking to the retailer to see if they can resolve the issue for you. If you have contacted the retailer and they were unable to assist, we can raise a dispute for you.

How to dispute a Debit Card payment

We've created a simple online form to make raising a dispute online as smooth as possible.

Here's what we'll need:

  • The retailer name
  • The transaction amount and the date
  • Your account details

Dispute a Debit Card Transaction

Invoice Financing

Release cash quickly and confidentially with Invoice Financing

Whether you need cash to grow your business or you simply want to release funds, invoice discounting can help. It allows you to receive up to 90% of the money you’re owed within 24 hours of submitting your eligible sales ledger balance.

Invoice Financing services are provided by Ulster Bank Limited. Security may be required. Product fees may apply. Subject to status, business use only. Specific eligibility criteria apply.

Any property or asset used as security may be repossessed or forfeited if you do not keep up repayments on any debt secured on it.

More about invoice financing

Find tailored grants with Swoop's grant finder

Looking for financial support without extra debt? Swoop is an online funding platform that has helped over 40,000 businesses find the relevant funding for their business.

Swoop allows you to search through a range of grant providers, showing you options that could match your business needs.

Find business grants
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Need to cancel a regular payment

What kind of financial problems may occur?

If you are aware of what may lie ahead, you can anticipate and avoid problems.

 

Every business has different challenges, but there are a number of familiar scenarios. These include:

 

  • Initial underfunding - this is a common problem often due to underestimating the cash required.
  • Insufficient sales and/or inadequate profit margins - essentially, if you can’t sell enough products with the right profit margin, it won’t be able to pay its way.
  • Rapid but poorly planned growth - sudden expansion can require investment long before the associated revenues come in.
  • Too much money tied up - cash invested in non-liquid assets, such as stock or machinery, may leave you short of cash.
  • Late payment - poor invoicing and debt-chasing processes can be really costly.

The common factor in all of the above is a shortage of available cash. These cash flow problems can even afflict businesses that are doing well by other measures such as sales and margins – lack of cash flow is the number one business killer. 

Cancel a regular credit card payment online

Do you know your consumer rights

Warning signs

In order to survive, the money coming into a business every month, plus any reserves and loan facilities must at least match your outgoings.
So make forecasts for the months ahead, and look at sales and expected cash flow. If they begin to fall below forecasts, you should take immediate action. Regularly ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • Are sales falling?
  • Are you losing market share?
  • Is your reputation suffering when compared to your competitors?
  • Are you being forced to borrow more in order to cover operational costs (rather than investment)?

Is it becoming increasingly difficult to pay creditors?

Not received goods or services

Tackling cash flow problems

If the warning signs are there, act quickly. Initially, problems may not seem that serious. Sales may be slightly down or the cash coming into the business may not quite meet the outgoings.

 

The business carries on as normal in the hope that next month’s cash flow and sales figures will improve. However, if figures don’t improve, the business could find itself inundated with demands from suppliers and it may be difficult to pay staff.

 

The key is to be pro-active with measures that will put your business back on an even keel.

What should I do

 

By spotting the early warning signs, you will be in a much stronger position to put things right.

 

For instance, if your cash flow difficulties are related to sales figures, then a first step is to trade your way out of the problem. If the resources are available, step up your sales and marketing. Sell more to existing customers and tap into new markets.

 

If the time-delay between the raising of an invoice and the customer paying is causing cashflow problems, there are a number of possible solutions. These include:

 

  • Focus on winning business that will generate cash quickly.
  • Tighten credit control. Make sure invoices are sent out on time. Chase payment when it becomes due.
  • Consider factoring or invoice discounting arrangements, where cash is lent to you by the bank as soon as an invoice is raised.
  • Keep track of the financial health of your customers and suppliers.
  • Change payment periods.

If there is no real chance of sales improving, then you should consider other measures such as selling assets, cutting staff and reducing costs and/or inventory in order to free up cash.

Talking to your bank and investors

Make the time to regularly talk to your bank. For instance, if your problems are caused by a lack of available finance due to overly rapid growth, a bank is more likely to provide the funds if the problem is identified early and brought to its attention.

 

Similarly, the bank will be more willing to provide solutions such as invoice discounting if it’s clear that management has been quick to address a problem.

 

If your financial situation threatens your ability to meet existing repayment obligations, banks are more likely to be sympathetic if you talk to them early and present a credible business plan. Investors (if you have them) should also be kept aware of the situation.

 

If you are struggling now then please get in touch as soon as possible.

What if I can't make a payment?
Need to cancel a regular payment

I have already missed one or more payments

If you've already missed one or more payments, don’t panic, we are here to help. You may have already received some form of contact from us and we understand that during times like these it can feel easier to avoid a conversation with us and hope the situation improves, but it's really important that you do.

 

When you contact us, you'll be chatting with dedicated colleagues who are here to support you and discuss your current situation. You may be asked to complete an income and expenditure form so they can see what solutions are available for you.  Having details of your income/outgoings to hand would be helpful.

Do you know your consumer rights

I know I'm going to miss a payment soon

If you know you are going to miss a payment please get in contact as soon as possible so we can support you.

 

Its really important you get in touch. When you do, you'll be speaking to dedicated colleagues who are here to support you and discuss your current situation. You may be asked to complete an income and expenditure form so they can see what solutions are available for you.

Add your signposting title here… Ways to get in touch

We are experiencing very high volumes of calls as our customers and colleagues adapt to the impacts of coronavirus. 

Get in touch with your relationship manager or call Ulster Business Banking on 0345 366 5592 (+44 2890 538459 from overseas) or 18001 0345 366 5592 for Relay UK. Lines are open Mon to Fri 8.30am-5.30pm. Calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes

Ulster Business Banking is available to eligible customers who reside in Northern Ireland and have an annual turnover under £2 million. All business owners must reside in the UK or Ireland and be over 18.  Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply.

Add your signposting title here… Independent support available

If you are struggling with your finances, you can get free debt advice. We partner with PayPlan (a third party company), who can offer you free confidential advice for all of your debts. 

Start your journey with PayPlan

 

Additional support

Business Debt Service 
Business Debt Service from Advice NI offers free tailored, independent and impartial advice for Sole Traders, Partnerships and Limited Companies.

Citizens Advice
Free advice on debt, benefits, housing, legal matters, employment and general consumer advice.

Money Advice Service
Free advice on debt, divorce/separation, setting up a new home, care & disability.

Stepchange Debt Charity
Free advice on bankruptcy, charging orders, employment, benefits, money management and mortgage/repossession support.

Housing Advice NI
COVID-19: Help people facing urgent housing issues

Advice NI
Free and confidential advice on debt.

GOV.UK
Government support for landlords and renters reflecting the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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