Updated 11.10.2022

COVID-19 and Your Finances: Where to Find Help

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect millions of individuals and business owners in South Africa. To help ease the financial burden on everyone, the SA government provided relief efforts for easing debt repayments and making it easier to access credit instruments.

Here are the institutions where you can seek financial aid for concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic: 

Standard Bank

Standard Bank is offering debt relief and amicable term loans to individuals and businesses in South Africa.

For businesses:

SMEs, regardless of their annual turnover value, can seek term loans amounting up to R100 million. The loan can support up to 3 months’ worth of operations or a 6-month payment holiday.

SMEs with an annual turnover value of R20 million per annum can request payment relief for three months on their business loans with Standard Bank.

For individuals:

Individuals struggling with their monthly financial obligations can seek assistance and apply for payment relief. A 90-day installment relief at 0% interest may be provided to student loans. Customers who earn less than R7 500 per month may also ask for a 90-day installment relief.

Standard Bank also offers financial relief on insurance payments including vehicle and funeral premiums. A 10% discount on excess payments for vehicle and home insurance claims can also be awarded to customers.

For more information, contact them through the following channels:  

– Telephone: 0860 123 000 or 0860 109 075 or 0860 123 999
Email: information@standardbank.co.za

 

ABSA

Aside from improving its digital banking services, Absa offers a range of payment relief for insurance, credit card, and loans.

  • Insurance relief

Absa offers up to two months of premium payment relief without removing coverage of clients.

  • Credit protection

Absa lets clients pay only the minimum installment on loans and credit cards for up to three months. For retrenched individuals, a 12-month relief may be given, depending on their financial capability.

For more information, contact them through the following channels:

– Email: mybusinessbanker@absa.africa for SME clients and covidlending@absa.africa for business banking clients

Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

The IDC has allotted more than R3 billion of funding to help vulnerable businesses cope up with the challenges brought by the pandemic.

Here are the options they offer to SA entrepreneurs:

  • IDC Distressed Funding

The facility includes scheme-related concessionary pricing and debt and guarantees. Interested applicants must show a business case on how they’ll recover in 18 to 24 months.

  • Essential Suppliers Intervention

Short-term import funding, revolving credit facility, and guarantees for imports and ordering requirements can be given to qualifying businesses.

  • Tax relief

Deferral on PAYE liabilities over the next 4 months and an increase in ETI incentive claims can also be given by the IDC.

  • COVID-19 benefit

Employees that will be terminated due to business closure may qualify for a COVID-19 benefit amounting to no less than R3 500.

  • SMME Support Intervention

Businesses delving into the production of in-demand medical supplies may be awarded working capital, additional stock, bridging finance, and equipment finance.

For more information, contact them through the following channels:

– Telephone: 0860 693 888
– Email: covid@idc.co.za

Mercantile Bank

Mercantile Bank offers funding that can be used by businesses to cover up to three months of operational costs. The loan has a 5-year term, allowing debtors to fully recover without burdening them with monthly repayments.

For more information, contact them through the following channels:

–  Telephone: +27 11 302 0300

You can also submit your queries on loan relief through Mercantile Bank’s website.

SARS

For small businesses, SARS provides tax relief measures, debt repayment arrangements, and soft-loan facilities to keep them afloat during the pandemic.

For more information, contact them through the following channels:

Telephone: 0800 00 7277
Email: contactus@sars.gov.za

SEFA

SEFA-funded loans are given payment holidays for a maximum of 6 months to reduce the debt obligation that SMMEs must deal with.

To apply, you must register first on the SEFA website and get a reference number. Follow the next instructions and email the application to smmerelief@sefa.org.za.

For more information, contact them through the following channels:

Telephone: 0860 663 7867 or 0860 ONE STOP
– Email: info@dsbd.gov.za

FNB

In line with the government’s call to ease down on debt collection on individuals and businesses during the pandemic, FNB announced measures to provide relief to those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

All products of FNB can be qualified for relief for three months. Relief on installment cash flow, the preferential interest rate on debts, cancellation of fees on the granted relief, assistance in processing insurance claims, and individualized bridge facilities to those who are most in need are the measures the bank will give.

To know more about their relief program, contact them through the following channels:

Telephone: 087 575 9404

Conclusion

The South African government and private financial institutions are working together to ease the financial burden on both individuals and businesses during the pandemic. Tax relief, debt relief, cancellation of fees, extension of repayment periods, and reduction of interest rates are some of the assistance given to help everyone cope up with the ongoing crisis.

If you need assistance as an employee or a business owner, don’t hesitate to contact your bank or related government agencies.

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