Payment Breaks

Every month lenders submit personal and credit information on loans over €500 to the Central Credit Register. The Central Credit Register matches this information to create credit reports for lenders and borrowers. The onus is on lenders at all times to ensure that the information reported to the Central Credit Register is accurate, complete, up-to-date and correctly reflects arrangements agreed with you. A full list of lenders is available here.

When lenders agree a payment break with you, they should not report any missed payments or payments past due in the “Number of payments past due” column on the credit report, or report the loan as being restructured during the payment break. See a sample credit report here.

You are encouraged to contact your lender prior to the expiry of a payment break to review your financial circumstances.

The Central Credit Register does not produce a credit score or a credit rating; it simply records the information that is submitted by lenders. It is factual, impartial information. You may also wish to check with your lender to see if they submit information on loans to any private credit bureaux, which may produce credit ratings or credit scores. Please note that only the Central Credit Register is within the remit of the Central Bank and private credit bureaux are not.

In the normal course of events, if regular principal and interest payments were being made, the amount recorded in the “Outstanding Balance” column reported to the Central Credit Register would decrease each month. See sample credit report here.

If, for example, a lender had agreed a payment break with no payments expected to be made at all for a period of three months, starting April, then:

  • The lender will not report any “Number of payments past due” to the Central Credit Register for April, May and June;
  • The lender will not report a “restructure” event to the Central Credit Register for April, May and June;
  • As no payments are being made during the payment break period, the “Outstanding Balance” recorded will not decrease for April, May and June.

A lender viewing a credit report will see the most recent 24 months of credit history in relation to each loan contained on the credit report. This will include the “Outstanding Balance” column.

While there is no payment break flag or data field contained in the credit report, it would be possible to infer from this information the period for which a payment break was likely in operation as the outstanding balance will not decrease.

The Central Credit Register does not produce a credit score or a credit rating; it simply records the information that is submitted by lenders. It is factual, impartial information. You may also wish to check with your lender to see if they submit information on loans to any private credit bureaux, which may produce credit ratings or credit scores. Please note that only the Central Credit Register is within the remit of the Central Bank and private credit bureaux are not.

Your lender should contact you before the payment break is over to assess your financial circumstances and discuss the options that are available to you. You may also wish to contact your lender directly to see what further support is available if you cannot resume full payments.

Your lender will consider the options on a case-by-case basis, taking into account your individual circumstances. The Central Bank expects lenders to make clear to you what the implications of any of the options will be on your credit report in the Central Credit Register.

If following assessment, your lender identifies that there is financial distress (e.g. your loan is currently in arrears or may be likely to go into arrears) and a restructure is agreed with you on this basis, then such a restructure is reported to the Central Credit Register. A restructure may be temporary in nature (such as a period of interest only, or reduced payments for a period of time) or more permanent in nature and spread out over the remainder of the term of your loan.

There are extensive supports and protections in place for borrowers experiencing repayment difficulties. These include the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, the Consumer Protection Code, and Regulations for firms lending to SMEs. Further information, advice, and guidance for borrowers is available on the Central Bank website here.

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