UK consumers struggled to contact motor finance lenders at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey from FICO.

According to the data, 33% of motor finance customers faced challenges getting in contact with their lenders, alongside 27% of credit card customers and 23% of mortgage customers.

Such insights from the analytics software provider will be especially pertinent for finance providers, as the UK commences a second national lockdown.

Bruce Curry, FICO vice president for collections and recovery consulting in EMEA, said: “This is a turning point for lenders — they must be able to respond faster across multiple channels, or risk losing a big piece of their customer base.

“Indeed borrowers across every segment said that they are likely to move accounts in the next six months, or when renewing the secured credit, because of their experience during Covid-19.”

Motor finance customers were the most likely to move at 53%, followed by 30% of borrowers from main current account and credit card providers.

Curry continued: “Our research shows that most customers still picked up the phone when attempting to contact credit providers — and this put a huge strain on providers’ systems,”

“Incredibly in this age of digital transformation 43% of mortgage customers, 49% of credit card customers and 55% of motor finance customers used the phone as their primary communication channel. It was also interesting to see the demand for ‘confirmation of agreement’ from those customers that need something more tangible than just an SMS. Economic victims need additional assurance on implied commitments from lenders.

“People will be struggling to pay their bills for some time and looking to their bank or other financial provider for real, thoughtful help.

“The second national lockdown will increase the number of credit-stressed consumers, who won’t show up in collections right away as they will get support in the near-term. The post-Christmas peak may look flatter, as people use the payment holidays to cover holiday spending. If that does happen, the normal collections spike will come back with a vengeance later in the year, as Christmas borrowing on revolving credit becomes harder to service.”