Your questions answered
A credit union is a community savings & loans provider that exists to provide financial services to a common group of members – in our case anyone who either lives in Ayrshire or works in Ayrshire. Unlike banks and other commercial finance providers, a credit union does not operate to generate a profit - it exists solely for the benefit of its members.
A credit union is a community of its members, whose aims are to promote their financial wellbeing through savings, affordable and appropriate lending opportunities, and through the promotion of greater financial awareness. Members are the owners of the credit union and the absence of third-party shareholders results in beneficial rates for depositors and borrowers. The pressure to generate profit for shareholder dividends is greatly reduced, and any surpluses generated by the credit union are redistributed among the members.
The structure and nature of a credit union frequently enables it to help those who are currently excluded from access to ordinary bank products. It can become a lifeline for people who may otherwise have to resort to payday loans or doorstep lending which often carry incredibly high interest rates.
Yes. We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS can pay compensation to depositors if a credit union is unable to meet its financial obligations. Most depositors – including most individuals and small businesses – are covered by the scheme. Find out more about the FSCS Depositor Guarantee.
We are also authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. This means that we meet strict conditions for trading, we are required to submit information on our financial performance to the regulators every three months. In addition all of the senior decision makers within the credit union have to be vetted by the regulators.
If you either live in Ayrshire or work in Ayrshire then you should be eligible for membership of Ayrshire Credit Union.
All financial organisations need to know who their customers are. The level of ID we request will be the level required by the Money Laundering Regulations.
Currently we require new members to provide ID and Address Verification - a list of acceptable items is detailed below, you will need to provide us with one item from each list:
Proof of Address
Proof of Identity
If none of the above is available we may be able to accept a letter of recommendation from a Doctor, Lawyer, Social Worker or Teacher - speak to a member of staff for more information.
We are registered with the office of the Information Commissioner and operate entirely within the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. This also allows you to get copies of information we hold about you in our records.
All our board members, volunteers and staff sign a confidentiality agreement and none of your details are passed outside of the credit union except with your permission or as allowed under our Data Protection Registration or where required by law. Please see our Data Protection Policy for more information.
You can save as much as you want as often as you want.
We require all members to maintain a minimum balance of £5 in their main share account (Share 1).
We encourage members to save regularly by monthly standing order if possible.
We also provide a Payroll Deduction Service for employees of our Payroll Partners.
And of course you can call in to deposit at our branch in the Foregate where our volunteers will provide a warm welcome along with excellent customer service.
When repaying a loan you will be encouraged to also agree to saving an agreed sum on a regular basis.
The credit union is a members’ co-operative run on a not-for-profit basis. Once operating costs have been covered, any excess income can be paid back to saving members in the form of an annual dividend, approved by members at the Annual General Meeting.
In recent years this has beaten most high street bank savings rates for instant access savings accounts however it is vital that you understand that:
THIS IS NOT INTEREST ON YOUR SAVINGS AND PAST DIVIDENDS ARE NOT A GUARANTEE THAT THERE WILL BE *ANY* FUTURE DIVIDEND.
At present withdrawals can only be made in person at our office.
If you are withdrawing less than £500 we can usually provide cash.
If the amount is over £500 we will transfer the monies directly into your bank account provided that we are able to confirm the sort code and account number.
Alternatively we can provide you with a cheque for the amount, however, your bank may take up to 5 business days before making the funds available to you.
Your savings are automatically insured free of charge, so that if you die your savings may be doubled and paid out to your nominated beneficiary (subject to limits of amount and age - conditions apply).
As loans also include free life insurance, in the event of your death your loan balance may be cleared and your savings doubled to help support those you leave behind (subject to limits of amount and age - conditions apply).
As with most insurance some exemptions apply; for example you may not be covered if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over a maximum age. Contact us for latest up to date details.
There are many reasons why our loans are better for you than a bank loan.
This all means that you will only get affordable loans from us.
The minimum loan is currently £100, the maximum loan is £10,000.
How much you can personally borrow depends on various things like how long you have been a saving member, your payment history, whether you can afford to pay it back and how much money for loans the credit union has available when you apply. Credit Reference checks will also be undertaken where the amount you borrow exceeds the amount of savings you hold in Share 1. (Share 1 savings are "attached" in respect of any loans and will only be made available when the loan balance reduces below the level of the Share 1 balance. Funds held in Share 2 or Christmas Shares are not "attached" and can be withdrawn at any time.)
The credit union aims to support you and at the same time protect its members’ money and we do that by assessing each application individually. It is not in our interests or yours to lend you money you can’t repay.
If you are not sure whether you can afford it, we may be able to help you with a Financial Health Check.
Interest on credit union loans is limited by law, so you will never pay more than 3% per month (42.6% APR) and many loans are much lower than this. We regularly compare prices with high street banks as well as doorstep and other lenders to ensure that we are as competitive as possible.
Secure Loans (Which are fully covered by savings held in Share 1)
Amount Min/ Max Repayment Period APR
£100 - £10,000 3 months - 60 months 12.7%
Unsecured Loans (Not fully covered by savings in Share 1)
Amount Max repayment period APR
£100 - £1,000 36 months 42.6%
£1001 - £3,000 36 months 26.8%
£3001 - £10,000 60 months 12.7%
Terms and conditions apply.
You may see lower APRs advertised but we recommend that you check whether the advertised rate applies to the loan amount you actually need. Often, the lowest advertised rates from major financial institutions only apply to the higher value loans and are quoted as a “representative” rate, which means that may not be the rate that you are offered. Many of our customers have reported to us that bank's offered them a loan at a much higher rate than advertised. With us, what you see is what you get.
You might find that they won’t even provide the loan amount that you need as the minimum amount which they lend tends to be much higher than the credit union minimum.
Also, check what you will actually pay monthly and what is included. We charge interest on the reducing balance only, whereas they might apply interest up-front on the total loan.
In addition, you build up savings so that you can pay off your loan early or, if your loan runs its full term, you have a savings balance to keep.
As we are a regulated credit union, you know that you are not paying for outside shareholders or profits. Surpluses, after operating costs and allocation to reserves, are used to pay dividends to savers.
In the same way you make payments to your savings account.
This might be by standing order, direct payroll deduction, pay-point card or through benefit payments directly to your credit union account.
Or you can pay in at our office and get to know our friendly staff and volunteers.
If you wish to pay money directly to your loan you can do this at any time. This will mean that your loan will be cleared a bit earlier than planned and that you pay less interest.
If you have extra money you can also choose to pay this into your savings account at any time.
If you leave your employer, you can still retain membership of the Credit Union; however it is your responsibility to contact us to keep us updated and to make alternative arrangements for paying into your account or repaying your loan.
You need to send us a completed application form. Make sure this is signed and dated. Include with it your latest two months wage slips or benefit award letters (as applicable) and copy bank statements for the last two months.
A credit union is a local co-operative. The money it loans out belongs to your friends and colleagues and fellow members within our common bond, and therefore we must loan it out responsibly. For this reason, we need to check that you are able to repay any amount we lend to you and this is why we ask for all this information. Please note that all information provided to us remains strictly confidential.
Once your loan has been approved we will send a text message to advise you. You can then arrange to call into our office to sign your loan agreement and any other necessary documents e.g. Bank Transfer form, standing order form etc. Your money will usually be transferred into your bank account on the same day.
Yes, we carry out a credit check on all loan applications. This is to help ensure we are lending sensibly and protecting the interests of all members who save with us.
The credit check will in part be used to verify the information that you provide when you apply for your loan. It is therefore vital that you accurately enter your information correctly in your application, including any other outstanding credit you may have.
We provide you with FREE life insurance for the amount of your outstanding loan (up to £10,000). As with most insurance some exemptions apply; for example you may not be covered if you die of a pre-existing medical condition within 6 months of taking out the loan. This insurance is available to members up to age 80.
We do not currently provide sickness, accident and unemployment insurance.
By only making affordable, responsible loans and by working in partnership with independent, local, free money advice services we hope that you won’t get into serious difficulty. In the future we hope to offer access to a financial health check for all members, which could help you with budgeting and income maximisation and if you need it then we also work with local debt advisers who may be able to help you.
We have a duty to recover our members' money. Members who fail to pay and fail to work with us to come to repayment arrangements will be entered into a strict debt collection process, including court action, bailiffs, attachments to earnings, charging orders and other available forms of enforcement.
We are a professional, local, ethical, not-for-profit financial services organisation, owned and governed by its members. We aim to provide affordable savings, loans and financial products to our members.
If you are having difficulty with your repayments, please contact us.
You can only make a withdrawal if the balance of your shares is greater than the balance of your outstanding loan. If this is the case, you would be able to withdraw the difference between the two balance.