About credit unions

Credit unions

Credit unions are member-owned, financial co-operatives. Credit union directors are volunteers elected from the membership, by the membership, on a one-member, one-vote basis.

They provide services within a common bond which could be made up of people living or working in a certain area, working for a certain employer, belonging to a certain association or a combination of these.

Credit unions provide a range affordable, inclusive financial services including


  • A range of accounts including accounts for junior savers, Christmas Savings Accounts and ISAs
  • Pay in at local offices or collection points, through payroll deduction, from benefits, via PayPoint or by standing order or direct debit


Affordable credit

  • From small sum, short term loans to larger loans and even mortgages
  • Credit unions are unique amongst lenders in Britain as the only lending institutions subject to a statutory interest rate cap.  The cap is set at 2% per month on the reducing balance of a loan or 26.8% APR.
  • Loans from ABCUL credit unions come with loan protection insurance at no cost to the member


Members in 25 credit unions offering the Credit Union Current Account can

  • Access their cash through the LINK ATM network and use a VISA debit card
  • Use direct debit and standing order to pay bills and benefit from discounts from utility companies

Around 60 credit unions offer the Credit Union Prepaid Card.  This allows members to load money from the credit union onto the card and use it as a debit card and at ATM machines.

Credit unions work in partnership with a range of organisations in local communities and workplaces to ensure people have the financial services and information they need.

Typical partner organisations are:


  • Schools
  • Employers
  • Housing Associations
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Surestart
  • Prisons


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