Your questions answered
A credit union is a community savings & loans provider that exists to provide financial services to a common group of member. 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. In respect of deposits, an eligible depositor is entitled to claim up to £85,000.
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 and our directors and senior staff are vetted by the regulators.
On receipt of a fully completed application we will verify your identity and open your account. This verification is usually done electronically. In some cases, we may need to ask for additional identification before we can open your membership account. Once your account is open you will receive a welcome pack with all the information you should need.
All financial organisations need to know who their customer is. The level of ID we request will be the level required by the Money Laundering Regulations.
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.
You can save as much as you like up to £10,000. This can be by a lump sum deposit or by regular monthly savings from £10 per month. We also operate a Christmas Savings Account into which you can save extra money that can only be taken out in November and December so you never need to worry about how you will pay for Christmas. If you would like a separate savings account for longer term saving, that can also be arranged.
Those who take advantage of borrowing from other members' savings are required to continue to save alongside their loan repayments. For those with loans, a minimum savings balance equal to one month's loan repayment must be maintained in the account at all times.
To withdraw your savings, you can either:
We would then process this and your money would be transferred to your bank account by BACS. This process will take 3 working days. You need to keep at least £5 in your account to remain a member of the credit union.
You might also consider keeping your savings intact and applying for an affordable credit union loan for your needs instead.
Any member can open a Christmas Savings Account to run separately from their ordinary share account. Money put into the Christmas account is locked in. These accounts will unlock on the 1st November and be open for withdrawals until the 24th December, at which time they will lock again for you to start saving for next year.
Loans are only available to CLEVR Money members. Nobody else will be considered.
The minimum loan is currently £200, the maximum loan £15,000.
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.
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.
We hope to offer this service to all members who would like it, free of charge. As our utility, travel and food costs rise rapidly, many more of us are wondering just how tight our belts can be pulled and how we can manage. Our financial health check, carried out by a professional Money Adviser, can take a look at maximising your income, making savings on your outgoings and budgeting to better manage your finances in these difficult times. We hope to launch this service in the future.
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 lower. We regularly compare prices with high street banks as well as doorstep and other lenders to ensure that we are as competitive as possible.
Amount Max repayment period APR
£200 - £2,000 36 months 42.6%
£2,001 - £4,999 60 months 19.6%
£5,000 - £10,000 60 months 9.5%
£10,001 - £15,000 60 months 6.9%
Loans over £7,500 are only available to homeowners with excellent credit history who are able to repay through payroll deductions.
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 at any rate.
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.
Our loans include life cover at no extra cost up to age 69 and up to £5,000 (conditions apply) and have no arrangement fees and no penalties for early settlement. Would your bank be the same?
In addition, with CLEVR Money, 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.
Loans can be repaid by direct payroll deduction, by direct debit, or through benefit payments directly to your CLEVR Money account.
Yes. If you wish to repay your total outstanding loan early you can do so in one payment. Just contact CLEVR Money to check the final payment required. There are no early repayment charges for this.
If you have extra money you can pay this into your savings account at any time. When the balance of your savings account is enough to pay off the balance of your loan, you can do this.
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 wage slip or benefit award letters and your latest month's bank statements.
A credit union is a local co-operative. The money it loans out belongs to your friends and colleagues and fellow members and 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 the credit union remains strictly confidential.
Once your loan has been approved we will send out a loan agreement for you to sign and return to us. You will receive your money within 3 working days of us receiving the signed agreement.
Yes. We carry out a detailed credit check on 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 you provide on your application form. It is therefore vital that you accurately record all other outstanding credit on your application form.
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.
CLEVR Money is 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 and are supported by major employers across the Fylde Coast.
If you are having difficulty with your repayments, please contact us.
Yes. Click the PIN reminder link, complete the form with the same details that you used when you registered, and a PIN reminder will be emailed to you within one business day.
You can retrieve your password by clicking on the password reminder button and completing the form. Please note that the details on the form MUST be the same details that you registered on the web site.
NOTE: The password reminder will only be sent to the email address you used when you registered on the site.
Our staff do not have access to your password and cannot give it to you over the telephone. What they can do is go through security questions with you and change your registered email address. You will then be able to retrieve you password through the web site within 1 business day.
You may contact us about your account by telephone provided that you can answer security questions. Some transactions, such as loan agreements, will always need to have your signature before they can be processed. We cannot take withdrawal instructions over the telephone.
The web site data is not real-time. It is currently updated twice each day, at around 11.30am and again at around 4.30pm. On your balances screen, you can see when the last update was made.