Merthyr businesses boost employees’ financial wellbeing

Businesses throughout Merthyr Tydfil are showing their commitment to the financial wellbeing of their staff by becoming credit union payroll partners.

Many employers are becoming Payroll Partners of Merthyr Tydfil Borough Credit Union and helping their workforce save and borrow responsibly, while also benefitting the local community.

Each new business receives a Payroll Partner Accreditation mark which demonstrates their commitment to giving staff access to savings and affordable credit as a perk of their employment.

Delyth Shearing, Manager of Merthyr Tydfil Borough Credit Union said: “We offer people a great way to save and borrow responsibly and to keep in control of their finances.

“Financial stress was estimated to cost the UK economy 18 million working hours a year and by helping the workforce become more financially responsible and in turn more productive and less likely to fall absent from work.”

The Credit Unions of Wales Payroll Partner scheme sees employers work with their local credit union to offer the ability to save, or repay a loan, direct from their salary.

In turn, as credit unions are essentially not-for-profit community banks, the money saved benefits the local community and economy.

The Patron of Credit Unions of Wales, actor Michael Sheen said: “It’s important that we ensure everyone has access to fair and affordable finance.

“High cost credit providers target those who can least afford it but need it the most. Credit unions offer a fairer alternative and together we can help more people to use their local provider

“Imagine a Wales where all employers offer this to their staff in recognition that caring for employees’ financial wellbeing makes good business sense.”

Legal and General support financial wellbeing of their staff

Legal and General’s offices in Cardiff has received a Payroll Partner Accreditation for supporting the financial wellbeing of their employees.

The Welsh division of the multi-national insurance firm encourages its staff to become members of Cardiff & Vale Credit Union and benefit from a host of easily-accessible financial products.

Corporate Responsibility Manager for Cardiff Lynne Sheehy praised the partnership working between both organisations which began just over a year ago.

She said: “This has been an excellent initiative and works very well for our employees.

“That success is largely due to the frequent onsite visits made by officers from Cardiff & Vale Credit Union who offer financial advice, answer any questions confidentially that our staff may have and promote various savings and loans schemes.

“We regularly communicate with all of our staff in the Cardiff office through monthly newsletters and make them aware of the benefits of joining a credit union.

“Once a new credit union campaign is launched – such as Christmas saving schemes – we inform them right away.

“We are a financial services organisation so we recognise the issues that can affect our employees.

“We want them to be able to manage their finances carefully and make informed decisions on their financial future.

“The Payroll Savings Scheme has a very clear message and has a really tangible benefit to employees if they want to be part of it.”


Welsh employers urged to help staff avoid high cost credit

Credit Unions of Wales are calling on more Welsh employers to sign up to payroll partnerships following a study into the impact of high cost loans.

The report Life on Debt Row studied how different forms of borrowing had affected borrowers from mental health to family relationships and employment.

Nearly half of those using payday lenders said that it had adversely affected their employment situation, while 62 per cent said they drank more alcohol as a result of their debt.

One in 10 respondents said that being in debt resulted in them taking antidepressants for the first time. A third of respondents said that they used more prescription and over the counter medicines as a result of their debt.

The report found: “Credit unions came out very positively, highlighting that they play an important role in offering affordable, fair credit to consumers.”

Ann Francis, General Manager of Cambrian Credit Union said: “Nearly half of those using payday lenders in this report were in employment.

“Employers have a huge role to play in helping people see the real alternatives to high cost borrowing.

“Earlier this month 140 organisations in Wales showed their commitment to staff financial wellbeing by becoming Credit Unions of Wales Payroll Partners and we urge more to follow them.

“This report highlights, once again, that caring for staff financial wellbeing makes social and commercial sense.”

By becoming a Credit Unions of Wales Payroll Partner, an organisation offers staff the ability to save or repay credit direct from their salary. The scheme costs nothing to employers.

‘Life on Debt Row’, by health education charity the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), ranked payday loans as having the most negative impact on mental well-being, followed by unauthorised overdrafts, doorstep loans and weekly payment stores.

The research was welcomed by Patron of Credit Unions of Wales and founder of the End High Cost Credit Alliance, actor Michael Sheen.

He said: “The evidence on the impact on our health and wellbeing is now overwhelming. We have the evidence. Now we need action.”

Find your local Credit Union.

Employers: Why offer savings through payroll deduction?

Supporting the financial well-being of staff is good for them, good for the community, but also good for business too.

Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals research states that around a third of the UK population with significant personal debt and financial stress causes the loss of 17.5 million UK working hours each.

By introducing staff to the concept of payroll deduction where a nominal sum is taken from their wage and placed into a savings account before they can miss it, employers are creating a financially confident workforce.

The CIPP suggests that offering saving and borrowing through payroll shows that employers take their staff’s financial wellbeing seriously.

It can be an incentive to draw more employees because it offers real value to the workforce and this not only assists with recruitment but ensures a higher retention of staff.

The scheme also demonstrates how much employers value the wellbeing of their workforce which increases morale and productivity. Research shows that it also reduces absenteeism due to financial stress.

Payroll savings helps staff build up a buffer to cover any unexpected expenses from a broken down car to a leaking roof.

By regularly saving they are also less likely to fall into the trap of turning to payday lenders whose high interest rates can cause individuals into unparalleled levels of debt.

Research by the Financial Conduct Authority found that 4.1 million people in the UK are in serious financial difficulty.

People are seeing their wages been stretched further and further and additional pressure is also applied whilst wages continue to remain stagnant. 

By encouraging staff to sign up to payroll deduction scheme, employers are implementing a secure financial programme for their future.

Payroll savings have also become another essential offering which is provided to employees as part of a portfolio of benefits and deductions.


Cartrefi Cymru Receives Payroll Accreditation Mark

Cartrefi Cymru has received a Payroll Partner Accreditation for supporting the financial wellbeing of their employees throughout Wales.

The not-for-profit organisation which has an office in Trealaw offers a wide range of services, from half an hour of home care to round-the-clock intensive suppor.

Many of their Rhondda employees have joined Dragonsavers Credit Union in Treorchy and benefit from the Payroll Saving Scheme which encourages them to regularly save or pay off an affordable loan from their salary.

Payroll Officer Denise Hall explained that Cartrefi Cymru used to offer their own financial schemes to employees, including a salary advance or a loan based on salaries.

But they signposted their staff to a wider range of financial products to benefit their wellbeing through the local credit union.

Denise Hall said: “We take the financial health of our staff very seriously indeed.

“Our purpose is to protect vulnerable people in the community and equally we want to ensure our own staff feel protected and supported which is why we encourage them to become financially secure.

“This in turn reduces their stress levels and improves absenteeism in the workplace.

“Through regularly dispersing leaflets and holding presentations, our employees recognise how easily accessible the financial products are when they join a credit union and many take advantage of what is on offer.”


Why save through your employer’s payroll savings scheme with a credit union?

Payroll saving is a hassle free method of regularly putting money aside or repaying a loan with a credit union.

Credit unions are a financial co-operative body, owned and controlled by its members.

It seeks to promote thrift by encouraging the habit of saving, offers loans at reasonable rates of interest, and often provides other financial services to its members.

Once you start saving you’re not just a customer, you’re a member and have a say on how its run.

Members can be assured that any money invested benefits the local community – not shareholders – by providing low-cost, affordable loans.

Credit unions usually offer a dividend rate rather than an interest rate.

Just like a bank or building society, Credit Unions are regulated to ensure your money is looked after.

They are governed by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so your money is protected up to £85,000.

Payroll savings allows you to save as little or as much as you want by nominating a sum of money to be taken from your wage and placed in a savings account.

Saving money protects you from unexpected financial pressures and helps you manage your money more effectively.

It also means that you are less likely to suffer stress and mental illness due to money troubles.

According to the FCA one in ten employees said they found it hard to concentrate or make decisions at work because of money worries and 19per cent have lost sleep worrying about money, all of which impact productivity.

As the average household debt in the UK continues to rise, with 23 per cent of people either revolving a credit card or using high-cost short-term credit, the need to be more financial responsible is greater than ever.

Whether you need to save for a special occasion or have a buffer available if your car breaks down, regularly saving is a route to becoming financially sound.

Evidence suggests that people across the UK have a strong tendency to ignore the future and live for today.

Around one in three UK household have very little put away for emergencies and would be unable to pay more than a month’s rent or mortgage if they lost their income.

So don’t be another statistic. Start saving today.



Employers: Why choose a credit union for payroll deduction?

There are plenty of reasons why employers should choose a credit union to operate their payroll saving scheme for staff.

The contractual relationship is directly between the credit union and the member of staff therefore there is no risk to the employer regarding loan repayments and saving security.

Helping staff to join a credit union and build their capacity to help staff is a significant demonstration of a company’s corporate social responsibility;

Credit Unions are non-profit financial organisations set up by members with something in common to benefit their community.

They offer ethical, local investments and by introducing staff to their local credit union, employers allow them to benefit from all the services and products available like savings and loans schemes.

Credit unions are committed to improving your community by offering affordable loans from the pot of savings invested by its members.

That means your organisation is positively engaging in the local community at no extra cost to your business.

When staff are encouraged to save money regularly it protects them from unexpected financial pressures and helps manage their money more effectively.

Quite simply payroll savings allows a set sum to be deducted from their wage packet and placed into a savings account.

It can put your workforce on a firmer financial stronghold which in turn makes them more secure, productive members of staff.

Anxieties about money have been associated with ulcers, headaches, back pain and an increased risk of heart conditions.

Citizens Advice found that 74 per cent of people with debt worries found it affected their mental health and led to absenteeism from the work place.

Therefore employees who manage their money are shown to have lower levels of stress.

By offering a cost-free staff benefit with a credit union, employers can enhance the package available to their employees while improving the prospects of staff recruitment and retention.

Staff can improve their standard of living by accessing affordable loans for things they might otherwise be unable to afford like a holiday, which could reduce the stress levels, sick leave levels or staff turnover.


What are the benefits of a workplace loan with your credit union?

A workplace loan scheme allows staff to borrow from a credit union through their employer’s benefits package, which is repaid via salary deductions from their pay packet.

Workplace loans can be a useful tool to help employees develop savings habits because once the loan is repaid, staff get used to a nominal sum being taken from their wage and place it into a savings account instead.

It is important to remember that credit unions offer very competitive rates of interest on personal loans.

Interest is charged on the reducing balance of the loan which is important if you want to repay your loan weekly rather than monthly, because you’ll pay less interest overall.

Credit union loans come with no hidden charges and no penalties for repaying the loan early.

Credit unions also include free life insurance at no extra cost – so if you die before repaying the loan, the balance would be paid off for you.

Typically, workplace loans are used to facilitate debt consolidation and help support staff who may not be able to get a loan elsewhere due to a poor credit rating.

Employers have a corporate responsibility to support the financial wellbeing of their workforce which in turn benefits their own business.

According to the FCA one in ten employees said they found it hard to concentrate or make decisions at work because of money worries and 19per cent have lost sleep worrying about money, all of which impact productivity.

As the average household debt in the UK continues to rise, with 23 per cent of people either revolving a credit card or using high-cost short-term credit, the need to be more financial responsible is greater than ever.

Workplace loans take into consideration an employee’s length of service rather than the usual high street bank method of credit ratings.

The fact that repayments are made via salary deduction on a fixed date provides peace of mind to staff and helps them to plan ahead.

This could be particularly useful for employees who struggle with day-to-day budgeting.

It also encourages staff to improve savings habits and educates them on the importance of ensuring strong financial foothold and not spiral into a lifetime of debt.


North Wales Firm Supports Payroll Saving Scheme

Thorncliffe Building Supplies Ltd take the financial health of their staff seriously by promoting membership with Cambrian Credit Union so they can benefit from a range of savings and loans schemes.

One of the most popular is Payroll Saving which allows a nominal sum of money to be taken from their staff salary and placed directly into a savings account before they have the chance to spend it.

Finance and Personnel Officer Howard Ferdinando said: “We recognise that Credit Unions are a safe institution in which our staff could save their money and also borrow, rather than become a victim to loan sharks.

“Some of our staff struggle financially from time to time and we wanted to support them in any way we could.

“We take their financial wellbeing very seriously as part of our corporate responsibility towards them which is why we partnered with Cambrian Credit Union and there’s been a steady growth of members ever since.”

Cambrian Credit Union staff visit Thorncliffe Building Supplies Ltd’s branches at Dyserth, Ewloe, Abergele and Bodelwyddan to hold advice surgeries with staff and explain the many benefits of their saving schemes and affordable loans.

The company, which supplies a range of services from fencing and concrete manufacturing to building supplies and waste management, have seen a steady growth in the scheme since it was launched three years ago.


Employers In Wales Sign Up To Improve Financial Wellbeing

An impressive 140 businesses across Wales have gained the Credit Unions of Wales Payroll Partner mark for helping staff save and borrow responsibly while also benefitting the local community.

The mark was launched to recognise those employers who are committed to the financial wellbeing of their staff.

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen, the Patron of the Credit Unions of Wales, voiced his support for the initiative in a video message which was played at the launch of the Payroll Partner mark in Cardiff.

“Employers have an opportunity to make a massive difference in the way we work together to improve access to affordable credit,” he said.

“Families in Wales have the smallest average savings in the UK, with an average of £875 of savings per household, this represents only 28 per cent of the UK average.

“Nearly 21 per cent don’t have any savings at all, including large numbers of people who are in employment.”

The mark has the backing of the Welsh Government’s Housing and Regeneration Minister Rebecca Evans who hoped it would ‘inspire’ employers.

“Credit Unions offer people a great way to save and borrow responsibly and to keep in control of their finances,” she said. “There are real benefits for employees and employers in partnering with credit unions, and I hope employers across Wales are inspired to get involved.”

The Credit Unions of Wales Payroll Partner scheme sees employers work with their local credit union to offer the ability to save, or repay a loan, direct from their salary. In turn, as credit unions are essentially not-for-profit community banks, the money saved benefits the local community and economy.


Cambrian Credit Union launches new service in Welshpool

Congratulations to Cambrian Credit Union on opening a new community bank in Welshpool!

Due to the support of Powys County Council, Cambrian will be operating from Welshpool Library two days per week.

In Newtown the credit union will move from its current office to Newtown Library and open three days per week as part of its improved services to the people of Powys.

General Manager of Cambrian Credit Union Ann Francis said the move wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Powys County Council.

She explained: “We are delighted to extend our services and are particularly grateful for the support of Powys County Council for providing premises and Principal Librarian Kay Thomas who has worked hard to help set this up.

“We currently have a number of members in Welshpool and so it’s a huge step forward for us to bring services closer to them and reach out to potential new members.”

Cabinet Member for Libraries at Powys County Council, Councillor Rachel Powell added: “I am delighted that the county council’s library service was able to help the credit union expand their activities into Welshpool.

“Credit unions provide a valuable service for residents and having their operation based in a library makes them more accessible and strengthens the role of the local library.”

From Monday March 5, Cambrian Credit Union will be available between 9:30am and 1:00pm every Monday and Wednesday at Welshpool Library, Brook Street, Welshpool SY21 7PH.

It will also be available between 9:30am and 1:00pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Newtown Library, Park Lane, Newtown SY16 1EJ.

Staff will be able to deal with enquiries, take loan applications, process cash and BACS payments.

For further details visit



Have You Heard Of Payroll Saving?

Have you ever heard of payroll saving?

Undoubtedly it’s the easiest way to put money aside for a rainy day – and you won’t miss a penny of it.

Through a partnership agreement between your credit union and employer, a nominal sum of money is taken from your salary and placed into a savings account – before you have the chance to spend it.

Payroll saving can be an incredibly effective tool to ensure you have money set aside for a special occasion like a wedding or a holiday or even an unexpected bill like a failed MoT or a broken down washing machine.

There’s never been a greater need to become more financially responsible.

According to recent figures by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, one in four of Britain’s poorest households are falling behind with debt payments or spending more than a quarter of their monthly income on repayments.

The study adds that borrowing on credit cards, loans and car finance deals has returned to levels unseen since before the 2008 financial crisis.

That’s why we want more businesses to remember their corporate responsibility to support the financial welfare of their staff by encouraging them to save with a credit union.

Businesses whose employees save regularly are more financially stable, have lower levels of stress, and are more productive and motivated. They are also less likely to fall absent.

For some small companies who don’t have the budget to give staff bonuses or significant pay rises, the payroll savings scheme is not only simple and free but helps their employees create a financially secure future for themselves.

If young people develop an irresponsible attitude to finances then it can have a detrimental effect on their lives in the long run because not only will they end up paying back high interest payday loans but create bad credit which can be very damaging when making important financial decisions.

The practicalities of putting aside a portion of income before paying the bills or enjoying any luxuries is an important rule in attaining personal financial stability.

By joining their credit union, members will have free life insurance, the rights to have a say in how the organisation is managed and can also enjoy any end-of-year profits with an annual dividend.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions who their members as individuals and not as a credit score.

If you are a director of a company or an employee who thinks their business should become a payroll savings partner, then contact your local credit union today.


Home Improvement Project? Keep Control Of Your Finances

Are you thinking of sprucing up your home with new windows, a fitted kitchen or even an expensive new extension?

Home improvements can be costly affairs but ultimately are a good investment because they not only increase the value of your home but make it more attractive to buyers if you’re thinking of moving.

When it comes to home improvements it’s important to shop around and get several quotes before committing to a particular builder.

Only then will you have a starting point for your budget and a better idea of how much you will need to spend.

Ideally the money will be saved in advance so you can begin work right away, but if that isn’t the case there’s always several options available to help make your property dreams into a reality.

Taking out a loan is the obvious choice but make sure you compare several loan providers to get the best deal.

Remember that those eye-catching “representative” annual percentage rates (APR) on the advertisements only actually apply to 51 percent of people who take out the loan.

If you don’t fall into that category then your interest rate could be a lot higher

Most credit unions offer an actual APR which means that what you see is what you get.

Another method of paying for home improvements is through interest free credit, a popular choice for everything from a new dining suite to a conservatory.

It’s important to remember that if you don’t pay off the balance within the interest free period you could end up repaying more than you can afford.

Have you considered using a credit card?

If they offer an introductory zero per cent then this may be the right option for you, but again you need to be disciplined enough to manage your repayments and pay off the balance in time.

Credit cards also have the additional advantages of providing you with a level of protection. If the work turns out to be faulty of the company you use to undertake the home improvement goes bust, then you may be able to claim the money back from the card provider.

Even if you have cash to pay for the job, you may wish to use a credit card for this level of protection.

What about adding the cost of the work to your existing mortgage? That allows you pay it back over a decade or more and the repayments will be a lot less than your average loan. Just check if the rate is fixed or variable.

So before you commit to any form of loan always look at the interest rate, the cost of repayments and the time period to clear the balance.

Many loan companies include a repayment calculator on their website to help you make your decision.

Finally, don’t forget to visit your local credit union and see how we can help you access an affordable loan to suit your pocket.


Savings Goals – Learn How To Pay Yourself First

Have you ever heard of the phrase “pay yourself first”?

It’s one of the oldest rules of personal financial management and puts you on a firm foundation when it comes to handling money.

Basically, it means that you put aside a portion of your income into a savings account before you start paying your bills or spending your earnings, rather than afterward.

Obviously, it’s important to keep on top of your bills, so make sure that it is a manageable amount.

Even if you put aside the smallest percentage of your pay packet it will eventually add up to a good sum and help pay for a holiday, a family birthday or even a new car.

We realise that many people find it difficult to consider paying themselves first when they’re faced with so many other financial obligations but even though it’s critical to pay your bills on time you should also set something aside for the future.

The best way to develop a saving habit is to make the process as painless as possible, such as setting up a direct debit straight to your savings account. By saving just £10 a week, you will have more than £500 within a year.

One of the simplest ways to pay yourself first is through a credit union payroll savings scheme which is offered to employees by our partner organisations. You can set the amount you want to save and it is taken from your salary and placed into a savings account before you even notice it’s gone.

Contact your local credit union and find out if you qualify for payroll deduction with your employer. Or come and visit us to discuss saving’s options to suit your pocket.

To find your local credit union visit:


How To Avoid Loan Sharks

Many people come up against financial problems from time to time.

These can include sudden repairs to your car, replacing an old cooker or receiving a credit card bill that seems impossible to pay off.

Without enough savings set aside it can be difficult to find money quickly. That’s why some of us consider a payday loan to be the answer.

When times are tough, we don’t always take the time to read the small print or weigh up the pros and cons, which can lead to bigger financial problems in the long run.

Credit Unions of Wales believe in affordable borrowing which is why we support the decision to restrict the excessive interest rates attached to some payday loans.

But the cap placed on the maximum amount of interest charged on a payday loan will reduce the number of legal lenders in that market.

What it doesn’t do is eradicate the genuine need for short term loans and this can lead desperate people to turn to unlicensed lenders – better known as loan sharks.

The amount of interest charged by loan sharks can be astronomical. The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit launched a probe into one suspected loan shark who they believed to be lending cash at six million per cent interest.

Loan sharks can be difficult to catch, with fewer than 10 per cent of those reported ending up in court.

Remember that there is a far safer method of short-term borrowing that won’t leave you facing years of staggering debt.

Credit Unions of Wales are not-for-profit, community banks that focus on responsible lending. That means we speak to people face-to-face and work out what’s affordable for them.

With such a focus on personal attention we have low default rates, which helps us keep interest rates lower.

So, don’t fall into the malevolent jaws of loan sharks, your local credit union can help you swim in much calmer waters.

To find your local credit union visit:


How To Pay For Home Improvements

Are you looking to spruce up your home? Need to replace those cracked wooden framed windows, re-tile that 1970s style bathroom or create a new extension for the family?

Although improvements to your property can be a good investment and help increase the value of your home, make sure you shop around to get the best price for the job.

It’s always important to obtain several different quotes which will give you a better idea of a realistic budget before you commit yourself.

Ideally you have already saved enough money to pay for your home improvements, but if not then there are still plenty of ways to get a good deal to suite your pocket.

Here are some of the options available:

Take out a loan: When considering a loan it’s important to compare the various loan providers to ensure you get the best deal. Remember that the “representative APR” figure you see advertised may only apply to 51 percent of people who actually take out the loan.

So if you’re in the other 49 percent your interest rates could be substantially higher than you bargained for. Shop around with other providers if you’re told that “due to your personal circumstances” the rate you’re offered is different from the one advertised. That’s why it’s worth remembering that credit unions offer the actual APR they advertise. So what you see is what you get.

Interest free credit: It you take advantage of an interest free credit deal make sure you pay it off within the period. If you fail to pay off the balance in time you may face higher interest rates.

Credit cards: Some credit cards offer a zero percent offer on purchases which is great news. But just like interest free credit, the key is to manage your repayments so you pay off your balance in time.

Another advantage of credit cards if that they provide you with a certain level of protection if your refurbishment work turns out to be faulty or the company goes bust. With a credit card you may be able to claim the money back. If you have the cash to cover your refurbishment, then it may be worth considering paying the deposit with a credit card to access this protection.

Adding the cost to your mortgage: You could pay for your home improvement by adding the cost to your mortgage. That means paying off the debt over a very long period and results in lower monthly repayments. Remember to check whether the rate is fixed or variable because they could rise before the balance is repaid.

And finally, know your numbers: It’s important to always look at the interest rate, time period and cost of repayments. Most loan companies will have repayment calculators on their websites and using them could save you a great deal of money.

To find out more about your local credit union visit


Five Tips To Keep Your Spending Under Control

If you’re looking to put yourself on a financial diet this New Year, you’re not alone. Credit Unions of Wales the length and breadth of the country are tightening their belts, so we’ve together a few tips to help you keep your spending under control:

  • Do you really need it? Before you commit to buying something, ask yourselves whether you need it or simply want it. Don’t fall victim to a spending whim.
  • Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Why not shop around for items or check some price-comparison websites before committing yourself to a purchase? You may want to consider withdrawing a set amount of money from your bank or credit union every week to help control your spending and avoid depending on the credit or debit card when you shop.
  • Are you in debt? Prioritise which debt to pay off first depending on the highest interest rate. Remember that before you borrow any money in the future, compare different interest rates and work out how much you’ll be paying back in the long run. You can do this by using the loan calculators usually found on the lenders’ websites (including members of Credit Unions of Wales). The difference between using a payday lender and your local credit union can be absolutely staggering.
  • Give your house a good spring clean whatever the time of year. Try and sell unwanted items at your local boot sale or through an online sales or auction site
  • Pay yourself first. This is a simple trick to ensure solid financial stability. All you have to do is put something away into a savings account every month before you pay your bills or go out for a night on the tiles. If your employer is a partner organisation with a credit union then you can have a set amount taken from your wage packet every month. It’s surprising how quickly this will mount up. For example, saving the price of a supermarket lunchtime, meal deal of £3 per day comes to £1,095 over a year.

Ready to start saving? Find your local credit union here:


What Is A Representative APR Interest Rate?

When considering taking out a loan or a credit card you will probably come up against the term ‘representative APR’, but what exactly does it mean?

Basically, it means that the rate of interest paid on some forms of borrowing, like a personal loan or a credit card, depends on a person’s individual credit score and previous repayment history.

This sort of personal data is compiled by credit reference agencies such as Equifax, CallCredit and Experian. Many high street banks will use information from these agencies to better understand a person’s repayment history, their lifestyle and also any outstanding debts they may have.

All of the information gathered from a credit reference agency helps the lender build a picture of a potential borrower. It also creates an automated risk profile which determines not only if a person gets the credit they applied for but the rate of interest the lender will charge.

However, many people don’t realise that the figure you see advertised as a ‘representative APR’ is not necessarily the rate you will get.

Lenders are required to quote an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) in their advertising. However, legally, a representative APR need only be given to 51 per cent of accepted customers.

That means almost half of consumers who apply for a loan or credit card may end up paying more interest that the representative APR advertised.

In contrast, Credit Unions of Wales quote actual rates which means that all successful applicants will get the same rate.

Credit unions also decide whether to make a loan based on the individual circumstances of a potential borrower, rather than relying solely on an automated credit check.

So, whatever you do, shop around before signing up for a loan or credit card and find the best interest rate to suit your pocket.

To find your local credit union visit:


Why Save With A Credit Union?

Whether you’re saving for an important occasion or just a ‘rainy day’, regularly putting money away with a Credit Union is an excellent way to reach your goal.

Once you start saving you’re not just a customer, you’re a member of a successful financial co-operative and have a say on how its run.

Savings accounts can be very flexible and allow members to save small or large amounts every week, month or whenever they can.

Small, regular amounts quickly build up and help you towards booking holiday, buying a car or maybe for Christmas?

Your savings are safe and secure, earning a good dividend and helping the community because it is being used to make loans for other members

Credit unions usually offer a dividend rate rather than an interest rate If the credit union declares a dividend at the end of the financial year (after all running costs are met), each share you hold for that year is eligible for a dividend.

There are no transaction charges and savings are insured at no direct cost to eligible members.

If you intend to borrow in the future, your savings will be taken into account.

Remember that when you are in the habit of saving regularly, you will find paying back a loan far easier.


What’s The Difference Between A Credit Union And A Bank?

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that serve the needs of their members.

They offer similar banking products and services to those you would find at other financial institutions.

At credit unions, each member, or depositor is also an owner. But in the bank, depositors (or customers) have no ownership rights. Banks are owned by investors.

Each credit union member has one vote in electing board members. Members can also run for election to the board.

Banks are owned and controlled by stockholders, whose number of votes depend upon number of shares owned. Customers don’t have voting rights, cannot be elected to the board, and have no say in how the bank is operated.

Credit unions’ boards comprise volunteers whereas banks’ board members are paid.

Another major difference between the two is that credit unions are local and are organised to serve the interests of its membership but banks are open to the general public.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher savings rates and lower loan rates. Banks are for-profit corporations, with declared earnings paid to stockholders.

The credit unions focus on consumer loans and savings, as well as services needed by the membership. In comparison banks focus on commercial loans and accounts and services that generate significant income.

Finally credit unions cooperate with other credit unions and share resources but competition prohibits banks from doing this.

All UK-regulated current or savings accounts and cash ISAs in banks, building societies and credit unions are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).