How about joining a Credit Union?
Bristol Credit Union and Westcountry Savings and Loans are both credit unions based in the south west. If you’re a LiveWest resident, no matter where you live, you can apply to become a member of one, or even both, of them. Once you’re a member, you can set up a savings account with them and they’ll consider for you a loan if money’s tight too.
Credit unions are a cross between a co-operative and a bank. They’re set up by people with a common interest, like where they live or work, and offer low-interest loans, savings and sometimes bank accounts. They’re community organisations, run on a ‘not for profit’ basis. Instead of paying a profit to shareholders, they use any money they make to reward their members and improve their services.
Importantly, credit unions are regulated financial services organisations. This means they have to play by certain rules and, if you have savings with them, your money is protected up to a limit of £85,000 should the credit union fail.
How do I save with the credit union?
A credit union savings account might be for you if:
- you want a flexible account that lets you save what you can, when you can – you don’t have to save a set amount each month
- you’ve had difficulty opening an account with a bank or building society
- you like the idea of saving with an organisation owned by and run for the members that use its services,
Credit unions want to encourage you to save. They’ll usually offer you various options for paying money in, for example with a PayPoint card or at a local service point where you can pay in cash, or direct from your existing bank account by Direct Debit or Standing Order.
The credit union might also offer regular Christmas saver accounts and accounts for junior savers. Instead of making profit, the credit union will reward you for saving by sharing any money it makes with its members, after it’s paid its running costs.
To find out more about credit unions you can join:
|Bristol Credit Union
114 Cheltenham Road
Also has drop in points in various parts of Bristol and one in Bath – check the website for details and opening times.
|Westcountry Savings & Loans
Also has drop in points in Weston-super-Mare and Portishead – check the website for details and opening times.
To check up on other credit unions in your local area you can put your post code in at www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk