Frequently asked questions

How does PCS Credit Union work? Your questions answered


What is the credit union?

PCS Credit Union is an ethical alternative to your bank that offers savings and low cost loans.  All credit unions have a ‘common bond’ – something which defines who can join them.


Who can join?

All members of PCS including:

  • Ordinary members
  • Associate & Retired members (includes PCS Staff & full-time Officers)
  • Life members

and their immediate family/partners provided they live in the same household.


Who runs it?

The credit union is run by volunteers who are PCS members along with a small team of staff who take care of the day-to-day operations.  Directors, who are all credit union members, are elected at the Annual General Meeting.  The Board of directors meet regularly and are responsible for the running of the credit union and its legal and regulatory responsibilities.


What do I commit to when I join?

Every member commits to save.  Most members save every month, with a minimum payment of £5 per month. Every £1 buys a share in the credit union and every member has sole ownership of their shares. Members who do not wish to set up a regular saver must set up a Deposit account with a minimum initial deposit of £500.


Will my identity be verified?

Yes, our regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority require us to verify a prospective member's identity to prevent money laundering and to ensure applicants meet the common bond conditions (i.e. are PCS members or family).

We will use electronic checks to verify your identity and only ask for paper documents if we cannot confirm your identity electronically.

We cannot verify identity from the PCS membership database because they do not carry out such checks, although we will use it to verify you are a member.  We have no access to information held by your employer. 


Membership fees

A non-returnable joining fee of £5 must be paid before a membership application is processed.  Junior members (between 16 & 18 years of age) have a reduced joining fee of £2.50, as they cannot apply for loans. Junior savers (under 16 years of age) do not pay a joining fee. 

In following years, there is an annual membership fee of only £1, which is taken automatically from members’ saving accounts.  From 1st October 2017 the annual membership fee will rise to £2.

The joining and membership fees help with the administrative costs of creating and running your account and make more money available for member services.


Can I invest lump sums?

Yes, you can deposit lump sums from £500 up to a combined total maximum of £19,000 without also having to save each month. There is no set deposit period and you can withdraw your money at any time (restrictions apply if you have a loan outstanding).

You can deposit lump sums by making a bank transfer to PCS Credit Union’s account, by debit card or by sending a cheque. You can find more information and deposit forms on the member information section of the website.


Will I receive interest on my savings?

Your savings buy shares in the credit union. Each year the Annual General Meeting decides if a dividend will be paid on all members’ shares after a recommendation from the Board of directors.  The dividend if awarded, is paid from the surplus made by the credit union after running costs have been paid and necessary reserves have been maintained.  This is in lieu of any interest payment and is paid directly into your savings account.


How do I apply for a loan?

You can apply for a loan by completing the appropriate loan application form.  If you register for Internet Banking, you will be able to apply online.  Otherwise, you can download a form from the member information section of the website.


How much can I borrow?

We have several types of loans.

Our Ethical Payday Loan is for sums from £300 to £750 and is repayable over up to 12 months.

Our Standard Loan is for sums from £751 up to £4,999 and is repayable over 1 to 5 years.

Our Large Loan is for sums between £5,000 to £10,000 and is repayable over 1 to 5 years.

Different qualifying conditions apply to these loans.  For full details check the member information section of the website.


Are there any arrangement fees or penalties?

We do not charge any arrangement fees on loans and there are no penalties for repaying a loan early.


How do I repay a loan?

Loan repayments are by monthly direct debit. There is still a minimum £5 savings amount in addition to any monthly loan repayment so you continue to save while you repay your loan.


When will my savings and/or loan repayments come out of my bank account?

Payments for your monthly savings will be collected by direct debit from your bank account on the 1st, 9th or 18th of each month as specified by you.


Can I change the amount I am saving?

You can change your direct debit by downloading a form. You can also deposit a lump sum or make a withdrawal.  If you have registered for Internet Banking, you can make a withdrawal online.


Where do you invest my savings?

Savings are invested in secure, low risk, ethical savings accounts and interest earned on it goes towards the dividend, operating expenses and building reserves.


Is my money secure?

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme covers all savings so that your money is protected. The credit union also has a supervisory committee, which audits procedures to make sure that we act in the best interest of our members. An independent chartered accountant also audits the credit union’s accounts each year and reports to the Annual General Meeting.

We also have a director responsible for preventing money laundering.


If I leave PCS do I have to leave the credit union?

Not necessarily.  If you have any household family members that are members of PCS trade union you are still eligible for credit union membership.   You can join the Associate & Retired member (ARMs) for a reduced cost and still have access to many of PCS' membership benefits including the credit union.  The credit union can also still keep members who no longer fulfil the membership criteria.


Who do I contact for more information?

If you cannot find the answer to your question on the website, please contact the credit union office.

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