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Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Pioneer Credit Union?

Pioneer is a not for profit collective, so it's owned by the members who have savings in it.  The Board of Directors which runs Pioneer is made up of members. 


Do I earn interest on my savings?

Pioneer doesn't pay interest on savings, but can pay a 'dividend' or bonus to members at the end of its financial year if a enough extra money has been made.  All money made from loans or other activities is used for running expenses, development of new services or paid as dividends. 
In the financial year 2013-2014, Pioneer paid a 1% dividend to all adult and junior savers.


How much can I save?

You need to keep £5 in your account to keep it open, and can save up to £15,000.  You can pay in as little as £1 at a time. You do not need to save every week, but if you want to borrow from the credit union, you need to save for 13 consecutive weeks/7 consecutive fortnights.


Is my money safe in a credit union?

Your money is completely save at Pioneer.  We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).  This means that, like at a bank,  any savings up to £85,000 are entirely safe and any claims for compensation from the FSCS are usually resolved and paid within 7 days.


What is a share?

At credit unions savings are commonly known as shares because as a saver or borrower you have a share in the organisation.


Can I borrow money from Pioneer?

To borrow money you must first of all be a member, and you must have saved regularly for at least 13 weeks.  This encourages people to get into the habit of saving rather than just borrowing and provides some security for any loan.


How much could I borrow?

This depends on how much you have saved and your borrowing history with us in the past.  Any application for a loan is considered individually.  First time loans are usually allowed for up to one and a half times the amount of savings you have made with a limit of £1000.  If this is repaid successfully this increases to double the amount for the second loan and triple the amount for the third.  After this it is at the discretion of the loan panel, which is made up of board members.


What can I use my loan for?

You can use your loan for anything you like, there are no restrictions.


What happens to my savings when I get a loan?

When you receive a loan, your savings stay in your account and act as security for your loan.  When you successfully pay back your loan you can access your savings again.  You will be encouraged to keep saving as well as repaying your loan if you can, which means you have access to a larger loan or may not need a loan at all in future.


How much will I pay back each week or month?

This depends on how much you borrow and how long you want to pay it back over.  Repayment periods are usually between 13 and 156 weeks.  Paying a loan back in a shorter time means you will pay more each week, but pay less back in interest.  Click here to check the repayments you might make using our easy loan reckoner.


How much interest will I pay on a loan?

Currently our loan interest rate is just 1.5% per month.  This equates to 19.6% APR.  There are no fees or charges for taking a loan or early repayment, unlike some other lenders


What is APR?
APR is short for Annual Percentage Rate of interest and is used to measure how expensive a loan is.  The higher this number, the more money is paid back for a loan.  Doorstep lenders, like Provident, have an interest rate of around 270% and payday lenders can be over 4000%.  Sometimes the rate offered is described as 'Representative' which means that only half of applicants have to be offered the advertised rate.  The rest may be offered a loan, but at a higher rate.

If you have a query and can't find the answer above or anywhere else on our website, please contact us.

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