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Need to borrow for repairs, travel, holiday, home improvements or Christmas gifts? Want to know exactly how our credit union puts you first? We get asked these questions a lot. So we’ve pulled together answers to FAQs below.

 

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Here are some answers which might help.

  • General
  • Saving
  • Loans

What is a credit union?

Credit unions are member-owned, financial co-operatives. They are not-for-profit, operating to serve the financial needs of the members (there are no outside shareholders or investors making a profit at ourmembers’ expense).

Credit unions serve a group of members who share a common bond, such as where they work or live. Controlled by members who, as owners, elect Board Members, vote at the AGM, and share in profit,credit unions operate on the fundamental principle of people helping people. They are also fully regulated by the PRA and FCA, and covered by the Financial Services Scheme, just like the banks.

Why the name change from Value Credit Union to Keep Credit Union?

We established Value Credit Union in 1988 to serve employees of one of UK’s biggest grocers. As an employee benefit, we knew we could provide greater peace of mind through simple, straightforward savings and accessible, low-cost loans. Over the next 30 years, we grew to more than 3000 members. We’ve always felt that we provided a service of great value to our members; however, over time, the word ‘value’ has come to be associated with cheaper, lower quality goods and disposable conveniences. So when it came time for a modernised look, a better website and a really useful mobile app, we decided a name change was due too.

We promise to take care of our partners’ employees, to help keep their employees financially safe. We offer payroll deduction as the quickest and most reliable way to keep saving over time. Payroll deductions are also a worry-free and convenient way to keep loan repayments on track. As a credit union, we keep profit within our membership, where it can do the most good for our members, our partners and causes close to our hearts.

From our very beginning, we promised to be reliable, responsible, caring, enduring, empowering, local, viable and fair. That continues to be the promise that we intend to keep.

Is my money safe?

Yes. All savings up to £85,000 are guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, just like the banks. In the very unlikely event of financial collapse your savings would be fully refunded.

How do I access & manage my account?

You can check your balance and apply for loans online, 24/7 through this site or our mobile app.

When you become a member, you’ll receive your own secure, online, log-in information. Then you can LOGIN any time to manage your account.

To withdraw money you’ve been saving, notify us online, through our mobile app, by email or letter through the post. We’ll transfer your money to your nominated bank account. See more
FAQs about saving.

Do I have to save?

Yes please. This is our way of encouraging the habit of regular saving so our members can keep on track to reach their financial goals faster. All Keep Credit Union members save by regular payroll deduction or by standing order. All it takes is £5 per payday. Before you know it, you’ve got the savings you need – for a move, a holiday, any dream big or small. See more FAQs about saving.

Are there costs to join?

No! There’s no cost to join, and no annual fees to maintain membership. (We charge a £5 admin fee if you choose to close your account within the first six months of joining.)

How do I become a member?

You can start the account-opening process right here, right now, online. Once we receive your request, we’ll contact you by email to request two proofs of identity, including a recent payslip. Then we’ll set up Automatic Saving through your payroll department.

What are the perks of being a Keep member?

As a Keep Credit Union member (and owner!), you are our priority. The better we do, the better you’ll do, receiving dividends and loan interest rebates annually.

There is no cost to join, and no annual fees to maintain membership.

You’ll find it really convenient to save and very affordable to borrow, through worry-free, direct-from-payroll saving and loan contributions.

You can also share in the pride we feel supporting important causes that are close to all our hearts.

What makes Keep Credit Union unique?

Keep Credit Union has served retail employees for over 30 years. We partner with employers who share our interest in promoting financial wellbeing to provide a practical benefit for employees.

Our goal is to help groups of employees borrow and save, so they can gain better control of their money, reach their financial goals faster, and enjoy greater peace of mind. Over 3,000 Keep Credit Union Members enjoy free membership, convenient savings and low-cost loan accounts that they manage worry-free through direct-from-payroll contributions.

Is my money safe?

Yes. All savings up to £85,000 are guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, just like the banks. In the very unlikely event of financial collapse your savings would be fully refunded.

What does it cost me to save my money?

There is no cost to join Keep Credit Union, and no annual fees to maintain your membership.

In exceptional circumstances, we will charge administration fees: We charge an annual fee on dormant accounts. Our purpose is to encourage members to save regularly, and we rely on member accounts to succeed. Accounts which become inactive are subject to a £20 per year admin fee. We’d prefer to avoid charging, so we’ll do our best to contact you and restart regular payments. If that isn’t possible, you may decide to close your account and seek a more suitable service elsewhere. We charge a £5 admin fee should you close your account within the first six months of membership.

How much interest (“dividend”) will I earn?

The interest rate is decided at the Annual General Meeting following an audit of year-end profit. It’s called a dividend because our members own our credit union and so the interest you earn is actually a share of the profits and success of Keep Credit Union. Your dividend is calculated based on the average daily balance you held during the year, just like bank interest.

How much can I save?

Regulations restrict our members from holding more than 1.5% of the total shareholding, so we must currently cap individual holdings at £45,000. And we only pay dividends on the first £10,000 saved. We’ll contact you to advise when you’re approaching either of these limits.

Can I access my savings if I have a loan?

Yes. As long as your savings balance is more than one third of your loan balance, you can withdraw your money at any time. We do require you to keep £1 in your account to keep it open.

How do I access my savings?

To withdraw money you’ve been saving, notify us online, through our mobile app, by email or letter through the post. We’ll transfer your money to your nominated bank account.

Savings are returned to you by transfer to your nominated bank account. Under normal circumstances, bank transfers are complete within 24 hours of receipt of your request (not including weekends).

How often can I access my savings?

Our goal is to help you build up savings over time through regular deposits. By saving routinely, consistently, each pay period you’ll quickly accumulate the money you need – for a holiday, a gift or an emergency expense such as car repairs.

We have no fixed rule to limit access, although, as a guide, the average is three times a year. Your Keep savings account isn’t meant to be used as a current account or for regular bill paying, and administering many, frequent withdrawals becomes costly to our membership as a whole. If it seems your withdrawals become noticeably frequent, we’ll contact you and work with you to determine an amount you can continue to pay in affordably and manageably so your savings can grow.

Do I have instant access to my savings?

Yes. If you don’t have a loan (and whenever your savings balance is more than one third of your loan balance), you can withdraw your money at any time. We do require you to keep £1 in your account to keep it open.

Can I change the amount I save?

Yes. You can alter the savings amount deducted from your payroll; just contact us by phone or email to choose how much you wish to save and we’ll make the adjustment for the next
available pay period.

Similarly, if you pay in by standing order simply make the adjustment through your bank and let us know you’ve changed your monthly savings deposit.

Must I continue to save, while repaying a loan?

Yes, we encourage all members to keep up regular savings of at least £5 per month, in addition to making loan repayments. This way, your savings build up while you repay your loan so you have money available once it’s repaid. This savings habit helps all our members avoid reliance on credit and provides more options for smart money management in future.

What happens if I’m struggling to repay?

If you’re having trouble getting by on your pay because of the deductions for saving and loan repayment, please talk to us as early on as possible. We’ll work with you to find a solution. You don’t need to go through your employer; you can reach out directly to us. It’s really important that you’re upfront and honest about your circumstances and stay in touch with us. Being open will give us the best possible chance of helping you manage your finances, build long-lasting, good money habits and build a strong credit score, so you continue to work towards your financial goals and enjoy peace of mind into the future.

How many applications can I make?

Frequent applications can hurt your credit rating, so our recommendation is that members wait at least three months between submitting loan applications. And we seldom approve more than three loans per year. But we’re people who want to help our members however we can, and we recognise that unexpected emergencies arise; we’ll always evaluate your application based on your personal needs and circumstances and do what we can.

Can I access my savings while I have a loan?

Yes. As long as your savings balance is more than one third of your loan balance, you can withdraw your money at any time. We do require you to keep £1 in your account to keep it open.

Does the loan get added to my wages?

No. When you’re approved for a loan, we send the full loan amount to you by transfer into your bank account. Your repayments are taken directly from your salary so your loan is repaid manageably and consistently over time, and, for as long as you remain an employee, you never have to worry that you might forget or miss a payment.

Will I pay more interest because I am a new member?

No way. All members are treated equally and fairly.

Are there any loan advance admin charges or early settlement fees?

No. We don’t agree with hidden charges such as arrangement or early settlement fees. No additional interest would be charged once the loan is cleared. And we never demand extra payment to cover legal costs or administration fees for issuing the loan.

Can I get a loan if I’ve had credit problems in the past?

All applications are assessed individually and based on your ability to repay. We look at more than just your credit reference; we consider your length of service and your current income and expenditure. If your first application isn’t approved, we’ll advise you to continue to save regularly from payroll to build up your savings balance and improve your credit rating.

How likely is it that my loan application will be approved?

We lend responsibly, while considering each member’s needs with care. So we can look at more than just numbers and take your individual situation into account. We assess each application based on your ability to repay and consider your length of service and your current income and expenditure. In cases where we can’t approve the full amount applied for, we may be able to offer you a lesser amount. And if you’re unsuccessful, we’ll work with you to improve your credit rating with us and make future applications more likely to be approved.

How much can I apply for?

Unlike many credit unions, we have no restrictions on the amount you can apply for, up to our £10,000 cap. Your savings balance does not limit the amount you can apply for.

When can I apply for a loan?

Keep Credit Union members, even new members, can apply for a loan anytime. There’s no  requirement to save for a certain amount of time. We consider all applications using an individual assessment of ability to repay.