How to Join a Credit Union

Joining a credit union could change your life. Credit unions are cheaper, more flexible, and easier to save with than banks for many people. In fact, there are many ways credit unions are more beneficial than banks If you want to take control of your money and make the most of it, a credit union could be the best first step for you. 

In this article, Metro Moneywise will explain how to join a credit union and what you need to know about starting the process.

Choosing a Credit Union

A credit union is a member-owned, cooperative organisation. Credit unions can help people open savings accounts and get loans at more manageable rates when they struggle to do so with ordinary high street banks. A credit union is a cooperative business which means it’s owned by the members that hold accounts and take out loans. It’s also a ‘not-for-profit’ which means any money made through loan interest goes back to the running of the business and the members who own it.

This is an advantage of credit unions over banks because they’re more centred on the well-being and benefits of their members. Like Metro Moneywise, many credit unions aim to help their members achieve financial stability and independence.

Need more information on whether to open a savings account with a credit union or a bank? Read our blog. 

If you’ve decided a credit union is the best choice for you, you must to find the right one for your needs. You can’t just join any credit union. To become a credit union member, you need to have a common bond with its current members. 

A common bond is a factor or characteristic that all credit union members have in common. The main types of bonds are geographical and professional. 

Examples of a common bond:

  • Living in the same location.
  • Working for the same employer.
  • Being part of the same trade union.

Metro Moneywise has a common bond with numerous healthcare, education, and public sector businesses in the North West. Find out if your employer is one of our partners

If you live in the UK, you can find a credit union via the Association of British Credit Unions. You can use the Irish League of Credit Unions if you live in Northern Ireland. You can use both websites to search for credit unions that you can join based on area, employer, and common bond. 

You will also need to check that the credit union’s services meet your needs. For example, you might look for:

  • How much the membership fee is.
  • Loan packages that are realistic for you.
  • Good interest rates on savings accounts.
  • Easy to get in touch with the support team.
  • Easy to access your accounts via online portals or apps.

We cover how to find the best credit unions for savings and personal loans in our blog, as well as how much you can save in a credit union.

How to Apply for Credit Union Account

When you’ve decided which credit union you want to become a member of, apply online, and your application will be reviewed by its team to confirm whether you’re eligible.

Can you set up a credit union account online? Yes, most credit unions these days will allow new members to join online via a form. If you’d rather not use the website to join, you can call up or go into a branch. Most credit unions are more than happy to help you sign up in a way that’s easy for you.

You can start the process of joining Metro Moneywise here. The first step is to check your employer is one of our partners. 

The credit union may have everything they need to process your application, or you might get a call from them to ask questions later on. You might also be asked to come into the branch to sign your membership form.

How to Open a Credit Union Account

Here’s how to set up a credit union account. You’ll need to complete an application form to join the credit union. Make sure you have all the essential details ready before you start.

Details you’ll need to have ready:

  • Name 
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Personal details (age, ethnicity, disabilities, etc.)
  • Household status (privately rented, owner occupied, housing association rented, etc.)

You may also need to provide a photo ID and proof of address, such as a utility bill. You may also be asked to submit details of a beneficiary. At Metro Moneywise, we ask for these details. 

Some credit unions like Metro Moneywise can deposit savings and loans into your bank account if you have one. If you want this to happen, you’ll need your bank and branch details ready to submit.

The credit union will also ask for information related to its common bond. 

For example, at Metro Moneywise, we ask for:

  • Your employer’s name
  • Your employer’s address
  • Your work telephone number
  • Your payroll or assignment number
  • The amount you want to authorise to be deducted from your salary for savings

Once your application is completed and sent off, it needs to be reviewed by an advisor at the credit union. In a few days, you’ll hear back and be able to start using your brand-new account.