Frequently Asked Questions

What is a common bond?

The common bond is the factor which unites all members of a credit union – it is something that all members have in common. Each credit union has its own common bond. For example, some credit unions require all their members live in a certain area or work for a particular company. The credit unions currently operating in Renfrewshire have the following common bonds:

Gleniffer Credit Union – Members must live or work in the PA1, PA2 or PA3 postcode areas

Johnstone Credit Union – Members must live in Renfrewshire

Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union – Members must live, work or study in Renfrewshire

Scotwest Credit Union – Members must live or work in West of Scotland

White Cart Credit Union – Members must live, work or study in Paisley

What is the difference between the credit unions?

Each credit union offers different products and services. Also, credit unions have different common bonds. To see the various services each credit union offers, please look on our ‘what are you looking for?’ page.

How do I join a credit union?

To join a credit union, you must first check that you meet the common bond criteria that the credit union requires. Once you have found the right credit union for you, visit their website to find out exactly how to join. The majority of our Renfrewshire credit unions will allow you to join online by filling out the online application.



How quickly can I borrow money?

This differs between credit unions but usually they ask members to save regularly for a minimum of 12 weeks before applying for a loan. This is to ensure that you can comfortably afford repayments. For Scotwest and Renfrewshire Wide you do not need to be a member when you apply for a loan, depending on how much you are looking to borrow, but must become a member when you apply – see their websites for details.

Are credit unions different to banks?

Credit unions are different from banks; when you deposit your money, you’re actually buying shares of the company. Rather than being a customer, you’re part owner: That’s why your account is called a “share”. There’s no board of directors or corporate interest controlling the credit union’s choices because members agree upon everything. Even the executives and directors are volunteers, elected by vote.

Credit unions are not for profit so the only people benefiting from them are the members who save and borrow with them.

Are all credit unions run by volunteers?

It very much depends on the credit union. While some of our credit unions have paid members of staff, many of our credit unions rely on the dedication of volunteers. Credit Union volunteers are well trained and sign a confidentially agreement when they begin volunteering so your information is safe.

What is payroll deduction and how can I get involved?

Payroll deduction enables staff to make payments directly from their wages. Your employer will deduct an agreed amount from your pay and send it directly to the credit union.

Speak to your employer to find out if they offer this benefit to employees. Employers can contact credit unions directly to set up a payroll deduction scheme for staff.

Are my savings safe with a credit union?

Credit unions are members of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which guarantees up to £85,000 of deposits. This may be subject to change and the latest details can be found at

Is there a minimum amount I have to save?

Whilst credit unions encourage regular savings, each credit union has its own rules, some ask you to make small, regular contributions, others are more flexible. There may also be rules regarding the minimum balance needed to keep your account active.

How old do you have to be to join a credit union?

Any person over 16 years of age can be a member and save with the credit union. However, members must be 18 and over before they can apply for a loan. All our credit unions have Junior Savers accounts that can be joined from birth by a sponsoring adult member.

Can I be a member of more than one credit union?

Yes, you can. As long as you are in a credit union’s common bond, you can join as many as you like.

Can I be a member of a credit union and a bank?

Yes, you can. Many people save and borrow with credit unions but use a bank account for day-to-day expense

I am still unsure what credit unions do and which one is best for me. How do I find out more?

We recommend having a look on each credit union’s page or, even better, calling in to see them. Credit unions are friendly places and always welcome the opportunity to speak to people. There will be no hard sell, just friendly information to help you make an informed decision.