01. Who can apply?
Existing members aged 18 or over OR any ;
- serving or retired police officer, police staff member, PCSO in England and Wales
- serving or retired prison officer, probation officer, or employee in England and Wales (and Scottish Prison Service)
- serving member of the armed forces
- any other family member or spouse aged 18 may also apply, subject to residing at the same address as the main member.
02. Can I join and apply online today?
Yes. Providing you fulfil the criteria outlined in the ‘Who can apply?’ question above.
03. How long does the loan application process take?
It usually takes three to five working days from receipt of your application at one of our branches to the money being sent subject to approval. Once you have submitted your application we will be in touch over the next few days with an update on your application.
04. What is the current APR?
Please visit the ‘Loans’ area of the site and refer to the loans calculator to reveal our latest rates and to obtain a quote. We always recommend you evaluate the cost of credit by comparing the total amount repayable to other quotes you may have already received. Set-up fees, early redemption penalties and administration charges are rarely included in high-street advertised APRs, plus the best rates are usually subject to impeccable credit scores. At PCU we have no hidden charges, all members are entitled to apply for the same fair rate, regardless of credit score. What you see is what you get (subject to approval). Please also refer to question 13 shown below.
05. Will my repayments be deducted at source from my pay?
Payroll deduction arrangements are in place with the POA (NOMS payroll) and a number of forces. If we have access to payroll deduction from your force, then repayments will be deducted at source. If payroll deduction is not available, a direct debit arrangement can be set up instead (upon receipt of a joining/loan application, we will forward out the relevant form to you in the post).
Forces with payroll deduction
Avon & Somerset / Bedfordshire / Cambridgeshire / City of London / Cleveland / Devon & Cornwall / Dorset / Essex / Gloucestershire / Hampshire / Hertfordshire / Kent / Merseyside / Metropolitan / Northamptonshire / Northumbria / SOCA / Staffordshire / Suffolk / Sussex / Thames Valley / Warwickshire / West Mercia / West Midlands / West Yorkshire / POA (Eligible Payroll) / NAPO / MOD
06. How much do I need to have in savings before I can apply for a loan?
Until further notice, applications can be made up to a total maximum of £25,000 with only £10 saved. The first £10 savings deposit can be made by debit card over the phone, bank transfer, cheque or by cash at your local PCU branch (visit the ‘Contact Us’ area of the site to locate your nearest branch). For an Optimiser loan you must have sufficient savings to cover the loan balance.
07. Do I need to have savings before I can apply for a loan?
Yes, you must have a minimum of £5 in your account at all times to be a member and save a minimum of £10 a month.
08. Can I make a joint application?
Currently we do not, but we are looking to introduce this in the near future.
09. Are my personal details safe/secure?
Any information submitted via the website is protected by standard industry encryption (https). In addition, we do not store any of your personal information on this website. Any details or correspondence regarding your account will remain strictly private and confidential for the purposes of a loan assessment, in accordance with the Data-Protection Act.
10. Do I have to apply online?
No. Although the online loan application process has been designed to be extremely user-friendly, we recognise that some members will prefer to apply by telephone/post or by visiting their regional branch in person (visit the ‘Contact Us’ area of the site to locate your nearest branch).
11. How will I know if my loan application has been approved?
A member of staff will telephone you once your loan is approved. If you are unavailable, we shall notify you by post.
12. Do I have to pay my loan off in full if I leave the force or POA during the life of my loan?
No, but if you should cease to be paid via payroll, you are required to set up a Direct Debit to maintain monthly repayments.
13. I think I can get a lower APR on the high street. Why is that?
You may see lower APRs advertised but we recommend that you check whether the rate applies to all sizes of loans. Often, the lowest rate from major financial institutions applies to the higher value loans and customers with good credit scores.
Also, check what you will actually pay monthly and what is included. We charge interest on the reducing balance only and do not apply interest on the total loan for its full duration.
Our loans include life cover at no extra cost up to age 70 (conditions apply) and have no arrangement fees nor penalties for either early settlement or lump sum repayments.
In addition, with Police Credit Union, you build up savings so that you can pay off your loan early or, if your loan runs its full term, you have a savings balance to use as you wish.
As we are a regulated credit union, you know that you are not paying for outside shareholders or profits. All surpluses, after operating costs and allocation to reserves, are used to pay dividends to savers. It’s all for our members.
14. Do you perform a credit check?
Yes. We reserve the right to perform a credit search. This is to help ensure we are lending sensibly and protecting the interests of the members who save with us. However, the approval decision does not rely solely upon your credit score. All PCU loan applications are assessed by considering income and expenditure, level of debt and ability to repay.
15. My credit history is not particularly good. Will this affect my application?
We will not necessarily decline to lend to someone who has experienced financial difficulty in the past. All loan applications are assessed individually on their own merits. Unlike mainstream banks and finance houses, PCU is a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation. Therefore, we are not driven by targets to satisfy shareholders. As a result of this, our lending decisions are made based on what is best long-term for both the member and PCU. If we feel that by advancing a loan we could be putting a member under unnecessary financial pressure of the loan would not alleviate their financial situation enough to make a significant difference, the loan would not be granted. On some occasions we may offer a smaller loan amount to the sum originally applied for. Alternatively, we may offer debt guidance or refer you to a third party that may be able to assist you in managing your finances (eg StepChange Debt Charity).
16. Are there any penalties for paying my loan off early?
There are absolutely no penalties for paying off a loan early. If you are in a position to do this, it will benefit you because you will not pay interest for the full term.
17. If I pay off a lump sum, will my repayments be reduced?
Your repayments will remain the same but this will allow your loan to be cleared at an earlier stage. You will, therefore, pay less interest on the loan than was originally calculated.
18. Can I access my savings whilst my loan is running?
Once you take out a loan, you cannot have access to your Rewarder account, unless it is to pay off the balance of your loan. You can, of course, open a second Rewarder account for savings and access whenever you wish.
19. Does it matter what I want to borrow the money for?
Not at all. We will lend for any purpose (subject to approval).
20. May I borrow to pay off other debts?
We do consider loans for debt consolidation to enable you to put all your various debts under one repayment. This may be particularly useful, if you have credit card and store card debts which normally carry much higher APRs than our Resourcer, Responder or Reloader loans.
21. May I insure against having an accident, being ill or losing my job?
PCU does not offer such insurance at present, although it may be purchased from an external provider.
22. What happens to my loan in the event of my death?
Loans are covered by life cover at no extra cost up to age 70 (conditions apply). In the event of a claim, loans are paid off without further liability. At the same time, savings balances to a maximum of £25,000 are doubled and paid into the members estate.
23. What is the maximum I can borrow?
You may hold a maximum of four loans with PCU but if you do have separate loans these cannot exceed £25,000.
24. When the loan and the savings reach an equal amount, will the loan be paid off automatically?
We do not automatically access your savings account to settle your loan. If you wish to use your savings to settle your outstanding balance, please advise us.
25. I am struggling to maintain my monthly loan repayments to PCU, what should I do?
If you are having financial hardships and would like us to consider a reduced payment plan, please contact the office on 0121 700 1222.
Please note that while we do try and help our members, Police Credit Union will not lend to members whom we consider to have a high risk profile.
Unfortunately, members with a shorter credit history, past financial problems or an unsuitable profile may not be permitted to borrow high amounts and in some cases no loan will be permissible. This helps to protect the interests of the majority of members.