London Plus Credit Union (London Plus CU) is a not-for-profit credit union offering savings accounts, debit cards and loans with fair rates to its members. Those who live, work or worship in certain parts of London are eligible to join to take advantage of the benefits of membership.
- Review of London Plus Credit Union
Our Thoughts: London Plus Credit Union Review
As a not-for-profit credit union, London Plus can provide financial benefits to their members. For example, those with savings can receive a dividend each year (based on the organisation's cash surplus) and access loans at a fair and reasonable interest rate. You become a shareholder when you join, which means you essentially own part of the credit union. In addition, loans have no arrangement fees and no penalty fee should you be able to pay back early.
As a credit union, London Plus encourages members to save money. A credit union doesn't have any money to lend out unless members save money, so savings are crucial not just for members' financial health but for the proper functioning of the credit union. A few ways in which London Plus encourages savings are:
- Access to lower loan interest rates if you already have savings (e.g. "Savers" and "Security" loans)
- Access to lower loan interest rates if you agree to save money every month (e.g., "Save As You Borrow" loan)
- Provide savings accounts with a specific purpose (e.g., Christmas savings)
Debit Cards: You aren't required to have a debit card with your account, but you can apply for one. Be aware that using a debit card linked to your London Plus CU account isn't free. Each debit card withdrawal in the UK costs £0.75, plus you need to pay a £2 usage fee every month you hold the card and a one-time £10 new MasterCard fee.
Does it Cost Money to Join London Plus CU? There is an £8 joining fee, £3 of which is a membership fee and £5 of which is credited to your savings account. This £5 must stay in the account whilst you're a member in order to keep your membership active. You can get it back if you ever close your account.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Member? It may take some time for your membership to be reviewed, especially at certain times of the year. For instance, when we checked in December the queue was around 8 days long. That is, applications were currently being reviewed which had been submitted 8 days prior. Actually getting an answer (e.g., approved) could take a few days longer.
Who Can Join London Plus Credit Union?
Credit unions are meant to serve the communities around them. The London Plus Credit Union is located on North End Road in Fulham, London, so those who live, work or worship nearby are eligible to join. Full details below.
|You can join London Plus Credit Union if you...|
|Live or work in the London boroughs of:||Hammersmith & Fulham|
|Kensington and Chelsea|
|Live in the London Borough of:||City of Westminster|
|Be an employee or resident of:||Notting Hill Housing|
|Shepherds Bush Housing Association|
|Hexagon Housing Association|
|Westway Housing Association|
|Thames Valley Housing Association|
|London & Quadrant Housing Trust|
|Holy Trinity Brompton|
|Genesis Housing Association|
|Worship in:||Hammersmith and Fulham Deanery Parish Churches|
|Holy Trinity Brompton Churches|
|Be a member of:||The Unite Union living or working in London|
London Plus CU Payroll Plus
Payroll Plus is a benefit offered to employees of organisations that have partnered with London Plus CU. Eligible employees can access loans with beneficial rates (e.g., the Payroll Plus loan APR is 12.7%, lower than the Premium loan's 18.9% APR). Plus, with Payroll Plus members are encouraged to save—decide how much you want to save each month and this amount is deducted from your salary via the employers payroll and transferred into your Payroll Plus savings account. This money can later be accessed by emailing London Plus CU using your work email address, at which point they'll transfer the money back to your main London Plus CU savings account.
Benefits of Using London Plus Credit Union
As a not-for-profit entity, members may benefit from a few perks not found from a for-profit financial institution. For example, the 42.9% interest rate on Instant loans is significantly lower than the typical payday loan interest rate, which can reach a whopping 1,500%.
- Earn a dividend on your savings (based on any cash surplus in the credit union at the end of the year)
- Lower interest rates
- No loan arrangement fees
- No early repayment penalty on loans
Products Offered by London Plus Credit Union
The primary products offered by LMCU are current accounts, savings accounts and loans. Below we give an overview of each product, including details such as eligibility requirements and interest rates.
London Plus Credit Union Loans
London Plus CU offers a wide selection of loans to serve a variety of needs, with loans available from £50 up to £15,000. Rates are fair and may be cheaper than you'd find elsewhere (e.g., compared to a traditional payday loan).
To encourage savings, many London Plus CU's loans require you to set money aside into your savings account as you pay back the loan. That way, when your loan is paid back, you also have a small pot of other money saved up. Some loans are eligible for a quick decision—for this you'll need your last two bank statements and your last payslip or benefit letter if you're not working.
|London Plus CU Loans||Loan Size||Interest Rate (APR)||Requirements|
|Security||£1,000 to £15,000||4.9%|
|Homeowner||£7,500 to £15,000||7.9%|
|Payroll Plus||£2,100 to £15,000||12.7%|
|Savers||£2,100 to £15,000||18.9%|
|Premium||£2,000 to £7,000||18.9%|
|Save As You Borrow||£500 to £4,000||34.5%|
|Instant||£100 to £2,000||42.6%|
|Local Support Payment||£100 to £1,000||42.6%|
|Credit Builder||£500 to £1,000||26.8%|
|Preferential||£2,000 to £7,500||7.9%|
London Plus CU Savings
All members get a Membership Account, which is a savings account that pays a dividend based on LMCU's earnings and the amount of money in your account. LMCU also offers Holiday and Christmas savings accounts to help members save up money for these costly events by contributing small amounts on a regular basis throughout the year to later use for a holiday or Christmas spending. Christmas and Holiday savings accounts do not pay a dividend, unfortunately.
|London Plus CU Savings Accounts|
|Share Account||The savings account opened for all London Plus CU members.|
|Cash ISA||Tax-free savings through regular Payroll deduction if your employer is one of the Payroll partners enrolled in the Cash ISA programme. Members can invest up to £20,000 into an ISA each tax year, which runs from 6 April to 5 April.|
|Christmas Savings||Arrange to have a set amount of your regular money transfered to a separate "Christmas" account each week or month. This money can be locked away until you need it in November for holiday spending.|
|Young Savers Account||A savings account for those under 18 years of age. Can be useful for managing pocket money, your allowance or birthday money|
London Plus CU Debit Cards
Opening a debit card linked to your London Plus CU account is optional, but can be useful for paying for goods and services in-store or online, making cash withdrawals at ATMs and immediate access to approved loans. The card costs £10 initially, plus you'll pay usage charges per month and per use, as shown in the following table:
|Example of London Plus CU Debit Card Usage Fees|
|Monthly Card Usage Fee||£2.00|
|ATM Withdrawals within UK||£0.75|
|ATM Withdrawals within EU & EEA (Outside UK)||£1.35|
|ATM Withdrawals outside of EU & EEA||£1.95|
For more information on any of these products, see the London Plus CU's website. To see how the London Plus Credit Union compares to others, you can take a look through our review of the London Mutual Credit Union or London Plus Credit Union.