Access Bikes FAQs for the public

Eileen Hamill's picture

Access Bikes FAQs for the public

We know that buying a bike is a big expense so Cycling UK and our credit union partners want to help you spread the cost. The credit unions can help with a no deposit interest-free loan to help eligible people in Scotland buy an adult bike and accessories to use for everyday journeys. Cycling UK is pleased to offer tailored advice and support to help people choose a bike and start cycling with confidence. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Access Bikes.

Please see below for everything you need to know about Access Bikes.

  1. What is Access Bikes?
  2. Who can apply?
  3. Do I need to join the credit union to apply?
  4. Who decides if I get an Access Bikes loan?
  5. How does it work?
  6. Can I choose any bike and accessories?
  7. Can I use any bike shop/bike recycling service
  8. Can I buy a bike online?
  9. I’m not a confident cyclist, can you help me to learn how to ride a bike safely?
  10. How do I apply?
  11. How much can I borrow?
  12. Can I top up the £500 with my own money to buy a more expensive bike or more accessories?
  13. How many repayments are there?
  14. How much will I have to pay each month?
  15. Could I repay the loan early?
  16. What is the interest rate?
  17. How do I pay for the bike and accessories?
  18. I already have a loan with Capital or Scotwest credit union; can I apply for an Access Bikes loan?
  19. Can I use my credit union account to save and get future loans after I have paid for the bike loan?
  20. What documents do I need to apply?
  21. I’m not working at the moment/I am in receipt of state benefits, can I still apply?
  22. I'm self-employed, can I apply?
  23. I'm a student, can I apply?
  24. I have poor credit history, can I apply?

 

Q. What is Access Bikes?

A. Access Bikes is a pilot scheme funded by Transport Scotland. It is a joint project between Cycling UK, Capital Credit Union and Scotwest Credit Union. Our credit union partners offer no-deposit, interest-free loans and Cycling UK offers tailored advice for buying a bike and accessories; everything that you need to get a bike and start using it for everyday journeys. In this pilot year, approximately 80% of the Scottish population will be eligible to join one of the 2 credit unions. An application can then be made for a loan to buy a bike. We hope to extend this in future years to cover the whole country.

Further information can be found on the Access Bikes web page

 

Q. Who can apply?

A. You can apply if you are over 18 and live or work in any of the geographical areas covered by either Capital Credit Union (which covers the East of Scotland) or Scotwest Credit Union (which covers the West of Scotland). The credit unions also have their own eligibility criteria which are outlined below:

Capital Credit Union (CCU)

The areas covered by CCU are Edinburgh, the Lothians, Scottish Borders, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Fife, Dundee and Angus. In addition to adults living and working in these areas, you can also apply if you are an employee of one of their select partners or a member of Community Trade Union. Please check Capital Employment Partners for full details.

Scotwest Credit Union (SCU)

The areas covered by SCU are Argyll & Bute, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

In addition to adults living and working in these areas, you can also apply if you are an employee of one of their select partners or are a Young Scot Card holder who is aged 18 or over. Please check Scotwest Employment Partners for full details.

 

Q. Do I need to join the credit union to apply?

A. Yes, it is essential to join the credit union before making an application for a loan. It is a very quick and simple process which can be done online or over the phone.

 

Q. Who decides if I get an Access Bikes loan?

A. Please note that the loans are not issued by Cycling UK. The credit union will assess your application and make the final decision. Loan decisions are based on your income, expenditure and your ability to repay the loan. Cycling UK has no input in this process. Credit Unions differ from other lenders as they do not base the decision to lend purely on credit history, also taking ability to repay the loan into account. However as responsible lenders, adverse credit history, especially any defaults or missed payments that fall within certain timescales, may result in an application being refused. Please bear in mind that any refusal will be recorded on your credit history and may affect your ability to get credit in the future.

 

Q. How does it work?

A. If your application to the credit union is successful, you will be approved for a loan of up to £500.  Once you have chosen your bike they will then issue a loan agreement for the exact amount so you only borrow what you need.

We will work with you to help you decide which bike and accessories will be the best for your needs. This includes putting you in contact with a local bike shop where you can arrange to try some bikes.

When you decide on the bike that you want, please ask the shop to provide you with a written quote which must include their bank details to allow payment to be arranged. Email your quote to the relevant credit union and they will arrange for the payment to be made directly to the bike shop by BACS transfer.

 

Q. Can I choose any bike and accessories?

A. The project has been set up to encourage everyday journeys, so you must choose a bike which is suitable for the type of journeys that you will be making. This doesn’t rule out an all-terrain bike if that is the most appropriate bike for your journeys, however a downhill mountain bike or BMX would not be considered suitable. The loan cannot be used to buy a child’s bike.

 

Q. Can I use any bike shop/bike recycling service?

A. Any shop or centre selling new or reconditioned second-hand bicycles may be used to purchase your bike. Once you have identified the best bike for you, please ask the bike shop for a written quote including their bank details, and send it to the credit union.

You may not buy a second-hand bike from sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or eBay through the Access Bikes scheme. We can also advise you on your nearest bike shop and/or bike recycling centre and make the introductions for you.

 

Q. Can I buy a bike online?

A. No, currently Access Bikes loans can only be used for in-store purchases.

 

Q. I’m not a confident cyclist, can you help me to learn how to ride a bike safely?

A. Yes, we are happy to help you develop your cycling skills and have lots of cycling resources to share. We can also direct you to cycling groups in your area who will be able to help you develop the skills and confidence you need to make more everyday journeys by bike.

 

Q. How do I apply?

A. You can also find more information and make your application via our webform or call Eileen Hamill on 07920711052.

 

Q. How much can I borrow?

A. The maximum loan available is £500 per person per year to include the total cost of bike and accessories such as a helmet and lock.

 

Q. Can I top up the £500 with my own money to buy a more expensive bike or more accessories?

A. Yes, you can work that out with the bike shop when you are buying your bike and equipment. You must pay anything above the £500 limit.

 

Q. How many repayments are there?

A. The loan will be repaid over a maximum of twelve monthly instalments. If you should miss loan re-payments or default on the loan then the credit union will pass the details of the default onto debt recovery agencies and the courts. More details can be found on the credit union websites.

 

Q. How much will I have to pay each month?

A. If you borrow the maximum amount of £500 over twelve months, repayments will be approximately £42 per month.

 

Q. Could I repay the loan early?

A. Yes, the loan can be repaid at any point without penalty.

 

Q. What is the interest rate?

A. The loan is interest-free.

 

Q. How do I pay for the bike and accessories?

A. The funds will be paid by the credit union directly to the bike shop from which you wish to purchase the bike and accessories.

 

Q. I already have a loan with Capital or Scotwest credit union; can I apply for an Access Bikes loan?

A. Having an existing loan with either credit union will not prevent you from taking out an Access Bikes loan, provided you meet the affordability criteria and can make the repayments on both loans.

 

Q. Can I use my credit union account to save and get future loans after I have paid for the bike loan?

A. Yes, you can. Your bike loan is a stand-alone loan which can only be used to buy your bike and equipment. The bike loan cannot be topped up and must be paid within the agreed time.

However, having an Access Bikes loan will not prevent you from taking out another loan as long as you can afford the repayments for both loans. Your credit union membership continues beyond the duration of your Access Bikes loan. We would encourage you to save a little extra to cover the costs for servicing and maintaining your new cycle.

 

Q. What documents do I need to apply?

A. Like all financial institutions, the credit union will need to verify your identity and income and carry out fraud and money laundering checks before issuing you with a loan. If you do not have a passport or driving licence, we will work with you to identify other acceptable forms of identification.

 

Q. I’m not working at the moment/I am in receipt of state benefits, can I apply?

A. Yes. The credit union loans officer will give your application careful consideration and make a decision based on your income, expenditure, credit history and overall ability to repay the loan.

 

Q. I'm self-employed, can I apply?

A. Yes, self-employed people can apply but you will also need to provide the credit union with you accounts for the last three years. Complete the Expression of Interest form and they will get back to you for more information.

 

Q. I'm a student, can I apply?

A. Unfortunately not unless you are a student nurse. Student bursaries are paid during term time, so they are not eligible to use as a source of income. If you are a student who is also employed, then please fill in the Expression of Interest form, and the credit union will get back to you when you have made your loan application. Student nurses get their bursary all year round and are therefore able to apply and use the bursary as a source of income.

 

Q. I have a poor credit history, can I apply?

A. The credit unions are responsible lenders and will carry out credit and affordability checks as part of the loan process. They will only lend to people who they believe can pay back the loan.  

 

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