Christmas - the season of goodwill to all, festive frivolities, mince pies - and debt!
Don’t let festive finances ruin your New Year. Your local credit union could help.
People across Scotland are being urged to avoid debt misery this New Year by considering their local credit union if they need to borrow money.
The warning comes as many Scots will be feeling the pinch following Christmas with credit card bills arriving on top of regular monthly payments, adding to increased financial stress.
Such financial pressures are often made worse at this time of year, with many Scots struggling to manage their money until January’s payday, which often isn’t until the end of the month.
As a result people throughout Scotland will be faced with the difficult decision to borrow money with many seeing payday loans as a quick fix to solve their festive debt.
Enterprise Minister, Fergus Ewing, said: “After Christmas many people can find themselves in financial difficulty as the cost of the festive period mounts up and bills start to arrive.
“The Scottish Government is very concerned about the growth of payday lending and the impact this is having on people in Scotland, especially on people who are struggling financially as a result of the Christmas period.
“January is traditionally a tough month, and we want people in Scotland to be aware that there are other options if they are struggling financially.
“Credit unions are available to people throughout Scotland and offer a range of loan products at manageable rates of interest and affordable repayment options, many within a short timescale.
“However, such creditors often charge interest rates of over 5000% APR.
“This is a huge figure when compared to credit unions, which are restricted by law to lending at a maximum of two per cent per month, with many offering lower preferential rates.”
John Travers has been a member of Capital Credit Union since 1993 after hearing about it from a workplace representative at West Lothian Council.
On hearing that he was able to save directly from his payroll, John signed up and has been managing his money through payroll deduction ever since.
Throughout his membership, John has taken out a variety of loan products for a number of different reasons and has always found Capital’s service to be highly competitive.
As a result, he has never been anywhere else for a loan, as his credit union always provides better rates of interest and terms than other lenders. John’s most recent loan was to help towards Christmas and in particular a present for his daughter.
He said: “My daughter was planning a trip to London this December and I wanted to help cover the cost.
‘‘Having borrowed previously from Capital, I turned to them.
‘‘The loan was approved and paid out within a week of my initial application, it was fantastic, such a quick process.
“I would definitely recommend Capital and credit unions to anyone looking to borrow money or save.
‘‘There are still so many people who don’t know what credit unions are.
‘‘I make sure to spread the word by telling new apprentices starting at my work, who are considering loans for cars etc, to go the credit union, where the rates and terms are so much better.”