Access Bikes FAQs for the public

Eileen Hamill's picture

Access Bikes FAQs for the public

Access Bikes is a scheme which offers an interest-free, no-deposit loan to help people in Scotland buy an adult bike and accessories to use for everyday journeys. The scheme also offers 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 project.

Q. What is Access Bikes?

A. Access Bikes is a pilot scheme funded by Transport Scotland. It offers individuals a no-deposit, interest-free loan and tailored advice for buying a bike and accessories to use for everyday journeys. It is a joint project between Cycling UK, Capital Credit Union and Scotwest Credit Union. In this first year, Access Bikes loans will be available to approximately 80% of the Scottish population with a view to extending our coverage in the future.

Further information can be found on the Access Bikes webpage

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, you will not be able to apply for a loan unless you are a member of the credit union. 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. 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 to this process.

Q. How does it work?

A. If your application to the credit union is successful, they will issue you with a confirmation note to take to the bike shop to show that you are participating in the scheme and the funds for your bike are in place. 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.

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 you will be making. This doesn’t rule out an all-terrain bike if that is the most appropriate bike for the journeys that you will be making, 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, the bike shop will issue you with an invoice, which you must present to the credit union to start your loan. You may not buy a second-hand bike from sites such as Facebook, 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. Do I need to buy my bike and equipment from the same shop?

A. No you don't have to buy everything in the same shop and can shop around for the best deal for you.

Q. Can I use online shopping to buy my bike?

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. To apply, you need to contact Eileen Hamill at Cycling UK who will talk you through the process and send you an application form along with any other information you need.

Access.bikes@CyclingUK.org or 07920 711052.

You can also find more information and make your application via our webform.

Questions about the loan

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 will pay anything over £500.

Q. How many repayments are there?

A. The loan will be repaid over a maximum of 9 monthly instalments. If you should miss loan 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 9 months, repayments will be approximately £55 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 where 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 regulations 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 still apply?

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

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