Until a few years ago I didn’t really think of credit as necessary. I didn’t really understand how it worked. I didn’t know the effect not having access to credit could have. I thought if you couldn’t afford something you should just save up. I knew people borrowed from doorstep lenders, and talked about their ‘Provvy’ loans, but didn’t know how that worked either (or cost!). It wasn’t something that I’d ever been offered.
At work I was speaking to credit unions and realised what a great service they provide (and joined myself). Later I saw a paper by the Carnegie Trust called Gateway to Affordable Credit https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/publications/gateway-affordable-credit/ which really drummed in the consequences of not being able to borrow from reputable low cost lenders. I did research and spoke to the good people at Scotcash (https://www.scotcash.net/) and Fair for You (https://www.fairforyou.co.uk/) and really became an advocate of affordable credit.
What I came to understand was that people need to borrow. People on low incomes will have emergencies – washing machines and fridges breaking down. Or need to pay an unexpected bill. Unplanned expenses happen. If you’re lucky enough to have a financial cushion built up you can cope. But if you don’t have that, what do you do?
If you’ve got a poor credit rating, or your income consists of benefits only, a bank is unlikely to lend to you, so where do you turn? A loan-shark? People will borrow and we need to make sure people get access to affordable credit when they need it?
This website, and RACA are all about spreading the word on what credit is available. Affordable credit providers don’t have big budgets for advertising like payday lenders so we need to let everyone know where they can turn in other ways. Speak to people who speak to people. Let advice providers and community organisations, Housing Associations and charities know where the people they advise can borrow safely and flexibly. Become an Affordable Credit Evangelist.