Q. Who is the scheme aimed at?

The scheme is being made available in participating credit unions across the country. It is open to those in receipt of social welfare who are over 18 years of age.

Q. Will I automatically qualify for a loan if I am in receipt of social welfare?

No. Each application is considered on its own merits by the local credit union. Being in receipt of social welfare does not entitle the applicant to the loan. Potential borrowers must be able to show a capacity and willingness to repay the loan. The decision to grant a loan always rests with the credit union.

Q. How is it different from a standard credit union loan?

Loan repayments must either be made via the Household Budget Scheme (if receiving welfare in cash) or via standing order/ direct debit if receiving welfare payments into an account. Some credit unions may only consider loans which are repayable via the Household Budget Scheme. The documentation requirements needed to apply for the loan are also less onerous.

Q. Do I need to already be a member of the credit union before applying for this loan?

No. Participating credit unions can sign you up very quickly as a member (provided that you live or work in their local area), and immediately consider your application for The “It Makes Sense” Loan.

Q. How quickly can the loan be granted?

Loans can be granted quickly, please discuss the turnaround time with your local credit union.

Q. Who makes the ultimate decision on whether the loan is granted?

The final decision rests with the local credit union.

Q. What can the loan be used for?

The loan can be for any purpose including to repay an outstanding debt (particularly high interest rate loans).

Q. How much can be borrowed?

Potential borrowers must be able to show a capacity and willingness to repay the loan. In general, the minimum loan amount is €100 and the maximum amount which can be borrowed is €2,000. Some credit unions adjust this to reflect their own local situation.

Q. Is it open to all forms of social welfare?

If you are in receipt of a social welfare payment then you can apply for The “It Makes Sense” Loan.

If you receive your social welfare payment in cash, loan repayments for this scheme will need to be made via the Household Budget Scheme offered by An Post. Please click here for more information on the Household Budget Scheme, including the type of social welfare payments which qualify.

If you receive your social welfare payment via EFT then repayments will need to be via standing order or direct debit. Please note that certain credit unions will only grant a loan if the repayment method is through the Household Budget Scheme. Your local credit union will advise you on this requirement.

Q. If I am now longer on social welfare, do I still need to repay the loan?

Absolutely, the loan is not a social welfare benefit. It is the borrower’s responsibility to repay the debt. Failure to repay can impact your ability to get a future loan again.

Q. What happens if my local credit union is not taking part?

It is a matter for each credit union to decide if they wish to participate in this scheme. If your local credit union has opted not to join this scheme, you should talk to them directly to see if you qualify for a standard credit union loan. If you do not qualify, the credit union may be able to give you some guidance or support to establish a regular savings plan or advise what you would need to do to qualify for a loan in the future.