Credit unions carrying out consumer credit activities

Find out how to notify us or apply for permission to carry out Conditional Sale, Hire Purchase or other types of consumer credit activity.

If your credit union wishes to carry out consumer credit activities, you must have the appropriate regulatory permission to do this lawfully.

You'll either need to:

  • notify us, or
  • apply to us to vary your permission

Refer to the list of activities we regulate if you're not sure whether the activities you intend to carry out are regulated consumer credit activities.

If you're not yet authorised as a credit union, find out how to get authorised.

New powers for credit unions

Legislation changes in 2023 gave credit unions in Great Britain (but not in Northern Ireland) the power to expand their services by:

  • entering into conditional sale agreements, as the seller
  • entering into hire purchase agreements, as the person from whom goods are bailed
  • providing insurance distribution activities
This page focuses on credit unions in Great Britain that want to undertake any of these newly permitted activities. Further down, there are examples of other types of consumer credit activity which you'll also need our permission to carry out.

When to notify us

In some scenarios, you can notify us that you intend to begin offering Conditional Sale and/or Hire Purchase services, rather than applying for a variation of permission.

You must already be authorised to conduct the regulated activities of:

  • entering into a regulated credit agreement as lender (excluding high-cost, short-term credit, bill of sale loan agreements and home-collected credit agreements), and
  • exercising or having the right to exercise the lender’s rights and duties under a regulated credit agreement (excluding high-cost, short-term credit, bill of sale loan agreements and home-collected credit agreements) 

To notify us, please submit a SUP15 Annex 4 Notification Form and send it to us by email or post.

When to apply to us

If you're not authorised to conduct the regulated activities mentioned above, and you've chosen to: 

  • carry on one or more of the financial activities specified in the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) for the benefit of the members of the society, and
  • pass any necessary rule amendments and submitted these for registration with us, and
  • offer Conditional Sale or Hire Purchase agreements that are regulated credit agreements

you'll need to apply to us to vary your permission.

Refer to the table below if you need help determining which regulated activities to apply for.

We also have a general page about variation of permission which explains what happens after you submit your application, and how long it may take.

How to apply

What to read first

  • CONC – you'll need to explain how you'll meet your obligations in relation to credit-related regulated activity
  • COND – you'll need to explain how you'll continue to meet each threshold condition 
  • PRIN – you'll need to explain how your business and products meet the PRIN rules
  • Our letter about implementing the Consumer Duty in the credit union sector
  • Recent updates relating to your ability to apply for the new consumer credit activities

Prepare your application

You'll need to submit your application through our Connect system, so make sure you register if you haven't already.

Your application must include your: 

  • regulatory business plan (RBP)
  • required forms relevant to your business type
  • other supporting material

The sections below have more detail about what to include.

Pre-contract information and regulated credit agreements have prescribed requirements. We advise you to seek professional guidance (eg legal advice or compliance experts) on their content. If you don't comply with the relevant regulations, your agreements may be unenforceable without a court order.

Final check and submit

Before you submit everything on Connect, give it one more check to be sure you've included everything.

If you need more help, contact us on 0300 500 0597. We're open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am to 5pm, and Thursday 9.45am to 5pm.

Application fee

You'll need to pay a fee in order to submit your application.

Make sure you're paying the correct fee:

  • credit unions pay £100 to apply to for consumer credit (any activity), and
  • £150 for any other Part 4A activity

Refer to FEES 3 Annex 1 in our Handbook for more details. 

Other types of regulated consumer credit activity

You'll also need the relevant permission if you carry on any of the other consumer credit activities below.

Page updates

: Information added New powers for credit unions
: Editorial amendment page update as part of website refresh