Members of a Welsh Credit Union can now buy cookers, fridges, televisions and a huge range of other homewares from an online store.

Smart Money Cymru has linked up with supplier CSL to offer the new service, called Smart Goods, to its 7000 members. CSL specialises in offering a catalogue of over 5000 top quality goods to communities, whilst working with the charity sector and local financial institutions.

Mark White, CEO of Smart Money, based in Caerphilly, Blackwood and Tredegar, explained that the  service is aimed at helping people who may not have good credit records and are struggling to access finance from High Street banks and conventional lenders.

“Lending decisions are increasingly made by automated systems based on credit records. This has the effect of excluding growing numbers of people from reasonable borrowing, effectively penalising them and increasing financial difficulties,” said Mr White.

“Problems with obtaining finance can make people desperate and drive them towards high-interest finance or even into the hands of unscrupulous, illegal lenders.”

“We work to break that cycle and provide fair and affordable finance to our members, taking a long-term, holistic view.”

“Smart Goods makes it possible for families on low incomes to purchase the products they need and want for everyday living.”

Smart Goods purchases are funded by loans from the credit union to its members, and these can be applied for online, or in person at a Smart Money branch. All costs are clearly stated and explained, and there is no charge for becoming a member of the credit union.

Shopping is done online, via the Smart Goods website, which offers convenient ‘starter’ bundles for members moving into a new home – these include handy bedroom, kitchen and bathroom packages and others. Goods are then delivered to the door by CSL.

“It is convenient and easy to use, and our staff at Smart Money are available to support members through the loan application and making the purchase,” said Mr White.

“We believe this scheme will be extremely popular and will help a great many people in the area,” added Mr White.

Visit the Smart Goods website