What is Shared Interest?

Shared Interest Society are registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and a member of Co-operatives UK. Our members share our vision of a world where justice is at the heart of trade finance. We form the vital link between UK social investors and fair trade organisations overseas needing finance to improve their livelihoods.

How does Shared Interest do this?

Our UK based account holders invest anything between £100 and £100,000. These funds are pooled and used to provide credit services and low interest loans to fair trade farmers and artisans in the developing world.

How do Shared Interest's services help people in the developing world?

We provide a variety of financial options, from funds to assist the organisation's cash flow which enable them to pre-finance orders to longer term loans that allow businesses to grow and develop, providing sustainable livelihoods for the producer groups involved.

Shared Interest services at a glance:

Fair trade export credit

Finance in advance via fair trade buyers to fulfil orders

Commercial order export credit

Finance in advance to enable producers to meet orders from commercial organisations such as supermarkets

Long term loans

Fixed term loans for equipment or the development of infrastructure

Buyer pre-finance

Finance for buyers to enable them to make advance payments to producers

Payment processing

A Shared Interest account enables buyers in the developed world to make payments for goods to a wide range of producers, even if they themselves are not Shared Interest customers

How is this different from other financial institutions?

We aim to create a fairer world through our work rather than earn big profits. We offer credit without taking security because it is an insurmountable obstacle to many fair trade businesses. We seek to share business risk with our customers because by doing so we, together, make trade possible.

Is Shared Interest a microfinance organisation?

We are not a microfinance organisation as we do not work with start-up enterprises. All of the businesses we work with need to be fair trade registered and show evidence of three years of audited accounts.

Does Shared Interest charge interest on its loans?

We lend on an unsecured basis knowing that many of our customers either do not have any security to pledge, or have already used their assets to secure conventional borrowing. We do charge interest to our customers.  This interest rate is based on the risk attached to the individuals and is competitive in comparison to loans available in country.

How many investors does Shared Interest have?

Almost 9,000 at present

How can I pay money into my Share Account?

Topping up your Share Account is easy, use the form in your Investor Pack to set up a standing order or use the Bank Giro Credit slips also provided.

Don't forget to let us know if you need more slips, contact membership on: 0191 233 9102 or email membership@shared-interest.com

Standing Order

To set up a standing order with your bank all you need is our bank account number 70062793 and sort code 089006. Don't forget to use your ten digit account number as a reference.


You can make further investments into your account using a cheque in two ways. You can take the Bank Giro Credit Slip at the bottom of your statement along with your cheque to your bank. Alternatively you can send cheques directly to our Newcastle office. Cheques sent directly to us must have your ten digit account number written on the back. All cheques should be made payable to Shared Interest Society Ltd

Bank Transfer

If you have access to online banking you can transfer funds directly to your Share Account. All you need is our bank account number 70062793 and sort code 089006. Don't forget to use your ten digit account number as a reference.

Making a withdrawal

You can withdraw any amount at any time, provided your account contains sufficient funds. Notification in writing, signed by all account holders must be received.

How much does Shared Interest lend?

Last year we lent more than £40 million to fair trade businesses.

Would my investment be at risk?

The money you put into a Share Account is an investment and you can withdraw your funds. As with all investment products there is a risk attached, however in our entire history, investor funds have never been compromised.

Shared Interest is a Community Benefit Society which means that we cannot be regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and we are not a member of any investment protection schemes, although we do follow best practice guidelines.

Do you offer a return on investment?

We do offer a return on investment; however, this isn't always financial. Many of our investors are motivated by the social return of having a Share Account and the positive impact their money has across the globe. Our Board of Directors decide the amount of interest paid.  Our interest rate is usually 4% below the base rate, and is currently 0.5%.  However, this could be subject to change following assessment at the end of our financial year.

What happens if customer loans aren't repaid?

The main risk associated with our lending is that loans may not be repaid and our capital diminished. This could result in investors not being able to get back the amount invested. 

It is important to say that in our long history, this has never happened. We typically only lend out up to 70% of our capital at any one time. Our Board also applies very careful lending criteria to seek to prevent major lending losses. 

We have sustained lending losses over the years but these have always been absorbed by surpluses that have been made.

Information on bad debts can be found in our annual Directors Report and Accounts.

When was Shared Interest formed?


Where is Shared Interest based?

Shared Interest is an international organisation, our head office is in Newcastle upon Tyne and we have offices in Kenya, Peru, Costa Rica and Ghana.

What is Our Shared Interest?

Our Shared Interest provides a portal to view and edit your Share Account details and access messages. You will be able to change details such as your address, and eventually make transactions online – both adding to and withdrawing from your Share Account.

There will also be an opportunity to tell us about your personal preferences. For instance, if you are more interested in hearing about customers in Africa, or enjoy learning about how coffee is produced, we can make sure these are the stories you hear more about.

Members who have already opted in to having online access will automatically transfer over to the new portal. There will be scope for you to be able to pay funds into your Share Account online in future. However, if you haven’t already supplied us with your bank details, you will not be able to make transactions online until you complete the form provided.

For security purposes, all online withdrawals will be made into your nominated bank account so we need this information before we make your online access complete.

If you are not signed up for online access and wish to be part of Our Shared Interest, please go to click on the green LOGIN button on the top right hand corner of the screen. Alternatively, call us on 0191 233 9132 or email online@shared-interest.com to find out more.

What is the minimum and maximum amount I can invest?

Under current laws an individual Shared Interest account can have a maximum investment of £100,000. You can however have more than one account per household. To remain open, your account always needs to contain at least £100.

Can I open an account on behalf of someone else?

You can open an account on behalf of a minor.

You can also open an account as a gift for friends or family. Download a gift pack here.

Where can I find the Society's rules and regulations?

You can request a copy of the Sociey's rules and regulations by contacting membership on 0191 2339102 or email membership@shared-interest.com 

Where can I find the Society's accounts? `

The Society's annual financial accounts can be found here. To request a hard copy of the Director's Report and Accounts contact membership on 0191 2339102 or email membership@shared-interest.com 

Can I leave a legacy to Shared Interest?

You can, however, how you do this depends on the balance of your account. To find out more please contact membership on 0191 2339102 or email membership@shared-interest.com

What is Shared Interest Foundation?

Founded in 2004, Shared Interest Foundation is a registered charity that provides practical support to businesses in the developing world. This involves training that allows individuals to create sustainable employment in the community.