There’s a bike you like in your local shop. You could walk out with it today by paying full price up front. Or if you’re prepared to pick it up later, you could pay in instalments and enjoy a discount of 25-39% – potentially saving hundreds of pounds. It’s a no-brainer. That’s why Cyclescheme is so popular.
The savings come from the fact a Cyclescheme bike is tax-free. Tax is one of those topics that can make people’s eyes glaze over. Getting a bike through Cyclescheme, however, is no more complicated than duty-free shopping at the airport. It works differently, of course: with Cyclescheme, you make savings on your income tax and national insurance contributions. That’s because you pay for the bike through salary sacrifice.
In a nutshell, here’s how it works. You pick your bike and/or accessories, or at least how much you want to spend. Your employer pays for the Cyclescheme certificate that you’ll redeem at the shop for the bike and/or accessories. And for the next year (usually), your employer will recoup the cost of the certificate in instalments that are deducted from your pre-tax salary.
The time it takes from you choosing what you want to collecting it varies between employers. While it could be a matter of several weeks, it could be as little as 48 hours (take a bow, Sainsbury’s). These are the key steps.
1. Check that your employer is signed up with Cyclescheme.
Employees can only get bikes and accessories through Cyclescheme if their employer participates in the scheme. Check with your HR department or your boss. If they’re signed up they’ll be able to give you an Employer Code, which you’ll need later. If they’re not signed up, invite them. It takes only a few moments online.
2. Check when you can apply for your Cyclescheme certificate.
Most employers allow you to apply for a Cyclescheme certificate at any point during the year. Some have an enrolment window – for example, the month of December. In that case, you’ll need to apply within the enrolment window, and your application will be processed with those of your fellow employees when it closes. Your HR department will have the details and, where relevant, the dates.
3. Pick your package – or pick a value
Time to write your shopping list. The maximum amount you can spend, whether you’re getting a bike, a bike plus accessories, or just accessories, is normally £1,000. Some employers – typically banks, businesses that offer consumer credit, and local authorities – may have higher limits, while anyone earning close to the minimum wage may have a lower limit. When you know what you can spend, you’ve got three options. You can visit your local Cyclescheme retailer and choose the bike and/or accessories you want; the retailer will provide a quote. You can visit an online Cyclescheme retailer and choose the items you want on their site. Or you can pick a value for your certificate and decide later where and on what to spend it.
4. Make your application
You do this online at cyclescheme.co.uk. Click the ‘I’m an employee’ button, then enter the Employer Code you got from your HR department. This will take you to the ‘Shop Now’ page. To submit your request, click ‘Apply’. You then need to enter details about yourself, such as your payroll number (which you can find on your payslip or obtain from your employer), and your employer’s details. If you’ve chosen a specific retailer, list the details of the package you’ve chosen, including the bike and accessory values (which you’ll find on the retailer’s quote). If you haven’t chosen a retailer, just enter the value for your certificate; you don’t have to list what you’ll be getting.
5. Wait for your employer’s approval
Now things are in the hands of your employer. They have to approve your application and pay for your certificate. This can take a couple of days; it can take a few weeks or more. You won’t be kept in the dark, however. When you complete your application, you get an email from Cyclescheme telling you how to set up a MyCyclescheme account. By logging in to that account, you can check on the progress of your Cyclescheme certificate.
6. Receive your certificate
Immediately it’s approved and paid for by your employer, your certificate will be sent to you by email. Check your inbox. Unlike a paper certificate, an emailed certificate (also known as an eCertificate) can’t get delayed or lost in the post, so you’ll be able to redeem it sooner.
7. Get your bike and/or accessories
Time to return to the shop. If it’s a bricks-and-mortar shop, phone ahead to ensure you visit at a convenient time, and take your eCertificate with you. It’s up to you whether you print it out or display the email on your phone. The important thing is that the eCertificate number and Redemption Code are clearly visible. You’ll also need photo ID. If you’re shopping online, the eCertificate number and Redemption Code are what you need.
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