The worse your credit history, the harder you will find it to consolidate your debts, because lenders will be less willing to lend you money and will charge you higher interest rates.
However, people with bad credit histories can make debt consolidation work by following this three-step process. First, find a lender willing to give you a bad credit personal loan – this process will be simplified if you go through a mortgage broker or use a comparison website like RateCity. Second, make sure the interest repayments on your new loan are less than the repayments on the loans being replaced. Third, instead of spending those savings, use them to repay the new loan.
Lenders aren’t allowed to charge interest on loans of $2,000 and under. Instead, they make their money by charging a one-off establishment fee of up to 20 per cent and a monthly account-keeping fee of up to four per cent. Lenders might also ask you to pay a government fee.
For loans between $2,001 and $5,000, lenders can make their money in only two ways: a one-off fee of $400 and annual interest rates of up to 48 per cent.
For loans of $5,001 and above, or for loans that have terms longer than two years, lenders can charge annual interest rates of up to 48 per cent. (Those fee caps don’t apply to loans offered by authorised deposit-taking institutions such as banks, building societies or credit unions – although such institutions are highly unlikely to charge interest rates of anywhere near 48 per cent.)
It is possible for students with no available history of borrowing or managing money to get a personal loan, though it may be more difficult and/or expensive than for borrowers with a good credit history.
Having no credit history means having no credit score. While many lenders may consider having no credit score to be better than having a bad credit score, they may still consider it riskier to lend to an unknown borrower and may charge higher interest rates or fees than to borrowers with good credit scores.
Many medium amount loans for $4000 have no credit checks and are instead assessed based on your current ability to repay the loan, rather than by looking at your credit history. While these loans can appear attractive to bad credit borrowers, it’s important to remember that they often have high fees and can prove less affordable than other options.
Personal loans for $4000 are more likely to have longer loan terms and will require a credit check as part of the application process. Bad credit borrowers may see their $4000 loan applications declined or have to pay higher interest rates than good credit borrowers.
Few, if any, lenders would be willing to give guaranteed approval for a bad credit personal loan. Borrowers with bad credit histories can have more complicated financial circumstances than other borrowers, so lenders will want time to study your application.
It’s all about risk. When someone applies for a personal loan, the lender evaluates how likely that borrower would be to repay the money. Lenders are more willing to give personal loans to borrowers with good credit than bad credit, because there’s a higher likelihood that the personal loan will be repaid.
So a borrower with good credit is more likely to have a loan approved and to get that approval faster, while a borrower with bad credit is less likely to have a loan approved and to get that approval slower.
In some instances, bad credit personal loans can help people with bad credit history to consolidate their debts in such a way that it makes it easier for them to repay those debts. This is because the borrower might be able to consolidate several debts with higher interest rates (such as credit card loans) into one single debt with a lower interest rate.
However, this strategy can backfire if the borrower spends the extra money instead of using it to repay the new loan. Another disadvantage of bad credit personal loans is that they have higher interest rates than regular personal loans.
The Australian personal loans market contains dozens of lenders offering several hundred different products. Personal loans are available through a range of institutions, including:
- The big four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac)
- Smaller banks (such as Bank of Queensland, Bendigo Bank and MyState)
- Mutual banks (such as Heritage Bank, Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent)
- Credit unions (such as People’s Choice Credit Union, BCU and Community First Credit Union)
- Non-bank lenders (such as Pepper Money, Liberty and RACV)
- Peer-to-peer marketplaces (such as Harmoney, SocietyOne and RateSetter)
There are three main ways to access personal loans. You can go through a comparison website, such as RateCity. You can use a finance broker. Or you can directly contact the lender.
If you need to borrow $2000 or less, alternatives to getting a personal loan or payday loan include using a credit card or the redraw facility.
Before you borrow $2000 on a credit card, remember that interest will continue being charged on what you owe until you clear your credit card balance. To minimise your interest, consider prioritising paying off your credit card.
Before you draw down $2000 in extra repayments from your home, car or personal loan using a redraw facility, note that fees and charges may apply, and drawing money from your loan may mean your loan will take longer to repay, costing you more in total interest.
It may be much more difficult for a self-employed borrower to successfully apply for a personal loan if they also have bad credit. Many lenders already consider self-employed borrowers to be riskier than those in full time employment, so several self-employed personal loans require borrowers to have excellent credit.
If you’re a self-employed borrower with a bad credit history, there may still be personal loan options available to you, such as securing your personal loan against a vehicle of equity in a property, though your interest rates may be higher than those of other borrowers. Consider contacting a lender before applying to discuss your options.
While many personal loans require a credit check as part of the application process, some personal loans and payday loans have no credit checks, which may appeal to some bad credit borrowers.
Keep in mind that even if a loan is available with no credit check, the lender will likely want to confirm that you can afford the repayments on your current income.