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Some 2.5 million Australians are casual employees. While it might be harder for these workers to secure a personal loan, they are available from some lenders. If you’re a casual employee considering to apply for a personal loan, make sure to do your research and that you are aware of the things that could influence your application process

What is a casual employee and how is it different from a part-time employee?

A casual employee does not have access to paid leave entitlements, including sick leave or holiday leave. Instead, they are entitled to a casual loading, which is an extra payment additional to their regular wages designed to compensate for the lack of paid leave.

Casual workers also generally do not have set or guaranteed working hours. The nature of their work means they will not be paid if they are away from work.

A part-time employee is defined as someone who completes paid work of less than 38 hours per week but usually works regular hours each week. They are generally permanent employees or on a fixed-term contract. Like full-time employees, part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave and annual leave.

Why is it harder to get a personal loan as a casual employee?

Most lenders typically prefer borrowers to be in full-time employment and the reasons are simple.

  • Unstable hours and income – A casual employee’s working hours are not guaranteed and can change from week to week. Consequently, their income is unstable, regardless of their rate of pay. For example, while a casual worker might earn $1,000 in a good week, they might earn half of that the following week if their employer feels there is less work that needs to be done that week. Lenders generally value work stability as they see it as an indicator of one’s capacity to service the loan.
  • Lack of paid entitlements – A casual employee is not entitled to sick leave or annual leave. This means they will not be paid if they need to take time off work, whether it is for a holiday or because of other circumstances outside of their control. This can affect their ability to meet repayment obligations.

Despite the above, this doesn't mean casual employees can’t get a personal loan.

Who offers personal loans for casual employees?

Though casual employees could have a hard time getting a personal loan approved by a major bank or financial institution, many smaller banks and lenders may consider personal loans for casual employees who meet their eligibility criteria. While the specific criteria will depend on the lender, it could include the following:

  • A minimum age of 18.
  • A minimum annual income, which would vary with each lender.
  • Must be in regular employment.
  • A minimum period of continuous employment at current employer, generally between six and 12 months.
  • A good credit rating.
  • A minimum amount left over after regular expenses to see if the borrower can service repayments.

What do casual workers need to know about getting a personal loan?

The personal loan application process for casual employees is slightly distinct from full-time employees. Casual workers seeking a personal loan need to look out for several different points before signing on the dotted line.

  • Interest rates - As a casual employee is generally considered a higher-risk borrower, personal loans for casual employees might attract an interest rate that is higher than usual. This is to reduce the risk factor for the lender. For the borrower, it could mean higher weekly or monthly repayments. To be sure you are able to meet these repayments before committing to the loan, consider using RateCity’s Personal Loan calculator
  • Assessible income – Lenders know that the income of a casual employee can vary, and in some cases this fluctuation can be significant. To determine a casual employee’s income, rather than looking at their weekly or monthly earnings, lenders may instead assess their income over a three-month period and annualise this figure. For example, if you earned $9000 in the past three months, the lender may assume your annual income is $36,000 for the purpose of the assessment, even if you may potentially earn more or less than $9,000 in the next three months.
  • Income consistency – On the flip side, if you can prove to the lender that your income is fairly consistent despite being a casual employee, you could potentially have a higher chance of getting approved and your borrowing power may be strengthened. While casual employees have no guaranteed working hours, some could be in a situation where they consistently work 38 hours a week, just like a full-time employee. In this case, the lender may view this favourably. 
  • Essential documents for casual employees - As with all personal loans, casual employees applying for a personal loan will have to provide the lender with various documents to prove their eligibility for the loan. These will vary with the lender, and could include the following:
    • Proof of identity such as a passport or driver’s licence.
    • Proof of income such as recent pay slips and tax returns/notices of assessment.
    • Proof of financial status such as bank statements and credit card statements.

Frequently asked questions

Can I include my spouse’s income on a personal loan?

If you apply for a joint personal loan with your spouse, you can include their income on the application. If approved, they then become jointly liable for the loan.

Both you and your spouse need to meet the eligibility criteria, such as income, age, and residency requirements, as stipulated by the lender. A joint loan could increase your chance of approval for a higher amount, as both borrowers’ incomes are assessed when determining borrowing capacity. 

Can you refinance a $5000 personal loan?

Much like home loans, many personal loans can be refinanced. This is where you replace your current personal loan with another personal loan, often from another lender and at a lower interest rate. Switching personal loans may let you enjoy more affordable repayments, or useful features and benefits.

If you have a $5000 personal loan as well as other debts, you may be able to use a debt consolidations personal loan to combine these debts into one, potentially saving you money and simplifying your repayments.

Can unemployed single parents get personal loans?

It can be more difficult for unemployed borrowers to successfully apply for a personal loan. Most lenders require borrowers to have a regular income available to cover the cost of loan repayments.

If you’re self-employed, or if less than half of your income comes from Centrelink, you may not be eligible for some personal loan options. Consider contacting the lender before applying.

What is a bad credit personal loan?

A bad credit personal loan is a personal loan designed for somebody with a bad credit history. This type of personal loan has higher interest rates than regular personal loans as well as higher fees.

How can I get a $3000 loan approved?

Responsible lenders don’t have guaranteed approval for personal loans and medium amount loans, as the lender will want to check that you can afford the loan repayments on your current income without ending up in financial hardship.

Having a good credit score can increase the likelihood of your personal loan application being approved. Bad credit borrowers who opt for a medium amount loan with no credit checks may need to prove they can afford the repayments on their current income. Centrelink payments may not count, so you should check with the lender prior to making an application.

How much can you borrow with a bad credit personal loan?

Borrowers who take out bad credit personal loans don’t just pay higher interest rates than on regular personal loans, they also get loaned less money. Each lender has its own policies and loan limits, but you’ll find it hard to get approved for a bad credit personal loan above $50,000.

How long does it take to get a student personal loan?

Completing an online personal loan application can often take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on your lender, processing your personal loan application may take anywhere between 1 and 24 hours. If your personal loan application is approved, you may receive the money in your bank account the following business day, or, in some cases, the same day.

Should I get a fixed or variable personal loan?

Fixed personal loans keep your interest rate the same for the full loan term, while interest rates on variable personal loans may be raised or lowered during your loan term.

A fixed rate personal loan keeps your repayments consistent, which can help keep your budgeting consistent. You won't have to worry about higher repayments if your rates were to rise. However, on a fixed loan you’ll also potentially miss out on more affordable repayments if variable rates were to fall.

What is the average interest rate on personal loans for single parents?

Like other types of personal loans, the average interest rate for personal loans for single parents changes regularly, as lenders add, remove, and vary their loan offers. The interest rate you’ll receive may depend on a range of different factors, including your loan amount, loan term, security, income, and credit score.

What are the Westpac personal loan eligibility criteria?

The process to apply for a personal loan from Westpac is simple and can be done online. To be eligible for a Westpac Bank personal loan, you must meet the eligibility criteria. These include:

  • You should be over 18 years old
  • You must be a permanent resident or hold a valid visa with confirmed employment in Australia
  • You should earn a regular and permanent income of at least $35,000 before taxes

If you feel you meet these eligibility criteria, you can apply for a personal loan with Westpac. With your application form, you’ll also have to submit the following documents:

  • Personal details including name, contact information, and residential address 
  • Proof of identity such as drivers licence or passport details
  • If you’re self-employed, you’ll need a list of assets, savings, investments, and liabilities as well as your most recent tax return information
  • If you’re an employee you’ll need to submit information related to your employment and finances like bank statements and payslips

Westpac Australia personal loans are available for amounts from $4,000 up to $50,000 and loan terms of up to seven years.

Is a personal loan a variable or fixed-rate loan?

Depending on the personal loan lender, you may be able to choose between a fixed and a variable interest rate. But, there are a few distinct differences between the two, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on what’s right for you.

A fixed interest rate loan gets you the convenience of knowing exactly how much you need to repay each fortnight or month. On the other hand, you generally won’t be able to make lump sum or advanced payments to close your personal loan early - or at least not without a penalty.

With a variable interest rate personal loan, you may be able to get a longer loan repayment term, with the option of paying off the loan early. You typically won’t need to pay any additional charges for an early full repayment either. The potential disadvantage with an interest rate that can change is that your repayment is not entirely predictable, as it can fluctuate with the market. However, you’ll likely have more options as more lenders offer a variable interest rate personal loan.

Can I get a $4000 personal loan if I’m unemployed or on Centrelink?

Before most providers of personal loans or medium amount loans will approve an application, they’ll want to know you can afford the loan’s repayments on your current income without ending up in financial stress. Several lenders don’t count Centrelink benefits when assessing a borrower’s income for this purpose, so these borrowers may find it more difficult to be approved for a loan.

If you’re unemployed, self-employed, or if more than 50% of your income come from Centrelink, consider contacting a potential lender before applying to find out whether they accept borrowers on Centrelink.

What documentation is needed for a self-employed personal loan?

Personal loans may require a borrower to provide proof of identity, proof of residence, details of any other outstanding loans (including credit cards), details of assets they own (e.g. savings, car, property), and proof of income.

While borrowers in full-time or part-time employment can often provide payslips and similar documents to prove their income, self-employed borrowers may need to provide other documents, such as bank statements or tax returns, to demonstrate that their income can cover a loan’s repayments.

Which lenders offer bad credit personal loans?

Several dozen lenders offer bad credit personal loans in Australia. These are generally smaller lenders that aren’t household names.

Can I get a personal loan if I receive Centrelink payments?

It is hard, but not impossible, to qualify for a personal loan if you receive Centrelink payments.

Some lenders won’t lend money to people who are on welfare. However, other lenders will simply consider Centrelink payments as another factor to weigh up when they assess a person’s capacity to repay a loan. You should check with any prospective lender about their criteria before making a personal loan application.

How do I consolidate my debt if I have bad credit?

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:

  1. First, find a lender willing to give you a bad credit personal loan. This process will be simplified if you go through a finance broker or use a comparison website like RateCity.
  2. Second, make sure the interest repayments on your new loan are less than the repayments on the loans being replaced.
  3. Third, instead of spending those savings, use them to pay off the new loan.

What interest rates are charged for personal loans?

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.

Can I get an easy/instant personal loan?

Some lenders are able to approve applications with little documentation and within minutes. However, there is a catch. People who take out easy/instant loans generally pay higher interest rates and are restricted to lower amounts than people who follow a traditional borrowing process.

How do I find out my credit rating/score?

You're entitled to one free credit report per year from credit reporting bodies like Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and the Tasmanian Collection Service. You can also get a free report if you’ve been refused credit in the past 90 days.

Credit reporting bodies have up to 10 days to provide reports. If you want to access your report sooner, you’ll probably have to pay.

How are credit ratings/scores calculated?

Different credit reporting bodies may use different formulas to calculate credit scores. However, they use the same type of information: credit history and demographic profile.

They’re likely to look at how many credit applications you’ve made, which lender the applications were for, what purpose they were for, how much they were for and your repayment record. They’ll also look at your age and postcode. They’ll also look to see if you’ve had any bankruptcies or other relevant legal judgements against you.

Your score can change if your demographic profile changes or new information is added to your file (such as a new loan application) or existing information is removed from your file (i.e. because it has reached its expiry date).