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60 months

1 year to 7 years


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60 months

1 year to 7 years


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60 months

1 year to 7 years


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60 months

0 year to 7 years


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60 months

1 year to 7 years


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Learn more about personal loans

How many years can I get a personal loan for? 

Many personal loans are repaid over relatively short terms, from less than 12 months, up to five years. However, some lenders offer the option to pay back a personal loan over a longer length of time, from five years to ten years, or even longer.

Depending on your financial situation, a long personal loan term may help you enjoy more affordable repayments, though it’s important to keep the total cost of interest in mind.  

How do long personal loans work?

When you take out a personal loan with a long loan term, you agree to repay what you’ve borrowed, plus interest, by making a certain number of payments over time.

The longer your loan term, the more payments you’ll need to make, each one for a smaller percentage of your loan principal. This means that if you opt for a long loan term, each repayment will be cheaper than if you opt for a short loan term.  

It’s important to remember that for every personal loan repayment you make, you’ll be charged interest on the principal still owing on your loan. If you take a longer loan term, you’ll make a greater number of repayments, and therefore you’ll be charged interest a greater number of times than if you take a shorter loan term. While your monthly loan repayments may be cheaper with a longer loan term, you may end up paying much more in interest than if you’d opted for a shorter loan term.


Mathias wants to borrow $10,000 for a renovation, from a lender with an interest rate of 10%. Before he chooses a loan term, he performs a personal loan comparison to see how much the loan will cost him, both from month to month, and in total:

Loan term Monthly repayment Total cost
2 years $461 $11075
5 years $212 $12,748
10 years $132 $15,858

Source: MoneySmart

Mathias must decide which loan term will best suit his finances. On one hand, a shorter loan term will cost him more from month to month, putting more pressure on his household budget. But on the other hand, a long loan term will ultimately cost him much more in total – over 50% of his loan principal, in the case of the 10-year term!

Monthly, fortnightly, or weekly repayments?

Some lenders will allow you to make fortnightly or weekly personal loan repayments instead of monthly, which can sometimes be a better fit your household budget.

The other potential advantage of making more frequent personal loan payments is that you may be able to pay off your loan a little bit faster, thereby saving on interest.

Many lenders calculate monthly payments on the assumption that one month lasts for an average of four weeks. But because this isn’t an exact figure, 26 fortnightly payments over a 52-week year can end up being the equivalent of making 13 monthly repayments, rather than just 12. By paying fortnightly, rather than monthly, you can effectively make one extra payment per year – that may not sound like much, but it can add up, especially over a long-term personal loan.


Going back to Mathias and his $10,000 personal loan at 10% interest, if he took a 10-year loan term with monthly repayments, every year he’d make twelve payments of $132. By paying $1584 per year, he’d pay a total of $15,858 at the end of the term.

If Mathias cut his repayments in half but paid them every two weeks, each year he’d make 26 payments of $66, adding up to $1716 per year. This would let him finish his loan in just 8 years and 10 months, paying a total of $15,028 – a saving of $830.

Source: MoneySmart

Can I repay a long personal loan early?

Many lenders will allow you to make extra repayments onto your personal loan whenever you have spare funds available in your household budget. These extra repayments can help to reduce the principal you owe, reducing the interest you’re charged in the future. If you make enough extra repayments on your personal loan, you may find yourself able to exit your loan ahead of schedule.

Keep in mind that some lenders charge fees for making extra repayments or for exiting a loan early, the cost of which may outweigh the potential interest savings of paying down your loan balance. If you expect you may be able to get your loan paid off early, it’s worth checking whether a potential lender charges early exit fees before signing up for a personal loan.


When Mathias commits to his long personal loan, he starts making regular repayments, but also adds his tax refund onto the loan each year. Partway through his loan term, he receives a pay rise at his job, allowing him to put a bit more of his household budget towards his loan each payday. These extra payments help to shrink the principal amount still owing on the loan, thus reducing the interest he’s charged on this amount.

These extra payments add up over time, and lead to Mathias clearing his $10,000 debt plus interest well ahead of his scheduled term.

If Mathias had chosen a personal loan with an early exit fee, he’d have to pay his lender to leave his personal loan early, potentially undoing much of his interest savings.

But because he did his research and compared personal loans to find a lender with no exit fees, he can pay off his debt early with no extra costs to pay.

Can I refinance a long personal loan?

Much like home loans and some other types of credit, it is possible to refinance a personal loan, which involves swapping your current personal loan for a new one, often with a different bank or lender.

Borrowers may choose to refinance a personal loan if their financial circumstances change, leaving them unable to afford their current personal loan. Some borrowers also choose to refinance when they think they can get a better personal loan deal elsewhere.

When refinancing a personal loan, it’s not only important to compare the interest rates and fees to calculate their impact on your household budget, but it’s also important to keep the length of your personal loan term in mind.

If you refinance from a short personal loan to a long personal loan, your individual repayments may become more affordable, but you may end up paying more for your loan in total.  

If you refinance from a long personal loan to a shorter loan term, you’ll likely pay less in total interest, though your repayments may be higher.

Frequently asked questions

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 I repay a $3000 personal loan early?

If you receive a financial windfall (e.g. tax refund, inheritance, bonus), using some of this money to make extra repayments onto your personal loan or medium amount loan could help reduce the total interest you’re charged on your loan, or help clear your debt ahead of schedule.

Check your loan’s terms and conditions before paying extra onto your loan, as some lenders charge fees for making extra repayments, or early exit fees for clearing your debt ahead of the agreed term.

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan sits somewhere between a home loan and a credit card loan. Unlike with a credit card, you need to sign a formal contract to access a personal loan. However, the process is easier and faster than taking out a mortgage.

Loan sizes typically range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, while loan terms usually run from one to five years. Personal loans are generally used to consolidate debts, pay emergency bills or fund one-off expenses like holidays.

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 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 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.

Can you pay off a quick loan early?

Many lenders will allow you to make extra repayments onto a quick personal loan when you can afford them, or even exit the loan early, which can help reduce the total interest you are charged. Be sure to check your quick loan’s terms and conditions, as some lenders charge early exit fees for paying off a loan ahead of schedule.

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.

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.

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.

Can I get a bad credit personal loan with a guarantor?

Some lenders will consider personal loan applications from a borrower with bad credit if the borrower has a family member with good credit willing to guarantee the loan (a guarantor).

If the borrower fails to pay back their personal loan, it will be their guarantor’s responsibility to cover the 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.

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 guaranteed approval for a bad credit personal loan?

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 be approved faster, while a borrower with bad credit is less likely to have a loan approved and, if they are approved, may be approved slower.

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.

What is credit history?

Your credit history covers everything to do with applying for loans. It includes the number of loans you’ve applied for, the amounts you’ve borrowed and your record of meeting repayment schedules.

How do I know if I've got a bad credit history?

You can find out what your credit history looks like by accessing what's known as your credit rating or credit score. You're also able to check your credit report for free once per year.

What causes bad credit history?

Bad credit history is caused by filing for bankruptcy, defaulting on your debts, falling behind on your repayments and having loan applications rejected. Lenders are wary of borrowers who demonstrate this sort of behaviour because it suggests they might struggle to repay future loans.

Borrowers with bad credit may find it more difficult to be approved for a loan, or they may get higher interest rates when they do get approved.

What is an unsecured bad credit personal loan?

A bad credit personal loan is ‘unsecured’ when the borrower doesn’t offer up an asset, such as a car or jewellery, as collateral or security. Lenders generally charge higher interest rates on unsecured loans than secured loans.