How to get a personal loan on low income

Find and compare your options for a low income personal loan with RateCity. View products & get your personalised rate below. - Last updated on 17 Oct 2019

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Low income personal loans

Whether you need to consolidate debt, pay for a holiday or a home renovation, a personal loan can be a competitive option when you need a financial helping hand.

If you have low income levels, getting approved for a personal loan can feel like an uphill battle. But don’t despair, there are still loan options available for low income earners.

What low income personal loan options are available?

Most lenders have minimum income requirements that all borrowers must reach to be approved for financial products – usually around $30,000 - $40,000 per annum.

While it can be disheartening if you’re not applicable for a loan, lenders do have your best interests in mind. Being unable to pay back a loan can negatively impact your finances, your credit score and your mental health.

However, many Australian lenders offer personal loans with low or no minimum income levels, including:

Further, personal loans for low income earners may not come packaged as a traditional loan. If you need extra cash there are a few options available:

  1. Small loans – Lenders may approve personal loans for small amounts that you have a realistic chance of paying back based on your income levels.
  2. Short term loans – Short term, or payday loans, are typically offered to low income borrowers by online lenders. They have shorter loan terms than traditional loans (up to a year), and typically carry higher fees.
  3. The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) According to ASIC’s MoneySmart, the NILS provides people on low incomes “access to safe, fair and affordable access to loans of up to $1,500 for essential goods and services”. Repayments are set up over 12 - 18 months, and to be eligible you must have a Centrelink healthcare or pension card (or qualify for one).
  4. Low income credit cards – While not a personal loan, low income credit cards are another option low income earners can consider when they need credit. They have lower minimum income levels in their eligibility criteria ($15,000 - $20,000 per annum) and may be more attainable.

How do I choose the best personal loan for low income earners?

While there is no one ‘best’ low income loan available due to varying individual financial circumstances, there are a few features and fees associated with personal loans for low income earners you should consider before choosing:

What to compare About
Interest rate The personal loan interest rate will determine your repayment amounts. A low interest loan should mean a smaller repayment amount.
Loan term The amount of time you will have to pay off the debt. This is particularly relevant for short-term loans, as longer loan terms tend to mean lower monthly bills – but more ongoing fees to pay.
Annual fees Look for low income loans that charge lower or no annual fees, if possible.
Late payment fees Amount owed if you miss a payment.
Maximum loan amount Small loan and/or short-term loans have lower maximum loan amounts than standard personal loans. Ensure the funds will adequately cover your financial needs.
Centrelink availability Some lenders will offer short-term loans to applicants on Centrelink. If half of your income comes from Centrelink, you typically cannot receive a loan that exceeds 20 per cent of your income.

What person loans are available if you’re unemployed?

Lenders will typically not provide loans to individuals with no income source as they need proof that you will be able to make regular loan repayments.

You should consider showing lenders you have a source of income outside of full-time, part time or casual employment, such as:

  • Centrelink payments
  • Self-employment
  • Capital or interest earned through assets

Alex is a personal finance writer and PR professional at RateCity, and has been writing about finance for three years. She is passionate on topics such as gender pay and superannuation gap, and committed to helping young Aussies manage their finances better. Before RateCity, Alex spent time as an editor for magazines and has seen her work published in numerous print and online outlets.


^Words such as "top", "best", "cheapest" or "lowest" are not a recommendation or rating of products. This page compares a range of products from selected providers and not all products or providers are included in the comparison. There is no such thing as a 'one- size-fits-all' financial product. The best loan, credit card, superannuation account or bank account for you might not be the best choice for someone else. Before selecting any financial product you should read the fine print carefully, including the product disclosure statement, fact sheet or terms and conditions document and obtain professional financial advice on whether a product is right for you and your finances.

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