Here’s how much that personal loan will cost you
Want to go on an epic holiday? Got a wedding to pay for? Been hit by a sudden medical bill?
Comprehensive credit reporting was introduced to make credit reports fairer and more accurate. Under the previous system, credit providers only saw negative information about potential borrowers. Now, they get to see both positive and negative information, which means that credit providers can see if a borrower’s negative credit behaviour is typical or a one-off.
It’s unusual for a lender to make a personal loan above $100,000, although there is no formal limit. As with all lending products, each lender sets its own policies, while each borrower is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
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 usually 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.
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.)
You can get a bad credit personal loan by applying directly to a lender, by going through a mortgage broker or by using a comparison website like RateCity.
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.
The advantages of personal loans are that they’re easier to obtain than mortgages and usually have lower interest rates than credit cards.
One disadvantage with personal loans is that you have to go through a formal application process, unlike when you borrow money on your credit card. Another disadvantage is that you’ll be charged a higher interest rate than if you borrowed the money as part of a mortgage.
Some lenders are able to approve applications over the internet 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.
A bad credit personal loan is a personal loan designed for somebody with a bad credit history. They have higher interest rates than regular personal loans and are also harder to access.
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, but you’ll find it hard to get approved for a bad credit personal loan above $50,000.
Debt consolidation is the process of rolling several old debts into one new debt – usually to save money or for the sake of convenience.
In some instances, debt consolidation can help borrowers reduce their repayments or simplify them. For example, someone might take out a $7,000 personal loan at an interest rate of 8 per cent so they can repay a (different) $4,000 personal loan at 10 per cent and a $3,000 credit card loan at 15 per cent.
However, debt consolidation can backfire if the borrower spends the extra money instead of using it to repay the new loan.
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.
A person is deemed to have ‘bad credit’ when they have a poor history of repaying debts.
Failing to repay loans and bills will damage your credit score. So will falling behind on your repayments. Your credit score will also suffer if you apply for credit too often or have credit applications rejected.
A bad credit personal loan is ‘secured’ when the borrower offers up an asset (such as a car or jewellery) as collateral or security. The lender can then seize the asset if the borrower fails to repay the loan.
Your credit score will improve if you demonstrate that you’ve become more credit-worthy. You can do that by minimising credit applications, clearing up defaults and paying bills on time.
Another tip is to get the one free credit report you’re entitled to each year – that way, you’ll be able to identify and fix any errors.
If you want to fix an error, the first thing you should do is speak with the credit reporting body, which make take of the problem or contact credit providers on your behalf.
The next step would be to contact your credit provider. If that doesn’t work, you can refer the matter to the credit provider’s independent dispute resolution scheme, which would be the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
AFCA provides consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.
If that doesn’t work, your final options are to contact the Privacy Commissioner and then the Office of the Information Commissioner.
A credit report is a record of your credit history – your credit enquiries, borrowings and your repayments. The report will include information about any bankruptcies or other relevant legal judgements. It will also include biographical information such as your address, date of birth, driver’s licence number and employment history.
Comprehensive credit reporting means including both positive and negative information on a person’s credit file. Before comprehensive credit reporting was introduced, only negative information was included.