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What is a quick loan?

A quick loan - sometimes called a quick cash loan or fast cash loan - is generally used for delivering funds as soon as possible, typically due to an unavoidable situation such as unexpected bills, a medical emergency or a car repair.

Quick loans tend to be for small loan amounts ($5,000 and below), come with shorter loan terms, and often have a fast-tracked online application process. These short term loans generally range from one to three years.

Borrowers might be able to get a quick loan from their current bank, depending on eligibility and what products are on offer. However, those with a below average credit score might decide to look into a payday loan from an online lender. 

Borrowers may want to reserve this option as a last resort, as payday lenders have a reputation for charging high fees and interest rates.

Quick loans for those on Centrelink may be available under certain conditions. However, it might be worth checking if a Centrelink advance payment is available first.

How long does it take to get a quick loan?

Once you submit your loan application, the approval process can take anywhere from an hour to one business day.

Applicants will be required to submit an application form to the lender in person, online or by phone.

While assessing the application, the lender will generally perform a number of checks on the borrower before delivering the money. The time it takes to process a loan will depend on how much financial information the lender requires from the applicant.

Major banks will typically run a credit check on applicants, while payday lenders may offer quick loans with no credit file checks. However, this typically comes at a cost, as they also tend to charge higher fees and interest rates to cover the increased risk they take on.

The amount of money needed will also affect the amount of time it takes to hit your bank account. For example, $5,000 quick loans will typically take more time than $2,000 loans, as they will likely require a credit history check.

Who offers quick loans in Australia?

Australians may have access to quick loans from major banks, online banks, credit unions and payday lenders.

The time it takes to get a loan can often depend on the financial institution chosen and the borrower’s history with them.

How do you compare quick loans?

When comparing quick loans, it's worth considering the following factors:

Advertised rate – the fixed or variable interest rate payable on the loan.

Comparison rate – the total cost of the loan when factoring the advertised rate and fees.

Monthly repayment – the minimum amount the borrower must pay the lender per month throughout the loan term.

Total repayments – the loan plus interest the borrower can anticipate paying back to the lender.

Loan term - the length of time the borrower has to repay the loan.

Fees and charges - these may include:

  • Upfront fee – a one-time payment required from some banks when starting a loan.
  • Ongoing monthly fee – a regularly occurring fee some banks will apply to the loan
  • Establishment fee – a fee calculated as a percentage of the loan amount.
  • Late payment fees – the amount the borrower will owe if a monthly payment is late.

What are the pros and cons of quick loans?

A quick loan is usually one that is needed in an emergency, but there are a number of potential pros and cons that are important to consider:

  • Money is available quickly for emergencies
  • Often available to borrowers with low credit scores
  • Convenient online loan applications accelerate the process
  • Potentially high interest rates
  • Typically high fees, especially from payday lenders
  • Could worsen an already poor financial situation

What are the alternatives to quick loans?

  • Standard personal loan - If the loan is not an emergency and you can afford to wait for the extra cash, a standard personal loan could have more friendly interest rates and loan repayment terms than a quick loan. Consider using RateCity's comparison tools, such as a personal loan comparison table or personal loan calculator, to take the hassle out of comparing your options.
  • Centrelink advance payments - Centrelink assistance such as advance payments may be available for some Centrelink recipients who need access to money before their next regular payment.
  • A low-interest credit card - A credit card with a low interest rate could provide financial assistance with better rates than a quick loan. However, the application time for a credit card could be an issue for people who need money quickly for an emergency.
  • Seek financial advice - If you are finding it difficult to manage your financial situation, you might like to consider reaching out to a financial counsellor for help. The National Debt Helpline provides free financial counselling services to Australian residents.

Frequently asked questions

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 do I need to get a fast loan?

Most lenders will need to you provide the following information in your application for a fast loan:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of income
  • Details of any assets you own (e.g. car, home etc.)
  • Details of any liabilities you owe (other personal loans, credit cards, mortgages etc.)
  • How much you want to borrow
  • Over how long you want to pay it back
  • Purpose of your loan

Can I get a fast loan if I’m unemployed or on Centrelink?

Even if a lender has no credit checks, they will usually still need to confirm you can afford to repay a fast loan on your income before they’ll approve your application.

If 50% or more of your income comes from Centrelink payments, you may find it more difficult to have a fast loan application approved. Consider checking with the lender before applying to confirm if they lend to people on Centrelink.

Can I get a fast loan with bad credit?

Some lenders offer fast loans to borrowers with bad credit. Providers of small payday loans of up to $2000 or medium amount loans of up to $5000 may have no credit checks, though these lenders will usually want to confirm you can afford its loans on your income.

Can I apply for a quick loan online?

While some lenders will require you to provide paperwork in person, many lenders will allow you to make an application for quick personal loan online. You’ll still need to provide information on your identity, income, and loan purpose in most cases.

What can quick loans be used for?

Many borrowers use quick loans to cover short-term or urgent costs, such as paying for car repairs, medical bills, or replacing broken appliances or electronics. Quick loans often have high interest rates compared with regular personal loans.

Before applying for a quick loan, consider your other available options, such as working out a payment plan or applying for an advance or extension. 

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.

Can I merge my personal loan with my home loan?

Yes, you can refinance your home loan and, in the process, merge or consolidate your personal loan and home loan. By doing so, you can lower the number of debts you have, and you may also reduce the total interest you have to pay.

However, you should consult a financial advisor or a mortgage broker to confirm that you are decreasing your total outstanding debt, including interest payments. The repayment term for a home loan can be much longer than that for a personal loan, and by merging the two, you could be repaying a higher amount over the full term.

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.

Does refinancing a personal loan hurt your credit score?

Personal loan refinancing means taking out a new loan with more desirable terms in order to access a more competitive interest rate, longer loan term, better features, or even to consolidate debts.

In some situations, refinancing a personal loan can improve your credit score, while in others, it may have a negative impact. If you refinance multiple loans by consolidating these into one loan, it could improve your credit score as you’ll have only one outstanding debt liability. Your credit may also improve if you consistently pay the instalments on time.

However, applying to refinance with multiple lenders could negatively affect your credit if your applications are rejected. Also, if you delay or default the repayment, your credit score reduces.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Are there alternatives to $2000 loans?

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 of your home, car or personal loan.

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.

Can you get an emergency loan on Centrelink?

When many lenders assess a borrower’s income to determine whether they can afford a loan’s repayments without ending up in financial stress, they may not count Centrelink payments as income for this purpose.

Before applying for an emergency loan, it may be worth contacting a potential lender to find out if they accept applications from borrowers on Centrelink.

Is it hard to improve your credit score?

It can be hard to improve your credit score, as it usually requires sacrifice and discipline, but hard doesn’t necessarily mean complicated. Some simple ways you can give your credit score a boost include closing extra credit cards, reducing your credit card limit, pay off any loans and make loan repayments on time.

As a general rule, the lower your credit score, the more remedies you can apply and the greater the scope for improvement.

Can I get a $2000 loan on Centrelink?

If more than half of your income comes from Centrelink benefits, it may be more difficult to have a $2000 loan application approved. Many lenders will check if you can afford a loan’s repayments on the income from your job before they’ll approve an application, and many won’t count Centrelink payments when assessing your income for this purpose.

Some lenders may offer $2000 loans to borrowers on Centrelink – consider contacting potential lenders to check before applying.