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Interest-free Personal Loans

You can borrow up to $1,500 for essential goods and services and pay zero interest.

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With a No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS), you can borrow up to $1,500 without having to pay any interest. You can use it to pay for essential goods and services, but restrictions apply. To be eligible for NILS, you need to have a Health Care Card or Pension Card, or earn less than $45,000 a year after tax. You will also need to demonstrate that you can repay the loan within the loan term, which is 12 to 18 months.

What is an interest-free personal loan?

As the name suggests, no interest is charged for an interest-free personal loan. Interest is the fee you're charged by the lender for borrowing money. In this case, you are required to only repay the amount borrowed. With standard personal loans, lenders charge interest on top of the loan amount.

With a regular personal loan, you can use the funds for almost any legitimate purchase. You can use it to finance a car, a wedding or holiday, or just about anything you wish. With interest-free personal loans, how you can use the funds is comparatively limited. These loans are usually only available for the purchase of essential household items and services.

The most common type of interest-free personal loan in Australia is the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS). It is offered by Good Shepherd Finance, a not-for-profit community-led organisation committed to providing affordable finance for Australians in need.

What is NILS?

This is a no-interest loan designed to provide low-income earners access to safe, fair and affordable funding. No interest or fees are charged. If you're looking for income relief, you should consider this loan before opting for any other form of expensive credit.

It is offered by 170 local community organisations in over 600 locations across Australia.

The eligibility criteria for NILS is different from that of a regular personal loan. This is because these loans are intended for people facing financial difficulties and who have low-incomes. You will have to prove that you're in need of these loans to be eligible.

  • NILS Coronavirus Relief

Good Shepherd Microfinance has collaborated with the Australian government and the National Australia Bank to provide Household Relief Loans Without Interest for people financially impacted by COVID-19.

The interest-free loans are available up to $1,500 on terms of up to 18 months. There are no credit checks involved in the application process. Funds from the loan are intended for household products and utilities. These include electricity bills, something standard NILS are not available for.

If you've been struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 and have come to the end of your hardship assistance with your landlord or utility provider, a Household Relief Loan could help. For further information on NILS loans, please call 1300 770 550.

How does NILS work and what can I use it for?

Around 170 community organisations work with Good Shepherd to provide NILS to families in need of credit assistance. The basic premise is that as one borrower pays off their loan, those funds are then allocated to another borrower in need. This is called "circular community credit".

As we mentioned above, NILS comes with restrictions on usage. We've outlined what you can and can't use the loan for:

  • Household items and essentials like fridges, stoves and washing machines
  • Household furniture and repairs
  • Car repairs
  • Medical or dental expenses
  • Education essentials like laptops and books
  • Food
  • Rent
  • Bills
  • Debts
  • Cash

Am I eligible for NILS?

To be eligible for NILS, you need to:

  • Have a Health Care Card or Pension Card.

OR

  • Earn less than $45,000 a year after tax, or $60,000 for couples or people with dependents.
  • Have lived at your current address or previous address for at least 3 months.
  • Show that you can repay the loan.

Does applying for NILS impact my credit score?

No credit checks are performed when applying for NILS. This means that your score will not be impacted. Additionally, if you have bad credit, you can still qualify for the loan so long as you can prove it can be repaid.

How can I apply for NILS?

You can apply for a NILS loan by following a few simple steps:

  1. Check if you're eligible.
  2. Find the nearest NILS provider either online or by calling 13 NILS (13 64 57).
  3. Set an appointment with the provider selected.
  4. Submit your paperwork.
  5. Wait for your application to be assessed.
  6. You will receive the outcome by phone or email.

Are there other interest-free loans available?

If you don't qualify for NILS, there are other options available:

  • 0% interest financing from retailers
    Some retailers offer interest-free periods on the sale of their goods and appliances. For instance, The Good Guys offers up to 60 months interest-free on home appliance purchases with a minimum spend in-store or online.
  • Centrelink cash advance
    This allows you to receive an advance payment on your Centrelink benefits. This is not an additional payment, but a part of your existing allowance paid in advance. You may be eligible depending on how long you have been with Centrelink and how much you receive. You can contact the Department of Human Services for more details.
  • Buy now pay later
    Buy now pay later allows you to buy an item or a service and pay for it in instalments. No interest is charged during the stipulated period. There are also buy now pay later services that let you pay your bills in instalments.

There are also a few low-interest options available. These include:

  • StepUp Loans
    If your income is small, you could be eligible for a StepUP personal loan. This program is managed by Good Shepherd Microfinance in partnership with NAB. With this loan, you could borrow between $800 and $3,000, with a loan term of up to 3 years. The interest rate is fixed at 5.99% p.a.
  • Pension loans scheme
    If you qualify for a pension and hold equity in real estate, this government scheme uses the funds tied up in real estate as a non-taxable loan. The rate offered is significantly lower than the rates charged on other personal loans. You can contact the Department of Human Services for more details.

Personal loans for Centrelink applicants

How else can I get interest-free terms on purchases?

There are a range of credit cards which offer 0% introductory rates on purchases. You can compare a range of these products below. Keep in mind that you'll need good credit to be eligible.

1 - 9 of 9
$
Name Product Purchase rate p.a. Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee Interest-free period Amount saved
Citi Rewards Card - Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 21.49%
0% for 14 months
$0 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Save with 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
0% for 12 months, reverts to 18.99%
0% for 12 months
$0
Up to 55 days on purchases
Save with a $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% for 15 months, reverts to 9.9%
0% for 15 months
$0 for the first year ($49 thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 20.74%
0% for 14 months
$129
Up to 55 days on purchases
Save with 0% p.a. interest on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months and earn Velocity Points per $1 spent.
St.George No Annual Fee
0% for 12 months, reverts to 20.74%
$0
Up to 55 days on purchases
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate offer and a $0 annual fee. Plus, a minimum credit limit of $500.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 25 months, reverts to 20.24%
21.24%
$0 for the first year ($87 thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Now offering Cashrewards Max. Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 25 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% for 15 months, reverts to 9.9%
0% for 15 months
$0 for the first year ($69 thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Get 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, a $0 first-year annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
Citi Premier Qantas Card
0% for 6 months, reverts to 21.49%
0% for 6 months
$175 for the first year ($350 thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Get 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days and a 0% purchase rate offer. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
NAB StraightUp Card
0%
$0
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.
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Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

Personal Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Citi Personal Loan Plus
Citi Personal Loan Plus

You'll receive a variable rate of 8.9% p.a. with a comparison rate of 9.18% p.a. if you're approved.
A credit limit up to $75,000 that you can continue to draw down over terms up to 5 years.

Logo for OurMoneyMarket Personal Loan
OurMoneyMarket Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.35% p.a. to 20.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A personalised loan from $2,001 to $75,000 that varies based on your credit history and financial situation.

Logo for ANZ Fixed Rate Personal Loan
ANZ Fixed Rate Personal Loan

You'll receive a guaranteed rate of6.49% p.a. with a comparison rate of 7.41% p.a. if you're approved.
Apply for up to $50,000 to use for a variety of purposes without needing to add security. Available to self-employed applicants.

Logo for NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 years to 7 years loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    RaymondFebruary 27, 2019

    Our refrigerator is on the blink and we cannot repair it,
    We need to buy a new one ASAP I am on a disability pension with my wife as my carer We have very little cash flow and savings but we own our house outright
    Wots are our options of getting a low interest pension loan

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiFebruary 28, 2019

      Hi Raymond,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Our page shows the list of providers who may accept your application. As it says on our page:

      You need to meet a few criteria to be eligible for an interest-free personal loan:

      Have a Health Care Card or Pension Card
      Earn less than $45,000 per year
      Have lived at your current address for at least three months
      Show a willingness and the capacity to repay the loan

      There are no credit checks required during the loan application process. Instead, interest-free personal loans are offered on a basis of trust and respect.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    MaryamNovember 10, 2018

    Hi,

    Can I get a home loan if I am on disability pension?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniNovember 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Maryam,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Since some lenders accept Centrelink benefits as your sole source of income, all you need is to do some research or look for a mortgage broker to help you on getting a home loan. You may use our Centrelink home loan guide for your application.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    LisaNovember 8, 2018

    Can I borrow to buy a car I’m on centrelink benefits and I work. If so what is the most I could borrow ?

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelNovember 8, 2018

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for leaving a question on Finder.

      If you’re looking to purchase a car, you can consider a secured car loan from a lender that accepted Centrelink applicants. You can purchase a new or used car and use it as security for the loan to get a lower rate. You can learn more about the types of loans available to Centrelink recipients.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  4. Default Gravatar
    TanyaApril 1, 2016

    Tanya
    Need help fill in

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethApril 1, 2016Staff

      Hi Tanya,

      If you’re looking for assistance with your application you’ll need to get in contact with Good Shepherd Microfinance directly. I’ve emailed you its contact information.

      Hope this will help,

      Elizabeth

  5. Default Gravatar
    stephenJanuary 8, 2016

    I am on DSP pension. Can i get a air conditioner interest free?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethJanuary 11, 2016Staff

      Hi Stephen,

      If you’re considering applying for a Good Shepherd Finance loan you can visit its website and review the eligibility criteria. An air conditioner may be considered to be an eligible household item, but its best to get in touch to find out.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

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