Don’t let the pension get in the way of getting a loan

Receiving Centrelink payments doesn’t cut off your access to credit. Discover what loan options are available to you.

When you receive Centrelink payments, whether it's a carer's allowance, the disability pension or another type, you might find it difficult to access credit. However, there are options available to you when you need finance. These include banks and credit unions as well as short-term lenders. Government and community financial assistance schemes are also available.

Read the guide below to find out if you're eligible for a loan while receiving Centrelink. You can find out about Centrelink business loans here and if you are looking for a home loan, read our Centrelink home loans guide.

Financial hardship

If you’re experiencing financial hardship and would like to speak to someone for free financial counselling, you can call the Financial Counsellors hotline on 1800 007 007. It is open from 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

When comparing short term loans, ensure you take into consideration any fees, charges and rates you may be charged. It's important to weigh up all your options before applying for any form of credit.

Sunshine Short Term Offer

Sunshine Short Term Offer

  • Centrelink borrowers considered
  • Fast approval service
  • Borrow up to $2,000
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100% confidential application

Sunshine Short Term Offer

This is a short term loan offer with a fast and easy online application for bad credit borrowers who are employed. You can apply today to get approved for up to $2,000.

  • Loan amount: $2,000
  • Loan term: 9 weeks
  • Turnaround time: 30 Minutes - conditions apply
  • Fees: 20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
  • Bad credit borrowers OK
  • Quick and easy Approval
  • No Credit Checks - Must be employed
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Name Product Max. Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround Time Costs Product Description
Sunshine Short Term Loans
9 weeks
30 Minutes - conditions apply
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
Apply online with Sunshine Loans and you could borrow up to $2,000 paid directly into your account. Family Business since 1999.
Ferratum Cash Loans
Up to 6 mths
Same Day if approved
20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
A small loan from Ferratum lets you borrow up to $1,900 without a credit check

Compare up to 4 providers

Tips on making your application count

  • Know if you are eligible. Check the minimum eligibility criteria listed on finder.com.au review pages before you apply for a product. If you meet the minimum eligibility you will be able to apply, although keep in mind that you may not be approved as applications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • "Centrelink accepted". You may not see this on bank or lender's sites, but that doesn't mean they will not accept your Government benefits as income. You can often check whether the lender requires you to be employed or if they explicitly state that those on Centrelink are unable to apply.
  • Give yourself the best chance of being approved. You may want to get in touch with a lender to discuss your eligibility, or you may even want to call your current bank who you may have a better chance of being approved with.

Loan options you have if you receive Centrelink

Now that you know how much you can borrow, let's take a look at the lenders who may accept Centrelink benefits as genuine income. Click on the links to see their range of products and to see their eligibility requirements.

BrandGenerally accepted?Conditions
Cash Converterstransparent--green-tickYour loan repayments cannot exceed 25% of your gross income.
Cash Firsttransparent--green-tickMust also be employed and not be receiving Newstart or DSP.
Cash Stoptransparent--green-tickYou're able to apply, even if you receive Newstart or Youth Allowance.
Cash TrainNo-
ClearCashtransparent--green-tickYou're able to apply, applications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Credit24transparent--green-tickYou can apply as long as Centrelink payments are not more than 50% of your income.
Dollars Directtransparent--green-tickYou need to have been employed for at least one month.
Ferratum Loanstransparent--green-tickMore than 50% of your total income or 20% of your repayments can't come from Centrelink.
Good to Go Loanstransparent--green-tickYou're able to apply, applications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Loan RangerNo-
Max Financetransparent--green-tickSole income from Newstart, Youth Allowance or Austudy is not accepted.
Money Starttransparent--green-tickYou need to be employed and earn more than 50% of your income through employment.
Nimble Short Term LoansNo-
Rapid Financetransparent--green-tickYou're able to apply, applications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Sunshine LoansNo-
BrandGenerally accepted?Conditions
American Expresstransparent--green-tickHandled on a case-by-case basis
ANZtransparent--green-tickMinimum income $15,000 p.a.
Austudy or Youth Allowance is not eligible
Bank of Melbournetransparent--green-tickMost Centrelink payments are accepted
Provide a letter from Centrelink (or Department of Social Security, or equivalent) detailing your current entitlements
BankSAtransparent--green-tickAccept all Centrelink payments except Newstart
bankmecutransparent--green-tickAccept Centrelink benefits as income
Bankwesttransparent--green-tickAccept parenting payments and DSP as income
Bendigo Banktransparent--green-tickAccept Centrelink benefits as income
Citibanktransparent--green-tickMinimum income $35,000 p.a.
Will consider the payments if type of Centrelink income is taxable
Commonwealth Banktransparent--green-tickMinimum income $14,004 p.a.
Accepts parenting payments, DSP and carer's pension as income
HSBCtransparent--green-tickMinimum income $30,000 p.a.
will consider the payments if type of Centrelink income is taxable
IMBtransparent--green-tickIt may be considered if you are also earning a wage. Cannot be your sole source of income.
NABtransparent--green-tickHandled on a case-by-case basis and strict criteria applies
St.Georgetransparent--green-tickAccept parenting payments and DSP
Suncorptransparent--green-tickMinimum income $25,000 p.a.
Will consider some Centrelink payments
Westpactransparent--green-tickHandled on a case-by-case basis and depends on the type of income you receive
Parenting payments are not considered a type of income
DSP is accepted

Your other options: Government and community financial assistance

When you receive Centrelink payments or earn a lower income, traditional financial institutions or even payday lenders are not your only options. There is a range of schemes and programs that give you access to credit, often for no or low interest. Here are some of the options that are available:

  • Pension loans scheme. If you're of age pension age, you have equity in Australian real estate and you or your partner receives a reduced age pension rate, you could be eligible for a Pension Loan. These can be short term loans or a loan over a longer period, and how much you're eligible for depends on the equity you have and your age when the loan is granted. Currently, the rate for this scheme is 5.25% and compound interest is charged on how much you owe.
  • NAB StepUP. Developed by NAB and Good Shepherd Microfinance, these are unsecured personal loans of between $800 and $3,000 for individuals and families on low incomes. They are offered at a rate of 5.99% p.a. and are designed for the purchase of essential goods and services.
  • No interest loans scheme (NILS). This is a loan offered by Good Shepherd Microfinance that's designed to be repaid over a 12- to 18-month period. You can apply for between $300 and $1,200 for essential goods and services and you'll be charged no fees and no interest. Eligibility criteria include that you have a Health Care Card/Pension Card or that you are on a low income, that you've been in your current residence for three months or more and you show a willingness and capacity to repay.
  • Centrelink cash advance. Depending on what payment you receive, you could be eligible for an advance on your Centrelink payments. Your eligibility also depends how long you have been receiving payments and how much you receive. Keep in mind you can usually only receive an advance once a year.
  • Concession cards. As a current Centrelink recipient you may be eligible for a concession card, which you may be unaware of. Check on the Centrelink website to see what's available.
  • Good Money. If you reside in Victoria and receive Centrelink payments, you may be eligible for a low or no interest loan from Good Money. Eligibility includes that you're looking for a loan top cover vehicle repairs, educational and medical expenses, bills or even debts. Visit its website to find out more.
  • Service's Relief Trust Fund. Australian Defence Force Members can access no and low interest loans as well as grants through this fund. These are then repaid through your salary.
  • Fairloans. This non-profit has also partnered with NAB to offer loans to people for up to $3,000. The loans are repaid over a period of 12 months.

What types of personal loans am I eligible for if I receive Centrelink?

You have a few options if you're receiving Centrelink payments and are in need of a loan. Generally, you'll find lenders who can offer you:

  • Personal loans. You're able to apply for personal loans from banks, credit unions and other lenders even when you receive Centrelink. You will have to meet a minimum income requirement and not all types of Centrelink income are accepted. To see what banks will consider you, take a look at the table above.
  • Payday loans. These are small, short-term loans that are available to Centrelink applicants as well as those with bad credit. You're normally able to apply for up to $2,000 although sometimes up to $5,000 or more is available.
  • Car loans. 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.
  • Overdrafts. Do you want credit you can use in an emergency? An overdraft is linked to your account and lets you draw up to and including a certain limit. If you have a good history with your bank you can be approved, even if you receive Centrelink.
  • Alternative financing. There are also various community financing programs and alternative sources of financing you can consider as well as an advance from Centrelink. These are outlined on the page above.

Calculate your borrowing ability

If you think you’re eligible, look at your most recent Centrelink statement to determine your annual income (this may involve you multiplying your statement by 26 as payments are received every fortnight). Remember to include your supplementary income, or income from your co-borrower.

Understanding your Centrelink payments

It can be easier to be approved for a loan when receiving certain types of Centrelink payments over others. For instance, youth allowance is a common payment that is not accepted by lenders as a form of income. The first step to applying for a loan is to identify what type of Centrelink benefit you are currently receiving. This can be done by looking at your Centrelink documents. Here is a breakdown of the Centrelink payments that are available and whether they are generally accepted by lenders:

  • Age Pension. This provides you with monetary support when you're retired. Many payday lenders accept this as a form of income while banks may require supplementary income.
  • Carer's Allowance. If you're caring for a dependant person, this provides you with monetary support. This is generally accepted as a form of income by lenders.
  • Youth Allowance. Young people aged 16 to 24 who are studying, undertaking an apprenticeship, training, looking for work or sick can be eligible for youth allowance. Many lenders do not accept this as a form of income although you may find some payday lenders will.
  • Austudy. This is for full-time students and Australian apprentices 25 years or older. You may find it difficult to get a loan with this as your income.
  • Foster Care Allowances. This is a fortnightly payment intended to help you support and pay for a foster child in your car. You may be able to include this as part of your income but you will need to earn supplementary income.
  • Disability Pension. People who have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working can be eligible for the Disability Support Pension. While this is generally accepted, you may find some lenders will not accept this as a form of income.
  • Child Support Payments. This is income received to help cover the cost of raising your child or children. You may be able to have it included as part of your income if you can provide a copy of the Family Law Court Order, bank statements proving you receive this income, a letter from your solicitor and a letter from the Child Support Agency (CSA).
  • Family Tax Benefits and Parenting Payments. This is financial support to help cover the costs of raising children. Family Tax Benefits Part A and B is generally accepted by lenders but having supplementary income will help. The age of your children will also be taken into consideration.
  • Overseas Pension. If you receive the pension from overseas some lenders may recognise it as income. This is generally if your pension is coming from: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the USA. You might be required to show that pension is ongoing for a period of time.

When you're looking for a loan, considering all the options available to you can better place you to find the one that best suits your needs. Hopefully this guide had made this process much easier to understand, and has provided a background about how lenders make their decisions.

Jargon Buster

Supplementary income - Income that you may have from a full time or part time job. This also includes income that may be earned by your partner or joint applicant.

Taxable income - Income that you will need to pay tax on, after you have deducted all expenses you are allowed to claim.


Picture: Shutterstock

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216 Responses to Don’t let the pension get in the way of getting a loan

  1. Default Gravatar
    Potismine | May 15, 2017

    Hi i am a single mum receiving carers payment, allowance and ftb a & b.. i also work part time cleaning and traffic control on casual callouts
    My credit rating is just over 600 and im looking for a secured car loan.. can u provide contacts to lenders

    • Staff
      May | May 15, 2017

      Hi Potismine,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      The above lenders are actually the ones who may be able to offer you a loan given your financial circumstance. You’ll need to contact them directly to discuss your options for a loan and eligibility.


  2. Default Gravatar
    Robyn | May 10, 2017

    Hi I am on a DSP and need about $300 for an initial consult with a specialist I called my bank to get a credit limit on my credit card but they said no they can’t use DSP as an income any more. Are there any other options for me

    • Staff
      Anndy | May 10, 2017

      Hi Robyn,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are on DSP, there are a number of providers listed above that may consider you for a loan. Among your options are:

      Cash Stop
      Good to Go Loans
      Rapid Finance

      You may get in touch with these providers to discuss your eligibility. That way, you’ll avoid getting unnecessary enquiries on your credit file.

      Please be sure to check the eligibility criteria for each loan before submitting your application.


  3. Default Gravatar
    Devinn | May 9, 2017

    Hi I am New start allowance and I have bad credit can I still get a loan as I need to get a car.

    Thank you

    • Staff
      Harold | May 9, 2017

      Hi Devinn,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      If you currently have a bad credit you may want to consider the available options on this page.

      I hope this information has helped.


  4. Default Gravatar
    Dale | April 12, 2017

    Need a loan today $1200 but I get $1200 from Centrelink on the 27 April but need a loan today can you help me

    • Staff
      Anndy | April 13, 2017

      Hi Dale,

      Thanks for your question.

      In the above page, you can compare banks and short term lenders that may consider you for a loan. Please do check the loan features, requirements and eligibility criteria before submitting your application.


  5. Default Gravatar
    Mum2 | April 9, 2017

    I am a single mother of 5. I have tried to get a loan to consolidate my existing 2 loans and to fix my car. I get child support and pension. I have been knocked back. Do you know of banks or lenders that give loan to parents on single parents or a credit card that will at least let me fix my car.

    Thank you

    • Staff
      Anndy | April 10, 2017

      Hi Mum,

      Thanks for your question.

      Aside from the lenders listed above, you may also check this page to compare lenders that provide loans to single mothers.


  6. Default Gravatar
    | February 6, 2017

    Hi I’ve just sold a house in nsw as payments were to high for me to repay on a disability pension. I moved to qld and brought another home much cheeper where the loan is affordable for me. I need to borrow $10k to buy appliances for the home as I put all my money down on the house loan. I move in to my new home on Wednesday and would like to get these appliances as soon as possible can you help

    • Staff
      May | February 6, 2017

      Hi Stewart,

      Thanks for your question.

      Since you’re on a Disability Pension, you may compare your options, review the criteria and get in touch with a lender featured on this page to discuss your chances of approval.


  7. Default Gravatar
    Cath | January 31, 2017

    If I borrow $30,000 on a mortgage loan, for consolidating debts and buying a new car, would centrelink see this as a lump sum payment and stop my New start allowance?

    • Staff
      May | January 31, 2017

      Hi Cath,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      No, your Centrelink payments will not be affected if you will be taking out a loan. You would still receive the benefits and payment you’re entitled to.


  8. Default Gravatar
    Matt | January 28, 2017

    Are you able to provide a list of banks that will allow someone to go guarantor on a loan whilst on centrelink?

    • Staff
      Anndy | February 1, 2017

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, we don’t have a list of banks/lenders that offer guarantor personal loans to those who are receiving Centrelink benefits. However, our guide on this page may help you understand how guarantor loans work and where you can possibly apply for this type of loan.


  9. Default Gravatar
    Jaime | January 23, 2017

    hi, I am on a DSP and receive family tax benefit a&b for my 3 children. Those are my only forms of income a I am unable to work and don’t receive child support and am not partnered.

    I am wondering about where I should apply for a loan of approximately $10,000 and what type of loan I should be applying for. It is for a reconstructive surgery that has been approved to be partially covered by Medicare and my private health insurance with Medibank. I am just unsure with how to proceed with financing and what financing options are available to me.

    • Staff
      May | January 23, 2017

      Hi Jaime,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      The lenders that may offer you a loan are listed on this page. Please read the criteria and get in touch with a lender to discuss your options and chances of approval.

      Hope this helps.


  10. Default Gravatar
    Jenny | January 9, 2017

    Could you help me with a loan for a car?

    • Staff
      Anndy | January 9, 2017

      Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If you are looking to apply for a car loan, you can compare new car loans and used car loans.

      You may also want to check our guide on this page to help you find a suitable car loan for your needs.


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