Loan options for people on Centrelink payments

What loan options are available for people receiving Centrelink payments?

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It is possible to take out a small loan when receiving Centrelink payments. These include loans from short term lenders, banks and credit unions. Government and community financial assistance schemes are also available.

You can find out about Centrelink business loans here and if you're 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.

⚠️ Warning about Borrowing

payday-warningDo you really need a loan today?*

It can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and borrowing may not solve your money problems.

Check your options before you borrow:

  • For information about other options for managing bills and debts, ring 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor
  • Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan
  • If you are on government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink: Phone: 13 17 94

The Government's MoneySmart website shows you how small amount loans work and suggests other options that may help you.

* This statement is an Australian Government requirement under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.

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Tips on making a Centrelink loan application count

  • Eligibility. Check the minimum eligibility criteria listed on finder.com.au review pages before you apply for a product. If the minimum eligibility is met applications can be made. However, it's important to highlight that this doesn't guarantee an approval for the loan.
  • "Centrelink accepted". If this isn't on a lender's site, this doesn't mean it won't accept government benefits as income. Check directly with the lender to find out if applicants must be employed or if it explicitly states that those on Centrelink are unable to apply.
  • Get in contact directly. Get in touch with the potential lender to discuss eligibility. An alternative is to call your current bank to check if that will approve loans for people on Centrelink.

What loan options are there for people on Centrelink?

Click on the links below to see the range of lenders, products and eligibility requirements.

BrandGenerally accepted?Conditions
Cash Converterstransparent--green-tickLoan repayments cannot exceed 20% of the gross income.
Cash Stoptransparent--green-tickAccepts applications from those on Centrelink payments including Newstart or Youth Allowance.
Cash TrainNoApplicants must work full-time or part-time to qualify.
ClearCashtransparent--green-tickApplications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Credit24transparent--green-tickApplications considered as long as Centrelink payments are not more than 50% of income.
enablyNoApplicants must be employed and earn more than $1,500 per month.
Ferratum Loanstransparent--green-tickMore than 50% of total income or 20% of repayments can't come from Centrelink.
Good to Go Loanstransparent--green-tickApplications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
MoneyMeNoApplicants need to be employed.
Nimbletransparent--green-tickApplications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Speckletransparent--green-tickMinimum gross income of $30,000 annually not inclusive of government benefits. No more than 50% of the total income can come from Centrelink.
Rapid Financetransparent--green-tickApplications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Sunshine LoansNoApplicant's main source of income cannot be from Centrelink.
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.
AussieNo-
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-tickAccepts all Centrelink payments except Newstart.
bankmecutransparent--green-tickAccepts Centrelink benefits as income.
Bankwesttransparent--green-tickAccepts parenting payments and DSP as income.
Bendigo Banktransparent--green-tickAccepts Centrelink benefits as income.
Citibanktransparent--green-tickMinimum income $40,000 p.a. Will consider the payments if type of Centrelink income is taxable.
Commonwealth Banktransparent--green-tickMinimum income $14,000 p.a. Accepts parenting payments, DSP and carer's pension as income.
HSBCtransparent--green-tickMinimum income $40,000 p.a. Will consider the payments if type of Centrelink income is taxable.
IMBtransparent--green-tickIt may be considered if the applicant is earning a wage. Cannot be the sole source of income.
NABtransparent--green-tickHandled on a case-by-case basis and strict criteria apply.
St.Georgetransparent--green-tickAccepts 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 received. Parenting payments are not considered a type of income. DSP is accepted.

Government and community financial assistance options

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

  • Pension loans scheme. Aged pensioners who have equity in Australian real estate and have a partner who receives a reduced age pension rate could be eligible for a pension loan. These can be short term loans or a loan over a longer period. How much they are eligible for depends on the equity applicants have and their age when the loan is granted. Currently, the rate for this scheme is 5.25% and compound interest is charged according to 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. Customers can apply for between $300 and $1,500 for essential goods and services and there are no fees and no interest. Eligibility criteria include a Health Care Card/Pension Card or that the applicant is on a low income, that they've been in their current residence for three months or more and show a willingness and capacity to repay.
  • Centrelink cash advance. Depending on what payments are received, some people could be eligible for an advance on their Centrelink payments. Eligibility also depends on how long the applicant has been receiving payments and how much they receive. Keep in mind applicants can usually only receive an advance once a year.
  • Concession cards. Current Centrelink recipients may be eligible for a concession card, so check on the Centrelink website to see what's available.
  • Good Money. Residents in Victoria receiving Centrelink payments may be eligible for a low or no-interest loan from Good Money. Eligibility includes applicants seeking a loan to cover vehicle repairs, educational and medical expenses, bills or even debts.
  • 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 via their 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 are eligble for an applicant receiving Centrelink payments?

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

  • Personal loans. It is possible to apply for personal loans from banks, credit unions and other lenders when the applicant is receiving payments from Centrelink. It's important to note that applicants will have to meet a minimum income requirement and not all types of Centrelink income are accepted. To see which banks consider these applications, 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. Also referred to as cash loans, they are usually for up to $2,000 although sometimes up to $5,000 or more is available.
  • Car loans. A secured car loan might be an option from a lender that accepts Centrelink applicants. Applicants can purchase a new or used car and use it as security for the loan to get a lower rate.
  • Overdrafts. An overdraft is linked to a bank account and allows users to draw up to and including a certain limit, usually if there's an emergency. Customers who have a good history with their bank may be approved, even if they receive Centrelink payments.
  • Alternative financing. There are also many community financing programs and alternative sources of financing that are definitely worth considering, as well as an advance from Centrelink. These are outlined on the page above.

How to calculate borrowing ability

To work out if someone is eligible for a Centrelink loan, look at the most recent Centrelink statement to determine the annual income (this may involve multiplying the statement by 26 as payments are received every fortnight). Remember to include supplementary income or income from any co-borrowers.

Understanding Centrelink payments

It can be easier to be approved for a Centrelink 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 Centrelink loan is to identify what type of Centrelink benefit you receive. This can be done by looking at documents provided by Centrelink. Here is a breakdown of the Centrelink payments that are available and whether they are generally accepted by lenders:

  • Age Pension. This provides monetary support for the retired. Many payday lenders accept this as a form of income while banks may require supplementary income.
  • Carer's Allowance. For people who are caring for a dependent person, this allowance provides 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 some payday lenders will.
  • Austudy. This is for full-time students and Australian apprentices 25 years or older. It can be difficult to get a loan when receiving this payment.
  • Foster Care Allowances. This is a fortnightly payment intended to help support and pay for carers with a foster child. This can be considered as part of an income but a supplementary income will be required in addition to this allowance.
  • 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, 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 a child or children. It can be assessed income if the applicant can provide a copy of the Family Law Court Order, bank statements proving they receive this income, a letter from a 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 are generally accepted by lenders but having supplementary income will help. The age of the children will also be taken into consideration.
  • Overseas Pension. For people who receive a pension payment from overseas some lenders may recognise it as income. This is generally if the 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 or the USA. Applicants might be required to show that pension is ongoing for a period of time.

For those who are receiving Centrelink payments and looking for a loan, it's important to consider all the options available before making a decision.

Jargon buster
Supplementary income. Income from a full-time or part-time job. This also includes income that may be earned by a partner or joint applicant.
Taxable income. Income that will need to have tax paid on it, after the recipient has deducted all expenses that can be claimed.
Title

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283 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    helenaJune 1, 2019

    hi, i am in desperate need of a car,im on dsp have no mortgage on my house no kids am single and have never had a cedit card and have no outstanding bills owing.my credit rating isnt great drom some bad choices in the past but i got knocked back due to bad bank account conduct! apparently it doesnt look good if u withdraw all ur pension the day u get paid which i do cos ive no car and ita hard for me to get around. wat can i do?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaJune 2, 2019Staff

      Hi Helena,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      If you are receiving Centrelink payments and wishes to apply for a loan to buy a car, you can refer to the comparison table above on who can you contact should you wish to apply. The process will be the same as normal it’s just that if you are a receiving allowance from Centrelink, there may just be other documentation that you need to present to be approved.

      The article above can give you tips and idea on how you can apply for a loan when receiving Centrelink payments. You can click Go To Site button to apply but please make sure that you read the T&Cs and PDS of the loan product to know if it is the right one for you.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  2. Default Gravatar
    RoderickMay 6, 2019

    Hello! I am a bit confused and because of that my credit rating has taken a massive hit. I am on DSP and would like a loan of $5,000 for a motorbike. I have tried many lenders but with negative results. With prudence I could save up to $600/month.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiMay 7, 2019Staff

      Hi Roderick,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      Multiple loan applications over a short period of time can really hurt your credit score so if you have been applying on different lenders, it may have impacted your score already.

      This page list lenders who may accept those who are on pension. You can refer to the table labeled What loan options do you have if you receive Centrelink? to check the lenders who generally accepts those who are on Centrelink payments. I would recommend that you contact the lender first and ask to be pre-qualified to know if are eligible.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  3. Default Gravatar
    DanielApril 2, 2019

    Can u find me a loan

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiApril 3, 2019Staff

      Hi Dandidurma9316,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      If you are receiving Centrelink payments and wishes to apply for a personal loan, you can refer to the comparison table above on who can you contact should you wish to apply. The process will be the same as normal it’s just that if you are a receiving allowance from Centrelink, there may just be other documentations that you need to present to be approved.

      The article above can give you tips and idea on how you can apply for a loan when receiving Centrelink payments. You can click Go To Site button to apply but please make sure that you read the the T&Cs and PDS of the loan product to know if it is the right one for you.

      Hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  4. Default Gravatar
    BarbaraFebruary 18, 2019

    I bank with st George. I work part-time but current on sick leave. I’m living off carer payment. Can I get a loan?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 21, 2019Staff

      Hi barbara,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I’m sorry to hear about your situation, Barbara. I hope you get well soon.

      Yes, it is still possible for you to obtain a loan as long as you are able to prove to the lender that you are able to make repayments. They usually will take into consideration your source of income and see if it is enough for you to pay them back.

      Upon checking, Barbara, I could see that you’re on the right page. Please use the table above to compare your options based on maximum loan amount, term of loan, and cost, to name a few. Once you’re done comparing, click on the “Go to site” green button to be redirected to the provider’s official website. From there, you can start your application or get more information.

      Please make sure that you’ve read the relevant T&Cs or PDS of the loan products before making a decision. Moreover, check the eligibility requirements as well and consider whether the product is right for you.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  5. Default Gravatar
    RikishaFebruary 17, 2019

    I would like to apply for a loan for food

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnFebruary 18, 2019Staff

      Hi Rikisha,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      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. The page we are on offers lenders that you could reach out to in taking out a personal loan. Kindly review and compare your options on the table displaying the available providers. Once you have chosen a particular provider, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  6. Default Gravatar
    JasonOctober 13, 2018

    Hi,

    I’m on Centrelink payments and run a small but very successful ebay business but I want to grow which requires money. I’m a power seller and achieved this after 2 months with 2 products and $300 per week in sales. My credit rating is 0 own a car, board, very little expenses. Now, if I start applying for loans and get knocked back it goes on the credit rating and counts against me. How can I get a loan if I can without the problems of being knocked back?

    Cheers!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniOctober 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Jason,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      As per the expert overview on this PAGE, the three most important things about getting a business loan on Centrelink:

      -Your options are more limited if you receive Centrelink benefits, but there are still a couple of business loan options to consider
      -The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme was specifically designed for Centrelink recipients who want to start and work full time in their own business.
      -The key to being approved for a business loan is to carefully review the eligibility criteria and provide a clear, detailed explanation of how you meet all the requirements.

      On that same page, you will see lenders who can provide financing even if you are on Centrelink and will consider your application based on the strength of your ideas, experience and personal drive. In addition, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is another possible option for you since this program is for people on Centrelink who are prepared to start and work full-time in their own new business. NEIS counts as a Centrelink-approved activity for up to 13 weeks from commencement.

      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

  7. Default Gravatar
    JudyOctober 10, 2018

    I have a advance payment from Disability pension & owing $650. I want to pay off with some of the loan mpney.

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelOctober 11, 2018

      Hi Judy,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      If you are looking to pay off your loan with your pension, you can instead contact the lender directly to arrange this.

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

      Cheers,
      Joel

  8. Default Gravatar
    Me-lissaOctober 3, 2018

    I am after a loan I have a part time job as well as being on newstart single Mum. I work over 25 hrs a week.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Me-lissa,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      You have accessed the right page where you can see your options on lenders who may accept applicants receiving Centrelink payments.

      You can click on the name of the lender and you will be directed to our review page where you can learn more information about the loan products they offer; their loan rates and fees and application process. If you also click on the green “Go to site” button, you will be redirected to the lender’s website where you can start your application or speak with them directly.

      Before applying, please make sure that you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria and read through the loan terms and conditions to see if it best suits your needs.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  9. Default Gravatar
    MeaganSeptember 5, 2018

    I would like to know if I can get a credit card while on a carers payment and allowance? Is there anything for me?

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelSeptember 5, 2018

      Hi Meagan,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Being self-employed, retired or on a pension doesn’t mean you can’t access credit. However, you may be required to meet other terms and conditions and provide additional documents, so do your research before applying for a credit card.

      We’ve done some of the hard work for you and made a list of providers that accept retired applicants if you click HERE, as well as the documents you’ll need to improve your chances of approval.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  10. Default Gravatar
    TanAugust 18, 2018

    Hi,

    Which type of loan would I have the best chance of approval? On newstart, FTB, rent assistance, child support, carers allowance and reg casual fortnightly wages of $200. Credit rating default utilities, currently making repayments.
    Require minimum $2000, ideally $5000. Had no luck with banks and 1 recent online application not approved. Need finance desperately for current temporary accommodation arrears and removalist costs to relocate. Ta :-)

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Tan,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      I can understand how tough it was for you to get a loan.

      In relation to your temporary accommodation reason of getting a loan, state and territory governments are available to help you with emergency and temporary housing. You may be able to get temporary accommodation in low-cost motels, hotels or caravan parks if you are experiencing a housing crisis. You might also be able to get help securing a rental bond. Contact the relevant housing department or organisation in your state for help.

      Since you’ve been having a hard time getting a loan from banks, you may consider government and community financial assistance schemes. My best recommendation is for you to speak to someone for financial counselling. You can call the Financial Counsellors hotline on 1800 007 007, they open from 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

      I hope this somewhat helps.

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

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

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