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 short-term loan, also referred to as a micro 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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Personal Loans people on Centrelink could apply for

Rates last updated September 22nd, 2017
Name Product Max. Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround Time Costs Fortnightly Repayment $1,500 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 months
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 Loanstransparent--green-tickYou must be employed, with a minimum income $450 per week.
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. Also referred to as micro loans, 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 dependentnt 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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236 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    September 11, 2017

    I’m on carer allowance and carer payment, I need $500 to pay for my car reg I was wondering if there’s a way that I can get loan from somewhere as my bank won’t approve me for one

    • Staff
      MaySeptember 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can actually review the criteria and speak to one of the lenders listed above for your loan options and approval.

      Hope this helps.


  2. Default Gravatar
    YasinSeptember 7, 2017

    Hi, I have $8000 owing on my credit check which is external now. I receive Disability support pension and have a NSW Trustee and Guardian appointed to me under a FMO. What is my best option for a loan of up to $2000?

    • Staff
      JonathanSeptember 7, 2017Staff

      Hello Yasin,

      Thank you for your question.

      The listed lenders on this page contains the loan products you may qualify for. You may review the rates provided and the terms of the product on the lender’s website prior application.

      Please be advised that finder.com.au is unable to recommend a specific product to our customers as this is largely dependent on their personal preferences, financial needs and other factors. There are also credit guidelines that vary per lender that would affect your approval, therefore it will be recommended to inquire this with your prospect lender directly.

      Hope this clarifies.


  3. Default Gravatar
    JuliaSeptember 5, 2017

    Hi im 34 yr old female am on a disability pension and currently i have one child in my care.im wondering if you know of any lenders that could loan between 5-10.000 dollars need the money for dental work,braces for my child and a bigger car with 8 seats and a huge phone bill and a couple of smaller bills.please can you point me in the right direction,and the pension is my only income.thanku in advance

    • Staff
      DanielleSeptember 6, 2017Staff

      Hi Julia,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      You may refer to this page for options that may suit your needs. You may review and compare the offers available on the table or the list. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Go to Site” button.

      I hope this helps.


  4. Default Gravatar
    ChristineSeptember 3, 2017

    Need a loan to cover car repairs and registration

    • Staff
      AnndySeptember 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are receiving pension or Centrelink benefits, the lenders above may consider you for a loan, subject to other eligibility criteria.

      Please be sure to check the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions of the loan before submitting your application. You can check these details by clicking the name of the lender on our table.


  5. Default Gravatar
    SarahAugust 9, 2017

    Hi, looking to get a loan about $5000 or less need money to pay ⬇️ ! I’m on single mum on pension?
    - to fix my car / rego etc
    - to cover costs to move
    - and other bills

    • Staff
      JonathanAugust 10, 2017Staff

      Hello Sarah,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may visit this page to check your options, which is both short-term loans and single parent personal loans.

      Please use our calculator on the page to get some idea on how much your repayments would be and if you can afford the said loan. We also have included some tips on how to properly apply for these lenders.

      Take time to review the fine print and requirements of different lending products and you may click “Go to Site” green button if you’re fine to proceed with the application.

      Hope this helps.


  6. Default Gravatar
    ChantelleJuly 8, 2017

    Willing to apply for a car loan but how does it work ?

    • Staff
      DanielleJuly 9, 2017Staff

      Hi Chantelle,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      Car loans can work differently depending on what type of loan you take out and what kind of car you’re looking to purchase. Generally, the following steps will apply:

      - You apply for finance. Once you’ve chosen your car loan you need to submit your application. Unsecured loans will only require your personal and financial details, but secured loans will also need information about the car.
      - The lender approves your loan. Car loan approvals can happen on the same day or they may take up to 10 days. You may also be able to receive conditional approval, whereby you will be told how much you are likely eligible for so you can go car shopping knowing how much you have to spend.
      - The car is purchased using the funds. This can be handled a few different ways. If you’re buying a car in a private sale, your lender may be able to pay the seller directly or give you a cheque to pay it yourself. If you’re purchasing from a dealership the lender will usually pay them directly. Unsecured loans will require you to arrange the payment yourself.

      You may refer to this page to find out more about car loans.

      I hope this helps.


  7. Default Gravatar
    LoreeJune 16, 2017

    Need a cash loan asap. I have a really bad credit. No photo. I’m on a Centrelink pension.

    • Staff
      JhezelynJune 16, 2017Staff

      Hi Loree,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You may directly get in touch with the lenders on this page and discuss your options and eligibility. Hope this helps.


  8. Default Gravatar
    AndrewJune 8, 2017

    I’m on carer payment and carer allowance and I want to borrow $2000so I can by a car ,what’s the best way to go about it?

    • Staff
      MayJune 8, 2017Staff

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      The lenders who may actually offer you a loan are listed above. Please contact the lender directly to discuss your options or eligibility.


  9. Default Gravatar
    KennethJune 5, 2017

    I want to borrow $22,000 for a new car that I have picked out already & have a clean credit history, I have paid all my personal loans back,how do I go about getting a personal loan on the disability pension or who can I GI through.

    • Staff
      HaroldJune 5, 2017Staff

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      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.

      I hope this information has helped.


  10. Default Gravatar
    RonaldJune 3, 2017

    How much can I loan to start a business franchise? I need $7000.00.

    • Staff
      RenchJune 3, 2017Staff

      Hi Ronald,

      Thanks for reaching out to us.

      Before applying for any loan, please ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and requirements of the loan option or lender and make sure to read the details, as well as the relevant PDS/ T&Cs of the loan option before making a decision and consider whether the product or option is right for you.

      If you’re on Centrelink or on pension and looking to get a business loan, please visit these pages where you can get helpful tips:

      Pensioner Loans
      Business loans for Centrelink recipients

      You can also compare business loan options from here. We also got a business loan calculator that you can use.

      Hope this information helped.


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