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Loans options if you receive Centrelink payments

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

You still may be eligible for a loan if you receive Centrelink payments as part or even all of your income. 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 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.

Loan options if you receive Centrelink

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Updated October 19th, 2018
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Tips on making your Centrelink loan 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 for a Centrelink loan, 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.

What loan options do 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 20% of your gross income.
Cash Stoptransparent--green-tickYou're able to apply, even if you receive Newstart or Youth Allowance.
Cash TrainNoYou must work full-time or part-time to qualify.
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.
enablyNoYou must be employed and earn more than $1,500 per 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.
MoneyMeNoYou need to be employed.
Nimbletransparent--green-tickYou're able to apply, applications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Speckletransparent--green-tickNo more than 50% of your total income can come from Centrelink
Rapid Financetransparent--green-tickYou're able to apply, applications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Sunshine LoansNoYour 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-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 $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 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 apply
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

Government and community financial assistance options

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 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. 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 for a Centrelink loan, 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.

Making sense of your 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 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 dependent 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 receiving Centrelink payments and 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.
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273 Responses

  1. 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!

    • finder 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

  2. Default Gravatar
    October 10, 2018

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

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelOctober 11, 2018Staff

      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

  3. 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.

    • finder 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

  4. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelSeptember 5, 2018Staff

      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

  5. Default Gravatar
    August 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 :-)

    • finder 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

  6. Default Gravatar
    SitiJuly 11, 2018

    Hi my friend is in need of a car but he is only on centrelink benefits youth allowance which is 330 a f/n could you point me in the right direction

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelJuly 11, 2018Staff

      Hi there,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      If you’re friend is looking to purchase a car, he can consider a secured car loan from a lender that accepts Centrelink applicants. He can purchase a new or used car and use it as security for the loan to get a lower rate.

      Please click HERE to compare companies who can accept your applications re: secured car loans.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  7. Default Gravatar
    ZaraApril 29, 2018

    I am currently receiving family tax benefits A & B, just wondering what loan I can go for to get a decent family car and horse float as we are traveling a lot between camp drafts and are taking 2 separate cars and using our bosses float.

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniMay 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Zara,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      From this page, in the part that says “What loan options do you have if you receive Centrelink?”, please click on “Banks” tab then you can choose which bank would be able to assist you further regarding your enquiry. For example, American Express handles on a case-by-case basis while Bank of Melbourne – Most Centrelink payments are accepted Provide a letter from Centrelink (or Department of Social Security, or equivalent) detailing your current entitlements.

      As a friendly reminder, while we do not represent any company we feature on our pages, we can offer you general advice.

      I strongly suggest that you call or visit the banks for clarification and further assistance.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  8. Default Gravatar
    MizziMarch 26, 2018

    I’m on DSP pension is it possession to get small loan from here..??

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Mizzi,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.
      Yes you can still take out a loan even on DSP. Kindly check out this link to see the list of banks/lenders that can help you with it.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  9. Default Gravatar
    PhillipFebruary 20, 2018

    Hi,I am trying to find WHO lends Finance to a couple who are BOTH on DSP (Disability Pensions) for a Caravan. Thanks.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelMarch 8, 2018Staff

      Hi Phillip,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You can eligible for a Caravan loan even if you are pensioners. We have a guide and comparison in THIS page.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  10. finder Customer Care
    KathyJanuary 24, 2018Staff

    Thanks for getting in touch with finder, a leading comparison website and general information service.

    If you are on centrelink, some of the banks and short term lenders listed above may consider you for a loan subject to other eligibility criteria.

    Hope this helps!

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