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Loans for unemployed applicants

Don't stress. We'll show you how to get a loan if you're unemployed.

If you're unemployed, lenders will still consider you for traditional personal loans, as long as you have some form of income. If you're receiving Centrelink payments you can still apply for an unemployed loan. There are also alternative loans specifically designed for unemployed applicants, or those who are struggling financially. Taking out a payday loan or short-term loan can be expensive and can lead to a debt spiral where you have to rely on these loans to pay for everyday expenses.

⚠️ 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.

Can you get a loan if you're unemployed?

An unemployed person can apply for a loan but will still need to earn an eligible form of income or have suitable income-earning assets to repay the loan. Acceptable forms of income may include Centrelink payments, self-employed earnings or regular deposits in an account from shares or something similar. However, only some lenders will consider unemployed applicants for a loan and you'll still need to meet the eligibility criteria to receive approval. Applicants may be required to provide bank statements and financial documents to verify whether or not they can repay the loan.

What eligibility requirements must be met for an unemployed loan?

The specific eligibility criteria will vary between loans, but lenders will typically consider the following when someone lodges an application:

  • Ability to repay the loan. When reviewing applicants, lenders will consider whether or not applicants can afford to manage repayments. If an unemployed applicant is looking to borrow a small amount and their income and expenses prove that they can easily manage the ongoing repayments, they may be eligible. However, if they're looking to borrow a large amount of money that will be difficult to repay considering their current situation, they're less likely to be approved.
  • Financial situation and credit history. Lenders consider credit history, credit score and financial situation when assessing an application. For example, people who are repaying other short term loans, currently in bankruptcy or under a Part 9 Debt Agreement may not be approved. Make sure to check the specific lender's eligibility criteria before applying.
  • Eligible income. Some lenders will approve applicants who are receiving eligible government payments. For example, people receiving certain Centrelink allowances, such as a pension or parenting payments, may be able to include this as a percentage of their eligible income. For example, you may only be approved if no more than 50% of your income comes from Centrelink payments. Some payments, such as Newstart or Disability Support Pension (DSP), may not be accepted by some lenders. Again, check the lender's eligibility criteria before applying.
  • Assets. If an applicant owns assets such as a vehicle or has equity in a property, the application may have a greater chance of being approved. This is because the lender may use this as security for the loan.

Find out about borrowing when you receive Centrelink

Finder survey: How many Australians have taken out a payday loan?

The majority of Aussies we surveyed had never taken out a payday loan.

Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1016 Australians, December 2023

Which lenders consider unemployed applicants?

There are a number of different loan options for those who are unemployed, between jobs or receiving government benefits.

LenderLoan amountEligibility
Cash Converters$50 to $4,600
  • Over 18
  • Earn at least $300 per week
  • Reside in Australia
Wallet Wizard$100 to $8,000
  • Over 18
  • Are able to afford the loan

What types of loans are available to unemployed applicants?

If you're unemployed and/or receiving Centrelink payments, there are a few loan options available to you:

  • No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS). NILS, provided by Good Shepherd Microfinance, is a loan scheme that offers credit to families and individuals on low incomes. These interest-free loans can be used to pay for essential household items such as refrigerators, or utility bills and car repairs. They can also be used for some medical and dental services. The application process for these loans and the eligibility criteria involved is not stringent; however, applicants must prove that they are in need of these loans in order to be granted them.
  • StepUP Loan. Good Shepherd Microfinance, in partnership with NAB, also offers StepUP Loans that vary between $800 and $3,000 at low rates starting from 5.99% p.a. Eligible borrowers will be required to have a Health Care or Pension card, and/or receive Family Tax Benefit A, as well as having resided in their current premises for more than 3 months.
  • Joint applications, guarantors and cosigners. Unemployed applicants can consider applying with another person, such as a partner, relative or friend, to boost their eligibility. Some lenders accept joint applications, and brands such as Buddy Money encourage people to apply with a guarantor. Guarantors are generally required to be home owners with good credit scores, and to take responsibility for the loan if the borrower should default on their repayments.
  • Overdraft. 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. If you have a good credit history and a positive and/or longstanding relationship with your financial institution, you may qualify for an overdraft, even if you are currently unemployed.

What can I use an unemployed personal loan for?

You can use a personal loan for just about any legitimate purpose, depending on your circumstances. Some common uses of unemployed personal loans include:

Things to consider when making a loan application while unemployed

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when making a loan application if you are currently unemployed. These include:

  • Repayments. First and foremost, it's important to consider whether or not you can afford to meet your loan repayments. While lenders are subject to responsible lending obligations, these obligations can change over time, sometimes making it easier or more difficult to borrow. It is your responsibility to ensure that you can afford to repay any credit that you borrow within the repayment period. If you're unsure as to what you can afford on your current budget, you can use our personal loan calculator to assist you.
  • Credit history. If you have a strong credit history, you may still be eligible for a loan, even if you are unemployed. However, if you have poor credit or a bad credit score, it may be worth either spending some time improving it, or waiting until you have a form of regular income, before applying for a loan.
  • Being offered a smaller loan amount. Loan providers will generally consider your income as a factor towards your eligibility for a loan. If you don't currently have a regular income, you may be offered a lower loan amount than you actually need, if you're approved. This can defeat the purpose of the loan if you can't borrow enough to pay for what you need to. Avoid signing a loan contract unless you are sure that the loan in question will meet your needs to save you from paying unnecessary fees and interest.
  • Higher interest rates. If you're unemployed, you will most likely be offered a higher interest rate than applicants with regular employment. Borrowers without a consistent income pose a higher risk to lenders, as they are more likely to default on the loan. To mitigate this risk, lenders will charge a higher interest rate.
  • Over-applying. Loan applications, and rejections, are recorded on your credit report and affect your score. Therefore, it's unwise to submit multiple loan applications. If you are rejected by a lender, it's a good idea to seek professional financial advice prior to submitting another application.

How to apply for a loan while unemployed

To apply for a personal loan when you are unemployed, you need to visit the lender’s website to fill out an online application form, or call them directly. In order to be eligible, you must be:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident

You will also likely need:

  • Proof of ID
  • Details of and proof of address
  • Information regarding your guarantor
  • Details of loan security (for example, a vehicle or other asset of value)

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361 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DianaJune 7, 2019

    Unemployed and retired and only getting a pension, would I get an emergency loan?

      JeniJune 8, 2019Finder

      Hi Diana,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      You may still be eligible for a loan if you receive Centrelink payments as part or even all of your income. You may find out Centrelink loan providers where you may apply for an emergency loan using our comparison table. You can click the name of the lender to be redirected to our review page and learn more about the lender’s loan offer, rates, and requirements as well as the pros and cons of using their loan service. When you are ready, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the lender’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.

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

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    TysonApril 9, 2019

    Hello! I am 19 years old not working. I’m trying to find a loan for $3000 for a car and is wondering what’s the best place to get one over a two year pay back.

      MaiApril 10, 2019Finder

      Hi Tyson,

      Thank you for your question.

      There’s a table above that says “Where can I get a loan if I’m unemployed?”. Those are the lenders you can contact as they accepts those who are not employed provided that there are still some things that you may need to meet like having a regular source of income, residency, etc.

      You can click on the lender’s name and you will be redirected to our review about them where you can also read more on their eligibility requirements.

      Hope this helps!

      Kind Regards,

    Default Gravatar
    IbadoJanuary 22, 2019

    Hey is it possible to get another loan?

      JoshuaJanuary 27, 2019Finder

      Hi Ibado,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Yes, it is possible for you to get another loan provided that you meet the eligibility requirements. However, please note that your chance of getting approved for a loan may be lower since most lenders would take into account your past and existing loans. Generally, if they are able to see that you can make the repayments, then they would approve you of your loan.

      Please make sure that you’ve read the relevant T&Cs or PDS of the loan products before making a decision. Moreover, check with your chosen lender first to get more information 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!


    Default Gravatar
    JaydnDecember 26, 2018

    I have a new bank account less than 2 weeks old which my Centrelink will be paid into I’ve closed my other bank account and I need a loan of at least $500 will anyone approve me like this?

      CharisseDecember 26, 2018Finder

      Hi Jaydn,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      Yes, there are lenders who can consider you for a loan if you are receiving Centrelink payments. You can check our guide on Centrelink loans to see and compare your available options. When you are ready, click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the lender’s website where you can start your application or speak with them directly.

      Before applying, please check 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.


    Default Gravatar
    TazDecember 15, 2018

    On DSP disability pension can I access 2000 for a car?

      JoshuaDecember 16, 2018Finder

      Hi Taz,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      As a DSP recipient, it is most likely that your options may be limited. So be sure 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.

      There’s a list of lenders above. It’s a good place to start your search for a lender who might help you.

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

      Have a wonderful day!


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