If you have an average credit score, you may be worried about getting a personal loan. While once it may have been difficult to obtain finance, this is no longer the case. Big banks are no longer the only players, with alternative and online lenders providing options for borrowers with a variety of credit histories. This means that your credit score is no longer an impediment, but it’s likely you’ll have to pay higher interest on the loan.
What is a credit score?
Your credit score is a snapshot of your creditworthiness. It shows how responsible you are as a borrower and what kind of borrower you are. Your score will reflect whether you’re someone who always pays their bills on time or if you have a few or several defaults or late payments. Your credit score is presented as a number corresponding to your history with credit.
Your credit score will contain information about the credit products you’ve taken out, the number of credit applications you’ve made, your repayment history and defaults on utility bills, credit cards and loans.
You can check your credit score for free with Finder.
In Australia, there are three credit reporting agencies that will calculate your credit score: Experian, Equifax and Illion. Your score can differ based on the credit reporting agency. For instance, with Experian and Illion, scores will range from 0 to 1,000, while for Equifax the range is 0 to 1,200.
The average credit score for Australian adults is approximately 550. In practical terms, a credit score of 550 means there is a one in 12 chance you’ll have a negative event, such as a loan default, recorded on your credit file within the next year.
A credit rating of 600 or higher will put you in the “good” or “excellent” categories. Anything lower than 500 will be considered “fair” or “weak” and classify you as a riskier borrower.
What is an “average” credit score?
What constitutes an “average” score will depend on the credit rating agency. We’ve highlighted the average scores for each credit rating agency.
|Excellent||800 - 1,000||833 - 1,200||800 - 1,000|
|Very good||700 - 799||726 - 832||700 - 799|
|Good/average||625 - 699||622 - 725||500 - 699|
|Fair/average||550 - 624||510 - 621||300 - 499|
|Below average||0 - 549||0 - 509||1 - 299|
There are several reasons why your credit score can differ between agencies. It all comes down to the scale (0 to 1000 or 0 to 1200), the calculations they use and the information they have. Credit providers may not provide this information to all credit reporting agencies. This data may also be provided at different times, accounting for a difference in scores. The differences in scores aren’t something you should worry about. It’s a feature, not a bug. You could, however, check your credit reports to make sure the information entered is correct.
What personal loans can I get with an average credit score?
|Secured personal loan||This loan will require an asset as security. Providing an asset will offset the lender’s risk, making them more amenable to lending to you. Generally, secured loans come with lower interest rates and higher borrowing amounts. You can also apply with a guarantor, which can help your chances of approval.|
|Peer-to-peer personal loan||These loans involve a third-party lender that matches borrowers to private, individual investors. The third-party acts as a facilitator inviting investors to finance loans in a portfolio, classified by their level of risk. Peer-to-peer loans offer risk based pricing, where your interest rate is determined by your credit score. With an average score, you’re likely to get a higher rate.|
|Car loan||Car loans are secured by the car you’ve purchased, thereby making them lower risk to lenders. It’s likely, however, that with an average score, you’ll get a higher interest rate.|
What’s the minimum credit score required to get a personal loan in Australia?
In general, most traditional lenders will require you to have at least a “good” credit score to qualify for a personal loan. The higher your score, the better your chances. If you’re concerned about your score, you may want to consider a lender that offers risk-based personal loans. That way, you’re still likely to get a loan, but you should be prepared to pay more.
What will my interest rate be?
Lenders now offer risk-based pricing to determine the interest rate of the loan. With risk-based loans, the lender doesn’t offer a set interest rate. Instead, there will be a range corresponding to your credit score. If the lender decides to offer the loan, they will choose an interest rate within that range. This reflects how risky your loan is to the lender. In general, the better your credit score, the less risk for lenders. This means you’ll pay a lower interest rate.
For instance, a lender may advertise interest rates between 12.99% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. If you have good or excellent credit, you’re likely to be offered a rate closer to 12.99% p.a. An applicant with average credit, meanwhile, may get an offer closer to the upper limit of 19.99% p.a.
Besides your credit score, the lender will also take into account the following:
- The loan amount
- The loan term
- Your financial history
- Your employment history
- Your personal circumstances.
How do I compare risk-based personal loans?
It may be more difficult to compare loan products with risk-based pricing. This is because you won’t know the rate you’ll be offered until you apply. The following may, however, help with the comparison:
- Interest rate range. While you won’t know the exact rate you’ll be offered, you could still take the rate range into consideration when comparing.
- Security. Is the loan secured or unsecured? If you have residential property to offer as security, you’re likely to be offered more favorable terms. Providing security will also increase your chances of approval.
- Fees and charges. Fees like application fees and ongoing fees contribute to the cost of your loan. Other factors like early repayment fees and early exit fees are also important to watch out for, particularly if you want to make additional repayments and pay off the loan early.
- Eligibility. Always ensure you’re applying for a loan you’re eligible for. Besides credit requirements, they will also look into your income. This is to ensure you can repay the loan without difficulty.
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