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Coronavirus: What to do if you can’t afford your personal loan repayments

If coronavirus is affecting your financial health, there are some relief measures in place to help.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a huge financial impact on people in Australia and all over the world. Small businesses are struggling, Aussies are losing jobs due to lack of trade and many people are being forced to go on sick leave. With Australia's personal loan debt among the highest in the world, a large number of the people affected by COVID-19 are going to struggle to meet their personal loan repayments. If you're one of these people, there are some relief measures in place that could help.

Woman wearing face mask sitting on a bus coronavirus

What do I do if I can't pay my personal loan on time as a result of COVID-19?

If you're facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the first step is to contact your creditor. Most creditors have hardship measures in place for people who are unable to meet their payments. Common reasons for people facing financial hardship are unemployment, illness or a family breakdown. Therefore, most creditor hardship measures will likely cover coronavirus-related hardship cases.

Once you've contacted your credit provider, it may organise for you:

  • A freeze on your interest
  • Waiving your fees
  • To have more time to pay
  • A flexible payment arrangement
  • A smaller payment to settle the debt

Are the banks offering relief for personal loan customers during COVID-19?

Yes. While the news is mainly covering the banks' response to small business customers, a number of banks are responding to their personal banking customers directly. This number is constantly being updated, with more banks and lenders offering assistance to people affected by COVID-19 daily.

Which banks are offering repayment deferrals as a result of COVID-19?

These are the banks offering personal loan repayment deferrals as a direct result of COVID-19:

  • Bank Australia
  • Bank of Queensland
  • HSBC
  • IMB Bank
  • ING
  • Suncorp
  • Westpac

What else are the banks doing to help customers during COVID-19?

Below we've outlined which banks are offering assistance with COVID-19 and what personal loan customers can expect:

ANZSo far, ANZ is only offering aid to home loan and small business customers. However, this may change as time goes on. If you're struggling to repay an ANZ personal loan, it's still important to contact the bank directly.More info
Bank AustraliaBank Australia is offering assistance to any and all customers affected by COVID-19. Assistance for personal loans includes:
  • Scheduled loan repayment deferrals
  • Fee waivers
  • Interest-free periods
  • No interest rate increases
  • Debt consolidation
More info
Bank of QueenslandIf you're a customer of the Bank of Queensland and are struggling to meet repayments or need financial assistance, you might be entitled to:
  • Deferring your repayments
  • The option to make interest-only repayments
  • Fee and charges waivers for late or non-payment
  • Other special arrangements in relation to arrears
  • Early access to term deposit funds with fee waivers
More info
Bendigo and Adelaide BankBendigo and Adelaide Bank customers affected by the pandemic may be able to qualify for:
  • Waiver of fees for the restructuring of loans
  • Waiver of fees for the consolidation of loans
  • Early access to term deposit funds with fee waivers
  • Discounted interest rates on new personal loans taken out by existing Bendigo Bank customers
More info
CommBankAs of yet, CommBank is only extending financial help to business customers. However, branches are being kept open for longer to assist personal customers. Therefore, your claim regarding a personal loan may be considered.More info
CUACUA has taken note of the unforeseen loss of income that many Aussies are now facing as a result of COVID-19. Measures CUA has put in place to help personal loan customers facing financial difficulty include:
  • Assistance with managing personal loan repayments
  • Fee waivers
More info
HSBCHSBC is offering support to all customers affected by COVID-19. If you're affected, you may be entitled to the following:
  • A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
  • Waiving fees or charges
  • Interest-free periods
More info
IMB BankIMB Bank has taken specific note of the financial difficulties many of its personal loan customers may be facing and is employing certain measures to assist. These measures include:
  • The restructuring of loans or suspension of payments for a certain time
  • Waiving of fees and charges
More info
INGING is offering a three month payment pause to customers suffering from loss of income or employment.

An extension of three more months (a total of six months) may be possible on request. However, it's based on a financial assessment.

A specialist support hotline has also been set up for those experiencing financial difficulties. You can call one of its lending specialists on 133 464 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, 7 days a week.

More info
NABAt the moment, NAB has only responded to coronavirus in regard to financially assisting home loan and business customers. However, the bank is monitoring the progress of the pandemic and new updates may be released in time.More info
SuncorpSuncorp has responded to the coronavirus pandemic by offering support to all customers. Measures for personal loan customers who are having financial difficulties include:
  • Deferment of scheduled loan repayments (including interest only) on a case-by-case basis
  • The option to make interest-only repayments
  • Waived fees and charges for customers of term deposits or farm management deposits looking to withdraw early
  • No interest rate increases
St.George BankAs of yet, St.George Bank has only specified the measures of support in place for its home loan, small business, term deposit and transaction account customers. However, if you have a personal loan with St.George Bank, you can call St.George Assist to discuss your situation and it may consider your claim.More info
WestpacWestpac is offering some support measures for personal and business banking customers. These include the potential to:
  • Reduce or defer your repayments in the short term
More info

What if my bank doesn't have a coronavirus relief plan?

If your bank or creditor is not on the list, it doesn't mean it won't be able to help. Lenders will still often have their own forms of financial hardship assistance in place for unforeseen circumstances. Visit to see a list of these creditors.

Even if you still can't find your lender, it's still vitally important that you get in touch with it directly. This is an unprecedented situation and many companies are rallying to assist people in a time of need.

What other options do I have if I'm facing financial hardship?

If your lender isn't providing support or if you've lost your job as a result of COVID-19, there are other avenues you can take to get financial support. These include applying for JobSeeker Payment, contacting a local charity such as the Salvation Army, your local community centre or getting in touch with your insurance provider (if you have one).

There are also a number of measures that state governments are taking to help people who are facing financial problems as a result of COVID-19. These include actions like freezing household bills and charges and student support services.

Can I take out a personal loan if I'm struggling from financial hardship as a result of COVID-19?

If you're facing financial difficulties, it's always a good idea to consider other options before taking out more finance. That being said, some lenders (e.g. Bendigo) are offering discounted personal loans to existing customers who are struggling in the face of COVID-19.

Compare personal loans

Updated April 4th, 2020
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
RateSetter Unsecured Personal Loan - 3yr Variable
From 7.02% (variable)
6 months to 5 years
$299 (Based on $10,000)
You'll receive a variable rate between 7.02% p.a. and 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 6 months. Interest and comparison rates calculated for a loan term of 3 years.
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
3 to 5 years
$500 ($200 for loans of below $5,000)
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 28.69% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $50,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 years terms.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan
From 7.5% (fixed)
2 to 5 years
from 3% of loan amount
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.5% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
Coles Personal Loan flybuys Members
From 9.99% (variable)
3 to 5 years
You will receive a variable interest rate between 9.99% p.a. and 17.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow up to $50,000 and benefit from exclusive flybuys member interest rates, extra points and additional savings on your Coles groceries.
Wisr Personal Loan
From 7.95% (fixed)
3 to 5 years
$595 (Establishment Fee)
You'll receive a variable rate between 7.95% p.a. and 19.45% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 that charges no fees for extra or early repayments. Keep in mind security is required in some cases.
ING Personal Loan
8.99% (fixed)
2 to 5 years
You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.99% p.a.
Benefit from no ongoing fees, no early repayment fees and flexible loan terms on amounts up to $30,000.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From 5.75% (variable)
1 to 7 years
from 1% to 5% of the loan amount
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
CUA Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
9.89% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
You'll receive a fixed rate of 9.89% p.a.
An unsecured loan from $5,000 with flexible repayments and no monthly fee.
Coles Personal Loan Non - flybuys Members
From 12.99% (variable)
3 to 5 years
You will receive a variable interest rate between 12.99% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow up to $50,000 with additional rewards like flybuys points and savings on your Coles shopping.
CUA Unsecured Variable Personal Loan
11.89% (variable)
1 to 7 years
You'll receive a variable rate of 11.89% p.a.
Borrow from $5,000 with the option for flexible repayments and no monthly fees.
CUA Discount Variable Personal Loan (Loans over $30,000)
10.89% (variable)
1 to 7 years
You'll receive a discounted variable rate of 10.89% p.a.
Borrow over $30,000 and receive a discounted interest rate. No monthly fees and a redraw facility also available.

Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: GettyImages

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