There are still personal loan options for you if you’ve just migrated to Australia.
Migrating to Australia, whether permanently or temporarily, can be a daunting experience. You might have to learn a new language and you might be faced with cultural challenges, so the last thing you want is to run out of options when it comes to finance. In Australia, while you might not be able to access all types of finance if you’ve just immigrated, you are still eligible for a range of personal loans.
What are personal loans for migrants?
These are loans that can be accessed by migrants. They are not usually loans that are specifically designed for migrants, but rather are loans that that have flexible eligible criteria that allow migrants to apply.
How do personal loans for migrants work?
Personal loans for migrants can be offered by traditional banks and credit unions, and by smaller lenders. As a migrant’s lending risk cannot be determined in the same way as an Australian resident’s, due to the fact that they don’t have a credit file, the lender will use other eligibility criteria.
This may include requiring the migrant to have confirmed employment in Australia, confirmed minimum income, holding an Australian bank account, and holding an Australian visa.
If you are on a temporary visa, the length of the loan will not extend past the length of your visa, For example, if you have a two years left on a 457 Visa, then you will only be able to secure a two year loan.
Banks often have a department dedicated to migrant banking. It may be wise to check this before coming into Australia, so you know which bank to approach when you arrive.
Types of personal loans available for migrants
Migrants are able to access a few different types of personal loans when they move to Australia. Depending on the type of visa you hold, your income and your financial situation, you might be able to apply for the following:
- Car loan. This is a typical loan for new migrants, as a car is often needed to be purchased soon after moving. Most lenders will approve car loans for migrants who hold a 457 Visa, depending on their individual financial situation.
- Secured personal loan. You can use other assets, such as jewellery or property, in order to access finance. This is referred to as a secured personal loan, with the difference between this and a car loan being that you are not as restricted in the way you use your loan amount.
- Unsecured personal loan. An unsecured personal loan does not require you to use an asset as security for the loan, although this means the loan usually comes with higher interest rate and fees. Unsecured personal loans may also have stricter eligibility criteria, although some lenders still may approve these loans to migrants.
- Payday loan. A payday loan is a small, short term loan, usually between $100 and $2,000, with loan terms of between 16 days and four months. As the loan amounts are small, lenders usually have more flexible lending criteria with these loans, and so you may be able to access these as a migrant.
How to compare personal loans for migrants
- Loan terms and amount. Lenders will offer varying lengths for loan terms, and also different minimum and maximum loan amounts, so make sure what’s on offer will meet your borrowing needs.
- Fees. You will be charged various fees for the loan that can add considerable to the overall cost. Some of these fees may be ongoing, such as monthly fees, and some may be one-off, such as loan establishment fees, so calculate how much you are likely to pay and if you can find a loan where you will pay less.
- Loan purpose. Personal loan products are designed for different purposes, and you’ll need to ensure that the purpose you intend for the loan amount is permissible. For instance, many lenders will not allow you to use any money you borrow for a car loan for any other purpose than to finance a vehicle.
- Repayment flexibility. Most lenders will let you choose between weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments to line up with your pay frequency. You might also want to check if your lender will let you make additional repayments without penalty, or make lump sum payments, or even pay back your loan early, as this could save you considerable interest.
- Additional loan features. Some lenders may also offer you additional features with your loan product, such as discounts on insurance or a redraw facility.
- The lender. The reputability of the lender should also be a factor in your decision. If anything goes wrong over the course of your loan you’ll want to be sure the lender can be easily contacted, and that they’ll be able to provide you with assistance.
Things to avoid
There are a wide range of lenders, including the major banks, who offer personal loans for migrants. You should avoid ‘dodgy’ lenders who claim that you will not be able to find a loan with other lenders, and then offer you products with higher rates and fees. Avoid applying for any loan products without doing your research and comparing your options first, because you may be unaware of the loan market in Australia and could sign up to a product that isn’t competitive.
Further Reading: Credit cards for temporary residents