personal-loans-vs-cash-loans

Personal loans vs payday loans

Find out the difference between personal loans and short-term loans and learn which is best for you.

There is a wide range of loan options available to those who are in need of money. Each type of personal finance is suited to a different type of borrower and can be used for different purposes, and this includes personal loans and online cash loans. In this guide we break down the key differences between the two, outline their costs and help you determine which will be the best loan for your needs and situation.

Payday loansPersonal loans
  • Can be a small loan (below $2,000), medium loan ($2,001-$5,000) or a large loan (over $5,000)
  • Usually unsecured
  • Come with higher interest rates and fees when compared to personal loans
  • Loan amounts differ, but you can usually find lenders offering between $5,000 and $100,000
  • Can be secured, unsecured or as a line of credit
  • Interest rates differ depending on whether security is offered, but they usually range between 5% and 16% p.a.

Learn about more of the differences in fees and features in the guide below the table.

Compare payday loans and personal loans

Rates last updated October 23rd, 2017
Name Product Max. Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround Time Costs Fortnightly Repayment $1,500 Product Description
Sunshine Short Term Loans
$2,000
9 weeks
30 Minutes - conditions apply
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
$396
Apply online with Sunshine Loans and you could borrow up to $2,000 paid directly into your account. Family Business since 1999.
Nimble Short Term Loan
$2,000
62 days to 1 year
1 hour - conditions apply*
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
$396
Apply for a short term loan and you could borrow up to $2,000
Ferratum Cash Loans
$1,900
up to 6 months
Same Day if approved
20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
$396
A small loan from Ferratum lets you borrow up to $1,900 without a credit check
Cash Train Loans
$2,000
10 weeks or 3 months
1 Business Day
20% of principal amount (establishment fee) + 4% monthly charge
$396
Apply for a Cash Train loan and get up to $2,000 sent straight to your bank account. Fast online application

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

Rates last updated October 23rd, 2017
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Monthly Service Fee Application Fee Monthly Repayment Product Description
RateSetter Personal Loan
From 8.66% (fixed)
9.17%
$2,001
0.5 to 5 years
$0
$0 (Upfront fee $250 for loan terms of 2 years and above)
RateSetter offers personalised interest rates ranging from 3.7% p.a. to 9.6%.p.a. determined by your risk profile.
Citi Personal Loan Plus
From 9.99% (variable)
10.95%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$10
$199
Borrow up to $75,000 to use for a range of purposes. Competitive rate of 9.99% p.a. available to all approved applicants.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan
From 7.5% (fixed)
9.51%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
$0
3% (of loan amount)
Based on your risk profile, you will receive a tailored rate between 7.5% and 20.14% with a SocietyOne personal loan.
DirectMoney Unsecured Personal Loan
From 8.5% (fixed)
9.36%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$0
$595
This unsecured loan features tiers of interest rates from 8.5% p.a. to 19.95% p.a. based on your credit history.
Westpac Unsecured Personal Loan
From 12.99% (fixed)
14.14%
$4,000
1 to 7 years
$12
$0 (On new loan applications before 7th December 2017)
Borrow up to $50,000 for a term of up to 7 years with the unsecured Loan from Westpac
Pepper Money Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
From 9.99% (fixed)
9.99%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$0
Apply for up to $50,000 and receive conditional approval within minutes.
Bank Australia Lifestyle Personal Loan
From 11.89% (variable)
12.94%
$1,000
1 to 10 years
$0
$150
A competitive variable rate loan that gives you ten years to repay.
NOW FINANCE Personal Loans
From 8.95% (fixed)
10.42%
$4,000
1.5 to 7 years
$13
$395 (Based on $10,000)
Get rewarded with a low interest rate for your good credit history. Rates from 8.95% p.a. to 16.95% p.a. depending on your credit score.
RateSetter 2-Year Personal Loan
From 4.69% (variable)
7.11%
$2,001
2 years
$0
$0 (Upfront fee $250 for loan terms of 2 years and above)
This peer-to-peer loan is only available for a 2-year term at the rate of 4.69% p.a.
bcu Unsecured Freedom Loan
From 10.8% (variable)
13.9%
$4,000
1 to 5 years
$8
$200
A flexible personal loan available from $4,000 that you can use for any purpose.
St.George Unsecured Personal Loan - Fixed Rate
From 12.99% (fixed)
14.06%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$12
$195
Convenient redraw facility, flexible personal loan repayment options with competitive interest rate.
Latitude Personal Loans (Unsecured)
From 13.99% (fixed)
15.19%
$3,000
2 to 7 years
$13
$250 (Loans under $4000 - $140)
An unsecured loan designed for multiple purposes – renovating, buying a car or travelling. Funds can be in your account in as little as 24 hours.
Bank of Melbourne Unsecured Variable Rate Personal Loan
From 12.99% (variable)
14.06%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$12
$195
An unsecured personal loan that gives you a choice between a fixed or variable rate.

Compare up to 4 providers

* The personal loan offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of personal loans finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available for comparison in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing personal loans.

What's the difference between personal and payday loans?

There are several key differences between personal loans and short-term cash loans:

  • Loan amount. You can borrow up to $5,000 from many cash lenders, and some offer loans as high as $10,000. Personal loans come with much higher minimum and maximum loan amounts, with lenders rarely offering loans below $5,000 but having maximum amounts as high as $80,000-$100,000.
  • Eligibility. Personal loans offered by banks and credit unions have strict eligibility criteria that often includes good credit and a regular income from employment or above a certain amount. Cash lenders that offer short-term loans are much more flexible and will consider those with bad credit, those who receive Centrelink payments as income or people who are unemployed.
  • Lenders. Personal loans are offered by banks, credit unions, building societies and standalone lenders. Cash loans tend to be offered by lenders specialising in that type of product.
  • Loan term. Cash loans come with much shorter terms, usually between 16 days and one year (depending on the loan amount). Personal loans, on the other hand, come with a minimum loan term of one year and a maximum of between five and seven years.

What is the cost difference between a personal loan and a short-term loan?

Online cash loans are heavily regulated by ASIC and lenders are restricted as to what fees and rates they can charge. Personal loans do not have such restrictions as long as they are offered by an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution such as a bank or credit union.

Payday loan costs
  • Cash loans under $2,000 with terms of between 16 days and one year cannot charge more than a 20% establishment fee and a 4% monthly fee.
  • Cash loans between $2,001 and $5,000 with terms of between 16 days and two years are restricted to a $400 establishment fee and an interest rate of 48% p.a.
  • Cash loans over $5,000 or with terms longer than two years cannot exceed an interest rate of 48% p.a., which includes all fees and charges.
Personal loan costs

How can I decide which type is right for me?

While there are similarities between these two products, there are stark differences as well. Asking yourself the following questions will help you decide which type of loan is right for you:

  • How much do you need to borrow? Personal loans allow you to apply for a much larger loan amount, while cash lenders usually have maximum amounts of $2,000 (although some lenders will provide loans of up to $10,000).
  • When do you need the money? Cash lenders offer a quick turnaround for your loan and can have your approved funds in your bank account within the next business day. Some personal loan lenders offer same-day turnaround for existing customers but the usual waiting time is a few days to a few weeks.
  • How is your credit history? Online cash lenders have more flexible eligibility criteria than lenders offering standard personal loans. You may still be able to apply for a cash loan if you have bad credit or a low income. Personal loans come with more stringent eligibility criteria. The majority of personal loan lenders will require you to have good credit and will usually have a minimum income requirement to show you can repay the loan.
  • What can you afford to repay? Short-term cash loans come with much higher rates and fees, meaning higher repayments. Your loan will be repaid in a shorter period of time but you need to determine your ability to afford the repayments. Personal loans come with lower rates and fees, and while they are spread over a longer term, they may make for more manageable repayments.

Picture: Shutterstock

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Ask a question