Small loans vs medium loans

Higher loan amounts are becoming available from Australia's short-term lenders. Find out what the difference is between a small and a medium loan.


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Short-term and smaller lenders have been offering a wider range of loans recently, with many increasing their loan amounts and extending their loan terms. While small amount credit contracts (SACCs), commonly referred to as "payday loans" or short-term loans, are still widely used, medium amount credit contracts (MACCs) are becoming more common.

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If you're struggling financially and would like to speak to someone for free financial advice, information and assistance you can call the Financial Counsellors hotline on 1800 007 007 (open from 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday). If you are suffering financial problems related to the coronavirus pandemic you may be eligible for additional support. Find out more here:

⚠️ 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.

This short guide will take you through what you need to know about each type of loan. Be aware that payday loans usually have high fees and interest rates attached to them, and therefore may not be suitable for some borrowers. Most payday loans apply the maximum establishment, late payment and early termination fees permitted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Small amount credit contract (SACC)Medium amount credit contract (MACC)
  • Known as short-term loans, payday loans and small loans
  • Loan amounts of up to $2,000
  • Loans repaid between 16 days and one year
  • Referred to as personal loans
  • Loan amounts of between $2,001 and $5,000
  • Loans repaid between 16 days and two years

What's a SACC?

A small amount credit contract (SACC) is the technical name for a loan than is up to $2,000 with repayment terms of between 16 days and one year. These loans are commonly called short-term loans, payday loans or small loans and are heavily regulated by the ASIC. While ASICs regulations are in place to cap the loans and protect the public from being overcharged, customers should be aware that these loans are still considered expensive.

What's a MACC?

These are often called personal loans and refer to any personal loan amount of between $2,001 and $5,000. While SACCs are offered by the majority of short-term lenders, larger loan amounts of up to $5,000 are becoming much more common. Any lender offering a MACC must structure fees and interest rates according to ASIC's set regulations.

What about loans larger than $5,000?

Loans above $5,000 fall into a third category. Any personal loan above $5,000 or with a term longer than two years falls into this category, and lenders must comply with the ASIC fees and interest rates cap.

Compare small and medium loans

Data updated regularly
Name Product Maximum loan amount Term of Loan Turnaround time Arrears Fee Costs Fortnightly Repayment (for $5000 Loan)
Nimble Medium Loan
up to 22 months
1 hour - conditions apply*
Application fee of $400 + 47.62% p.a.
Apply for up to $5,000 and have up to 22 months to repay.
Credit24 Medium Term Loan (Good Credit)
12-24 months
Same day
$400 establishment fee + 48% p.a. interest
A small loan with long terms: Apply for up to $10,000 and have up to 3 years to repay.
Fair Go Finance Personal Loan
3-36 months
Within 24 hours
from 17.9% p.a. + establishment fee of between $360 - $771 + $9 monthly fee
A larger loan up to $10,000 you can apply for even with bad credit. Fast turnaround within 1 business day. Note: You must earn more than $500 per week.
Swoosh Finance
60 days -12 months
Next business day
$416 + 47% p.a. of borrowed amount
A secured loan up to $4,584 you can apply for in 10 minutes. Have up to 1 years to repay what you borrow.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much do these loans cost?

SACCsMACCsLoans over $5,000
  • Establishment fee of 20% of the loan amount
  • Monthly account-keeping fee of 4% of the loan amount
  • Default fees and enforcement expenses if you don't repay the loan

Mille takes out a payday loan of $1,500 for a period of 6 months. Provided that she pays her loan on time, her repayments will be:
Establishment fee: $300.00
Monthly fees: $360.00
Fortnightly repayments (x13 payments): $166.15
Total to be repaid: $2,160.00*

  • One-off establishment fee of $400
  • Maximum annual interest rate of 48%, which includes all other fees and charges

Kier is approved for a medium personal loan of $3,000 to be repaid over a period of 1 year. Kier has an an average credit rating so he is allocated a 35% annual interest rate. He also has to pay $10 a month in fees. If he meets his payments on time, his repayments will be:
Establishment fee: $400
Monthly fees: $120*
Monthly repayments (x12 payments): $310
Total to be repaid: $4,119*

  • Maximum annual interest rate of 48%, which includes all fees and charges

If Abi takes out a 5 year loan of $8,000. Abi has fair credit and is offered an interest rate of 25.55%, with no establishment fee and monthly fees of $10, this is how much she will repay:
Establishment fee: $0
Monthly fees: $600
Monthly repayments (x60 payments): $247
Total to be repaid: $9,502*

  • *Please note that all of these examples are fictional and are only representations of rates customers might be offered based on certain credit ratings. They do not take into consideration factors such as property-ownership, expense histories or income, which can also affect the rates that customers are offered by loan providers.

Do banks have to comply with the ASIC fee caps?

No. The fee caps set by ASIC on SACCs, MACCs and loans over $5,000 do not apply to Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs), which include banks, building societies and credit unions. You can check the full list of ADIs on the Australian Prudential Authority's website.

Which providers offer SACCs and MACCs?

These payday loans are offered by non-bank lenders that usually offer specialised loans. Most lenders operating in the short-term credit space are not ADIs and are therefore restricted by the ASIC caps above. The majority focus on SACCs and MACCs but there are larger loans available too.

Image: Shutterstock

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