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No or very low-interest loans are available through some government programs and charities to help people on low incomes get by in times of financial hardship. 

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Household Relief
No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)
StepUP Loan
Advance Payment

Household Relief Loans Without Interest

Good Shepherd and NAB, in collaboration with the Australian Government, are providing no-interest loans of up to $3,000 to help you with your utility bills and rent if you have lost income due to COVID-19 or are on an income support payment. There is no interest, no fees and repayments are over 24 months (2 years).

Go to www.householdrelief.org.au or phone 1300 121 130 to see if you are eligible and make an enquiry. For more details, please read our full directory listing.  

No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)

Good Shepherd and NAB further facilitate the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS). The scheme provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. It is delivered by a network of over 170 community organisations in over 600 locations throughout Australia.

Loans can be used for essential goods and services such as white goods (fridges, washing machines), car repairs and medical procedures for up to $1,500. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months.

To find a NILS provider near you visit www.nils.com.au or call 13 NILS (13 64 57). For more information, please read our full directory listing.

StepUP Loan

StepUP is a low-interest loan from Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB for people on low incomes who have difficulty accessing credit from a bank. Amounts borrowed range from $800 – $3,000 with up to three years to pay the loan back. There are no fees and low interest at 5.99% p.a. comparison rate. A credit check is required. Unlike the other options discussed in this article, you will have to pay interest on this loan. 

These loans are to help people to improve their quality of life and are provided on a not-for-profit basis. StepUP is offered by local community organisations in 38 locations across Australia. 

To qualify you must have a health care card, pension card or receive Family Tax Benefit A, or are on a low income of $45,000 or less net per year and have lived at your current place of residence for more than 3 months. A microfinance worker will further determine your eligibility if you enquire. 

Loans can be used for items like secondhand cars or car repairs, white goods, furniture, computers, vocational education and medical expenses. 

To find a StepUP provider, visit www.stepuploan.org.au or call 13 64 57.

For more information, Download StepUP Brochure

Advance Payment

If you receive an income support payment (like the Disability Support Pension, Age Pension, Carer or JobSeeker payment etc.) or Family Tax Benefit (Part A) from Services Australia (Centrelink), you may be able to apply for an advance payment. This means you would get a lump sum payment from funds you would normally be entitled to and which you would have to pay back via deductions in your future payments. 

The amount and frequency of advance payments you can get depend on your circumstances. The amount you repay each fortnight will be the advance amount divided by 13. This is because you will repay the advance over 13 fortnights.

For more information including full eligibility criteria and links to apply online, phone Centrelink or visit Services Australia - Advance Payment. You can call the Disability, Sickness and Carers Line on 132 717. 


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