Where to get a no interest or low interest loan during COVID-19

Felt the financial pinch of COVID-19? Taking out a no interest or low interest loan may be an option for you. 

Rather than falling into the trap of payday loans which come with extremely high interest rates and hefty fees, or racking up debt on your credit card, no or low interest loan repayments are often more affordable. They have the benefit of no (or minimal) fees and charges. 

Just bear in mind, there are eligibility criteria and restrictions on what you can use these loans on. They are designed to support Aussies that need them for essential items, not to fund something like a home renovation. If you need a little more flexibility in what you can use a loan for, a personal loan may be a better option. 

So where can you get these types of loans? Let’s break it down. 

No interest loans  

Ever heard of a loan that charges no interest at all? A No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) is an interest-free loan program offered by GoodShepherd Microfinance in partnership with the Australian Government and NAB.  

Under the NILS, Aussies can borrow up to $1,500 to pay for essentials like household items (fridges, washing machines, furniture etc.), medical procedures and dental services, education essentials, and car repairs or registration. 

Loans terms are relatively short, between 12 months and 18 months and there is no interest, or fees and charges attached to them as well. There are also no credit checks conducted on applicants. 

While the NILS is yet to include a COVID-19 specific relief package, it will be available soon according to Good Shepherd Microfinance. In the meantime, Aussies can still apply for an existing NILS loan.  

To be eligible for an existing NILS loan you must: 

  • Have a Health Care Card/Pension Card OR earn less than $45,000 per year after tax ($60,000 for couples or individuals with dependants) 
  • Have lived in your current or previous address for at least 3 months 
  • Be able to prove you can pay back the loan 

For information on how to apply, check out the NILS website.  

Low interest loans 

When it comes to getting a low interest personal loan, there are a couple of options available: applying through a bank or taking out a StepUp loan.  

Currently on the Mozo database, the lowest unsecured variable personal loan rate sits at 4.85% (5.71% comparison rate*) offered by Australian Mutual Bank (excluding special purpose loans). However, this low rate is only available to customers with excellent credit, and can spike if your credit history isn’t great.  

Alternatively, if you are on a low income and struggling to get a loan from the bank, you may qualify for a StepUp loan offered by GoodShepherd Microfinance and supported by NAB. 

With a low fixed rate of 5.99% (5.99% comparison rate*), applicants can borrow between $800 and $3,000, with up to three years to pay it off. Plus, there are also no fees attached to the loan. Just bear in mind, a credit check is required when you apply for this type of loan. 

Like the NILS, the StepUp loan is designed to fund things like furniture, appliances, computers, second-hand cars and repairs, vocational education and medical expenses.  They cannot be used for cash, debt consolidation, holidays or bills. 

To qualify for a StepUp loan you must:

  • Have a Health Care Card/ Pension Card OR receive Family Tax Benefit A 
  • Reside in your current home for more than three months

For a full breakdown of how to apply, jump over to the StepUp loan website.   

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you are already struggling with debt, taking out another loan may not be the best option for you. Instead, you could consider a debt consolidation loan or if you need some extra support, you can always call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. 

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 tips for improving your credit rating during COVID-19

If you want to take a personal loan out from the bank, take a look at some killer lending options below! Or jump over to our personal loan comparison table for more.

Low Rate Personal Loans 2020 - last updated 18 May 2022

Search promoted personal loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Personal Loan

    Unsecured, Fixed, Excellent Credit

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    6.39% p.a.to 7.89% p.a.
    6.39% p.a.to 8.49% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    With low rates for borrowers with excellent credit, a quick 1 minute rate estimate and simple online application, there’s a lot to love about this loan! You’ll not only benefit from no exit fees, there are also no early repayment fees. You could qualify by simply earning above $25,000 and you’ll be on the way to start spending (other eligibility criteria may apply).

    Repayment terms from 3 years to 5 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 6.39% would cost $35,126.40 including fees.

    Details
  • Home Improvement Loan

    Fixed, Unsecured

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    5.75% p.a.
    5.96% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Handypay offers flexible home improvement loans for Excellent Credit or better. Handypay is a specialist home improvement plan provider and offers loans up to $75,000.

    Repayment terms from 1 year to 7 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 5.75% would cost $34,840.18 including fees.

    Details
  • Unsecured Personal Loan

    Fixed

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    5.35% p.a.to 19.09% p.a.
    6.14% p.a.to 19.99% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Fast, easy and 100% online, this is a low cost loan with no ongoing fees or extra repayment penalties. It's perfect for savvy borrowers with great credit. If you’re over 18 and earn above $30,000, you could qualify (other eligibility criteria may apply).

    Repayment terms from 3 years to 7 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 5.35% would cost $34,832.61 including fees.

    Details
  • Unsecured Personal Loan

    Fixed

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    5.95% p.a.to 17.45% p.a.
    6.79% p.a.to 17.86% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Wisr offers personal loans for any worthwhile purpose, tailored to your credit score to ensure you’re getting a fair deal. Plus, no ongoing or early exit fees. Loans from $5,000 to $79,000. Terms of either 3, 5 or 7 years. $595 establishment fee. Eligibility criteria applies.

    Repayment terms from 3 years to 5 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 5.95% would cost $35,352.21 including fees.

    Details

* WARNING: The Comparison Rate combines the lender's interest rate, fees and charges into a single rate to show the true cost of a personal loan. The comparison rates displayed are calculated based on a loan of $30,000 for a term of 5 years or a loan of $10,000 for a term of 3 years as indicated, based on monthly principal and interest repayments, on a secured basis for secured loans and an unsecured basis for unsecured loans. This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Personal Loan Awards

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