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Self-employed personal loans: your questions answered

business handshake between self employed people agreeing on a personal loan

The freedom of working for yourself also comes with a lot of hard work, especially when it comes to sorting out your finances.

If you’re self-employed and looking to take out a personal loan, we’re here to help answer some of the big questions.

What is a self-employed personal loan?

A self-employed personal loan is like any other personal loan but refers to loans for people working for themselves. 

As with any loan, a self-employed loan involves the borrowing of a set amount of money. You’ll pay that amount back over a set period of time (this is called the “term” of the loan), usually in monthly instalments, along with any fees and interest collected over the term.

Can you get a personal loan if you’re self-employed?

Being self-employed shouldn’t necessarily stop you from taking out a loan, but there are other factors at play.

Lenders are far more likely to be interested in your creditworthiness – that is, how you’ve demonstrated your ability to pay back debt in the past. Some lenders may require you to demonstrate a source of income, which can be more difficult if you are self-employed. 

Showing your eligibility can be easier if you’re able to display an excellent credit history and strong evidence of savings, amongst other things. 

All these things can make this tricky process a little bit easier.

What types of self-employed personal loans are there?

Like any personal loan, self-employed loans fall into many categories.

  • Secured: A secured loan uses a valuable asset (like a car or a property) to give the lender added assurance that you’ll pay it back. If you default on your repayments, they can sell your asset to reclaim some of their losses. A common example of this would be a car loan. Secured loans are higher risk for you (as you have assets on the line), but they also tend to come with lower interest rates and may be easier to get if you don’t have clear proof of income. 
  • Unsecured: In contrast, unsecured loans aren’t held against any of your possessions. This means that there’s no risk of your things being repossessed! This also means that rates on unsecured loans tend to be higher because they’re higher risk for lenders. 
  • Fixed-rate: A fixed-rate loan keeps the same rate for the full term of the loan. These are easy to plan around, as you know exactly how much interest you’ll have to pay over the life of the loan. Because of this security, these loans tend to have higher interest rates. 
  • Variable rate: On the other hand, a variable rate loan can shift over the course of the loan. For short-term loans, this may not have a major impact, but it can mean substantial changes over a longer period (for example, a 5-year loan). These loans often offer lower interest rates.

Self-employed personal loans can be used for a variety of things. These are often good options for freelancers and contractors. If you are instead running a business with employees, you may require a small business loan.

If you find yourself falling into the low-income category, you might want to consider a low-income personal loan.

What features should I look for in a self-employed loan?

It’s important to make sure that your self-employed loan has features that suit your needs. These can be extra valuable if you’re setting your own work hours or have an irregular payment schedule, as the features on a loan can make it much easier to pay back.

  • Flexible repayment schedule: If you’re paid irregularly, are a freelancer or a business owner who pays yourself, you might want a loan with flexible repayment options so you can choose between either weekly, fortnightly or monthly regular repayments. This not only means you could potentially pay your loan off faster by opting for fortnightly repayments (vs monthly payments), but you can line payments up to when you have money coming in.
  • Extra repayments: Likewise, if you’re self-employed and receive money at unexpected intervals, being able to make extra repayments on your loan can be super handy. The quicker you repay a personal loan, the less interest you’ll pay. Some loans do charge for this ability, however, so make to read the details. 
  • Redraw facility: Being your own employer and employee can come with unexpected costs. Having a redraw facility lets you dip into the money you’ve paid on your personal loan, which can be useful in emergencies. Be aware that not all lenders allow redraws, and some of those that do will charge a fee for it. 
  • Early repayment or break-free costs: If you’re in a position to pay your loan off early, why wouldn’t you? Well, some lenders charge significant early repayment fees if you try to. So, if you’d like to pay your loan off early, then being able to do so without additional charges is a huge benefit. 
  • Speed: When you’re self-employed, time is often of the essence. So, if you need money quickly, online and peer-to-peer lenders may have faster approval times than larger brick-and-mortar banks.

How to apply for a self-employed personal loan

As with any loan, when applying for a self-employed personal loan – preparation is key.

Get all the relevant information ready:

Have all the necessary documents (like identification, proof of income, and any relevant tax statements) ready to go.

They might also require proof of savings, recent bank statements, and company information (if you run a business), among other things. Ideally, contact the lender beforehand to ensure you know which documents you need.

Low-doc loans:

Alternatively, you might look into a low doc (“low documentation”) loan, which typically requires less documentation than the average loan. Low-doc loans can be helpful if you can’t demonstrate proof of income or savings.

Because of how little documentation they require, these loans have restrictive conditions and high interest rates, so they may not be an ideal option.

How to compare self-employed personal loans

If you’ve decided to take out a personal loan, here are some steps to take to help you find a competitive deal.

  1. Work out what you can afford: First, use our free personal loan repayments calculator to determine how much you can afford to borrow and pay back. 
  2. Compare your options: Once you know what you can afford to borrow, you can compare personal loans from the Mozo database to find one that suits your needs. Remember to look for the features you want, plus check for any upfront fees and ongoing costs that will contribute to the price of the loan. 

Here are some personal loan options below to help start your search with:

Compare personal loans - last updated 4 March 2024

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

    Fixed

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    6.75% p.a.to 26.95% p.a.
    6.75% p.a.to 26.95% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Borrow up to $50,000 unsecured. Perfect if you earn more than $22,100 p.a. and have good to excellent credit. Multi-year winner of Mozo’s Experts Choice Unsecured Personal Loan Award, 2021, 2022, 2023 & 2024^'

    Repayment terms from 2 years to 7 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 6.75% would cost $35,430.23 including fees.

    Compare
    Details
  • Unsecured Personal Loan

    Fixed

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    5.76% p.a.to 24.03% p.a.
    6.55% p.a.to 24.98% 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 5.76% would cost $35,173.52 including fees.

    Compare
    Details
  • Express Personal Loan

    Secured

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    14.95% p.a.to 27.95% p.a.
    29.30% p.a.to 42.8% p.a.based on $10,000
    over 3 years

    Access fast finance on loans from $5,000 to $25,000 with a Jacaranda Finance Personal Loan. Terms from 24-48 months. Check if you qualify with no impact on your credit score. Enjoy a speedy, online approval.

    Repayment terms from 2 years to 4 years. Representative example: a 3 year $10,000 loan at 14.95% would cost $14,324.71 including fees.

    Compare
    Details
  • Debt Consolidation Loan

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    5.76% p.a.to 24.03% p.a.
    6.57% p.a.to 24.99% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Roll multiple debts into one loan to streamline your finances with one set of repayments and one interest rate. Competitive fixed interest rates with no monthly or early repayment fees and flexible repayment options. Easy online application and funding in as little as 24 hours (subject to approval).

    Repayment terms from 3 years to 7 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 5.76% would cost $35,173.52 including fees.

    Compare
    Details

If you’re still on the hunt for a personal loan, check out Mozo’s picks for the best personal loans. If you’re self-employed and want to know whether you should be looking at life insurance or if you can get a home loan, we’ve got you covered!

Sara Borman
Sara Borman
Money writer

Sara has a Communications degree and has contributed to academic and literary publications in the US and Australia. She aims to bring an accessible point of view to credit cards and loans for Mozo readers.

Rhianna Dews
Rhianna Dews
RG146
Senior Money Writer

Rhianna, RG146 certified in Generic Knowledge and Deposit Products, has helped Aussies with finances for a decade. She's written for TechRadar, Simple Living Australia, and worked with Foxtel and Vodafone.

* 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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