Personal loans for 457 visa holders in Australia

If you’re a little strapped for cash in your adopted home there’s good news regarding access to personal loans; it is possible. However, there are special conditions that apply that are worth noting before you commit to taking out a loan and they vary from lender to lender.

When you apply for a loan Australian lenders won’t be able to access your credit history from overseas so the good news is, if you’ve had a rocky past that doesn’t limit your chances of being accepted.

There are of course other restrictions and most lenders won’t look at your application unless you have secure employment in Australia, an income of $50,000 p.a or more, an Australian bank account and the ability to repay the loan before your visa expires. You may also be limited in your choice of loan as non-residents are not eligible for all financial products and the interest rates are generally higher for the ones that are available unless you’re securing the loan against an asset like a car.

But don’t let this discourage you. If you meet the requirements of the lender taking out a personal or car loan can be quite easy. Some of Australia’s biggest banks have loans on offer for visa holders from the Commonwealth Bank to St George and if you’re visiting from England ex-pat forums seem to have their money on Westpac for approving 457 visa holder loans in a fast and easy way.

Failing acceptance of a loan directly by a bank there are still options available to you. Using a third party consultant could be an option in securing the extra cash you need. Company’s such as FastLane Finance or Gold Vision Financial Services offer to approach lenders for you and use their experience and connections in the finance industry to secure you a loan with a reasonable interest rate.

The advantage of going through a third party lender is that they can approach multiple lenders and take the hard work out of searching for a loan. The downside is that you will be charged a fee for their services so make sure you clarify up front how much the fee will be so you can calculate it into your total costs.

Keep in mind also that these companies generally work on a commission basis. While it is illegal for them to offer you a product that is unsuitable to your needs it is still important to be wary of the loans being offered to you. If the interest rate seems ridiculously high and they are charging exorbitant fees then those are clear signs to stay away. As a guide the average interest rate for an unsecured loan in 2015 was 13.79 per cent.

Alternative credit providers are also available, such as Fair Go Finance, who can finance a loan of up to $5000 which can be applied for online. As the name suggests they are willing to assess all requests, including those of visa holders, and have criteria that can be considered more lenient than banks. This may be a good option for some visa holders if you meet the basic requirements of having an income of $500 a week and can repay the loan during the life of your visa.  Depending on the amount you borrow and the risk you are deemed to be interest rates can vary quite a bit. The site says interest rates can range from 0 per cent to 29.9 per cent and monthly fees can be anywhere from $5-$80.

Build up your credit history in Australia

If you’re having trouble getting a loan from scratch, try building up your credit history while you’re here to give you a better chance of being accepted for a personal loan. While they might not be counting your credit history from home it will be important to show that since you’ve come to Australia you’ve been keeping on top of things. An easy way to do this is to show that you can keep a regular payment commitment. Paying off something small like your mobile phone bill on time and consistently is a good start.

Staying in the same job for a while will also show you have a stable place of employment and are less of a risk for lenders. Another suggestion could be to take out a credit card with the bank you wish to borrow from. Pay off your total debts on time each month and you will have more of a bargaining chip when it comes to requesting a loan.

Starting point

No matter which loan you choose to get you on your feet during your time in Australia it is always important to make sure that it is a competitive one. Don’t feel pressured into taking on a high interest rate loan without first comparing what’s on the market for visa holders and making some enquiries.

Here are some loans listed on RateCity that you may wish to look into to start your search for a personal loan. Keep in mind that approval for these loans is at the discretion of the provider.

Can I get a personal loan if I receive Centrelink payments?

Can I get a personal loan if I receive Centrelink payments?

Being able to access money fast in an emergency by taking out a personal loan can be tricky if you receive Centrelink payments as part of your income.

Although still possible there are some important things to know before signing up for a loan and some other options that may be more appropriate for your situation.

What do I need to know?

A big factor in whether or not you will be able to be approved for a loan is what percentage of your income is from Centrelink payments. If less than 50% of your income is from payments it may be easier to secure a loan than you think. Online lenders such as Good to Go Loans and Ferratum will lend to Centrelink customers and can be approved online, sometimes without a credit check, depending on the amount.

Of course these sorts of loans come with major interest rates and you could end up paying more than double what you borrowed depending on how long you take to pay back the loan. Good to Go Loans estimates that if you take out a $2000 loan online and pay it back within six months you will pay an extra $960 in interest with weekly repayments of $113.85.

Also keep in mind that applying and being knocked back from too many loans will affect your credit rating negatively. To avoid this, make sure you enquire about whether they accept people who receive Centrelink payments and if your credit history will be checked before applying if you are concerned about a bad credit history.

What are some alternatives?

There are some alternatives to taking out a personal loan if you are in need of some cash that could be more appropriate for your situation.

Centrelink advance

If you have been receiving your Centrelink payment for 3 months you may be eligible to apply for an advance on your payments if you do not have an outstanding debt to the Australian government. The number of advance payments will vary depending on the type that you receive and your personal circumstances. Speak to a representative from Centrelink for more information on this option.


If you have an existing good relationship with your bank and an overdraft option available on your bank account you may be able to use this as a way of accessing credit in an emergency. You will have to talk to your bank about how much money you can be approved to borrow and note that you will be charged interest on that amount, possibly at a high rate.


NILS (no interest loan scheme) are available to help low income earners with access to small amounts of credit ($300-$1200) in emergencies. The benefits of accessing credit through the scheme are that you will not be charged interest and your repayments will be planned out in a way that is affordable to you. You will only be approved for a loan under the scheme if the item falls into the essentials category such as medical procedures, broken down appliances or school supplies.

If this sounds like it best suits your needs then it is well worth pursuing this option. The only criteria to qualify are that you hold a pension/ health care card, have been residing in your current premises for 3 months or longer and you show a willingness and the ability to repay the loan over time.

Other options

If a NILS loan doesn’t suit your needs and you are hesitant to take out a personal loan there are other options available to you in the form of programs for low income earners. These programs will assess your application against a range of criteria to see if you’re eligible but your status as a Centrelink customer will not be a barrier to receiving a loan.

Some options include StepUP and AddsUP loans that are available through lenders such as Good Shepherd Microfinance.

What if the loan is for a utility bill?

If the reason you need to take out a loan is to pay a utility bill then stop what you’re doing, there’s a better way. By law, utility providers need to have someone on hand to consult with you if you’re facing hardship and come up with an alternative payment plan. Contact your utility provider as soon as possible if you think you will be having trouble paying your bill for the month, sort out a plan and avoid a costly high interest rate loan.

Funding the renovation of your dreams

With property prices as high as they are currently, moving in to your dream home might be a plan that keeps getting pushed in to the future.

Luckily, with a bit of extra cash, having the bathroom of your dreams doesn’t have to be as far off and the best part is that a nice, functional bathroom will most likely add to the resale value of your house. Unlike an extravagant water feature or pool that won’t be helping you in the long term, an updated bathroom is a good way to love where you live now and set yourself up for the future.

It could be that your dream bathroom is the all-time classic with a clawfoot bath and gold taps or you might prefer the contemporary look of walk-in shower, frameless glass screen and dramatic black marble. Whatever your preference, finding the right finance option is the first step to dealing with that dark, dingy, mouldy bathroom.

Before you get too carried away, it’s best to work out either how much it will cost to turn your bathroom dreams into reality or how much you have available to spend. In the case of the latter, once you have a set dollar figure in mind, you can tailor your bathroom renovations to suit.

Keep in mind there will be a significant difference in the costs of simply remodelling a bathroom, compared to renovating where structural work such as walls and windows need to be removed. Some bathroom companies give you an idea of costs when you contact them online and this may be helpful when looking at your budget.


If possible, paying up front to update your bathroom is always the best option. Of course this is not likely to be a choice if you are planning on going all out but for a little remodel this is the way to go. Even though it might seem like a big chunk of money upfront you will be saving on the interest in the long run and you could earn some great rewards if you put the amount on your credit card. It is only suggested you use your credit card if you know you can pay the bill upfront at the end of the month.

Personal loans

For a medium scale bathroom renovation you may want to consider taking out a personal loan. A personal loan will help you get the amount you need upfront and the repayments can be structured in a way that lets you pay off the new bathroom in set amounts to suit your budget. Another great feature of most personal loan is that you can make extra repayments without penalty if you decide to pay the loan off earlier. This can help you avoid paying high amounts of interest in the long term.

Using your home loan

If you’re going all out on the bathroom of your dreams and you have been paying off your home loan diligently over the years, you may want to consider redrawing on your loan. Harnessing the   built up equity in your loan is a good way to access funds at a low interest rate. Spending the money on renovations should also add value to the home so it’s a win-win situation over time.

After you have decided on the best way to finance your new bathroom, you’re one big step closer to enjoying endless pampering in your own private day spa – at home.

Should I borrow money to tick things off my bucket list?

Everyone has a dream list of things they’ve always wanted to do but more often than not life gets in the way.

It could be work or family commitments or, in a lot of cases, it could be a lack of money.

As a general rule we’re often told not to borrow money for non-essentials or things that don’t offer a return on investment, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. While it may be hard to see how something like trekking the Himalayas or getting your dream kitchen may be a financially sound decision in the short term it may not be as unprofitable as you think.

Here are some bucket list items that might actually be worth taking out a personal loan for:

Home renovations

According to, a kitchen overhaul can cost around $6000 while the average bathroom renovation clocks in at more than $8000.

“You can spend a minimum amount on a kitchen and bathroom for a maximum return. Over time, a well-planned renovation could actually double your money,” CEO Oliver Pennington says.

Or before you rent your place out, why not get a small personal loan to spruce it up with new floorboards, a splash of paint, or even a cost-effective garden? Making your home more presentable for prospective tenants could increase the rent, without breaking the bank.

Like Linda, who got a personal loan to give her run-down Queenscliff, Sydney, apartment a re-vamp, “I got a low-rate loan of 10.99 percent [from the Commonwealth Bank] – cheaper than my credit card – to lay new floorboards down, install an air-conditioner, and add a fresh coat of paint to inject life into the place,” Linda says.

“By spending to finance your renovationg around $11,000, including interest, the rent increased by 30 percent while the property increased from $400,000 to about $460,000.”

Owning your own car

Have you always wanted your own set of wheels but haven’t been able to justify it? It may be time consider the fact that travelling for work can be a great way to earn more. The suburb you live in, or the ones easily accessible by public transport, may not be where the most money is and borrowing a bit of cash to get yourself moving can be a great way to overcome this challenge.

Branching out to work in areas that you previously wouldn’t have considered can mean more income and employment opportunities that provide financial rewards in years to come. Of course, in this scenario we’re referring to a vehicle to get you from A to B as opposed to the Ferrari of your dreams, which may be a bit harder to justify.

A life changing holiday

Stressful jobs make it hard to head off on a tropical getaway, but considering a well-earned break may give you a fresh outlook, keeping you in your job longer, it might just be worth it. It’s no secret that Aussie workers are increasingly over-worked and stressed out, so to avoid running yourself down a holiday to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go could be a good way to revitalise.

While the long term financial return might not seem as obvious as some investments there’s definitely something to be said for looking after your biggest asset: yourself.

Five Minute Guide to Personal Loans

Five Minute Guide to Personal LoansWhat is a personal loan?

A personal loan is a loan from the bank that can be taken out for any number of reasons – paying for an upcoming holiday, buying a new car, or even to cover education fees; it is simply for ‘personal’ use.  One of the most competitive alternatives to a personal loan is the credit card which is beneficial and convenient when borrowing money for short-term purposes. However, personal loans traditionally have lower rates than credit cards, making them more appealing when loaning a more substantial amount of money; and for the long-term.

Types of Loans

There are two main types of Personal loans – secured and unsecured. Secured loans are generally used when purchasing something physical; such as a car or furniture. The concept for this particular loan is that the item purchased with the loan is an asset, and if you are unable to repay the loan, the bank repossesses your asset. Unsecured loans however, have no asset for the bank’s security, and are used for items such as holidays or education.  Because these loans are a higher risk to the bank, the interest rate also a little higher than a secured loan.

Therefore, when purchasing an asset such as a car, it is ideal to obtain a secured loan.  However, be certain that a personal loan is the best option for your specific situation. For example, when buying a car, consider and evaluate car loans that are available. If you are buying a new car, often these rates are relatively low, and it may be in your best interest to obtain a new car loan, rather than a secured personal loan.

Getting the best deal

When applying for a personal loan, you will notice that the terms and conditions, fees and rates will differ across the various banks.  Many will claim that certain banks have the ‘best’ personal loans, but in actuality the loans are just targeted at different profiles. Whilst a bank may offer a loan that is the best option for one person; this may not be the case for you. Be certain to look at all of the different loans, across a variety of banks. You can compare and contrast your personal loans on RateCity.

Fixed or Variable?

Now that you have evaluated your situation, and decided that the best option for you is a personal loan, the next step is to decide whether you will best benefit from a secured or unsecured loan.  Following this you should compare the personal loans on offer across a variety of banks; finding the bank that best suits your needs. The final step is choosing between a fixed or variable loan.

What is the difference?  A fixed loan is one where your interest rate will be set at a fixed rate, for the specified amount of time.  These rates are often lower, and are most beneficial when interest rates seem to be rising.  A variable loan however, is one where the interest rate varies relative to the RBA’s dictation, and is most beneficial at times when the interest rates seem to be lowering.  A variable interest rate also does not have a fixed time frame, therefore allowing you to pay off a loan quicker and with less interest.

There is no clear-cut right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding between fixed and variable rates. Assess the current market and your own situation, and then decide which option best fits your current circumstances.


How to escape the debt trap

If you are one of many Australians struggling with debt there is no better time than now to take action with simple strategies to help clean the slate.

If your personal debt levels are creeping up, you’re not alone – many Australians continue to battle mounting debt.

Latest research shows that at present Australians owe around $32.3 billion on our credit cards combined. On average, each card holder has a personal debt of over $4,000. On top of this, national personal finance commitments are currently at $7.18 billion as at the end of 2015.

Help is at hand

If you are battling ballooning debts, it is important to realise that help is available. A sensible first step is to speak to your creditors before skipping a bill or mortgage repayment altogether. You may be able to negotiate a manageable repayment plan – one that fits your budget. Avoid taking on fresh debt to pay off what you already owe as this could be the start of an escalating debt spiral.

Make sure you are getting help from the right places by avoiding payday lenders offering a quick fix. Instead, contact a free financial counsellor, such as the one provided by ASIC, or contact a specific debt advice hotline in your state.

Consider bundling multiple debts into one

Consolidating multiple high interest debts into a low rate personal loan could make your debt more manageable while providing fixed repayments that are easier to budget for. Be aware this strategy will only work if you resist the urge to take on fresh debt, including reloading your credit card with new purchases.

Refinancing a credit card debt into a personal loan may be a more affordable option too. The average advertised credit card interest rate is around 17 per cent, while RateCity data shows unsecured personal loan interest rates below 10 percent.

Take the knife to card costs

If your credit card debt is creeping up on you, it’s worth looking at ways to get the balance back under control.

The golden rule here is to pay as much as possible off the card and stop using it for new purchases. Remember that by paying only the minimum repayment amount on your card debt can extend the length of your debt by decades and increase the amount of interest payed by thousands.

The majority of credit cards require only a 2 percent minimum monthly payment. Making repayments at this rate – and based on the average interest rate charged – it would take 29 years and 8 months to clear a $5,000 balance and cost a whopping $15,300 including interest. Increasing your repayments to just 3 percent of the outstanding balance can halve the time it takes to pay off the debt.

A low rate balance transfer deal may help you get ahead with your card though be sure to choose the offer that matches your budget and be sure to read the terms and conditions for the card before deciding whether it’s the best option for you. There is not much point opting for a card charging 0 percent for 6 months if you really need 12 months to make a serious dent in the balance.


Using personal loans for a fresh start

If you’re battling an escalating credit card bill, a personal loan could provide a low cost solution by slashing the high interest rates often attached to credit card debt.

Our average credit card debt is now over $4,000, and plenty of cardholders face serious difficulty bringing their balance under control. While there are many zero interest balance transfer deals on offer by credit card providers, if you can’t pay off the balance in the introductory period you could end up getting hit with even higher interest rates than you started with.

This is where a personal loan comes in.

Related links

  • How to escape the debt trap
  • Five minute guide to personal loans
  • Should I borrow money to tick things off my bucket list?

To see how this works let’s consider a cardholder – Mike. He currently has an outstanding debt of $5,000 on a credit card charging 15 percent. If he sticks to the minimum monthly repayments (set at 2 percent of the outstanding balance), it will take Mike a staggering 32 years to pay off the card in full, and this assumes he doesn’t add to the card balance!

During this time Mike will pay total interest of around $7,800. Mike could refinance with another card offering 0 percent interest for five months on balance transfers. To clear his card debt during the interest-free period, Mike would have to repay around $830 each month. For many of us that’s a tall order, and any balance remaining after six months could be slugged with rates applicable to cash advances – up to 19 percent.

Instead Mike opts for a five-year personal loan charging a rate of 14 per cent, which is achievable through a number of lenders. His monthly repayments are $116, and after five years Mike’s total interest bill would be about $1,980.

The beauty of the loan is that Mike’s repayments are fixed, making them easier to budget for, and he knows exactly when he will be debt-free giving him a target to work towards.

Here’s the interesting thing. If Mike chose to make the same monthly repayments of $116 on his credit card, he would clear the debt in exactly the same time – five years. But his overall interest cost would be $2,226, about $246 more than the personal loan. The downside of this option is that it requires the self-discipline to keep up voluntary extra payments. If the interest rate on Mike’s card rises in the interim, he could face even higher interest charges.

For many people, simply knuckling down and paying off their card is the easiest way to clear the debt. But if you’re battling a rising tide of credit card debt, a personal loan is a useful tool to get you on track and back in the black.

Personal loans versus car loans

Personal loans versus car loansPersonal loans versus car loansPersonal loans versus car loansPersonal loans versus car loans

Personal loans are available for those wanting to borrow money to finance something they don’t have the funds for upfront – that doesn’t include a home. This could be for a holiday, study, renovations or to purchase a car.

Personal loans allow you to borrow an agreed amount, which you pay off weekly, fortnight or monthly until the end of the agreed loan term. But remember, the longer the loan term, the more money you will pay in interest – so take this into account when you are calculating your repayments and term length.

You will have a choice of secured and unsecured loans options – with a secured loan usually offering lower interest rates as the loan is secured against an asset, in case you are unable to make the loan repayments. You also have the flexibility to choose between a fixed and variable interest rate.

If you are taking out a loan for a car, look at the interest rates, fees, repayment options and the early exit penalties when you are comparing loans.

Car loans

Put simply, a car loan is a personal loan. But whereas a personal loan will allow you to borrow the funds for a variety of purposes, car loans are specifically designed for the purchase of a new or used car only.

The main difference between the two is that car loans are almost always fixed rate loans – so your interest rate will be locked in for the length of the loan term you agreed too. That’s why it’s important to compare a range of car and personal loans so you find a low interest rate at the very beginning of your loan term.

Car loan terms vary from one to five years and will be determined, along with your repayment amount and regularity, at the beginning of your contract. You are then required to pay off the loan in the specified time. If you fall behind on your repayments you will be required to make a lump sum payment at the end of the loan term, which is where some borrowers can get into strife and require refinancing.

Remember, while car fixed rate loans offer you the ability to budget and pay off your loan progressively over the term – they will very rarely offer any flexibility either. So if you come into money and want to pay off the car earlier – you may not be able to, without incurring hefty penalties, on a fixed rate loan.

When you are in a dealership it can be hard to walk away from the convenience of an onsite car finance department but understand that you are still in a position to negotiate on the interest rates being offered to you and to shop around for a better loan rate.

You decide

When deciding between a personal loan or a car loan make sure you take into consideration the interest rates, fees, repayment restrictions, loan flexibility and the terms and conditions.

Remember, financing your new car purchase is only part of the costs you will incur so don’t forget to factor in the on road costs – such as registration fees, fuel, services and car insurance