No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)
This page contains information about No Interest Loans, COVID-19 Household Relief Loans Without Interest specifically for those affected by COVID and No Interest Loans for women affected by Family and Domestic Violence.
The COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance page has information about other emergency assistance measures or changes due to the pandemic.
The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides safe, fair and affordable credit to people on low incomes. There are no fees or interest payments required. The scheme offers loans for essential goods and services, that cost between $300 and $1,500. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months. No credit check is required for this loan.
In addition to standard No Interest Loans, Household Relief Loans Without Interest are available for those affected by the COVID pandemic. Also, No Interest Loans for women affected by family and domestic violence (FDV NILS) are available to help women who have experienced or are experiencing family and domestic violence (FDV NILS) to move to safety, stay at home securely, and rebuild their lives.
This page explains key information about each type of no interest loan, such as what it can be used for, who is eligible and how to apply.
There’s also a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section about how NILS works. If you’re wondering how long the process will take, whether there will be a credit check to submit an application, or anything else, scroll to the bottom of the page.
The National Debt Helpline does not provide NILS loans. However, it’s worth talking to a financial counsellor if you’re unsure whether a NILS loan is right for you.
If you’d like to apply for a NILS loan, go to find your local NILS provider and check your eligibility.
About the No Interest Loan Scheme
If you have an income from Centrelink, or are on a low income, NILS provides you with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. The scheme offers loans for essential goods and services of between $300 and $1,500. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months. No credit check is required for this loan.
You can use NILS to:
- buy essential household items such as white goods (like fridges and washing machines), computers or furniture
- pay for health-care items such as wheelchairs or asthma pumps
- pay for car repairs (if you live in an area where there is little or no public transport)
You can’t use NILS to:
- get cash
- pay debt consolidation loans
- pay rent arrears
- pay bills
- go on holidays
To be eligible for NILS, you must:
- have a Centrelink health-care or pension card; and
- have lived at the same address for the past 3 months; and
- show that you can and are willing to repay the loan within 12 or 18 months
How to apply
1. Find your local NILS provider
NILS is offered by more than 250 local community organisations in over 650 locations across Australia.
2. Call your local NILS provider
Your local provider will help you with your application and work out what you can afford to repay. It’s helpful if you have proof of ID and documents showing your finances. Watch this one-minute video by Good Shepherd Microfinances for an overview of how to apply.
Household Relief Loans Without Interest
Household Relief Loans Without Interest are now available for people impacted by COVID-19.
Loans are available for amounts between $300 and up to $3,000. The loan is repayable over 24 months. Loan repayments are made by direct debit or through Centrepay. There is no interest, fees or other costs. There are no credit checks in the application or approval process.
Loans are not for cash – they are to pay rent or a rental bond (to a real estate agent, not a private landlord), utility bills, body corporate fees and council rates.
To be eligible for a Household Relief Loan without interest people must be:
- Aged 16 years or over
- An Australian citizen, permanent resident, or hold a valid visa that expires after the loan term
- Have a before tax annual income of less than $60,000 if single, or less than $100,000 for couples or people with dependents
- Have lost their job, had income reduced, moved onto Centrelink payments after March 2020 or been otherwise financially impacted by Covid-19
- Have reduced income if they’re self-employed
You can check client eligibility and find out more here
No Interest Loans for women affected by family and domestic violence (FDV NILS)
No Interest Loans are available to help women who have experienced or are experiencing family or domestic violence to move to safety, stay at home securely, and rebuild their lives after family and domestic violence.
Loans of up to $2,000 are available. The loan is repayable over 24 months via direct debit or Centrepay and there is no interest, fees or other costs.
Loans are not for cash – they are available to pay for specific things such as rent or a rental bond, utility bills, security items, removalist and transport costs, furniture and whitegoods, legal costs, car registration and repairs, and technology e.g., laptop, phone.
You may be eligible for a Family and Domestic Violence Loan without interest (FDV NILS) if you:
- Are a woman who has experienced family or domestic violence in the past 10 years;
- Are aged 18 years or older;
- Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or hold a valid visa for the duration of the loan; and
- Can show you have a source of income to make loan repayments.
Loans are available for:
– Bond and rent – Security items
– Removalist and transport costs – Furniture and whitegoods
– Legal costs – Car registration and repairs
– Technology e.g. laptop, phone – Medical and dental
– Education and training costs – Employment tools/equipment
– Utilities – Pet costs
Please note: Loans are not for cash, debt consolidation, or car purchases.
To check your eligibility and find out more here.
Emergency financial assistance
If you have no income and/or cannot afford basic necessities, there is help available. You can find your closest service on the Ask Izzy website. You can also call us at the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 and we can give you the details.
For further information, see Emergency Assistance.
How does NILS work?
Will the loan be given to me in cash?
Loans are not for cash. Generally the NILS provider will pay the supplier of the item or service you need directly.
Are there any charges?
There are no fees, charges or interest.
Will they check my credit history?
Your credit history is not checked when you apply for NILS.
How long will it take?
The assessment itself usually takes between 45 and 90 minutes.
Loan approvals can be as quick as the same day if you have provided all of the documentation needed, or it may take up to 2 weeks, depending on the provider.
Speak to your local provider about their time frames.
What else can NILS help me with?
What other options are available if I cannot get NILS?
If $1,500 isn’t enough money or you cannot get NILS,, you may qualify for a low interest Step Up loans of up to $3,000 which, as per their name, have low interest rates of 5.99% p.a. (Comparison rate 5.99%) valid as at 2 October 2020. It’s usually a little harder to qualify for these as they are externally assessed and your credit history will be checked.
Step Up loans are offered by local community organisations in 38 locations across Australia.
Find your local StepUp provider and check your eligibility here.
If you aren’t eligible for a NILS loan, your provider will refer you to a financial counselling service or another community service that may assess you for other types of assistance.