Personal Loan Eligibility

Find out whether you’re eligible to apply for a personal loan with one of Savvy’s lending partners here.

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, updated on October 4th, 2023       

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What personal loan eligibility criteria will I have to meet?

There are several key points that will need to be covered when it comes to standard personal loan eligibility in Australia. While some of these may differ slightly between different lenders, they’ll largely apply across the board. The factors that affect your eligibility for a personal loan include:

Your age and residential status

First and foremost, the easiest qualification points to self-assess are your age and residential status. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age, providing a clear, black and white guideline.

Similarly, most lenders will also require you to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and living in Australia at the time of applying. There are some lenders who can offer personal loans to temporary residents, but they’re more difficult to obtain as a general rule.

Your credit score and history

Most lenders will also enforce their own restrictions when it comes to the types of credit scores that they’re willing to work with for their personal loans. In these cases, you’ll be required to maintain a good credit score, which points to a trustworthiness when it comes to servicing your debts in the past.

As part of this, you’ll also be required to maintain a spotless record when it comes to defaults and bankruptcies in your past. Both of these are likely to have significantly negative impacts on your score, but lenders will want to steer clear of borrowers with a history of being unable to repay their debts.

Your income

Each lender will set a minimum income requirement as part of their qualification criteria. This is in place to function as the lowest income that you could earn and feasibly repay a personal loan. While this can vary from $22,000 to $26,000 p.a., your application may not be approved even if you earn well above this amount.

This is because lenders base their approvals on how comfortably you can afford to take on the loan you’re applying for. For instance, someone earning $30,000 p.a. applying for a $5,000 personal loan could be approved if they have enough disposable income, while someone earning double that salary applying for a $20,000 could be denied. Generally, loan repayments shouldn’t take up more than 30% of your disposable income.

Your employment

Similarly, lenders require borrowers to hold stable employment at the time of applying for their personal loan. This is because they want to guarantee that your income stream isn’t at risk of running dry during your loan’s repayments.

As such, guidelines are set in place for different types of employment. You can get approved with a full-time or permanent part-time job provided that you’re not under probation, while your casual employment must have been in place for at least six months prior to your application (with stable income). If you’re self-employed, you’re likely to need at least two years of trading under your belt to qualify for a personal loan.

Which documents do I need as part of my application?

Part of the process of getting approved for your personal loan is producing the correct documents to couple your lender’s application form. These are requested to confirm that you’re who you say you are and that everything in your application is true and correct. The main documents to be gathered and included in your application are:

  • Payslips: you’ll be required to supply your two most recent payslips. If self-employed, the two most recent years’ worth of tax returns will be requested.
  • Employment contract: your lender may request a copy of your contract in certain circumstances.
  • Bank statements: similarly, some lenders will ask for 90 days of bank statements alongside your payslips. These can be obtained by supplying your internet banking account information.
  • Photo ID: your passport and/or driver’s licence will be required to verify your identity. Your passport can be current or expired within the last two years, while your licence must be current.
  • Proof of address: your lender may request to see a recent utility bill to confirm your residential address.
  • Liabilities: you’ll need to disclose any outstanding debts, such as other loans, that may impact your repayments.

How to increase the likelihood of personal loan approval

Frequently asked questions about personal loan eligibility

How can I use my personal loan funds?

There are essentially no restrictions on the ways that you can make use of the money from your personal loan. You might be looking for a way to help you pay for improvements around your home, from small repairs to big expansions. Alternatively, they can be used to cover anything from unexpected medical bills or consolidate debts to weddings, honeymoons and funerals.

How much can I borrow?

While you can borrow between $2,000 and $75,000 with an unsecured loan and $15,000 to $100,000 with a secured loan, there are several other factors at play that determine what your borrowing power is. Your credit score, income, expenses and job security will all affect how much your lender is willing to approve you for, so each personal loan offer will differ between applicants.

Can I choose whatever loan length I like?

Not necessarily – loans can range from one to seven years in length, but longer loans are generally reserved for the most trusted applicants. Those with a strong credit score and earning a high income can be approved for a large loan over a long term, while others who perhaps don’t have the same track record won’t be able to do so. Also, the loan term will be relative to your amount; your lender won’t accept a seven-year term for a $5,000 loan, for instance.

What type of interest rate will my loan have?

You can choose between fixed and variable rate offers from our panel here. Fixed rates provide a level of financial certainty regarding what you’ll be paying each month, which is desirable for many borrowers, while variable rates allow you to potentially benefit from decreased interest rates.

Will my credit score be affected by my application?

Yes – once your formal application is submitted, it’ll be recorded on your credit file. However, you can find out an indicative interest rate prior to your submission without it going down on your file, which prevents you from being locked into an offer with a high interest rate.

Is Centrelink income eligible to be included in my application?

Yes – as long as the benefit you’re earning is stable, consistent and unlikely to end during your loan term, it can be included in your income. This means that payments for single parents and carers and aged pensions, among a host of others, are accepted by some lenders, while more conditional payments like Youth Allowance, Austudy and ABSTUDY aren’t.

How can I improve my credit score?

There are several things you can do to improve your credit score in the leadup to your application. Reducing the limits on your credit cards and cancelling any unnecessary sources of credit (including buy now, pay later arrangements with stores) will help, while paying off outstanding debts is a great way to maximise your score in the short-term.

Helpful personal loan guides