Personal Loans for Single Mothers with Bad Credit

Find the right personal loan to help you with your finances by learning more about your options with Savvy.

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, updated on October 4th, 2023       

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How can I get a personal loan as a single mother with bad credit?

The best way to get a personal loan if you’re a single mother with a bad credit score is through an online specialist lender. Because single mothers are assessed based on the same criteria as any other applicant, a bad credit score and lower overall household income to pay for expenses can sink an application. Online lenders are more lenient when it comes to credit ratings and required income streams, which can include Centrelink payments as part of the loan criteria with some of these lenders. Traditional lenders like banks are more averse to risk, meaning that they won’t typically deal with customers who carry a lower credit rating or present any chance of not being able to fulfil their loan.

The biggest requirement for bad credit personal loans, particularly as a single mother, is ensuring that you meet the lender’s criteria related to your ability to service the loan. Most lenders will have requirements surrounding a mandatory minimum income, with the most common figures being $300 per week or $15,000 to $20,000 per year. How that income is able to be sourced will also differ between lenders, with some allowing Centrelink as a supplementary income while others do not.

How much can I borrow as a single mother with a bad credit personal loan?

How much each applicant can borrow will differ from person to person, but it’s centred on several key factors. You should be aware of these points when applying for your personal loan to ensure that you can maximise the amount that you’re eligible to borrow. While bad credit personal loans usually fall between $1,000 and $12,000, the aspects that affect the amount you’ll be able to borrow on your bad credit personal loan include:

Credit score

Having a bad credit score can limit your borrowing power when it comes to personal loans. This is because lenders are concerned with risk when it comes to granting large sums of money as a means of protecting themselves. Improving your credit score prior to applying for your personal loan will go a long way towards increasing your borrowing power as a single mother with bad credit.

Income and debts

As mentioned, lenders will want to see that you can comfortably manage your loan repayments before approving you. If you have existing debts that you’re still servicing on top of a lower overall income, you’re unlikely to be approved for a large loan amount. Clearing these ahead of time in order to commit yourself fully to personal loan obligations can help expand the funds you’re able to receive.

Loan security

Whether you choose to secure your loan or leave it unsecured will play a major role in how much you’ll be capable of borrowing. Providing an asset, such as your car or other vehicle, as security gives your lender a contingency plan should you become unable to fulfil your obligations and as such will encourage them to entrust you with greater sums of money. Unsecured personal loans, while faster and easier to apply for, can not only limit your borrowing power but also increase your interest rate and fees.

Reason for the loan

The purpose for applying for your personal loan can also impact the amount you’re able to borrow, as the loan amount can be directly tied to the value of your proposed purchase. For example, a car loan is more likely to be tailored to the value of the car. Additionally, there are reasons for financing that lenders consider more risky than others, such as a holiday compared to home improvements.

How to maximise your personal loan approval chances

Compare your options

Surveying the market for the best bad credit personal loan options will help you find out about each lender and, subsequently, the ones whose criteria match your personal circumstances the most closely. Knowing which lender to go to will help you tailor your application to suit their requirements.

Stay in your job

Employment and income are two of the major factors that can shape the success of your application. Lenders don’t want applicants who are currently serving in a probationary period at their job, as this means that your employment is inherently less stable. You should be in the same job for six to 12 months before applying for your personal loan.

Pay off your debts

While a bad credit score won’t put off an online lender, extensive existing debts are far more likely to. Lenders want to know that you’ll be able to service your personal loan without a hitch but juggling multiple debts at once may discourage them from approving you. Paying off as many debts as you can before your loan application shows that you’re committed to the loan.

Only ask for what you can manage

When applying for a personal loan, you should only ever ask for a loan on terms that you can feasibly and comfortably manage. Applying for an amount with repayments that take up a significant portion of your monthly income, for example, is a sure-fire way to hasten the rejection of your loan. Assess your capability and ask for an amount you know you can achieve.

Clearly set out the reason for your loan

Lenders aren’t likely to approve you for a loan without any reason, so explaining in clear terms what the funds are to be used for can help your approval chances. Creating a plan which breaks down how you intend to use the funds will instil greater confidence in your lender that you’ll use the funds responsibly and that they’re for a worthy purpose.

Frequently asked questions about personal loans for single mothers

Can I get a bad credit personal loan as an unemployed single mother?

Probably not – with loan amounts starting at around $2,000 to $3,000 as a minimum, lenders won’t be willing to approve a borrower for a personal loan whose income is garnered largely from Centrelink benefits. If you’re in this position, you should probably look to cash loans for single mothers on Centrelink with bad credit.

Should I look at cash loans for single mothers with bad credit on Centrelink?

You can – these loan amounts are smaller at $300 to $5,000 and boast easier applications and faster approval times. If you don’t fit a lender’s criteria for a personal loan, such as for income requirements, you’ll be more likely to get approved for cash loans. Criteria are more lenient, and lenders look past your credit score. However, fees on these loans are steep and can mount up quickly if you’re not careful.

What can I use a bad credit personal loan for?

Personal loans are versatile in their uses, so you’re not short on options in that regard. You might use it to buy a car, fund much-needed home upgrades, consolidate your debts, help pay for home moving costs or simply go on a family holiday.

How should I compare between bad credit personal loans as a single mother?

One of the most important areas to compare between bad credit personal loans is its interest rate. This will be higher that standard personal loans, so you should aim for a loan with the lowest rate possible. However, fees should also factor into your decision, as these too can cost you a significant amount in the long run. You should also look into whether your loan has free additional repayments and the maximum amount each lender is willing to approve you for.

Can a guarantor help my bad credit personal loan approval chances?

Yes – getting a guarantor will add an extra layer of security to your loan. They can not only improve your chances of approval, but also increase the amount you’re able to borrow. A guarantor agrees to take on the responsibility of paying for the loan if you become unable to. This role is typically filled by a close relation such as a parent or sibling, so you should ensure that the agreement doesn’t tarnish your relationship.

Will I be able to get a no credit check personal loan as a single mother?

No – there is no such thing as a no credit check loan in Australia. Even loans which aren’t as concerned by your credit score, such as bad credit personal loans and cash loans, still involve a lender checking your score to verify your identity and confirm details such as your residential address and if there are any recent defaults on your file.