Families Now Top Users Of No Interest Loans

National Australia Bank
  • No interest loans up 19% in the past year.
  • Families have overtaken individuals when it comes to demand for no interest loans.
  • 1 in 2 low-income Australians likely to consider no interest loans when made aware of it.

More than 42,000 no interest loans have been issued in the past year by Good Shepherd and NAB, up 19% on the previous year, as Australians face cost of living pressures.

Significantly, the number of families using NAB and Good Shepherd’s No Interest Loans program (NILs) to meet expenses has risen in the past 12 months, overtaking individual use.

NAB partners with Good Shepherd to provide loans with no interest and no fees to Australians on low incomes, people with a healthcare or pension cards, or anyone who has experienced domestic and family violence in the past decade.

The loans are used to support the purchase of basics such as fridges, medical bills, cars or computers, with customers only paying back the amount borrowed in small, regular payments.

In the past year:

  • More than $68 million in no interest loans was issued to Australians, up from $57m*.
  • More no interest loans were issued to 35-39 year olds than any other age group.
  • Household essentials were the main reason for seeking a no interest loan, followed by vehicle and transport costs.
  • 1 in 2 low-income Australians say they would consider a no interest loan to help manage costs.
  • An increase of 33% in the number of people seeking a no interest loan who are employed

Safe and simple financial support

NAB Executive for Sustainability Jessica Forrest said no interest loans were a safe and simple option for people needing extra support in meeting the cost of living.

“Families who have never had to ask for financial help before are now seeking no interest loans, often to help pay for unexpected costs or cover the cost of replacing an appliance that has suddenly stopped working,” Ms Forrest said.

“For some, meeting the increases in their everyday expenses like rent and groceries has meant there is no longer an emergency fund available to cover the unexpected costs that arise.

“Payday lenders and other short-term unregulated creditors prey on people when they are in financial trouble, promising quick-fix solutions which often create more long-term debt and stress.

“No interest loans don’t charge interest or have any fees and are a simple and secure way to help cover unplanned and unexpected expenses.”

Covering unexpected costs

Single mother of three, Kate, said her family would have “gone without” if she hadn’t discovered NILs.

“Currently I live on a support pension and carers pension for my middle child,” she said.

“Financially things are tough and my rent has just gone up by $200 a month. That was a big shock.”

Kate said despite her strict budgeting, she has struggled to stay on top of her finances when unexpected expenses arise.

“I know my son, 12, is going to Canberra for a school camp next year and it’s going to cost $900, which I’m saving for now. Then out of nowhere I discover my other child has a camp next term at primary school that’s $450. I will try to cover it, but if needed I will turn to Good Shepherd – I don’t want him to miss out.”

Kate has used NILs three times over the past four years to help pay for her son’s school tablet, a washing machine and a dryer.

“Without NILs I wouldn’t have been able to purchase the items. I could have maybe got used, cheap whitegoods and tech but I wanted the longevity of a new item and the benefit of having a warranty,” she said.

“Having NILs there is a godsend, I will definitely be looking to Good Shepherd and NILs to help me in the future.”

More than one million Australians have benefited from no interest loans in the 20 years since NAB and Good Shepherd joined forces to provide the loans.

Notes:

  • No interest loans are designed for individuals who earn (before tax) less than $70,000 ($100,000 for families) or have a healthcare or pension card or have experienced family or domestic violence in the last ten years.
  • The No Interest Loans Program is funded by the federal government and state governments, with capital funding by National Australia Bank and delivered to eligible Australians via Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.

/Public Release. View in full here.