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Living on a low income can make it hard to pay for the bigger expenses life throws at us. A fridge or washing machine breaking down, car needing new tyres or purchasing a computer or tablet for your kids’ school are huge stresses when you don’t have much spare after paying for housing, food and utilities.

Credit cards, pay-day loans and rent-to-buy can seem like good options, but fees, interests and hidden costs mean you can end up paying much more than you borrowed.

The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS ®) provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit.

Loans are available for essential goods and services up to $2,000. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 24 months and are deducted directly from your Centrelink benefit. 

NILS in a Nutshell

It’s a hand up, not a hand out. NILS® loans are small and completely free of interest and fees.

They are designed to help people and families purchase household essentials, health & well being, education & employment, vehicle & transport.

Not a pay day loan, not a bank loan

NILS® works through a process called ‘circular community credit’. This means when a borrower makes a repayment to NILS®, the funds are then available to someone else in the community.  It is worth considering a NILS® loan first before seeking other expensive options for credit. 

Trust and respect

Your credit history won’t have an impact on your ability to get a loan. There are no credit checks as this program is based on trust and respect. 

How do I apply for a loan?

Call the NILS® team on 03 5561 8888 to make to discuss your needs.

Provide the following documents to our team:

· 2 forms of identification e.g.

Drivers Licence, Your Health Care Card, Pension Card, Low Income Card, Medicare Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Card.

· Bank statements for the past three months.

· Proof you have lived in your current home for at least three months. For example if you rent, please provide a lease or letter from the person you pay rent to. If you own your own home, please bring a local council rates notice or receipt.

· Your latest Centrelink Income Statement. If you have trouble accessing this, ask us during your meeting and we can help you.

· A copy of your latest electricity or gas bill.

· A copy of any other loan or lease agreements or statements. For example do you rent a TV, have a personal loan or are paying off a mortgage?

Get a quote for the item you need. We’ll need to know the details of the item, including the price and who you will be buying from.

A face to face appointment or telephone appointment will be made with you.

You’ll be contacted with the outcome of your loan within 48 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for a NILS® Loan you must have a Health Care Card / Pension Card or earn less than $57,000 a year after tax ($75,000 for couples or people with dependants), have lived at your current or previous address for at least 3 months, and can show that you have capacity to repay the loan.

What can I use a loan for?

Loans are available for the purchase of essential goods and services.

These may include:

· Household items like fridges, washing machines, TVs and furniture

· Medical procedures and dental services

· Education essentials such as computers and textbooks

· Car repairs or registration

· Other items as requested

You can’t use a loan for food, rent, bills, cash or debts. If you are in need of assistance with these visit to find the nearest emergency relief provider.

What happens during my appointment?

Your appointment is nothing to be nervous about. Think of it more like a friendly chat. A meeting to discuss a loan application usually takes around 45 minutes.

We can conduct appointments in our office or over the telephone. If you are having a phone appointment keep your phone nearby at your scheduled time and remember that the call from us may come from a private number.

What happens after my appointment?

Once you have completed your appointment and submitted an application, you will be contacted about the outcome within 48 hours. If your loan application is successful, the items (or service) are purchased directly from the supplier.

Loan repayments, starting from as low as $20 a fortnight can be deducted directly from your Centrelink benefit for a 12-24 month period.