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No Interest Loan Schemes (NILS)

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides a way to access money to help you get on your feet - without having to pay back much more than the amount you borrow.

No Interest Loan Schemes (NILS)

If you're on income from Centrelink, NILS provides you with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. The scheme offers loans for essential goods and services of between $300 and $1200.

You can use NILS to:

  • buy essential household items such as whitegoods (like fridges and washing machines), computers or furniture
  • pay for health 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

Eligibility

To be eligible for NILS, you must:

  • have a Centrelink Healthcare or Pension card; and
  • have lived at the same address for the last 3 months; and
  • show that you can and are willing to repay the loan within 12 or 18 months

If you can't figure out if you're eligible, contact us on 1800 007 007 and speak with one of our financial counsellors.

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. 
    Find your local NILS provider
     
  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.

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, or provide you with a cheque addressed to them.

Are there any charges?

There are no fees, no charges and no interest for you to pay back.

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've provided all the documentation needed, or, depending on the provider, it may take up to two weeks.

Speak to your local provider about their own time frames.

What else can NILS offer me?

As well as helping you with the NILS application process, NILS providers will generally look at your overall finances and give you suggestions of other services that may assist you. For example, they may notice that you're eligible for concessions you're not receiving, or that you're paying more than you need to in bank fees. They may even refer you to a service that will assist with the cost of the item or service you need!

If $1200 isn't enough money, NILS providers can also offer Low Interest Loans of up to $3000 which, as per their name, have very low interest rates. It's usually a little harder to qualify for these as they are externally assessed, and your credit history will be checked.

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.