Compare personal loans from a range of lenders

Learn how you could reach your financial goals and finance your next big purchase with a personal loan.


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Compare personal loans

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan is a secured or unsecured line of credit up to $100,000 over a number of months or years. You can use the money for a range of purposes, such as buying a car, consolidating debt, paying for a wedding or even taking a holiday.

How do personal loans work?

Personal loans are an agreement between you and a lender for you to be given a certain amount of money and pay it back over time. Here’s how they work:

  • Application and approval. You can apply for a personal loan from a bank, credit union or standalone lender online. It can also be done over the phone or in-branch, depending on what application types the lender offers. The time it takes to be approved depends on the lender, but it can range from anywhere between 60 seconds to a couple of weeks.
  • Loan contract. When you are approved for a loan you will need to agree to a loan contract that sets out certain terms. These terms include how long you will have to repay the loan (the loan term), what fees you need to pay, and the rate of interest you will be charged on your loan amount.
  • Loan terms. Your loan terms will be set out in your loan contract. Generally, loan terms range between three months and seven years.
  • Loan costs. Lenders agree to lend you money in exchange for interest, which is charged annually. This interest can be fixed or variable. Other loan costs include establishment fees, monthly fees and annual fees. You should also check if you will be charged fees for repaying your loan early or making additional repayments.
  • Loan types. There is a wide variety of personal loans available in the market, with each one with their own terms and restrictions. For instance, when you apply for a car loan the lender often requires that the entire loan amount be used for your car purchase. The car is also generally required to be used as security in case you default on the loan. An unsecured personal loan, on the other hand, is less restrictive and you can use the loan amount in almost any way you choose.

Types of personal loans

There is a wide range of personal loans available in New Zealand to those who have stellar credit, average credit or bad credit. Find out what loan may work for you with the below options.

How to compare personal loans

When comparing your personal loan options, it is helpful to keep in mind the range of features available with these loans. When you are comparing the options, here are some of the questions you need to ask.

  • Does the loan have a competitive interest rate? Rates on personal loans are either fixed or variable. Compare rates across similar loan products to ensure you are getting the best deal.
  • What are the fees and charges? You need to consider both ongoing fees and fees charged at the onset of the loan. Common fees include an application fee or loan set-up fee, while monthly fees and annual fees are common ongoing fees. You may also be charged to use additional features of the loan.
  • Is there repayment flexibility? How often are you able to make repayments? Are you able to make additional repayments or pay off the loan early without penalty?
  • Do the loan terms match your needs? Personal loans are usually offered for terms of between three months and seven years. Some lenders are more restrictive than others when it comes to how long you have to repay your loan, for example, only offering terms of one, three or five years. Make sure the loan terms on offer are what you need. Long term loans over seven years often see lower repayments, but you will pay a greater amount of interest.

Interest rates and fees

The interest rate and fees you are charged depend on the loan you apply for (you can compare these on the table above), but each loan type comes with similar costs and understanding these can help you compare personal loan options.

Who is eligible for a loan?

Eligibility for personal loans depends on a few different things:

  • If you have a low income. Applicants with low incomes can still be approved for loans. However, it is always a good idea to check the borrowing requirements and check your repayments with a calculator.
  • If you receive Work and Income payments. If you receive a pension, Work and Income payments or other benefits, you may still be eligible. It is important to make sure you can meet the repayments before applying.
  • If you have bad credit. You are still able to apply for certain personal loans if you have negative marks on your credit file. Bad credit loans are still possible. You might end up paying a higher interest rate on these loans, so it is important to compare a range of offers before applying.
  • If you have existing credit card or personal loan debt. You may still be approved for a new personal loan , but you should calculate your repayments and your debt levels before continuing.
  • If you don’t meet the minimum requirements. You still might be able to apply with a guarantor. This is where someone, usually a family member such as a parent, agrees to ”guarantee” your personal loan should you fail to meet your obligations.


Did you know you may still be able to get a personal loan if you hold a temporary visa, but many of the big banks won’t lend to you? If you are researching institutions that might lend to you on your temporary essential skills work visa, then it is best practice to go in armed with as much knowledge as possible. Find out which banks might offer you a loan; what the criteria is and how you can maximise your chance of being approved.

How to apply for a personal loan

  1. Get ready to make your purchase. Make sure you know how much you want to borrow and have worked out that you can meet the repayments.
  2. Choose a secured or unsecured loan. If you already own as asset or are looking to buy one, then a secured loan may be an option. If not, you may want to consider your unsecured personal loan options.
  3. Decide between a fixed or variable rate. A fixed rate loan means the repayments are set for the life of the loan and can’t fluctuate, whereas a variable rate loan can increase or decrease repayments over the life of the loan.
  4. Choose your terms. A calculator can help you work out your repayments.
  5. Start your personal loan research and comparison. This is an important step to finding the best loan option for you.
  6. Click through and apply.

How can I improve my chances of the loan being approved?

There is no way to guarantee you are approved for a personal loan, but giving yourself the best chance at being approved starts with meeting the eligibility criteria set by the lender. To further your chances of being approved, keep the following in mind:

  • Establish your borrowing capacity. What repayments can you afford? Lenders will use a variety of criteria to decide how much you are eligible to borrow, but you need to know how much you can afford to repay.
  • Building good banking history. Keep your account in good standing to build a positive relationship with your bank, even if you don’t plan on borrowing from them.
  • Keep your credit rating in good status. Make sure you keep track of all your payments, from credit cards to utility bills, because any arrears, debts, or missed payments will affect your ability to access credit.
  • Keep track of your saving goals. If you manage to contribute to your savings regularly, it shows lenders you are likely to manage ongoing loan repayments.

What documents will I need when applying for a loan?

Each bank and institution have their own criteria you have to meet to finalise your loan application.

The questions we’ve been asked about personal loans

How quickly can I get the money from my personal loan?Different lenders will have your loan amount transferred to you within varying amounts of time. Some banks are able to offer existing customers same-day personal loans and some payday lenders can have loan amounts transferred to new customers within an hour of approval. If you are in need of the cash as soon as possible, it is advisable to check to see how long it will take to receive your loan amount before you apply.
What is the average interest rate on a personal loan?At the time of writing the average rate is 14% p.a. However, it is important to keep in mind interest rates can fluctuate from 6.9% p.a up to 30% p.a. (or more depending on your credit score). The rate will depend on whether the loan is a fixed or variable rate; secured or unsecured.
What can the lender do if you fail to repay a secured personal loan?Secured loans, as the name suggests, means you offer something of value as security on the loan. If you don’t pay, you may find the bank will repossess your car (or any other item offered as security) and sell it.
What’s the best personal loan?Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The best loan for you will depend on what you need and also what loans you are eligible for. You can use the comparison tables available on to compare similar loans and select the most competitive loan option that offers the features you want. If you are eligible, then you can apply.
Can I pay back my personal loan early?You may be able to pay back your personal loan early but it depends on the conditions of your loan. Most variable rate personal loans allow for additional repayments or paying back the loan ahead of time without penalty.
I’m having trouble repaying my loan – what do I do?If you are having trouble repaying your loan you need to get in contact with your lender as soon as possible. They may be able to organise a payment plan with you, or offer some sort of option to help you manage your repayments. You also have the option of getting in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau on 0800 367 222 and they will put you in touch with a non-profit organisation that can help to organise your budget.
Can my personal loan be funded on the same day?Same day personal loans are a relatively new feature, and require you to meet the criteria set out by the bank. Some require you to be an existing customer or apply by a certain time of day. If you are approved, you will get access to your funds on the same day. Find out what lenders offer this feature.
Can I be approved for a loan if I work part-time or casually.Yes. Many lenders will consider you for a personal loan if you work part-time or casually. Check if you meet the criteria.
Do I have to tell the lender what I’m using the money for?The answer to this question depends on what type of loan you are applying for. If you are wanting a secured car loan then all details of the car, finance agreement and registration must be given to the bank or lender before you receive the money. However, if you are getting an unsecured personal loan, then you only need to give a general idea of the loan purpose to the bank. If you are consolidating debts, you will have to give details of your other loans and credits to the institution.
Can I buy a car with a personal loan?You can consider an unsecured personal loan or a secured personal loan if you are buying a car. Personal loans can be used for purchasing a car, especially if you want to buy an older model or a car that does not fit with a lender’s criteria. An unsecured personal loan could be used for a car, but it is important to keep in mind that unsecured personal loans come with a higher interest rate than a loan secured to a vehicle.
Can I take out a personal loan to cover a valuation shortage or to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance?If you have been approved for a home loan that falls short of your chosen property’s valuation you may be considering if it is worth applying for a personal loan. Personal loans might also be on the table to cover Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI). While this is an option, you need to consider if you will be approved for your personal loan (consider the home loan you have been approved for); and whether you can afford the repayments in addition to what you are paying towards your mortgage.
What’s the difference between a credit union personal loan and a bank personal loan?Credit unions are different to banks in that they operate on a not-for-profit business model. Typically you will find there are not as many fees or charges with a credit union loan, which means the interest rate may be lower. Credit Unions are governed by the same regulations as banks so it is just as safe to apply for a credit union personal loan.
Why has the interest rate on my personal loan changed?If you have a variable rate personal loan, then you may notice your interest rate goes up or down. This could happen due to a range of factors but is mainly based on what the Reserve Bank of New Zealand dictates the official cash rate to be. If you have found you rate has gone up, it may be a good time to consider refinancing your personal loan.
Should I take out a personal loan or a credit card?Credit cards can give you convenient access to a line of credit and you do have the choice between a personal loan or credit card for a variety of purchasing needs. To work out which option is best for you think about how you need to make the purchase (if it is in cash you will be charged a cash advance rate with a credit card); how you want to repay your loan (you can choose to just repay the minimum amount with a credit card); and what you are purchasing with the funds.
What is the difference between short term loans and personal loans?Whilst a short term loan, also known as a payday loan, is a type of personal loan there are a range of differences that make this type of lending completely different. Personal loans are generally taken out over 3 months to seven years, whereas a payday loan is usually between 7 days and one year. Payday loans are also for smaller amounts – between $100 and $5,000 – and are available to those with bad credit.
How much should I borrow?Personal loans can vary greatly in size from $1,000 and upwards of $80,000. If you are purchasing an asset such as a car, keep in mind you may need funds to cover insurance. Many banks and lenders consider up to $20,000 and $30,000 to be a medium sized loan. If you are only going to borrow between $10,000 and $20,000 then a small personal loan may suit your needs better.
What is loan protection insurance and do I need it?Many lenders offer loan protection insurance as an add-on to your personal loan. This insurance can pay the minimum repayments on your personal loan if you lose your job; or cannot work because of illness or injury. You usually apply for the insurance when you are approved for the loan but you may be able to get the insurance further into the loan term.
Can I get a personal loan for my solar panels?There is increasing demand for loans from people like you who want to protect mother earth. Kiwibank offer a “Sustainable Energy Loan Programme” that can be added to a mortgage you already hold with them. They also offer $2,000 over 4 years towards the system.
How much do you have to earn to get a personal loan?Most lenders will have a minimum income you need to earn to be eligible, but others will only require that you are employed or have the means to repay the loan. Minimum incomes can range from $14,000 p.a. to $50,000 p.a. but there are low income personal loans available.
Does my credit score affect my ability to get a personal loan?Lenders use a variety of information to determine your eligibility for a personal loan, including your credit rating. The information on your credit file includes negative information such as defaults and bankruptcy listings; and personal information such as your name and address. From 2012 onwards, New Zealand credit agencies have included positive information about your credit history, such as regular credit card and mortgage repayments.

You can check your credit score for free with finder to get a better idea of where you stand.

Will my credit score affect my personal loan interest rate?Some lenders offer different interest rates to different borrowers depending on how risky they are to lend to. This is what is called “risk-based pricing”. Lenders that use risk-based pricing may use your credit score as an indicator of how risky you are to lend to.

You can check the information in the personal loan comparison tables to see what lenders consider when calculating your interest rate, what the interest rate range is (ie the minimum and maximum rate you can receive) or if the interest rate displayed is the rate you will get if you are approved for the personal loan.

How do I repay a personal loan?Once you have successfully applied and received your funds, it is important to keep your loan repayments up to date. If you have applied for a loan with the bank your everyday account is with, then you will probably have an automatic direct debit set up. If your loan is with a separate institution, it is a good idea to set up an automatic transfer, via internet banking, a few days before your due date to allow for processing time. You will be able to check your balance, interest rate, repayment dates and schedules. You should login to your loan account regularly to check notifications and payments details. If you want to make additional payments then you could do this by internet transfers or if your bank allows it, over the counter deposits. If you miss a payment due to insufficient funds then it is important to call the bank and attempt to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
Can I use a personal loan for equipment finance and small business needs?Yes, personal loans can help with your business needs too. You can access personal financing to help cover business needs — everything from trucks to equipment can be purchased or even leased with a personal loan. The same is true even if you have bad credit. Business vehicles including company cars, trucks or vans can all be financed with a personal loan. If your business requires specific equipment to purchase or lease, such as forklifts, earthmoving equipment, workshop machinery or even office equipment, you can take out a personal loan to help cover the costs. You won’t have to hurt your business’ cash flow to make the purchase.
How can I cancel my contract through cooling-off rights?It’s important to know whether or not you are able to cancel your contract through the cooling-off period. Once you know that you are able to do this, fax a letter to the vehicle trader explaining that you would like to break the contract in accordance with the cooling-off period. Keep a copy of it and ask for proof that the company received it within three days of you signing the contract.
Am I able to do this for every car contract?Some car traders do not allow you to have cooling-off rights. This is important to know before you try and break the contract due to the cooling off period.
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