Small personal loans

Sometimes you need a bit of extra money to see you through, which is where a small personal loan is an option.

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small personal loans

No two financial situations are the same and loans are available in all sizes to meet your credit needs. If you want to finance a furniture purchase; cover an emergency expense or even pay for a holiday, you might want to consider a small personal loan.

⚠️ Warning: be cautious with short-term loans

If you're experiencing financial hardship and would like to speak to someone for free financial counselling, you can call the MoneyTalks helpline operated by FinCap on 0800 345 123. It is open from 8:00am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm Saturday. When comparing short term loans, ensure you take into consideration any fees, charges and rates you may be charged.

Alternatives to short-term loans

Consider these alternatives before applying for a payday loan:

  • Use online Government resources. The Commerce Commission New Zealand website explains how loans works and what to be aware of when borrowing from a lender.
  • Payment plans. Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan or receive an extension on your due date if you’re behind on payments.
  • Contact your creditors. Speak with creditors about extending the due date of your payment, or working out a new payment plan that works for both of you. Seek personal loans elsewhere. Consider a small personal loan from a bank or a credit union. You may qualify for a loan with much lower interest rates than those offered by payday loan companies.
  • Pay with credit card. Consider paying with your credit card to cover your emergency bills or payments. This is not a long term solution, as you’ll need to pay off the balance as soon as possible, but it’s an alternative to a short term loan with high – and immediate – interest rates.

A range of small personal loans you could apply for

Name Product Maximum Loan Amount Loan Term Turnaround Time Loan Interest Minimum Monthly Repayment Establishment Fee Account Administration Fee
$600
Up to 42 days
Overnight, or within 60 minutes with fast payment
250% p.a
N/A
$58 (less for loans under $400)
$6.10 per month (paid in advance)
Cash Relief offers short term loans of up to $600. Eligiblity: Be over 18, working full time and not rely on welfare payments.
$5,000
Up to 368 days
Within the same day
From 149.65% p.a.
N/A
$21.23
N/A
Borrow up to $5,000 and enjoy a flexible repayment plan. Eligibility: Be over 18, have an ongoing source of income, working visa applicants accepted (conditions apply).

Compare up to 4 providers

Wait! I have good credit.

What exactly is a small personal loan?

A small personal loan is a form of credit between $100 and $2,000. These loans differ from standard personal loans in that non-traditional lenders provide them; they usually have shorter loan terms and more flexible lending criteria. It’s important to note that most personal loans from a bank, like the ones in the table above, have a minimum borrowing amount of approximately $3,000 to $5,000.

Your small loan options

If you’re looking for a small personal loan, there are a few different types you can choose, all of which meet different needs.

  • Payday loans. These are small, short-term loans that you can use to cover expenses that arise before payday. These loans may be an option for people with negative listings on their credit file, as the eligibility requirements tend to focus on your income and ability to pay back the loan rather than your credit history.
  • Overdraft facilities. An overdraft gives you the option to withdraw more money than you have available in your account. The amount is quite small; usually, between $100 and $1,000 and you can overdraw up to an amount the lender predetermines, with set fees and rates.
  • A line of credit. A line of credit is similar to an overdraft facility, but the credit line isn’t attached to your transaction account, and you may be able to borrow more money. You can withdraw up to an agreed limit at a set rate, and the lender will only charge on the amount you withdraw.
  • Cash advance. A cash advance involves withdrawing money from your credit card. This type of credit starts accruing interest straight away, usually more than 20% p.a. Learn more about a cash advance here.
  • Good credit small loans. If you have good credit, you can still get a small loan. Compare your options above.

How can you compare small personal loans?

Small personal loans work in much the same way as other types of loan in that you are charged certain fees and rates to borrow money from a lender. Small personal loans do have a few key features, which are outlined below, that you can use in your comparison:

  • What are the fees you’ll pay?

Lenders charge a range of fees for lending you money. Check for upfront fees, eg establishment, and ongoing costs, such as annual or monthly fees. Other expenses, for example, those the provider charges for early repayment, may also apply.

  • What loan terms are on offer?

Traditional personal loans are lent for loan terms, eg seven years, whereas small personal loans are usually for terms of between 2 days and 1 or 2 years. Check what terms are on offer to find one that works for you.

  • How much can you borrow?

A small personal loan can range from loan amounts as little as $100 to as much as $2,000. Lenders will differ on how much you can borrow, so ensure you will receive the amount you need before settling on a lender.

  • How can you apply?

These loans are smaller, and for a shorter term, so most lenders operate online and provide quick loan applications. Some lenders can offer instant approval and transfer the small loan amount within 24 hours. When you apply, you need to provide personal and financial details.

  • How much are the repayments?

Depending on the type of loan you choose, the lender may offer different repayment options. Some loan providers may arrange your repayments in line with your income frequency and amount. Others may have other repayment features such as additional repayments or a redraw facility.


Things you should try to avoid

When applying for a small personal loan, you should first consider its necessity, then calculate the cost to determine the repayments and see if you can afford it. You should also consider the necessity of the loan. If it’s not for an expense you need urgently, it may be worth trying to save the amount rather than taking out a small loan.

  • Getting into too much debt

When considering whether to apply for a small loan, it’s essential to assess your financial situation first and ask yourself whether you really need the loan. If you are going to use it to pay bills or rent, ask your utility provider or landlord if you can have extra time to pay. You might also be able to set up a payment plan.

  • Making too many applications at once

Remember, credit report companies list each request you make for finance on your credit file, and too many listings look bad and show a profile of risk. If you are seeking a loan, it’s good practice to not apply to every company you find. Keeping your credit file in a satisfactory state may help you secure a loan.

The benefits and drawbacks of small loans

  • Quick access to funds. You benefit from getting a quick turnaround time on your loan. Some short-term loan brands offer a sixty-minute turnaround (of course, conditions do apply).
  • Borrow only the amount you need. If you just need a small amount of cash, then you don’t need to be in thousands of dollars of debt. Borrowing under $1,000 may be more financially feasible.
  • Set repayment periods. When you use a small loan, your repayment period typically falls on your next payday. If you can stick to a budget, you can make the repayments on time.
  • Higher fees. Because lenders offer small personal loans over a shorter period, the cost is often higher to protect the lender in the event of default or late payment.
  • Limited range of lenders. Depending on your credit history and income, you may have a limited selection of credit options. It’s always important to compare your choices before applying.

How you can apply for a small personal loan online

Compare your small personal loan options using the comparison table above. Once you have found a loan you want to apply for, click the “Go to site” button, which will securely take you through to the lender’s website. You can then fill out an online application form and provide personal and financial details. Some lenders offer instant approval and may deposit the loan amount in your account within 24 hours.

To be eligible for a personal loan, you usually need to be over the age of 18 and a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

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