If you’re not employed in the traditional sense and are in need of finance, you may wonder whether a loan provider will consider you. This guide will take you through your options for borrowing while you’re unemployed; what you need to be aware of and how you can apply. You can also see the ins and outs of eligibility criteria for lenders that offer these loans.
Lenders that can offer loans if you’re unemployed
⚠️ 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.
The short answer is yes, but you still need to be earning a form of income or have suitable income-earning assets to repay the loan, which may involve you receiving Work and Income payments, being self-employed or having a regular deposit into your account from shares. However, please be aware that only some lenders will consider you for a loan.
Often, lenders require access to your banking history and financial documents to verify you can repay the loan.
- You need to be able to repay the loan.
The leading thing lenders consider when you apply is whether you can manage the repayments. If you are only looking to borrow a small amount and your income and expenses show you can easily handle the repayments, then you may be eligible. If you are asking for a significant amount of money, that will make it hard for you to manage day-to-day, the lender will not approve you.
- You need to meet other requirements.
You may find it difficult to receive approval if you have any other short-term loan contracts open that you currently repay. Also, many lenders will not consider you for a loan if you’re presently bankrupt or have a Debt Repayment Plan (Summary Instalment Order). You need to check the other eligibility requirements set by the lender before you apply. Although they may be flexible when it comes to employment, they may have different criteria you need to meet.
- Do you receive Work and Income payments?
If you receive specific Work and Income allowances, such as the pension, you may be able to use these as income (although this may only be a certain percentage of your income). Make sure you ask the lender if they accept the benefit you receive as an income.
The requirements differ, depending on which lender you look to apply with and how much you wish to borrow. You need to check the specific criteria before you apply, but the following may be relevant:
- Earning an income. While you may not need to be employed, you still may need to have a regular income to apply, so if you aren’t employed or are employed casually but earn a sufficient income, you still may be eligible.
- Receiving Work and Income payments. Some lenders accept Work and Income payments as a form of income, but they may have guidelines around this. Make sure you check the specifics before applying.
- Your credit rating. With flexible employment criteria often comes flexible credit criteria. Therefore, if a lender is willing to look beyond your not having a job, they may see beyond negative marks on your credit file. Bear in mind, though, that this flexibility may have its limits. For example, you may have a default or two, and it be acceptable, but some lenders will not consider you if you are currently bankrupt.
- Your assets. If you own a car or a boat outright or have equity in a property, your application may have a higher chance of receiving approval, because the lender may use this as security for the loan.
There are a number of different loan options for those who are unemployed, between jobs or receiving benefits.
|Ferratum||$100 to $1,000|
- Over 18
- Earn at least $500 per month
- New Zealand citizen
|Swoosh Finance||$3,000 to $100,000|
- Over 21
- Working visa applicants accepted
- Bad credit applicants accepted
- Beneficiaries accepted
|Cash Relief||$100 to $600|
- Over 18
- Earn at least $450 weekly (after tax)
Sarah needs a loan
Sarah has been out of work for three months, after completing her degree, and currently receives Work and Income payments. She can get a job as a sales rep, but needs a car for them to offer her the role. Sarah has found a cheap car to purchase from a friend for $1,500, so all she needs to do is secure a loan.
Sarah can comfortably repay the full amount using her Work and Income payments, and when she receives pay from her new job, the loan repayments will be even easier to manage. She compares her small, short-term loan options and sees some lenders will consider her Work and Income payments as income. After examining what’s available and double-checking the eligibility criteria, Sarah submits an online application and receives approval for the loan amount. Her repayments are structured around her Work an Income payments, and, after purchasing the car, she is offered the job.
There’s more than just short-term lenders to consider if you’re in need of finance while unemployed. It’s important to look at all your options and find the best one for your needs and situation.
- No Interest Loans scheme (NILs). Provided by Good Shepherd New Zealand, the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILs) offers credit to individuals and families who have lower incomes and hold a Community Services Card. They provide loans of up to $1,000 for no fee, charges or interest, to help people pay for household items, medical and dental services and even educational essentials. Applicants need to show a strong willingness and ability to repay the loan and need to have resided at their current address for over three months.
- StepUP Loan. Another option offered by Good Shepherd New Zealand, this time partnering with the Salvation Army, BNZ and the New Zealand government. A loan is available for between $1,000 and $5,000, with an interest rate of 6.99%. To be eligible, you need to hold a current Community Services Card, and as with NILS, you need to have been at your current address for more than three months. This loan can be used for household items and medical or dental expenses, as well as to purchase cars, computers or to pay for repairs on your house or car.
- Joint applications, guarantors and co-signors. If you’re unemployed and in need of a loan, you can consider applying with another person, eg a partner, relative or friend to boost your eligibility. Many lenders offer the option for joint applications so you can access finance. If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria on your own, find out if you can apply with someone who does. Remember, this is a significant responsibility the guarantor or co-signer is taking on, as they are sharing the responsibility for you repaying the loan.
You don’t reach the end of the finance road when you are unemployed. If you can manage the repayments there are lenders who will consider you and loan options available. Remember to compare all the options open to you, to secure the best one for your needs.