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Your Complete Guide To Personal Loans

Discover the ultimate guide to personal loans in Australia, compare loan types and see which option is best for you.

12 min read

HeroImage-Your Complete Guide To Personal Loans

Sometimes, you need a helping hand to get you to the next stage of your life. Whether you’re buying a new car, remortgaging your home or taking that first step on the property ladder, a personal loan can help you get there faster. But which loan is right for you? Is taking out a loan the right course of action? Discover our complete guide to personal loans in Australia, compare loan types and see which option is best for your needs today.

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan is a lump sum payment of between $2,000 to $100,000 that is repaid over a term of up to seven years. The loan amount and repayment options are then agreed upon by you and the lender. A personal loan can be secured or unsecured, and used for a variety of purposes, from buying a new car to buying your first home.

Key Factors to Consider before Applying

Before you take out a personal loan it’s important to consider your reasons for needing the loan. Perhaps you are making renovations to your current home, buying a new home or consolidating your debts to manage your monthly outgoings.

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How much are you looking to borrow?

If you’re looking to borrow a smaller amount under $2,000 you might want to consider an overdraft or a short term loan rather than a personal loan.

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Do you have a bad credit rating?

When applying for a loan your lender will perform a credit check on you before taking your application further. A bad credit score can mean high risk, which can mean higher interest on your loan, so if you know you have a bad credit score you may be better off looking at loans from short term lenders. Use our Repayment Calculator to get a better idea of your rate in seconds!

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Do you have any equity you can use as security?

Secured loans offer lower interest rates, as they are lower risk. If you have assets you can use as security you can benefit from a lower rate overall with a secured loan.

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Do you need one lump sum, or will you need more funds during the loan term?

If you need to access funds more than once over a longer period you may want to choose a personal line of credit or overdraft.

What Personal Loan Types are Available?

Choosing the right type of personal loan for you can save you a lot of money on interest repayments in the long run. There are a few standard types of personal loans you can choose from, including:

An unsecured personal loan is one where the lender requires no security on the debt.  This means your loan is not backed by any personal collateral, such as home equity or a line of credit. Unsecured loan types offer a more flexible option for borrowers, however interest rates on these loan types are usually higher as they are more financially risky than a secured personal loan. You may also need to provide a guarantor to say that your repayments will be made, though this is not normally required.An unsecured personal loan is one where the lender requires no security on the debt.  This means your loan is not backed by any personal collateral, such as home equity or a line of credit. Unsecured loan types offer a more flexible option for borrowers, however interest rates on these loan types are usually higher as they are more financially risky than a secured personal loan. You may also need to provide a guarantor to say that your repayments will be made, though this is not normally required.

Whether it be a wedding, car, home improvements or even a dream holiday, having a good credit score provides you with far more flexibility when it comes to making large purchases, especially if you lack the initial funds to pay for something in full.

A variable-rate personal loan is a flexible loan with varying monthly repayments. Interest rates can fluctuate at the lender’s discretion, which can cause your repayment amount to increase or decrease. If rates decrease, your repayment amount will decrease and vice versa. These loan types tend to be more likely to offer features and benefits which could suit your situation, however they can be harder to budget for on a month-to-month basis.

The opposite of variable loans, fixed loans charge a fixed interest rate for the full term of the loan, making it easier for you to manage your repayments. The only real downside to a fixed loan is if interest rates drop, you won’t see the benefit and may be paying more.

An overdraft is a type of emergency personal loan, where you are granted a specific amount of money to go “overdrawn” on your account balance. These are simple to set up and a convenient way to cover any financial emergencies or expected payments leaving your account. You only pay interest on what you use throughout the month, however, there are usually caps on how much you can borrow, and interest rates are usually higher than a personal loan.

A line of credit a pre-agreed borrowing limit that can be used at any time, offering flexible access to funds as and when you need them. These kinds of loans work similarly to a credit card and are good for making multiple smaller purchases that can be repaid quickly.

Secured vs. Unsecured Loans

There are 3 primary points of difference between these two personal loan types:

Asset RequirementBacked by an asset you own, such as your home or carRequire no security to set up
Variances in Interest RateLower interest ratesHigher interest rates
Restrictions on Loan UsageSome restrictionsLittle to no restrictions

Use our loan calculator to get your free personalised rate

Benefits & Drawbacks of Personal Loans

There are a number of advantages and disadvantage to taking out a personal loan, most of which will be relevant to your personal situation. Take some time to consider your reasons for taking out the loan and assess how the loan will benefit you in the long term. Check out the information below for some general personal loans pros and cons.



Consolidate existing debt


Purchase big-ticket items now and pay off the full amount in smaller instalments


You can borrow any amount up to $100,000


Longer repayment period



Transferring of debt rather than just paying off what you owe


Not meeting the monthly repayments will increase fees and interest

Did you know?

Personal loans offered by SocietyOne are free of hidden fees or monthly costs and also don’t penalise you for being proactive by not charging early repayment fees.

What Documents are Needed to Apply for a Loan?

In order to apply for a loan, there are some personal documents you will need to share with your lender. Most financial institutions will have their own application criteria, but in general, you will need the following documentation to finalise your loan application.


Proof of identification

This can come in the form of a driver’s licence, proof of age card, passport or Medicare card. You may also be asked to provide a utility bill showing your current address.


Proof of income

In order to verify your income, you may need to provide recent payslips, proof of bank statements and two years of tax returns if you’re self-employed.


Statements from other loan accounts/credit cards

Your lender will ask you to provide information on any other loans or credit cards you have open before you set up your personal loan.

If you’re applying for a car loan you will also need to provide:

• VIN or chassis number, engine number and registration plate details

• Car dealer information or the contact details of who sold you the car

• Dealership invoice (if you are purchasing a vehicle)

• Your CTP insurance and comprehensive insurance details

Common Reasons for Personal Loan Application Rejections

Getting rejected for a personal loan can be disheartening, especially when you’re in a tight spot and in need of the money. You can feel lost, and unsure of why they would reject you. There are a variety of reasons your loan application may get rejected, ranging from your employment history to the reason you need a loan in the first place.

Read on to discover the most common reasons personal loan applications are rejected to get an idea of your own eligibility and tips for getting your application approved.


Bad credit history

There are a number of factors that can give you a bad credit score, even if you have never defaulted on a loan payment before. Things like late payments and applying for lots of different loans over a short period of time can give you a bad credit rating. Have an idea of your rating before you apply by requesting a copy of your credit report or getting a credit score check.


Low income

Your lender is going to be looking at your application and thinking, “Does this person have the means to make the monthly repayments on this loan?”. Lenders cannot approve applications that can’t be paid back, so this will play a huge factor in the decision-making process.


Unstable employment history or non-existent employment history

In relation to the above, lenders will check your employment history, and whether your job is stable enough to keep up with monthly repayments.


Incorrect personal details

Lenders are looking to verify your details in order to grant you the loan, so any inconsistencies here will be flagged and they might reject you.


Credibility of loan purpose

Check you can finance what you need with the loan you are making an application for. Many loans come with restrictions on how the funds can be used, for example, secured loans can only be used on certain assets.


Low-value equity

Many lenders have restrictions on what assets you can use as equity against your loan, so if your assets don’t make the cut you could be rejected.


Amount of loans already open

If you already have several personal loans open the lender could reject you as high risk.

“A great idea is to check your credit score and make sure you meet all of our eligibility requirements before applying. That way you may avoid being rejected.” SocietyOne CEO Mark Jones

Tips for getting your application approved


Understand your eligibility

Make sure that you understand the requirements of the loan you are applying for.


Double-check your personal details

It seems simple, but ensure that the details you provide are correct so that there is no reason for your application to be rejected. Providing any incorrect information or submitting a part-filled out application can lead to rejection.


Check that your equity meets requirements

Ensure that your collateral meets the requirements of the loan you’re applying for.


Take a look at your loan portfolio

Don’t hold more loans than you can afford, as your lender might not think you’ll be able to pay it back. If you have other loans, you can look into consolidating this into one loan or paying back some of the loans before you apply for new ones.


Check the credit requirements

Understand what level of credit you will need for your loan application to be successful and see if you meet them. If you’re unsure, ask your lender before you apply.


Check your loan purpose is allowed

Discuss your loan purpose with your lender to see if it suits the loan you are applying for. Secured loans will have more restrictions.


Ensure you meet employment requirements

Check whether you need to have been in your job position for a certain amount of time, or how regularly you need to show income is coming in before you apply.


Find out the min. income requirements

Different lenders will have different income requirements, and this can change subject to the loan you are applying for.

Frequently Asked Questions

The first thing you should do is check your eligibility with the lender. If you're looking to apply for a personal loan with SocietyOne, you'll need to ensure you meet our lending criteria below:

  • You need to be at least 18 years of age
  • Be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia
  • You must earn more than $30,000 per annum
  • It's important that you have a good credit history

If you're applying for a secured personal loan, you will need to have an asset to pledge as security. At SocietyOne, your asset will need to meet a minimum value, depending on the amount you wish to borrow. Acceptable assets include:

  • Vehicles (passenger and light commercial vehicles)
  • Motorbikes
  • Caravans
  • Marine (boats and personal watercrafts)

We do not accept heavy commercial vehicles.

You will need to provide asset details, proof of ownership or purchase invoice, and insurance as part of the verification process.

Applying for a SocietyOne loan is simple.

  • Get your rate: In as little as 2 minutes we'll give you an interest rate and comparison rate based on your credit profile.
  • Apply online: Most people finish their application within 5 minutes (and it's easier to do if you're enjoying your morning coffee).
  • Get paid: Once approved, we'll have the loan funds in your account in as little as 1 business day.

Get your rate now and get started.

The amount you can borrow depends on the loan options you choose and how much you can afford to repay.

With an unsecured personal loan, you can borrow from $5,000 to $50,000. However, if you choose our secured option, the maximum loan size is $70,000.

With either option, you should borrow an amount that suits your situation, so that you will be comfortable paying off each instalment.

Please contact customer service at

Fixed interest rate

Our personal loans have a fixed interest rate, meaning your interest rate doesn't change during the life of your loan and your regular repayments are always the same.

Fixed rate personal loans can help make it easier for you to budget. With no early repayment fees, our fixed rate loans give you more freedom and allow you to pay off your debt sooner.

Our fixed rates for unsecured personal loans range from 9.20% p.a*

Our fixed rates for secured personal loans range from 8.20% p.a*

Comparison rate

If you're looking to compare personal loans, the comparison rate is the most transparent way to compare the true costs. A comparison rate takes into account the interest rate as well as the known fees and charges that are payable (such as establishment fees), making it easier to understand the complete cost of the personal loan with a more transparent comparison of the products.

Our comparison rates for unsecured personal loans range from 9.20% p.a*

Our comparison rates for secured personal loans range from 8.27% p.a*

We charge a one-off establishment fee that is included in your total loan amount. There are also no monthly fees or early repayment fees giving you the security of a fixed rate loan, with the flexibility to pay it off early. Visit our Rates & Fees page for further details.

Establishment fee‍

No up-front payments, just a one-off fee included in your total loan amount and paid over the life of the loan. Establishment fees range from: 0% with a maximum establishment fee of $645.

Overdue Account Fee

Payable when the repayment is 7 days overdue, and again every 14 days thereafter, until arrears are cleared or a cap of $210 is reached. Overdue account fee: $35 per Overdue Account Fee

Dishonour Fee

‍Payable each time a direct debit is dishonoured or your commitment to make a loan repayment is not met. Dishonour fee: $15 per dishonour

Early repayment fee

‍Some lenders charge you for paying your loan out early. We don't! Early repayment fee: $0