Are you on a low income? Has your washing machine broken down? Does your fridge no longer keep things cold? Do you need to buy an essential household item but can’t afford it? If so a NILS®1 loan may be able to help you.

The No Interest Loans Scheme
The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®) provides ‘interest’ and ‘fee’ free loans for individuals, families or couples living on a low income. NILS® is a community-based initiative that enables people to access fair, safe and equitable credit for the purchase of goods and services.

What are the loans for?

NILS® is generally for the purchase of essential household items like a fridge, washing machine, TV, bed or clothes dryer. NILS® may also be provided to meet other essential needs. Contact your local scheme for details.

NILS® will not cover regular living expenses such as:

Electricity, gas, phone etc
Food, clothing
Existing debt or consolidation
Items in pawn broker or similar
Items already purchased

Who can apply for a NILS® loan?

  • Loan applicants must be in receipt of a pension benefit, DVA payment, Health Care Card or be of genuinely low income.
  • All NILS schemes have a residency criteria e.g. lived in your current residence for 12 months. Contact your local scheme for further details.
  • You must have a capacity & willingness to repay the loan. The NILS® interview will assess your financial situation.

How much can I borrow?

It varies, but the maximum is usually $800 to $1,000 and the repayment period is usually around 12 to 18 months.

1 The NILS® Trade Mark is registered to Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service (No. 766 836).

Case Study


Pam is a single mother with three children. She manages pretty well on her Centrelink payments but there is never any money left over each fortnight to save up for emergencies. The week before two of her children were due to start back at school she noticed that her fridge had started leaking and was no longer keeping the ice cream frozen. She had already taken out a Centrelink loan to buy new school shoes and uniforms for the children and did not have money to buy a new fridge.

Pam applied to her local NILS agency for a loan for a fridge. She was able to get one that was big enough for her and her three growing children, with repayments that were manageable. Originally she wasn’t sure about needing to buy a brand new fridge but when she worked out how much money it was costing her buying second hand ones that only lasted a few years she was really pleased to know she was going to have a reliable one. Pam also found that the vegetables kept much better in this fridge meaning that she didn’t have to go to the shops as often, saving her some time. With her busy schedule even half an hour a week is precious.



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