Levelling the playing field for low income earners


By Barbara, mum of three

To say that I’m a big fan of Good Shepherd Microfinance would be an understatement. Over the past few years I’ve had NILS and StepUP loans when I’ve hit a bump in the road, and I’ve used AddsUP to help create a better financial future for myself and my children.

I first heard about NILS through the Casey North Information and Support Service.  My washing machine had broken and I had no way of replacing it. I’d gone to them for help and they referred me to NILS.  I was able to quickly get a no interest loan, which I repaid over 12 months. 

I’m meticulous with budgeting, but unexpected costs like this put such a strain on my finances.  Without the loan I would have been really stuck, I probably would have had to resort to one of the payday lenders which was the last thing I wanted to do. So when my fridge broke down a few years later, I went straight back to NILS for a second loan. 

After successfully paying off my loan, I was invited to participate in the AddsUP Savings plan.  Whatever I saved - up to $500 - would be matched dollar for dollar. I put a little away every fortnight and I loved watching it build. The best thing was the peace of mind it gave me, knowing I had that financial buffer should I need it. 

Most recently I used the StepUP program to get a low interest loan for a car. After five years of running like a dream, it started to play up. I spent 18 months and far too much money fixing it.  It finally got to the point where it was uneconomical to repair - the best thing was to cut my losses and replace it. 

I’m self-employed, working in photography and film. Jobs can come up anywhere, so a reliable car is essential for me to be able to work. I made enquiries into different financing options, but the interest rates were astronomical. I just don’t know how companies can get away with charging more in interest than the actual loan amount.

With StepUP, I borrowed $3,000 over three years and paid $185 in interest, which I think is absolutely amazing.  I went through the Good Money store in Dandenong. The loan took a few weeks to process, but it was well worth the wait.

I believe Good Shepherd Microfinance has really levelled the playing field for people like me. Instead of being penalised for being on a low income, it puts us on par with everyone else and gives us access to fair and affordable finance. 

I’m always recommending it to people.  Why would you use anything else when this is available?

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