No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

For many people on low incomes, paying for essential goods and services is a struggle, and the effects of going without can be huge.

Without a fridge you can’t store fresh food, without a computer kids can be left behind at school, and if you can’t afford the pre-apprenticeship course, education can stall before it even begins.

The No Interest Loan Scheme offers people on low incomes safe, fair and affordable loans for fridges, washing machines and furniture, as well as education and medical expenses.

Loans up to $1,500 are available from 178 community organisation at 628 locations across Australia.

NILS also provides a safe and affordable alternative to the high cost finance options such as payday loans or ‘rent to buy’, products which promise ‘fast cash’ but often compound a person’s financial situation.

To be eligible for NILS you must have a healthcare or pension card, earn under $45,000, have lived in your current residence for three months, and have a willingness and capacity to repay the loan. There are no credit checks.

NILS is a leading example of Circular Community Credit. When a borrower makes a repayment, those funds then become available to someone else in the community. Clients recognise that repaying their loan means someone else is given the same opportunity they were – consequently, the repayment rate is constantly 95 to 97 per cent.

NILS reflects Good Shepherd Microfinance’s focus on improving opportunities for women and girls, with women representing 67 per cent of NILS clients. And our commitment to reconciliation and closing the gap is highlighted by the 22 per cent of clients that identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

Research shows that four out of five NILS clients are moving away from crisis and hardship towards stability and resilience – achieving economic mobility. In addition, four out of five clients who have used payday lenders in the past have stopped using them since accessing NILS.

NILS is supported by the Australian Government as part of its five year, $33.3 million investment in microfinance, and our long standing corporate partner, the National Australia Bank.

of clients live in single parent families with dependents

of clients live in single parent families with dependents

of clients identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people

of clients identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people

of loan recipients were women

of loan recipients were women

of loans are fully repaid

of loans are fully repaid

average loan amount

average loan amount

dedicated microfinance workers & volunteers

dedicated microfinance workers & volunteers

locations across Australia

locations across Australia

people reached

people reached

Latest News from No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

26 August 2016

Six tips for stress free student saving

We asked RMIT student and Good Shepherd Microfinance Communications Intern, Ally Gallagher-Fox, for some advice on saving while studying. Here’s what she told us…

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2 November 2017

Addressing financial exclusion

In Financial Inclusion Week, it's important to highlight that many Australians experience financial exclusion. However, programs such as NILS, StepUP and FIAP can enable people to build their financial capability and resilience.

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16 October 2016

Building a carer-friendly community

We’re working with Carers Queensland, Carers South Australia and Carers Victoria to improve the economic wellbeing of people like Jess.

Read More

20 January 2015 Media Release

Back to school costs putting parents under pressure

With parents paying out hundreds of dollars before their child even begins the school year, families on low incomes are finding it increasingly difficult to find money for the growing list of must-haves, which in many cases now includes a laptop or tablet.

Read More

When I was successful in getting a loan, it picked me up. I felt I was in control again.

Norma, NILS client