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)

25 March 2015 Media Release

Call for goods rental companies to put client interest first

Figures showing almost half of Radio Rentals’ $197 million revenue comes directly from Centrelink payments have led Good Shepherd Microfinance to call for a new “responsible referral framework” to be introduced into the consumer lease industry.

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1 May 2014 Media Release

New research reveals: No interest loans change lives

The independent evaluation by the Centre for Social Impact found that the NILS program diverts clients away from predatory lenders such as fringe credit providers and goods rental services.

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18 August 2016

Saying goodbye with an important cultural ritual – a unique use for a no interest loan

Edwina’s partner passed away last year. He was from the Torres Strait Islands where a tombstone ceremony is an important cultural ritual.

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20 April 2016

National NILS Conference – partnerships for financial inclusion

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

Norma, NILS client