Gold Coast locals can now borrow money for essential goods and services and pay no or low interest, helping them to avoid the high fees that come with cash loans and expensive consumer lease contracts.
Queensland’s first Good Money community finance store opens today on Nerang Street, Southport and provides access to the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS), the StepUP low interest loan, as well as dedicated financial counselling support.
People living on low incomes can use NILS to borrow up to $1,200 for essential goods and services such as furniture, whitegoods, computers, medical expenses and educational costs, and can make repayments over a 12 to 18 month period.
Good Shepherd Microfinance Chief Executive Officer, Adam Mooney said there are many people on the Gold Coast and in the Hinterland region who could be eligible for a NILS loan.
“Good Money will be providing services to individuals and families on low incomes who need a little bit of help to replace a broken washing machine, fix the car, or cover their children’s educational expenses,” Mr Mooney said.
“Sometimes people feel that they don’t have any alternative other than to take out a cash loan or a consumer lease to cover the cost of essential items like a new washing machine.
“A rental contract for a $550 washing machine could cost more than $2,000 over a four year period, but, with NILS, you won’t pay a single cent more than the value of that washing machine,” he said.
Queensland Minister for Communities Shannon Fentiman said the partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance and the Palaszczuk Government will give Queenslanders in need a financial leg-up.
“We all hit tough times at some stage in our lives. This has never been more evident than during the past few weeks, where many Gold Coast and Logan families have been impacted by surging floodwaters,” Ms Fentiman said.
“We know there are around 100,000 people on the Gold Coast and in the surrounding region who would be eligible for a NILS loan through Good Money. That loan could buy a fridge or a washing machine for a family in need and help them to steer clear of unscrupulous payday lenders looking to make a quick buck at their expense.”
NAB General Manager of Retail QLD, Paul Collins said this time of year can be a difficult period for families on low incomes who are still recovering from the costs of Christmas and, more recently, the Easter break.
“This new Good Money store will make it easier for thousands of individuals and families, and NAB is proud to play our part to help Australians on low incomes,” Mr Collins said.
Since 2005, NAB has committed $130 million in microfinance loan capital and provides around $24 million to finance NILS and StepUP loans each year.
A second Good Money store will open in Cairns next week; Good Money shopfronts are already open in Victoria and South Australia.
In addition to Good Money stores, the NILS program is offered through a network of community providers in around 140 locations across Queensland.
Good Money stores also offer low-interest StepUP loans in partnership with NAB for up to $3,000, and information about Essentials by AAI – an insurance product, in partnership with Suncorp, designed specifically for people on low incomes.
- Two million Australians are experiencing severe levels of financial stress and another 10 million have a low level of financial vulnerability.
- 1 per cent of Australians would be unable to raise $2,000 within a week in an emergency.
- Payday lenders were estimated to generate between $670 million and $905 million in cash loans in 2015.
- Women are increasingly turning to payday lending. The number of women accessing payday loans increased by 110 per cent between 2005 and 2015, compared to industry growth of 80 per cent.