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Applying for a Personal Loan? Here’s What You Need to Do First

A woman carrying a handbag and checking her phone. Photo: Death To Stock Photo

Whether you're consolidating debt, upgrading to a new set of wheels or taking a well-deserved holiday, you might consider taking out a personal loan to help you get it done sooner. It's a big decision, but the process of applying for a personal loan isn't as daunting as you might think.

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan is a type of credit you borrow from a lender to finance a big purchase such as a car, boat, wedding, home renovation or holiday. When life throws you a curveball, you may be able to lean on a personal loan to help you pay some unexpected medical bills or take care of some debts that have gotten a little out of control.

Who is eligible for a personal loan?

We hate to be vague, but it depends. To obtain a personal loan in Australia, you generally need to be a permanent resident over the age of 18. You'll need a steady income to be able to service the loan, and you'll need to have a halfway decent credit score to be seen as an acceptable risk to a lender. 


Your credit score is a number that represents your financial standing in the eyes of the credit bureau. It helps lenders determine how likely you are to pay back your loan. If this all sounds like Gibberish, check out our guide to Credit Scores.

Should I apply online or in-branch?

If you feel more comfortable talking to a human, applying at your local bank branch may be a good option for you. However, it's super easy to apply for a personal loan online these days. It usually only takes a few minutes to get an estimate, perhaps half an hour to apply and a few days for a decision to come back – all from the comfort of your home.

But just because it's quick and easy to apply for a personal loan doesn't mean you shouldn't take the time to consider whether it's right for you. Have a good think – we'll be here when you're ready.

What do I need to apply for a personal loan?

Depending on the lender, there are certain documents you need to provide throughout the application process. It's a good idea to have these handy before you get started. If you're applying online, you'll need to make digital copies, so having access to a scanner will speed things up.

Pro Tip

If you have an iPhone, you can use the nifty feature on the Notes app to scan a document with your camera.

Documents you may need to apply for a personal loan:

– Form of ID: Australian Driver's Licence, passport or photo ID card

– Recent payslips or some other proof of income

– Employment details: generally, you'll need to provide your employment details over the past 3-5 years

– Bank statements: proof of incomings and outgoings as well as proof of savings

You may also need the following:

– List of your assets: including cars, house, notable possessions

– List of your debts: information regarding any existing loans, credit cards or outstanding BNPL balances

– List of your living expenses: a general outline of your regular expenses, including rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, transport costs, bills, schools fees, etc.

Your personal loan gets approved – what's next?

Congrats! That means you're a good egg in the eyes of the lender. Once you get the tick of approval, you'll be sent some forms to complete these are usually electronic. From there, it generally takes a few days for the funds to hit your account.

Once you know what your regular repayments will be, it's a good idea to sit down and look over your budget. Do you need to set up an auto-transfer to ensure you have sufficient funds in your nominated account each time a repayment comes around? Are there any other direct debits you need to coordinate? It helps to be on top of it to avoid missed and late payment fees.

Your personal loan gets rejected – what's next?

That's a bummer! There could be a number of reasons why your application was denied. Australia's responsible lending obligations hold financial institutions to pretty high standards when it comes to handing out credit. At Wisr, we do some pretty serious investigative work to determine whether or not a loan is suitable for you. If we believe taking out a loan will put you in a worse financial position, leaving you unable to meet your existing obligations, we can't in good conscience grant you a loan. If you want to learn more about Wisr's lending policy, check out our guide to Playing By Responsible Lending Rules.

How do I choose a personal loan product?

It can be a tough choice to make. There are loads of considerations when it comes to comparing personal loans. You need to consider which features are most important to you. 

Interest rate: Are you simply looking for the lowest interest rate? Pay special attention to the comparison rate when making your choice. We've put together a handy guide for harnessing the power of comparison rates – check it out. 

Fees: You'd be surprised how quickly ongoing fees add up over the life of your loan. Make sure you're aware of all upfront and ongoing costs of holding that loan. Take note of any late or early repayment fees too.


Wisr does not charge early repayment fees! We want to help you pay off your loan as quickly as possible!

Loan terms: If flexibility is important to you, making sure you have the ability to customise your loan terms may be a winning attribute. At Wisr, we offer 3, 5 and 7-year loan terms. We also give you the choice of paying weekly, fortnightly or monthly. For instance, things can get pretty confusing if you get paid monthly but need to make repayments fortnightly. It's nice to have the option to choose a frequency that works for you.

Additional repayments: In our opinion, lenders shouldn't charge you for paying off your debt early. They should celebrate it! At Wisr, we encourage you to make additional repayments where you can. We even built an app to help you do just that. Find out more about the Wisr Round Up App

Eligibility: This is an important one. Some lenders have pretty tight rules around who they will lend money to. For instance, some lenders won't offer loans to applicants who are self-employed. Others won't lend to pensioners. The best course of action is to contact your proposed lender and ask for information about their specific lending criteria. 

How do I choose a lender?

Taking out a personal loan is a pretty big decision. You're not just buying a product – you're essentially entering into a long-term relationship. It's important to take the time to make sure you're a good match. For this reason, you may step back and assess the lender from a holistic perspective. Do they share your values? Do they lend responsibly? Are they giving back to the community? 

At Wisr, designing a loan that meets your unique needs is what we're all about. As Australia's first purpose-led FinTech, it's our mission to bring financial wellness to all Australians. We offer a free credit checking service so you can stay on top of your scores, an app that allows you to round up your purchases to pay off a debt or save for something special, and a range of resources, articles and guides to help you make smarter money decisions.

Did you find this content helpful?

Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.

Joanne is a respected leader of multiple disciplines within Banking, with 17+ years’ experience ranging from credit risk, product management, pricing, analytics and strategic project delivery.

Joanne, Chief Operating Officer

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