Payday Loans Information: Ultimate Guide

Looking for payday loans information? Find out everything you need to know about this type of lending in our ultimate guide. Make sure you’re informed.

What is a payday loan?

A payday loan, also known as a small amount loan, is a small, short-term cash loan typically used to cover expenses up to $2,000. These loans often come with higher interest rates and fees, and they’re meant to be repaid quickly, over an agreed timeframe between 16 days and 52 weeks.
Lenders are banned from offering loans of $2000 or less that must be repaid in 15 days or less, something to be aware of when seeking a quick cash injection to cover unexpected expenses.

A little history of payday loans in Australia

Early 2000s:

Payday lending began to gain traction in Australia during the early 2000s. Storefront lenders offering small, short-term loans started to appear in various cities across the country. These loans were often marketed as a quick solution to immediate financial needs.


The Australian government introduced regulations to address some of the concerns related to payday lending. The Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC) was introduced to establish consistent lending practices and protect consumers from predatory lending. This marked the first significant step in regulating the industry.


The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) took over regulation of consumer credit, including payday lending. ASIC implemented new rules requiring payday lenders to provide clear and transparent fee structures, as well as conducting proper affordability assessments to ensure borrowers could repay the loans without experiencing financial hardship.


The Australian government introduced additional reforms to further protect vulnerable borrowers. These reforms included capping the total repayments on consumer leases and adding obligations for lenders to assess the suitability of credit for borrowers.


Payday lending remains a topic of discussion in Australia. Regulatory efforts continue to focus on ensuring responsible lending practices, affordability checks, and transparency in fees and interest rates. There is also ongoing consideration of alternatives to traditional payday loans.

How do payday loans work?

A payday loan, also called a small amount loan, lets you borrow up to $2,000. The loan can be set up to be repaid anywhere from 16 days to 12 months.
With a payday loan, the borrower receives immediate cash, and in return, they agree to repay the loan amount plus fees.

How much are payday loans?

The cost of payday loans is regulated by ASIC, which sets out the fees and charges a lender can include on the loan. You may be required to pay a one-off establishment fee of up to 20% of the loan amount and a monthly account fee of not more than 4% of the loan amount and any expenses. There can be additional capped expenses if you are unable to repay the loan.

Pros and cons of payday loans

Advantages of payday loans

  • Quick access to funds: Payday loans are designed for immediate needs and emergencies. They can provide fast access to cash when you’re facing unexpected expenses like medical bills, car repairs, or urgent home repairs.
  • No credit check: Many payday lenders do not require a stringent credit check for approval. This can be helpful for individuals with poor credit who may have difficulty obtaining loans from traditional lenders.
  • Simplicity and convenience: The application process for payday loans is often straightforward and can be completed online or in-person at a storefront location. This convenience can be especially useful when you need funds urgently.
  • Short-term solution: Payday loans are meant to be repaid quickly. This short repayment period can prevent you from being burdened with long-term debt.
  • No collateral required: Payday loans are typically unsecured, meaning you don’t need to put up any valuable assets as collateral to secure the loan.


Disadvantages of payday loans

  • High costs: Payday loans often carry extremely high interest rates and fees, making them one of the most expensive forms of borrowing. The fees on payday loans can be much higher compared to other types of loans.
  • Debt cycle: Due to the short repayment period and high costs, some borrowers may struggle to repay the loan on time. This can lead to a cycle of renewing or re-applying , incurring additional fees and interest.
  • Limited loan amounts: Payday loans typically provide small loan amounts, which may not be sufficient to address larger financial needs.
  • Negative financial impact: Relying on payday loans to cover regular expenses can lead to a cycle of dependency and financial instability.

Alternatives to payday loans

Credit card cash advance

If you have a credit card, you can use the cash advance feature to borrow funds. While this option may have higher interest rates than regular credit card purchases, it’s generally more cost-effective than payday loans.

Small personal loan

Consider borrowing from banks, credit unions, or online lenders that offer personal loans with lower interest rates and longer repayment terms.

No interest loans

When you receive a bill, you can submit it direct with your application to the no interest loan (NIL) provider, which will pay the invoice for you.

3 ways to get out of payday loans

1. Debt consolidation loan

If you have multiple high-interest debts, consider consolidating them into a single, lower-interest debt consolidation loan. This can simplify your payments and reduce the overall interest you pay.

2. Debt relief

Some local organisations, charities, or government agencies offer financial assistance to individuals facing emergencies or financial hardship. WayForward is one such organisation in Australia.

3. Financial counselling

Reach out to nonprofit credit counselling agencies that can provide free or low-cost financial advice, such as National Debt Helpline. They can help you create a customised plan to manage your debts and improve your financial situation.

Summary: are payday loans bad?

While payday loans have had a bad reputation in the past, they’re not all scams. There are many payday lenders that adhere to responsible lending practices. Whether or not a payday loan is a good or bad idea for you will depend on your particular circumstances. There are plenty of decent alternatives to consider if you’re looking for some fast cash, such as a small online loan from Red Tree Finance.

More payday loans information:

If you default on your payday loan or apply for multiple payday loans at once, it can have a negative impact on your credit score.

It will depend on the lender but it should be possible to repay your payday loan early, which could save you money in fees.

Most lenders that offer payday loans will also offer these loans to pensioners.

You don’t need to be employed to access a payday loan. These loans are also known as “small amount loans” and most lenders who offer payday loans will also offer them to unemployed applicants.

How much would you like to borrow?

Loan amount


Repayment frequency

Your monthly repayment

Loan term
12 months
Interest & Fees
Total to pay

WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. The above uses a comparison rate of 47% and upfront establishment fees of $420.

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