COVID-19 and Your Financial Situation

What is the Coronavirus or COVID-19?​

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus (other coronaviruses in the past have caused similar diseases like SARS and MERS). Originating in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the initial outbreak rapidly developed into a global pandemic.

While the medical impact on Australia has been mild compared to harder-struck countries like Italy and the US, the economic consequences are significant and could continue for months or even years to come.

Here we’ll look at what COVID-19 might mean for your personal financial situation – and what you can do to get by during these tough times.

How does the Coronavirus or COVID-19 affect my personal finances?

The lockdowns in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have wreaked havoc on countless businesses, large and small, across the country. As such, many people have found their working hours reduced or their jobs lost entirely.

Losing Your Job

Becoming unemployed is stressful at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic that leaves you stuck at home all day. However, there are several things you can do right away to support yourself and your family after losing your job. Learn more here.

Centrelink Job Seeker Payments

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for the Job Seeker scheme, which can help you get by while you search for a new position. Read details on the scheme and check if you’re eligible here.

Government Stimulus Packages

The government is keenly aware of the economic impact of COVID-19. That’s why they’ve delivered multiple stimulus packages to help keep individuals and businesses afloat during the pandemic. Learn more about these packages here.

Early Access Super

One avenue that might be available to you is accessing some of your superannuation now while times are tricky. Read more about this option here.

Some Common Questions Around COVID-19

What is social distancing?

Social distancing encompasses a variety of measures that all Australians are being urged to take to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. It includes staying home as much as possible and keeping 1.5m away from other people when out in public. It also involves restricting non-essential gatherings to the bare minimum of people (e.g. 2).

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is essentially quarantine – eliminating all physical contact with other people. While everyone is currently urged to self-isolate as much as possible, this is especially crucial for people who have potential symptoms or have been diagnosed with the virus.

Is self-isolation sick leave?

This largely comes down to your specific employer and your personal circumstances. For example, if you’re able to work from home, you may not need to take leave at all. Speak with your employer to determine whether you can or need to take sick leave while self-isolating.

How to Keep Yourself Safe from COVID-19

While there’s no guaranteed way to avoid COVID-19, apart from completely self-isolating, there are measures you can take to reduce the risks when you leave home for essential reasons:


  • Avoid touching your face
  • Minimise the number of surfaces you touch
  • Maintain 1.5m between yourself and other people
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often (e.g. as soon as you get home or by using hand sanitiser while you’re out).


By following the guidelines and respecting each other, we can all get through this pandemic and return to normal life sooner. In the meantime, if you need some financial assistance while waiting to access a government scheme, consider Cigno may be able to find you a suitable solution..


Ordered by the Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has found that Cigno Australia Pty Ltd (Cigno Australia) and BSF Solutions Pty Ltd (BSF Solutions) have breached the law by engaging in unlicensed credit activity and charging prohibited fees.

In the period from July 2022 to 3 October 2023, over 100,000 consumers have been lent a total of $34 million, and charged fees of over $70 million, under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’ operated by BSF Solutions and Cigno Australia. At no time has either BSF Solutions or Cigno Australia held an Australian Credit Licence.

The Court also found that Mark Swanepoel (director of Cigno Australia) and Brenton James Harrison (director of BSF Solutions) were involved in these breaches of the law.

With effect from 24 May 2024, the Court has granted permanent injunctions preventing Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions from:

  • demanding, receiving or accepting fees or charges, including amounts of loan principal, from consumers in relation to credit provided under the ‘No Upfront Charge Model’; and
  • engaging in further credit activity pursuant to the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’, including by entering into new agreements with consumers, for so long as they do not hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Cigno Australia was ordered by the Court to, by 5th July 2024, send written communications to consumers who between July 2022 and December 2022 entered into agreements with Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’.

The Court will later determine whether (among other things) Cigno Australia and Mark Swanepoel ought to pay a pecuniary penalty in respect of this conduct, and whether Mark Swanepoel should be restrained from carrying on a business engaging in credit activity.

Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions, Mr Swanepoel and Mr Harrison intend to appeal the decision of the Court and have filed an application for leave to appeal. If the appeal is successful, some or all of the orders of the Federal Court of Australia may be set aside.

Where can you get more information?

Where to go for further support

You can access legal advice in your state at: Free legal advice –

If you are experiencing trouble with debt, or money worries in general, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or online chat (9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their webchat