How to Get a Loan with Bad Credit

A blemish on your credit history can make it more difficult to get approved for a loan, but you do have options. If you need a financial solution that won’t rule you out based on past mistakes, the good news is there are lenders who will still consider your application.

In this article, we look at how to get a loan with bad credit, the steps you should take, and some advice for improving your credit history moving forward. We also discuss home and car loans specifically.

Step 1: Check Your Credit History

The first thing you need to do is find out just how problematic your credit history might be. This also gives you the opportunity to review your report for any potential errors – the last thing you need is a false incident negatively impacting your credit score.

There are several credit-reporting bodies that are obligated to provide your credit report for free once per year. These include:

You can also access a free report within 90 days of having a loan application rejected.

You can read more about accessing your credit report on the government’s Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

Step 2: Select a Viable Lender

Lenders to Choose From - Cigno Loans

Once you know if your credit rating is excellent, very good, good, average or below average, you’ll be better able to apply with the appropriate lenders. If your score is below average, you can skip the big banks and other institutions that won’t consider you and move directly to companies that specialise in bad-credit loans.

It’s also worth looking for a lender that uses real people to make decisions rather than relying on algorithms. A human is sometimes more likely to say yes – even when a computer says no.

Finding the right lender can feel overwhelming, so you may prefer to work with a finance specialist like Cigno to arrange the loan for you. We know which lenders will consider borrowers with low credit scores, so you’re less likely to have your application rejected.

Step 3: Apply

This step doesn’t vary too much from applying for a regular loan. However, it’s in your best interest to be honest and upfront about your credit score and provide as much evidence as possible showing that your current circumstances won’t lead to any repeats of previous defaults. For example, it may help if you bring recent bank statements that show you successfully paying bills and repaying other loans.

Step 4: Improve Your Credit Score

Paying Off Credit Card - Cigno Loans

You’ve experienced the restrictions a low credit score can place on your access to loans, and you’ve likely paid more interest than you would have with a healthy credit rating. There’s no better time to take a serious look at improving your credit history.

The obvious place to start is by repaying your bad-credit loan promptly and in full. Then you can consider some of these tactics for improving your score:

  • Lower the limits on your credit cards
  • Set a direct deposit schedule to ensure all your rent and bills get paid on time
  • Aim to pay off your credit card in full every month
  • Consolidate your existing loans/cards into a single loan
  • Make mortgage and other loan repayments on time.

Taking steps now to bump up your credit score will make it easier in the future to get approved for loans with lower interest rates.

How to Get a Home Loan with Bad Credit

The steps above are all relevant for getting a home loan. However, there’s an extra tip to consider when applying for a mortgage: lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). If you can save up enough of a deposit (usually around 20%), you may not need to worry about LMI. This means you skip the extra step of having a mortgage assessor review your application – and that’s one less person who might reject it.

Home Loan and Car Loan - Cigno Loans

How to Get a Car Loan with Bad Credit

Just like getting a personal loan, successfully applying for a car loan with bad credit involves:

  • Knowing your rating in advance
  • Being honest and transparent in your application
  • Taking steps now to improve your rating
  • Proving you’ll be able to repay the loan (e.g. with evidence of stable employment and other prompt repayments).

To discuss the short-term finance solutions available to you based on your credit score, feel free to contact our friendly team today.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.


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