If you need extra money, there are plenty of lending options - but think carefully about the kind of debt you’re taking on and how deep into the red you’re heading.

Can you handle taking on debt?

Before borrowing any money, ask yourself if you really need it and whether you could save up for it instead.

If you can't avoid going into debt, research your options - you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest.

At Kiwibank, we’re dedicated to looking after Kiwis with great rates and flexibility to suit your needs. We’ll work with you to make sure you get the best value option, so you can clear your debt as quickly as possible.

Your borrowing options

Overdrafts

Overdrafts (for amounts from $100) are great as an emergency back-stop, taking the stress out of unexpected expenses or not getting paid on time.

Credit cards

Credit cards are a handy way to pay for everyday things. The trick to managing a credit card well is to make sure you pay the balance off in full each month - or at least make the minimum repayment to avoid additional charges.

A low interest rate credit card could be a good alternative to a personal or vehicle loan, depending on how much you want to borrow. You can also reduce your interest payments on your existing credit card by taking advantage of balance transfer offers, where we offer very low interest rates for a set period of time if you transfer your outstanding credit card balance from another bank’s credit card or store card.

Kiwibank has a range of credit cards to suit different circumstances and spending habits - Low interest cards or rewards cards. Compare credit cards to see which is right for you.

If you’re paying high interest on a credit card with another bank, consider transferring your balance to a Kiwibank Credit Card – you’ll get six months at a reduced interest rate.

Personal loans

Personal loans (for amounts from $2,000) can be used to consolidate debt - bringing it all together into one place, so you only have one bill to pay, often at a lower interest rate.

You can also pay for items or evens such as overseas travel, weddings or household furniture. If you know how much you want to borrow, our personal loan calculator will give you an idea of what your repayments might be, how long it could take to pay off and what the total interest might be.

Car loans

Car loans can be used to help you get the car you want (for amounts from $2,000 using our personal loan rates or from $6,000 using the vehicle as security for the loan and in return being able to take advantage of the car loan rates). If you want to borrow less than $2,000, you might be better off with a low interest credit card.

Home loan top ups

If you’ve managed to build up some equity in your home, you might be able to increase, or top up, your home loan to pay for things like renovations or a new car.

If you do this, you should try to pay off this extra debt as quickly as you can by setting it up as a separate loan portion with a shorter term. If you just fold it into your home loan over the long term, you’ll end up paying more in interest.

Take a look at our home loan rates and fees, and use our home loan repayment calculator to give you an idea of how much extra interest you could end up paying.

Hire purchase/store credit

Furniture, appliance and department stores often promote 'interest free' offers. Be careful with agreements like these - if you don't pay them off before the interest free period is up, you may end up getting stung with high rates once the interest free term is up.

Try to make regular payments throughout the interest free period so, when the time's up, there’s nothing left to pay.

There can also be a number of fees and charges associated with these kinds of agreements. Ask questions and read the fine print.

Setting up direct credit or automatic payments can help you keep on top of hire purchase repayments.

What banks and other lenders look for

You’ll need to be able to show lenders that you’re responsible with money and can pay off what you borrow. They’ll look at things like:

  • your income
  • whether you pay your bills on time
  • whether you save any money
  • whether your wages are regularly paid into your account
  • whether you have any other debt
  • your credit rating.

Breaking the debt cycle

Paying off your debt as quickly as you can is a fast way to financial freedom.

Work out a realistic budget and include the highest repayments you can afford. Set up automatic payments on your pay day so you never miss a payment.

And once you’ve cleared the debt, think about putting the money that was going on your debt payments into a savings account. Start by building up an emergency fund, so you won’t have to dip into debt if your car breaks down or something around the house breaks. Then start thinking about your short term, medium term and long term goals and work towards saving for them.

Financial hardship

If you're struggling with debt and going through financial hardship we may be able to help you. Please don’t be afraid to talk to us – the sooner you do, the sooner we can work out what we can do to help. Call us on 0800 222 224, 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, or find out more here.


This is intended as general information only. It does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personal advice. For advice about your particular circumstances please see your financial adviser.

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