A personal loan lets people borrow money for things like a holiday, car or home renovations. Under responsible lending laws, the person who takes out the loan in their name should receive the main benefit from it. Personal loans can be secured or unsecured and have either a fixed or variable interest rate.

If someone is struggling to repay a loan (for instance because of domestic violence or job loss), financial institutions have a team that people can contact to discuss a new or reduced repayment plan or other arrangement. These teams are called 'hardship teams' and sometimes have other names like 'financial assistance' or 'community wellbeing' teams. Some organisations have specialist teams trained in domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is worried about a personal loan in their name because their partner insisted on it, it's a good to get more information if it's safe to do so. You also could talk to the bank or lender to get more details and potentially explain the situation. Alternatively, and depending on the circumstances, a financial counsellor or community legal centre may be able to help outline some more options.

If a person has realised there is a personal loan in their name they weren't aware of, and they haven’t already seen a copy of their credit report, it could be worth getting a copy of this to see if there are any other loans in their name that they didn’t know about.

A secured loan means there is an asset, such as a car, provided as ‘security’ in the event the loan isn’t repaid. If a person is unable to repay a secured personal loan, they may need to sell the asset or the bank may repossess the asset to cover the loan amount.

Not making repayments on a personal loan, or falling behind on repayments, is likely to affect a person's credit rating, so it is best to address the problem as soon as circumstances allow.

Talk to a financial counsellor. Read the FRLC's handy guide to personal loans. Learn more about personal loans.