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Frequently Asked Questions

Home Loans FAQs

Does Money Buckets only Do Specialist Lending and Non Conforming Loans?

Money Buckets has a broad variety of Banks we access and can give as competitive rates as anywhere in the Market. We are always on the lookout for which Bank has got the best deal going at the time. It can change quite dramatically, so it pays to have us shop around for you.

Why is it important to have a choice of Banks?

Different banks will look at things differently. When one Bank says NO, another may be quite happy to say YES. You don't always have to go to a specialist Lender if your bank is not helping.
Banks vary greatly around their requirements for Deposits, Construction Loans, Rural Areas, Cash Out Requests, your Age, How long you have been in your job or whether you are self employed. Don't fall in love with just one bank, your circumstances may change.
Think of Banks and Lenders as a specialist tool to master whatever Job you need them to do.

What is a non conforming Home Loan?

Most Banks will not lend against your home if you have defaults anywhere on your credit report, you owe money for Tax, you haven't paid your rates or other bills are running late.
Even though once you consolidate your loans everything is more affordable, they consider this too big a risk to refinance you. A company that will refinance your debts and take that risk into account is said to be offering a non conforming home loan.

How does this Help Me?

While the Interest rate is a little bit higher than a normal Home Loan, it can be considerably cheaper than a car loan, credit cards or other debts. The consolidation of debts over a longer period of time should drop your repayments substantially on what you are making now and put you in a better day to day financial position. Also if your debts are running late, you need to address the situation before it escalates into a mess. We are obliged to make sure the refinancing of your debts, puts you in a much better and more secure financial position than before. This can quite often mean the difference between keeping your home or losing it.

Why is the Interest rate higher on Non Conforming loans?

The Interest rate is determined by the risk the Lender has taken to approve your loan. The amount of loans that default when people have experienced financial troubles is considerably higher than normal, and the interest rate reflects the risk involved.

Does that mean the Interest on this Home Loan is always Higher?

No! If you make the repayments promptly and on time for a couple of years, we will look at refinancing you into the best rate available at the time. You will need to keep your other debts under control as well.

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Debt Agreements FAQs

How do I qualify for a Debt Agreement?

Firstly you need to be struggling to make repayments and are in financial difficulty
Also, to qualify for a Debt Agreement you will need to meet certain criteria set by AFSA. The following amounts are indexed by AFSA and adjusted several times per year. Visit The AFSA Indexed Amounts website to view the latest amounts for -

  • The maximum amount of total unsecured debt that is allowed
  • The maximum amount of unsecured assets that is allowed
  • The maximum income level allowed

What debts can be included in a Debt Agreement

Only unsecured Debts up to a value determined by AFSA (see AFSA website) Examples of unsecured Debts are: Most Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Tax Debts, Insurance claims against you, Phone or old Rent from previous address', Store accounts.

What debts can't be included?

Examples of a Secured Debt that you need to keep paying are Most Car, Bike, Boat Loans. Home loans and Rental Plans on Household Goods and Electronics. If a car is surrendered or repossessed the balance of the loan will then become unsecured. If you have sold the car or bike with out permission from the Lender you may not be able to unsecure the loan.
Debts that can't be put in a Debt Agreement are Traffic fines, Court Ordered Fraud Settlements or fines and Government Accumulated Help Debts.
Accumulated Help Debt includes any unpaid HECS HELP, FEE HELP, VET FEE HELP, OS HELP and SA-HELP debts.
Also includes any Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), Postgraduate Education Loan Scheme (PELS), Open Learning Deferred Payment Scheme (OLDPS) and Bridging for Overseas-Trained Professionals Loan Scheme (BOTPLS) debts you incurred before 2005. SRE Debts and Child maintenance arrears can be included but there are conditions.

What about my tax refund?

Any Tax you owe may be put into a Debt Agreement and the debt will be discharged at the end of the Debt Agreement. However, the Tax department will keep any Tax Refunds you may receive during the Debt Agreement, until they have received all of their money. Typically not all of the Debts in a Debt Agreement are paid back in full and are written off at the end. The Tax Debt is no different, except that the Tax department is allowed to keep any Tax Refunds, to make up the shortfall during the Debt Agreement. But if the Tax Debt has been generated via fraud and you have tried to deceive the Taxman, they may still pursue any balance owing after the Debt Agreement has been completed. Lately they seem to have been more active in this area. Here is an exact lift from the AFSA Government Department Website 02/09/16
"Debts relating to income tax and GST obligations are, if not incurred by fraud, provable in debt agreements and released when debt agreements are completed. This means that, in most cases, the Australian Taxation Office can vote and receive dividends in a debt agreement and cannot seek to recover the balance from the debtor after completion of the debt agreement. However, you should be aware that the Australian Taxation Office may, in certain circumstances, offset a tax refund that was due to you against a debt you owe the Commonwealth. If you owe money to the Australian Taxation Office and this debt arose due to fraud, you will still need to repay the balance owing to the Australian Taxation Office when the debt agreement ends."

Can I run a business?

Yes. You can even be a Company Director

Will I still keep my car and house?

Yes, as long as the payments are maintained

Do all people I owe money to have to agree?

No. As long as creditors that control over half of your debt, agree to the debt agreement the balance of creditors must comply with the government lodged agreement.

Who has to know about it?

You do not have to tell your boss or your partner. However if you are planning to refinance a house or similar or you have joint loans, it will be better to discuss this with your partner.

What are the consequences?

Your Debt Agreement will be listed on your Credit Report, one day from approval and for a period of 5 Years. After this point it will drop off and give you the opportunity to have a fresh start.

Being on a credit report will prevent you from borrowing money for 5 years 1 month. If you work in an Industry where your credit rating may be an issue (eg: Banking or Finance and in some States Real Estate Licensees or holders of Building Licenses) it may be better to discuss other options).

What's the difference between Bakruptcy and a Debt Agreement?

A part IX Debt Agreement is designed to prevent you having to declare Bankrupt. It is designed as a simple way to get out of a difficult financial situation without doing too much damage.
It will restrict you from borrowing money for the period of the debt agreement.
It will appear on your credit file for 5 years and 1 day and then disappear if you have completed your payment plan.
Because a Debt Agreement prevents any further Debt Defaults from before the Debt Agreement completion date, being put back on your credit file, it will allow your Credit File to be reset clean at the end of the 5 year period. Of course if you don't pay other debts like phones and electricity bills they will still default on your report.
The Debts will be locked into a set amount and your only obligation is to pay the payment plan you have agreed to, at which point your obligation ends.
If you pay your Debt Agreement out early, you can then look at borrowing money again or even applying for a home loan if you have been able to save some money. But be aware there are still difficulties until it drops completely from your credit File. You may have to look outside a bank for finance (Talk to Fast Debt Help for options) and there may be a higher Interest Rate or bigger Deposit required.
You will keep your Major Assets including the family home and cars. Contact Fast Debt Help to confirm current Thresholds that you can keep and still qualify.
A Part IX Debt Agreement is designed to help you avoid Bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy makes it more difficult to borrow money, even after the bankruptcy has been terminated.
You will not be able to be a Company Director.
Any Overseas travel may be restricted and you may have to surrender your passport.
Any Major Assets have a much lower threshold before being put towards your debt.
You will have to complete an income assessment every year.
You will be required to pay 50% of your income after tax if you earn over a certain amount. This will vary according to your number of Dependants.
See Australian Financial Security Authority or contact us here at Fast Debt Help for current amounts and a more detailed explanation.
Any Windfalls you may have such as Tax Returns, Inheritances or Termination Payments will be included in this income.
For more information on Bankruptcy, see the Bankruptcy Assistance section.

What if I don't qualify for a Debt Agreement?

If your Debts, Income or Asset levels are too high to qualify for a Part IX Debt Agreement, Fast Debt Help will look to organise an Informal Debt Arrangement.
This could still generally help you out of a difficult financial situation. You could still have one payment per pay period to an administrator and in many instances we may still be able to freeze the interest.
The objective is to get you into a position with a payment plan that can get you out of Debt and back in control.
This can be used as short-term solutions or as a permanent arrangement.

Can I apply for a Student Help Loan whilst in a Debt Agreement or Bankrupt?

The Short Answer is Yes.
But be aware you must start paying back the Debt when your income reaches the compulsory repayment threshold. This will be handled by the Tax Department and will be payable whether you are currently bankrupt or not.

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Informal Arrangements FAQs

How is an Informal Arrangement different to a Debt Agreement?

Debt Agreements are controlled by government legislation while Informal Arrangements are not.
Once Debt Agreements are approved, all creditors must adhere to the term. With Informal Arrangement, each creditor must be happy with the offer before they will accept it. However, most Creditors will normally come to an arrangement.
If you are in a career that may be affected by your credit rating, or you are outside the government thresholds that allow for Debt Agreements, or you think your circumstances may change for the better in the short term, then an Informal Arrangement is a very good option.

What happens if a creditor doesn't accept the agreement?

You will need to maintain the regular minimum repayments to that creditor.

Will an Informal Arrangement affect my credit rating?

Unlike a Debt Agreement, there is not an entry on your Credit File that says you are in an Informal Arrangement with your Creditors. As long as you keep up with your repayments, according to the arrangement made, you shouldn't get a default on your report. However if there is already a default on your credit rating for that debt, it does not remove it. It will not prevent a creditor putting a default on your credit file if you miss payments. However they must go through the correct process to do so. Under changes to current legislation, late payments to creditors or arrangements will automatically show for 2 years.

Is there a limit to the amount of debt that can be negotiated?

As long as you can make an acceptable offer of payments to your creditors, there are no restrictions on the amount.

Can company or business debt be negotiated and included?

Yes it can

Can I enter into an Informal Arrangement on Centrelink payments?

Yes, as long as it is demonstrably clear you can afford the repayments

What debts can be included in an Informal Arrangement?

Generally the same debts as with a Debt Agreement, so just about any kind of unsecured debt can be included. Some common examples are credit cards, personal loans and tax debts. Also repossessed cars, debts to friends and relatives and Debt Collectors. If someone will agree to a payment plan it can go in.

What about debts to friends and relatives?

An informal arrangement is quite often the best way to handle debts to people you know, as the repayments can be quite flexible.

Can joint debts be included in an Informal Arrangement?

Yes, joint debts are particularly suited to Informal Arrangements. Generally a deal can be put in place that handles the situation for both parties. It is important to figure out both you and your partner’s financial situation when doing this.

How do I make repayments on an Informal Arrangement?

Direct debit accounts are typically set up to allow you to make one lump sum or regular ongoing payments into a Trust Account. The Administrator will then distribute the money to all of your creditors on your behalf.

Can I travel overseas when in an Informal Arrangement?

Yes, there are no restrictions on travel

Can I run a business in an Informal Arrangment?

Yes you can. There are no restrictions on running a business or being a Company Director.

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Bankruptcy FAQs

What happens if I do nothing about my unpaid debts?

  1. Creditors can apply for a garnishee of your wages, leaving you little money to live on.
  2. If your creditors are aware you have any assets such as a car, boat or house they may force you into bankruptcy, so that they can collect the proceeds from the sale of your assets.
  3. Your credit file may continue to be adversely affected by creditors listing unpaid defaults and judgments

Can my application to voluntarily become bankrupt be rejected?

Yes. Your application may be rejected if it appears that:

  1. You are likely to be able to pay the debts.
  2. You are avoiding payment of a particular debt(s)
  3. You have been bankrupt previously.

Am I eligible?

You can apply for bankruptcy if you meet these 2 requirements

  1. you're unable to pay your debts when they are due (insolvent) and
  2. you're present in Australia or have a residential or business connection to Australia

Is there a minimum amount I need to owe before I can go bankrupt?

No. You can become bankrupt voluntarily owing any amount.

A creditor has made me bankrupt - what happens now?

You should make contact with your trustee without delay. If you are unsure who your trustee is, contact AFSA and quote the court reference number that is on the sequestration order.
Your trustee will be able to provide you with information and answer your questions. You must cooperate with your trustee and provide information upon request. Failure to cooperate with your trustee is an offence under the Bankruptcy Act. You must complete and file a statement of affairs form within fourteen days of being notified of your bankruptcy.

What are the consequences of bankruptcy?

  1. Your assets may be sold. You will be able to keep ordinary household goods, tools (up to a certain value) and a vehicle (up to a certain value) but other assets – including your house – can be sold by your trustee. In some circumstances you may be able to make an arrangement to keep your house. You cannot conceal, remove or dispose of any property inside or outside Australia. If you do, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
  2. Your income, employment and business may be affected if your income exceeds a certain limit. You may be required to make contributions from your income. You cannot be a director of and/or manage a company. However you can operate a business as a Sole Trader or a Partnership. Some professional/licensing bodies may restrict or prevent you from continuing in that trade or profession. You may not be able to hold certain public positions. If you are in business and trade under a business name different to your own, you must tell everyone you deal with that you are bankrupt. If you don’t, you may be subject to criminal prosecution. Whilst you are bankrupt you will be prohibited from managing a company, without the permission of a court.
  3. You may not be released from all debts. You are released from most of your unsecured debts (eg credit cards, personal loans, store cards) once you are discharged from bankruptcy. Some types of debts are not covered by bankruptcy e.g. Court penalties, fines and child support debts. Further, if a debt that is covered by the bankruptcy is found to have been incurred by fraud, then you will still owe the balance remaining upon discharge. If a debt is secured against an asset (eg. a mortgage on a house or car) and you do not maintain repayments, that creditor can repossess and sell the asset; however any shortfall between the mortgage amount and the sale price will be covered by your bankruptcy.
  4. Your ability to travel overseas will be affected. You will not be able to travel overseas without the written permission of the trustee and you may be asked to surrender your passport to the trustee. If your bankruptcy is administered by the Official Trustee you will be required to pay an overseas travel application fee. Applications to travel overseas for family reasons and work are generally granted.
  5. Your ability to obtain future credit will be affected. You will find it hard to borrow money and buy things on credit. You may find it hard to rent, get electricity, water or the telephone connected without paying a bond. Some banks may not let you operate an account or may restrict how you can use your account. If you obtain credit above a certain amount you must tell the supplier that you are bankrupt.

What is the role of a trustee?

A trustee is appointed to administer the bankruptcy. The duties of a trustee are specified in legislation and trustees have to adhere to certain standards while administering your estate. In order to pay creditors, your trustee will: sell your assets, including those you acquire or become entitled to during your bankruptcy (although you will be able to keep certain types of assets) recover any income you earn over a certain limit, investigate your financial affairs and may, in certain circumstances, recover property that you have transferred to someone else prior to your bankruptcy. You can choose to appoint a registered trustee by obtaining and providing their consent when you lodge your petition to become bankrupt. If you do not choose a trustee, AFSA becomes your trustee and may arrange for a registered trustee to be appointed. Otherwise, AFSA is initially appointed to administer your estate. Your creditors may choose to change the trustee at any time. If you are made bankrupt involuntarily, the court will appoint a trustee at the time of making the sequestration order.

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Budgets FAQs

Why have 3 Bank accounts?

By having a dedicated Weekly spending account you can know very quickly if you are spending too much or have something spare. You don't have to rebudget every week or month.
You will always have the bill money if the working account is kept separate and not touched for anything but bills. It may take time to average out as it is worked out over a 12 month average, so be careful if you know there is a big bill like rego due soon and you have just started.
The separate account (surplus funds )savings account will keep you motivated as you see it grow.

Should I have a separate business account if I am self employed?

Yes. All business' should keep their business transactions separate to their Private accounts. This quickly lets you see Your actual Income, What Tax you must allow for, and what costs are business costs. This also makes it much easier to put your costs into The business Money Buckets spreadsheet monthly.
Some people put their Business budget into the spreadsheet in red and then change it to black at the end of the month when they put their actual figures in. This way your budget is being continually checked.

Can I transfer the same amount to my spending weekly account if my pay is lower this week?

If your pay varies it can make things difficult. If it does go up and down you may be able to keep taking the same amount weekly and have it average out. But you cannot then take more if you have a bigger week.
If you just have missed a pay week due to sickness or say Xmas break (say because you are casual) then this will need to be adjusted. If you are working on an average amount going into the working account to pay bills and it falls short, you may not have enough money in there when you need it.
If you know you are not going to be being paid over Xmas New Year and Easter best to allow for that.
Just say you earn a $1000 a week but are paid casually and there is going to be time off, times you normal pay by 48weeks and the divide by 52weeks to get what your average wage will probably be.
You are going to have to work on this smaller amount so that there is money there when you need it.
That's about 8% less per week. So to make things easy just do your budget as 8 to 10% less income per week to see if its going to work.
That way you wont take too much money out of your working account and the bill money and weekly spending will work for about 4 weeks of no income per year.

What about emergencies, Car repairs, buying furniture and appliances

Some people advocate having another account for this, others put extra into the working account or savings account. If an emergency does happen you would generally take it from the savings account if you want to keep things pretty simple.
It'll depend a bit on your situation at the end of the day. If there is no surplus you will have to keep things as tight as possible to allow the best you can for emergencies.

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Contact Us

Customer Enquiries: 1800 825 010

Admin Office: 0243696287

Email: info@moneybuckets.com.au

Post: PO Box 6100, Kincumber, NSW, 2251


Money Buckets ™ is a Trademark of Starlight Home Loans T/as Fast Debt Help

ABN: 94 145 613 056

Credit Lic 388809

Established 2010

MFAA membership 319292

Affiliates: Second Step Administration RDAA 1668

The Rite Place Pty Ltd trading as Debtrite