The Important Things to Know About Direct Cremations

Direct cremations (also known as unattended cremations, no service no attendance or cremation only) have become so popular that we have decided to write a guide dedicated just to them. Here we cover some of the most important things you need to consider before choosing a direct cremation.

A few things we will cover include:

  • The affordability of direct cremations
  • Direct cremations and memorial services that suit
  • Direct cremation costs and prices
  • How to pay for a direct cremation including finance options

Direct cremations are affordable

In Australia, direct cremations are without a shadow of a doubt the most cost effective funeral service. They will tick every single box for someone that is looking for a simple, no fuss and cheap funeral solution. So why are direct cremations (or unattended cremations) so low-cost and who chooses this type of funeral in the first place?

In recent years Australian funeral directors have found that many consumers are not prepared to spend thousands of dollars on a farewell. In response a small number of funeral companies decided to trade as what is known as a cremation only funeral home. Traditional funeral homes began to feel the impact of these operators and in turn added a budget funeral package to their list of options. The reason they are so affordable is that they are a no service funeral – a funeral without any formal service.

By way of cutting the cost, the funeral director will not make any funeral arrangements. There is no church service and it’s unlikely that there will be any family gathering arranged by the funeral home. This type of funeral does not even include a floral arrangement for the top of the coffin. But most companies will offer the option of flowers for an additional cost if that is something that the family would like. Here is a breakdown of the popularity of the different funeral types (cremation only).

Single-Service Cremation
Traditional /Full-Service Cremation
Direct Cremation

It’s important to know that direct or unattended cremations are not exclusive to any particular wealth demographic. They are just as popular with wealthy families as they are with Australia’s average battler. Some people prefer the simplicity of the service, while others like that they can arrange their own memorial service without any input from a funeral home.

You can read more about affordable funeral options by visiting our guides on How to find Cheap Funerals and Top 5 Tips for Cheap Cremations.

Memorial services suit direct cremations

Hold the press! Just because a funeral director doesn’t offer a traditional service it doesn’t mean that there is no formal farewell. The beauty of a no service, no attendance cremation is that the family can organise their own memorial service to hold after receiving the ashes. So what is a memorial service?

A memorial service is a gathering of friends and family to officially farewell a loved one – after their body has been cremated or buried. It’s a very respectful way of showing gratitude, expressing love and helping those left behind to cope with their grief. 

While a direct cremation may not come with a perfectly performed White Lady Funeral Service, there's no reason you can't create a service yourself or with the help of family that reflects the life of your loved one.

The difference between a memorial service and a traditional funeral service is as follows. A traditional funeral service is performed prior to the body of the deceased being buried or cremated. As above, a memorial service is held after the body has been buried or cremated – including after a direct cremation.

How much does a direct cremation cost?

We would love to give you a single answer to this but of course the prices will be different for every funeral home. We can provide an average of prices though.

In Australia a direct cremation will cost between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the company you choose and the location of the cremation. There are exceptions where the price may be cheaper. In these instances you should check the inclusions to ensure you’re comparing apples with apples.

As a local example we have compiled a list of publicly available prices published by national funeral directors. Here are the average cremation prices of Simplicity Funerals in Australia.

How to pay for a direct cremation

Cash or card is the most common way to pay for direct cremation in Australia. But sometimes this isn’t an option. Circumstances can impact a family’s ability to cover the cost of a funeral.

There are times when the passing of a loved one is unexpected, or happens sooner than anticipated. This can leave some families caught short without the money to pay for the funeral. There are a couple of ways to finance a funeral, in particular a direct cremation. 

Credit Cards

The first is using a credit card. Most funeral directors will accept payment by Mastercard or Visa. Some will also accept American Express. It's important to consider that using these cards may attract a surcharge as these facilities cost the funeral director fees. The fees can be quite high given the transaction may be in the thousands of dollars.

Personal Bank Loan

The second way to pay for a direct cremation without cash is by taking out a personal loan with your bank. They may be able to mortgage this against any assets you have as a way to keep the interest rate a little lower. Keep in mind this method can be expensive if your interest rate is high, or if you default on your repayments.

Short Term Lenders

You may have heard of them already - the likes of Zip Pay and Afterpay. These companies allow you to make a purchase and pay it over over a set period of time. They do have admin fees and just like a personal loan there are expensive consiquences if you fail to make a payment.


Find more helpful funeral information by clicking a related topic below.

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