Information on personal loans
Are you tying the knot and need some extra cash to fund your big day or finally biting the bullet and purchasing that hot hatch? Whatever the reason, taking out a personal loan could help you kick start your plans sooner.
Of course, there are plenty of traps to watch out for in the personal loans maze, so Mozo has created this quick rundown on everything you need to know, to be a personal loans borrowing pro.
Know the type of personal loan you want? Jump to the next section "compare personal loans".
Unsure about the type of personal loan you'll need? Then please scroll down to our helpful section on "finding the right personal loan for you".
We also have a great range of articles, tips and personal loans guides designed to help you save money when choosing a personal loan. If you are looking at a personal loan for a wedding or travel be sure to check out our hubs which are jam-packed with info and tips for making the most out of a personal loan.
Not sure which personal loan lender has the best rates or top service? You can read personal loans reviews straight from the horses mouth. Mozo has thousands of real customer reviews so you can read about everything from hidden fees to customer service and compare big banks and smaller lenders head to head. Best yet, all Mozo's services are 100% free!
Read on for personal loans tips and tricks:
Compare personal loans
Personal loans come in all shapes and sizes, so it pays to compare personal loan interest rates and fees on Mozo to find the best one for your needs. We cover all the major personal loan lenders in Australia, including the big banks, credit unions and the latest entrants to the market, peer to peer players.
Mozo's personal loans comparison tables help you to quickly filter the available personal loans according to the features you want, such as variable interest rate loans, fixed interest rate loans, secured personal loans, unsecured personal loans, debt consolidation...the list goes on.
Finding the right personal loan for you
There isn't a one size fits all approach to personal loans so you will need to spend some time researching and comparing your personal loan options. Interest rates aren't the only factor, you'll also need to work out whether you'll need to get an unsecured loan or if you will qualify for a secured loan. Most Australian banks, credit unions and building societies will have a range of personal loan options to choose from and peer to peer players are now also an alternative option for borrowers. To help you get up to speed on the terms and features of comparing personal loans we've outlined below the major types of personal loans in Australia:
a. Secured personal loans
Do you own a car or house? Then you could be eligible for a secured personal loan, which means you use your asset as security for the personal loan. The benefit? Lower interest rates and fees of course, as you're a lower risk for the lender.
But we should warn you a secured personal loan isn't risk free. If you don't keep up your repayments then the financial provider could seize your car or property to repay the loan. Before taking out a personal loan we recommend you use Mozo's personal loan repayment calculator to get an indication of how much your monthly repayments would be. You'll want to ensure you can comfortably meet your ongoing personal loan repayments before you take the plunge.
b. Unsecured personal loans
If you have nothing material to guarantee your personal loan against (house, car etc), you may need to look at an unsecured personal loan. Most lenders will offer unsecured loans including the Big 4 banks and peer-to-peer players. Generally unsecured personal loans have slightly higher fees and interest rates, to offset the lenders risk for taking on your debt. If you decide an unsecured personal loan is your borrowing match, you can compare personal loans in Mozo's unsecured personal loan section here.
c. Debt consolidation
Racked up debt on credit cards, store cards or a car loan? A debt consolidation personal loan could give you some much needed breathing room.
A debt consolidation personal loan works by rolling over all your debt into one personal loan usually at a much lower interest rate, helping you better manage your debt with just one monthly repayment.
Compare personal loans specifically designed for debt consolidation and read our debt consolidation guide for tips to help you live debt free sooner.
d. Peer to peer lending
There's a new wave of online only personal loan lenders hitting Australian shores called peer to peer lenders that offer competitive interest rates by cutting out the banks from the borrowing equation. As a borrower you are connected via an online platform with investors directly.
While the biggest drawcard of these new P2P players is lower rates and fees, keep in mind peer to peer lenders generally use a tier-based pricing system. This means the better your credit rating, the better your interest rate. Find out more about peer to peer personal loans by reading our in-depth P2P guide.
e. Personal loans vs credit cards
Taking out a personal loan is a good option for bigger expenses like a car or a kitchen renovation and you need a set amount of money upfront and plan to pay it off in an agreed timeframe. Plus the regular monthly repayments amount of a fixed interest rate personal loan makes it easy to budget.
However, for some smaller expenses like a holiday or outdoor bbq area reno, you may find that a 0% purchase rate credit card could be a better borrowing match. Credit cards can give you the flexibility to pay as you go and then by budgeting for the repayments you can pay off the full balance before the interest free period comes to an end. Just make sure you don't get tempted to spend more than you normally would! You can find a full comparison of personal loans and credit cards here.
f. Personal loan interest rates
When looking for a personal loan, you'll have two choices when it comes to interest rates: variable or fixed interest.
With a variable interest rate personal loan your interest rate could go up or down during your loan term. Generally variable interest rates change according to the Reserve Bank of Australia's cash rate decision so if the RBA cash rate goes down so do your loan repayments and vice versa. Whereas a fixed rate means your interest rate is locked in for the life of the personal loan.
The term of a personal loan is generally up to you the borrower. Most personal loans are between 1 - 7 years so you can set a repayment plan that best suits your budget. Just remember the longer the personal loan term, the more interest you will pay so if you can try to get ahead on repayments so that you can minimise the interest you'll be paying.
Both variable and fixed rate options have pros and cons:
Variable interest rate personal loans
Pros: Provides you with more flexible features like an extra repayments facility and generally allows you to pay off the personal loan sooner without any penalties.
Cons: If the RBA decides to increase the official cash rate and your lender follows suit, your monthly repayments will increase.
Fixed interest rate personal loans
Pros: Protected from RBA rate rises and because your repayments stay the same for the life of the loan it is easier to budget.
Cons: Won't receive the same flexible features, like extra repayments and could be charged a break cost fee if you want to pay off the personal loan early.
Another thing to consider when it comes to personal loan interest rates is the comparison rate. All banks and personal loan lenders are required to disclose the comparison rate of the personal loan as well as the 'headline interest rate'. The comparison rate shows you the "true" value of the loan as it combines the interest rate with any fees to give you the true cost of the loan.
Personal loan calculators
Before you commit to a personal loan, it's important to crunch the numbers and work out a realistic budget and repayment plan. Plug the numbers into Mozo's repayment calculator to make sure you can afford the repayments.
If you're tossing up between two personal loans, our personal loan comparison calculator will help you figure out which offer is a better deal based on interest rates and any ongoing fees. On the other hand, if you already have a personal loan and are looking at saving money by switching banks or personal loan lenders, try our Switch & Save Calculator. It's free and will show you the best personal loans for your situation.Ready to compare personal loans? See above for current personal loan deals to suit your requirements.