This Rate Chasers Roundup is a summary of rates movements in November 2011. To check today’s rates click on the highlighted product.
Most lenders have now moved their variable rates following the Reserve Bank’s reduction in the cash rate early in the month. The only bank not to cut its variable rates by the full 25 basis points was NAB who, although still having the lowest standard variable rate of the big 4 banks (now 7.47%), only took 20 basis points off its rates. Perhaps to balance this NAB’s online subsidiary UBank has jumped in with one of the lowest variable rates around at 6.39% with its UHome Loan. Usually borrowers would have to pay 0.20% more than this for the first 3 years before qualifying for the ‘loyalty’ discount, but UBank is now offering this discounted rate to its first 1,000 successful applications.
Fixed rates continued to fall during the month with quite a few 1, 2 and 3 year options at around 6.0%. Better Option offered the best 1 year rate at 5.84% and the best 3 year rate at 5.89%, while Greater Building Society had the sharpest 2 year rate at 5.94%.
Unlike home loans, many personal loan rates have not yet benefitted from the Reserve Bank rate cut as evidenced by the average secured variable rate only coming down 8 basis points during November to 10.79%. The main area for competition in personal loans has been the fixed rates on secured loans where a number of lenders have passed on the full rate cut. Over the month we saw the average rate fall from 10.88% to 10.74%, with a range of offers coming in under 9%.
This is the product group that has benefited least from rate adjustments and during November the average rates barely moved. For credit cards with rewards the average rate went from 19.54% to 19.52%, and for cards without rewards the average rate went from 15.06% to 15.03%.
Qantas Staff Credit Union customers with its Lifestyle credit card have a reason to smile – its already low purchase rate of 13.99% was reduced to 13.74%, one of the few credit cards with a rewards program to feel the full effects of the lower cash rate.
Of the big banks, the only change we saw was ANZ cutting the rate on its Low Rate card by the full 25 basis points to 13.24%, although the rates on all of its other cards have not been adjusted.
Unlike personal loans and credit cards, there’s been no hesitation in passing the rate cut on to savings account customers. During November the average rate fell by a neat 25 basis points, but this hasn’t been uniform across all products.
The market leaders for introductory rates for online savings accounts, UBank and Virgin Money cut their rates by 40 and 39 basis points respectively, leaving Virgin Saver on 6.12% and USaver on 6.11%. Both of these accounts are now beaten by HSBC’s Serious Saver on 6.20%, but as with all high introductory offers it pays to check what rates are paid beyond the introductory period.
As markets are anticipating more rate cuts and competition for deposits is easing, term deposit rates are continuing to move down. Only small premiums are being paid for locking your money away for longer terms at the moment, making shorter terms seem the best value.
Over the last year the average rate for 6 month deposits has only fallen 9 basis points, however the average 1 year rate is down 71 basis points and the average 3 year rate has fallen 85 basis points.
For deposits of $10,000, the average 1 year rate is 5.22% but the best rate in November was QANTAS Staff Credit Union’s 5.70%. For 3 year deposits the average rate is 5.34% and the best rate was 6.00% from Bank of Cyprus. Bank of Cyprus also payed 6.00% for 6 months.
The Mozo Rate Chasers will be keeping a close eye on whether the banks eventually pass the rate cut on to their credit card customers, and who benefits (and who misses out) if there’s another cut when the RBA meets on December 6. Whatever happens in the world of rates, we’ll have all the latest here.