This is a round-up of rates in December 2011 and some may have changed since the time of writing. To check today’s rates click on the highlighted product.
The only lender that didn’t pass on the full 25 basis point RBA rate cut in December was RAMS which only passed on a 20 basis point reduction. RAMS has been busy repositioning itself as a full financial services provider with the launch of new deposit accounts late in 2011 (see the Savings Account section of this article for more).
UBank (the online subsidiary of NAB) currently offers the best variable home loan rate as its usual requirement of having the loan for 3 years to receive a loyalty discount of 0.20% continues to be waived. We’re not sure how long this will last, but applicants currently get the discount for the life of the loan with no waiting period meaning the variable rate is just 6.14%, compared with an average standard variable rate across the market of 6.94%. The offer is a little restricted though as their loans are only available to people refinancing and not new loans.
Fixed home loan rates stopped falling in December unlike previous months when we had seen quite large movements. The average 1 and 3 year fixed rate were down about 10 basis points, and there was virtually no movement in fixed rates from the major banks.
Despite the two rate cuts late last year there has been little benefit passed on to personal loan customers. The average secured variable rate loan has only moved down 11 basis points over the past year, and unsecured variable rates have actually gone up! The best rates are offered by credit unions, whether looking at secured or unsecured.
As for personal loans, credit card customers have every right to feel they are getting a raw deal. The average credit card rates barely moved in December and even over the longer term are fairly static. Last month this blog singled out QANTAS Staff Credit Union for an honourable mention, having passed on November’s rate cut to their credit card customers, and they’ve done it again in December. Its Lifestyle Rewarder is one of the cheapest credit cards with rewards on the market, now at 13.49%.
The heat has certainly come out of the savings account market with the average rate down 39 basis points in December alone, although some of this decrease may have been due to delays in passing on the November rate cut.
The best introductory rate accounts are currently offered by RAMS (6.12% but only to RAMS home loan customers) and UBank (6.11%). Interestingly these are both owned by major banks – Westpac and NAB respectively – so it seems there is real competition between the majors, but through their alternate brands more than their own. ANZ is taking a different approach, offering the third best rate in the market of 6.00%, but through its own brand rather than its online Smartypig brand.
There are still some great term deposit rates to be found as they haven’t been falling as fast as either at-call deposits or home loans. If the RBA continues its downward movement of the cash rate over the next few months now might be a good time to pull some money out of at-call accounts and have some assurance of your interest rate.
The best 6 month rates at the time of writing were UBank’s 6.11% and ING Direct’s 6.00% while the best 1 year deposit rate is 5.50% offered by Police Credit Victoria and Credit UnionSA, and a range of others close behind. Check out our Term Deposit selector tool to find the best rates for the term that you’re interested in.
Although the RBA has a month off from meeting to review the cash rate in January the Mozo RateChasers will be keeping a keen watch to see if the banks are going to do the right thing and pass on the same reductions to credit card and personal loan customers as the have for those with home loans.