Athena: The lender that calls itself the home loan wrecker

Couple looking for home loans on computer

Athena is an online lender with variable home loan rates as low as 6.39% p.a. (6.35% p.a. comparison rate*) on 70-80% loan-to-value ratio (LVR) loans.

If you’re looking to refinance with an LVR <50%, Athena’s standard variable rate home loan drops to 6.24% p.a. (6.24% p.a. comparison rate*).

Athena caught our attention by having no fees attached to its variable home loans, as well as a promise to automatically lower your interest rate as you pay off your loan – that’s something you won’t find at the Big Four banks.

Athena Home Loans was launched in 2019 by two former NAB executives, and it prides itself on being “the home loan wrecker”.

“Athena launched with a great value product and has made major improvements to its home loans and wracked up numerous Mozo Experts Choice Awards since then,” says Mozo’s Banking Expert, Peter Marshall.

“They offer everyone a great rate to start off with, but as your payments reduce the amount owing, your rate automatically decreases with discounts applied for loans with an LVR of less than 70% and a further discount when the loan limbos under the 60% bar.”

“While other lenders might offer lower rates for lower LVRs, Athena is unique in applying those discounts without the borrower having to lift a finger,” says Marshall.

Athena Home Loans in a nutshell

Online lender Athena continues to take on the big banks with a customer-first approach and some of the best value home loan interest rates around. Here’s what you can expect from an Athena home loan:

  • Competitive rates: As a borrower, the interest rate on your home loan is likely to be one of your biggest concerns. Athena’s rates consistently rank among the most competitive among lenders we track.
  • Automatic rate drop: Athena rewards borrowers with a unique feature which automatically lowers your interest rate as you pay off your loan (for example, once a variable rate loan hits <70% LVR or <60% LVR, your interest rate will automatically drop).
  • Award winner: Since its inception, Athena has been a recipient of multiple Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards^, taking out three awards in 2021 alone – for Best Low Cost Home Loan, Best Investor Home Loan and Best Home Loan Innovation.
  • Zero fees: Athena prides itself on being a low-cost lender, which is why it doesn’t charge its variable home loan customers any upfront, ongoing or discharge fees. Fixed rate home loans also come with no fees, unless you decide to break early.
  • Fab features: On top of all this, Athena’s home loans offer loads of other features (depending on which one you choose) including access to an offset account, the ability to make free extra repayments and a redraw facility should you need to dip back into those extra contributions.

What is Athena Home Loans?

Athena is part of a new wave of digital lenders and fintechs that have emerged in the Australian home loan market. Athena encourages borrowers to pay off their home loans ASAP so they can enjoy their home debt-free.

Who is Athena Home Loans owned by?

Athena Home Loans has funding from big investment backers including Airtree Ventures, Apex Capital, AustralianSuper, Hostplus, Macquarie Bank, Resimac Group, Rice Warner, Square Peg and Sunsuper.

What home loans does Athena offer?

Athena has two variable rate home loan products on offer, with variations depending on borrower type (owner occupier or investor), repayments (principal and interest or interest only) and your LVR. The lender also has a fixed rate home loan product which can be fixed for 1, 2 or 3 years (borrower and repayment type variations available).

Straight Up Home Loan
  • 6.39% p.a. variable rate (6.35% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • Automatic rate drop as loan is paid off
  • No upfront or ongoing fees

  • No offset account
  • No option for split loans
Find out more

The Straight Up Home Loan offers owner occupiers with an LVR of 70-80% variable rates of 6.39% p.a. (6.35% p.a. comparison rate*), along with the ability to make unlimited extra repayments and make use of a redraw facility. What’s more, Athena will reward you for making progress on your loan repayments by automatically reducing your variable rate when you enter a new LVR tier (refer to the Athena Home Loans website for further details). Only available for properties in capital cities or major population centres. The Straight Up Home Loan is Athena’s basic option, so it doesn’t include an offset account or the ability to split your loan.

Power Up Home Loan
  • 6.54% p.a. variable rate (6.50% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • Automatic rate drop as loan is paid off
  • Offset account available

  • Cannot have both redraw and offset on loan
Find out more

Owner occupiers with an LVR of 70-80% will be looking at a 6.54% p.a. variable rate (6.50% p.a. comparison rate*), and Athena’s AcceleRates feature ensures that diligent borrowers are rewarded by applying a discount as soon as they cross over into a lower LVR tier (refer to the Athena Home Loans website for further details). You can access an offset account, make extra repayments without incurring any penalties, and enjoy paying no fees. Only available for properties in capital cities or major population centres. Note that Athena’s Power Up loan doesn’t allow you to have access to both a redraw and an offset account – you’ll need to choose between the two.

Fixed 1-year Home Loan
  • 6.99% p.a. fixed rate for 1 year (6.18% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • No fees (excluding break costs)
  • Make extra repayments on up to 5% of your loan balance each year

  • No offset account
  • No redraw facility
Find out more

For owner occupiers with an LVR of 70-80% looking for a fixed rate home loan, Athena has options for 1, 2 and 3 years. Interest rates vary depending on how long you want to fix your loan. To take one example, for a fixed 1-year home loan with a 70-80% LVR, Athena offers borrowers a 6.99% p.a fixed rate (6.18% p.a. comparison rate*). Athena’s fixed home loans don’t charge fees unless you need to exit early, and you have the ability to make additional repayments worth up to 5% of your outstanding loan amount per year. Some drawbacks of Athena’s fixed rate home loans are that they come without an offset account or a redraw facility.

What is the minimum deposit for Athena Home Loans?

The minimum deposit needed for an Athena home loan is generally 20%. The online lender says that in some cases it requires a 30% deposit, depending on where your property is, what type it is or if it is valued at over $2.5 million.

Are Athena’s home loans any good?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a home loan. If you like the sound of a home loan with competitive interest rates, a straightforward approval process, a host of fab features and zero upfront, ongoing or discharge fees on most of its offering, then Athena’s home loans are well worth a look.

If you need more convincing, Athena has a number of Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards^ in its trophy cabinet, which it won in 2020 and 2021.

What home loan features does Athena provide?

As mentioned above, Athena has a fair few home loan features worth knowing about, including:

  • No application fees, annual/monthly service fees or discharge fees
  • Flexible loan terms ranging from 10-30 years
  • Choice of either weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayment options
  • Free extra loan repayments
  • Free 100% offset account
  • Free online redraw facility

Just keep in mind that these might not be available with every Athena loan.

Does Athena charge fees?

Athena Home Loans doesn’t charge fees on its variable rate home loans, but its fixed rate loan can come with a fee if you decide to break the fixed term early. Besides this, there are no application fees and no annual/monthly service fees to worry about.

The only fees you can expect are third-party legal and valuation fees, which is pretty standard for any home loan.

What is Athena AcceleRates?

Athena has an innovative pricing system which it calls ‘AcceleRates’, and it automatically gives borrowers access to lower interest rates as they pay off their home loan.

The system is based on a borrower’s LVR and there are four LVR bands involved: 70%-80%, 60%-70%, 50-60% and <50%. As borrowers progress through each tier their interest rate will automatically be reduced.

That’s quite different from the process at competing banks and lenders, which require you to contact the lender yourself and ask for a better rate as you pay off your loan.

Do I need to contact my bank to refinance my home loan?

If you’re looking for refinance home loans, Athena’s settlement team will work with your bank to move your loan over on your behalf.

Is Athena regulated?

Athena holds an Australian Credit Licence (ACL). As an ACL holder, Athena has a general obligation to provide efficient, honest and fair financial services.

Does Athena offer other banking products?

No, Athena isn’t a bank, so savings accounts, credit cards and bank accounts are not currently available from the lender. However if it’s a home loan you want, mortgages are Athena’s specialty.

Does Athena rate match?

It certainly does! If Athena comes out with a low-rate 'like-for-like loan’ offer for new customers, then it will automatically apply a rate match to the loans of all existing Athena customers. That means that unlike many other mortgage lenders, no matter how long you’re with Athena, you’ll get the same low rate as a new customer.

Wondering how much you could save by refinancing to a better deal? Use our home loan comparison tool to find out, or, check out some hot refinancing home loan offers below.

Home Loan Refinance Comparison - last updated 16 April 2024

Search promoted home loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Offset Home Loan

    Package, Owner Occupier, LVR<60%, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.15% p.a. variable
    6.40% p.a.

    Ability to open up to 10 offset accounts per loan account. Fast online application. Linked Debit Mastercard® with fee-free access at ATMs across Australia. Package a credit card with your home loan and the annual card fee will be waived (T&Cs apply). 40% deposit required.

    Compare
    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Express Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <90%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.01% p.a. variable
    6.14% p.a.

    Get fast online approval from the award-winning Bendigo Bank Express Home Loan. Multiple offset accounts and redraw available. 100% offset on variable rate loans and partial offset on fixed rate. Flexible repayment options. New home loans only.

    Compare
    Details
  • Neat Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <60%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.14% p.a. variable
    6.16% p.a.

    Competitively-priced variable rate loan. Ideal for owner occupiers and investors. No service fees to pay. Make free extra repayments and redraws. Flexible repayment schedule available.

    Compare
    Details
  • Basic Home Loan

    Fixed, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR<70%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    5.99% p.a.
    fixed 3 years
    6.13% p.a.

    No upfront or ongoing fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Option to earn Qantas points. Min 30% deposit required. Borrow up to $750,000.

    Compare
    Details
  • Flex Home Loan

    Fixed, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <60%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    5.99% p.a.
    fixed 3 years
    6.37% p.a.

    Competitive Fixed rate. Multiple offset accounts available. Borrowers can also make extra repayments. Redraw facility available. Simple online application process. 40% deposit required.

    Compare
    Details

* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate. You can change the loan amount and term in the input boxes at the top of this table. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards

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