Athena: The home loan lender that’s trying to GET RID of customers

With variable home loan rates as low as 1.89% p.a. (1.89% p.a. comparison rate*), no fees and a reputation for being among the first lenders to pass RBA rate cuts onto customers, online lender Athena is rewriting home loan history.

From passing on numerous Reserve Bank rate cuts to proudly flaunting its unconventional attitude to lending, innovative online lender Athena Home Loans has been shaking up the mortgage market and ruffling the big bank’s feathers since day one.

Introducing themselves to the world as the “home loan wrecker” upon their initial launch in 2019, this fintech preaches a “love us and leave us” motto, which sums up their whole philosophy of urging borrowers to “pay off your loan quickly so you can have a home, not a loan.”

At first, Athena only offered its home loans to refinancers, but it has since expanded out to provide both variable rate and fixed rate home loans to owner occupiers and investors. 

“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 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.”

Athena home loans in a nutshell:

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

  • Low rates: As a borrower, the interest rate on your home loan is likely to be one of your biggest concerns. That’s while you may be pleased to know that among lenders we track, Athena’s rates consistently rank among the lowest.
  • Automatic rate drop: Athena rewards borrowers with a unique feature which automatically lowers their interest rate as they pay off their loan (e.g. once a loan hits <70% LVR or <60% LVR).
  • Award winner: Since its inception, Athena has been a regular Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards^ recipient, 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 as being a low-cost lender, which is why it doesn’t charge its home loan customers any upfront, ongoing or discharge fees. 
  • 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.  

But in case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about Athena until now, allow us to give you a proper introduction…

Meet Athena. The “game-changing goddess of good stuff.”

Who’s Athena?

Athena is part of a new wave of digital lenders and fintechs that have emerged in the Aussie home loan space. Unlike many lenders, Athena actually encourages borrowers to pay off their home loans ASAP so they can sit back and enjoy their new home.

But if you’re new to the world of online home loans, you might be reassured by the fact that Athena counts Macquarie Bank, along with several other big investors, among its backers.

Does Athena offer other banking products?

Nope. Athena isn’t a bank, so savings accounts, credit cards and bank accounts aren't currently on the menu. But, if you're after a home loan, then you're in luck, because mortgages are Athena's specialty! 

What home loans does Athena offer?

Athena has two home loan products on offer, with variations depending on the type of borrower you are (owner occupier or investor), the type of repayments you want to make (principal and interest or interest-only) and your loan-to-value ratio (LVR)

Liberate Variable Home Loan
  • 1.99% p.a. variable rate (1.93% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • Automatic discounts as loan is paid off
  • No upfront or ongoing fees

The Liberate Variable Home Loan offers owner occupiers with an LVR of 70-80% variable rates of 1.99% p.a. variable rate (1.93% p.a. comparison rate*), along with the ability to make free 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 discounting 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.

Evaporate Variable Home Loan
  • 1.94% p.a. variable rate (1.91% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • Automatic discounts as loan is paid off
  • No upfront or ongoing fees

Owner occupiers with an LVR of 60-70% will be looking at rates as low as 1.94% p.a. (1.91% 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). Extra repayments can be made without incurring any penalties, and a redraw facility is available if you feel those funds would be better served back in your pocket. Only available for properties in capital cities or major population centres.

Celebrate Variable Home Loan
  • 1.89% p.a. variable rate (1.89% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • Free extra repayments and redraw facility
  • No upfront or ongoing fees

The Celebrate Variable Home Loan is available to owner occupiers with an LVR below 60%. Rates sit at 1.89% p.a. variable rate (1.89% p.a. comparison rate*), and borrowers will have a few handy features at their disposal, such as the ability to make free extra repayments and access a redraw facility. Only available for properties in capital cities or major population centres.

Fixed Rate Home Loan
  • 3.99% p.a. 3-year rate (2.43% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • Free extra repayments and redraw facility
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
Find out more

If you prioritise certainty when it comes to monthly repayments, the Fixed Rate Home Loan from Athena could be a good fit. Rates will vary depending on the size of your deposit, with 3-year fixed rates starting at 3.99% p.a. (2.43% p.a. comparison rate*) for borrowers with an LVR of 70-80%. Extra repayments are allowed, and you’ll also be able to access a redraw facility if you need to retrieve those funds down the track. Only available for properties in capital cities or major population centres.

Are Athena’s home loans any good?

Well, that depends on what you like. 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, then yeah, Athena’s home loans are pretty good!

And if you need more convincing, Athena’s trophy cabinet is already filling up with a range of Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards^ which it has won over the years.

What home loan features does Athena provide?

As we've said, Athena has a fair few home loan features worth writing home about, including: 

  • No application fees, annual/monthly service fees or discharge fees
  • Flexible loan terms ranging from 5-30 years
  • Choice of either weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayment options
  • Free extra loan repayments
  • Free 100% offset account
  • Free online redraw facility

Just remember though, these might not be available with every Athena loan. For example, there's no offset account currently available with the Fixed Rate Home Loan.

Does Athena really charge no fees?

Don't worry. We did a double-take the first time we heard this too. Athena’s whole philosophy revolves around helping its customers pay off their loans ASAP, which is why there are no application fees, annual/monthly service fees or discharge/exit 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 rolled out a pretty innovative pricing system called ‘AcceleRates’ which automatically gives borrowers access to lower interest rates as they pay off their loan.

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

Here’s a quick rundown of the LVR tiers and rates available for owner occupiers (P&I repayments) with the AcceleRATES Variable Home Loan

  • 70-80% LVR: 1.99% p.a. (1.93% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • 60-70% LVR: 1.94% p.a. (1.91% p.a. comparison rate*)
  • <60% LVR: 1.89% p.a. (1.89% p.a. comparison rate*)

What's Athena's track record of passing on RBA rate cuts?

So far, Athena has immediately passed on the full Reserve Bank rate cut on to new and existing customers five out of six times since June 2019 - one of the few lenders in Australia to hold that record. 

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

Nope! If you’re looking to refinance your mortgage, Athena's settlement team will work with your bank to move your loan over on your behalf.

I've never heard of Athena. Is it safe?

While not a bank, Athena does use ‘bank-level security and encryption’ across its digital platform. Athena also has an Australian Credit Licence, which means they're governed by ASIC and must legally adhere to ASIC’s compliance rules.

Who backs Athena?

Some of Athena’s big investment backers include AirTree Ventures, Apex Capital, AustralianSuper, Hostplus, Macquarie Bank, RESIMAC Group, Rice Warner, Square Peg and Sunsuper.

Does Athena rate match?

It certainly does! If Athena comes out with a low-rate 'like-for-like loan’ offer for new customers, then they’ll 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 25 May 2022

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

    2 Year Discounted Variable Rate, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, <80% LVR

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.10% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.50% p.a. variable
    2.46% p.a.

    New super low introductory rate home loan for two years. Min 20% deposit. No monthly or ongoing fees. Fast settlement times. Mozo award-winning online lender. Friendly, local Australian based team.

    Details
  • Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    <60% LVR, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.14% p.a. variable
    2.14% p.a.

    Rates have moved in line with RBA. Fast and efficient online application. Automatic discounts as loan is paid down. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Zero fees. Min 40% deposit required.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Discount Great Rate Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR<90%, over $150k

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.19% p.a. variable
    2.20% p.a.

    A Great Rate Home Loan from Greater Bank is a low interest rate home loan that's easy to use. With no establishment fee, low interest and no monthly or annual fees, you could save thousands of dollars! You'll need 10% deposit to start. Mozo Experts Choice Awards - Home Lender Bank of the Year 2022.

    Details
  • Neat Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <60%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    1.89% p.a. variable
    1.90% p.a.

    Low variable rate. Ideal for buyers or investors. No annual fees to pay. Unlimited additional repayments. Free redraw facility available. Fast digital application. 40% deposit required.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Variable Rate Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <80%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.09% p.a. variable
    1.99% p.a.

    $5000 refinance cashback. Owner-occupier refinancers only living in NSW/VIC/SA metro and inner regional areas. Receive up to an additional 0.15% off your rate as you pay off the loan. Receive bonus payments up to $2,500. T&Cs apply.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Variable Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.24% p.a. variable
    2.24% p.a.

    Purchase and Refinance. No upfront or ongoing fees. Fast digital application. 100% offset sub account with no account or redraw fees. Comes with a Visa debit card, mobile App, and digital wallet. 20% deposit or equity required. Mozo Experts Choice winner for Best New Home Loan and Low Cost Home Loan 2022. 18 years and over.

    Details
  • Basic Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, LVR<60%, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.39% p.a. variable
    2.39% p.a.

    No application or account management fees. Flexibility to split your loan and set different repayment types. Fee free withdrawals of your savings.

    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, loan amount and term entered. 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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