This week in banking - 0.25% emergency RBA rate cut and 5 other things you don’t want to miss!

Polly Fleeting

Friday 20 March 2020

  • RBA makes an emergency 0.25% cut to its official cash rate 
  • 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Home Loans announced! 
  • COVID-19 update: from banks’ emergency packages to income protection
  • Refinancing your home loan: could the time be now?
  • The downside to rate cuts: hitting savings accounts and term deposits hard
  • Got a credit card? Let’s put your offer under the microscope

All in this week’s banking recap.

Reserve Bank - emergency rate cut 

RBA cuts rates for the second time this month in response to the COVID-19 outbreak

As the threat of the coronavirus on the Australian economy grows, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has responded with an emergency cut to the official cash rate leaving at an historic low of 0.25%. 

This is the first time they’ve cut rates ‘out of cycle’ since 1997, but Australia isn’t alone in making such an extraordinary decision.

 Earlier in the week the US Federal Reserve cut interest by a full 1.00% and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand dropped its official cash rate to 0.25% as well. 

Which banks have cut home loan rates? 

So far, only CommBank has responded to the emergency cut, however that’s not to say that we will see more movement from other lenders soon.  

Read full article: RBA takes emergency action, cuts interest rates to 0.25% and see how RBA Governor Philip Lowe thinks the drop will help the economy regain its footing. 

The 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Award-winners have been crowned 

Ever wondered which home loans are the best of the best? Well, now you know with the 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Awards

This year our experts analysed a total of 463 home loan products from 86 different lenders, across a massive 13 award categories. 

Check out some of the 2020 winners...

UBank took home the Home Loan Lender Bank of the Year, while Tic:Toc was crowned Online Home Lender of the Year. 

Some other standout winners included lenders like Athena, Homestar, Qudos Bank, FreedomLend, Well Home Loans and Citi and Bank Australia

Read full article: 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Award-winners announced to check out what Mozo Banking Expert, Peter Marshall says about this year’s awards. 

The Coronavirus saga continues: here’s what you should catch up on in the world of banking 

As news on COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Australia, 80% of our citizens fear the economic impacts it brings

But there are some things you need to know when it comes to banking, and the novel Coronavirus, whether it’s from the banks, government or insurance companies. Here’s our roundup: 

  • Stimulus packages: Wherever you are in Australia, there are a bunch stimulus packages to provide funding for struggling Aussie businesses and households. One of those includes helping those that rely on Centrelink, here’s not how to spend your $750 bonus.   
  • Income protection and life insurance: Whether you are stuck at home unable to work or are fearful what contracting Coronavirus will do to your health, there are a few reasons to get in contact with your life insurer to find out if you are covered. In most cases, if you are healthy but cannot work due to lockdown you may not be covered under income protection -only when your health deteriorates - and if you pass away, life insurance might come into play. 
  • Working from home and tax claims: When you work from home there are a whole bunch of things you can claim on tax as a result. This includes things like utility bills, the cost of cleaning your working space, any computer costs or stationary etc. Just make a mental note for when tax time rolls around! 
  • The global energy market: As more people work from home, energy bills are set to skyrocket. While energy giants in the UK and US delay energy bill repayments for their customers, so far in Australia only WA has announced a stimulus package which is set to freeze all household fees and charges (including electricity, water and vehicle registration). The other states and territories are yet to introduce a similar program.  

Read full article: Guide to Australian banks' emergency Coronavirus relief packages for a full rundown of what banks’ are doing to help their customers. 

Want to give yourself a pay rise? Refinancing your home loan could do that! 

With the turbulence of current world events, many Aussies are starting to feel the strain on their pockets.

While some savvy savers might try and cut down on their supermarket shop or energy consumption, a super savvy saver may consider refinancing their home loan. 

New Mozo research found that over 80% of Aussies have never refinanced their home loan, despite a potential up to $100k saving.  

So why would now be a good time to refinance your mortgage? 

Since the first RBA cut this month, 52 mortgage lenders passed on the full 25 basis point cut, leaving home loan rates at historic lows. And now that the RBA has cut again, there’s it could get even lower!  

Read full article: Why now could be the perfect time to refinance your mortgage to find out how much you could save in your monthly repayments.  

Savers hit hard by RBA rate cuts 

The new digital players on the block have finally dropped savings rates, yes we are talking neobanks

86 400, Up and Volt Bank have joined their other banking counterparts in cutting rates by a full 0.25% this month. 

Here’s a rundown of the current rates: 

Plus, term deposits have also taken a hit, with 50 lenders on the Mozo database slashing rates since February 2020. 

Read full article: Neobanks 86 400, Up and Volt Bank cut savings account rates to see what Volt’s CEO and Co-Founder, Steve Weston, said about the changes. 

Your plastic not so fantastic? Here’s how to test it. 

If you are one of the Aussies feeling the blow of the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, you may start to reach for your credit card a little more than you used to. 

Here are three ways to test if you are getting a good deal or need to make the switch to set yourself up better financially. 

  • Analyse your annual fee, if it is too high you could opt for a no annual fee credit card instead 
  • Inquire about interest rates, if you’ve been forking out piles of cash in interest repayments, you may need a low rate credit card as an alternative 
  • Consider your credit limit, because you may end up using your card more often, enquire with your provider if you can apply for a credit limit increase for emergencies. 

It’s important to remember that in times of financial stress, only rely on your credit card when you need to. And when you do, ensure you have a plan in place to pay it off later down the track. 

Read full article: Your credit card under the microscope: 3 ways to test if you're getting a good deal to find out what Aussie banks are doing to help their credit card customers. 

Want to weigh up some low rate credit card? Take a look at the table below for a bunch of competitive options!

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