powering smart financial decisions

Updated on 24 Jun, 2022

Real Time Ratings™

Real Time Ratings™ rates over 80 providers with a score out of 5, based on how much the car loan will cost and how much flexibility it offers.

What is Real Time Ratings?

Real Time RatingsTM is a world-first rating system that ranks car loans based on your individual lending requirements.

Unlike other car loan rating systems that grade their products once or twice a year, Real Time RatingsTM results are calculated as you use the site, making them as up to date as possible.

Real Time RatingsTM gives each car loan a score out of five stars, based on loan costs and flexibility. It also factors in your loan size, loan term, borrowing purpose and whether you’re providing loan security, so you don’t waste time looking at loans that aren’t applicable to you.

Getting a car should be an enjoyable experience, and that’s why Real Time RatingsTM was created. It does the hard work for you, so you can make an easy decision on your next car loan.

How we calculate Real Time Ratings

Real Time RatingsTM analyses car loans from over 80 lenders to give each one a score out of five stars, based on how much the loan costs and how flexible it is.

The star ratings are rounded up to the nearest half, but when you hover your cursor over the stars, you’ll see the score is broken down into two categories: loan cost and flexibility.


Loan cost

Loan cost is calculated by looking at the interest charges and fees that apply to your loan over the term of your loan. We then divided this to provide an average monthly cost over your loan term.

Importantly, by including the loan size in this methodology, the fees are proportionate to the loan amount, making it an accurate reflection of the costs you’ll encounter.

Flexibility score

We rank flexibility by assigning points to a range of loan features, such as application options, approval/funding time, security types, extra repayments, redraw facilities and early exit penalties.

The points reflect the relative importance of these features, based on consumer research, analysis of what lenders are offering and expert opinion.

For example, approval/funding time, extra repayments, redraw and early exit penalties were identified by our experts as fundamental flexibility features. The highest scores between 4 and 5 are likely to be for loans that have most of these features.

Real Time Ratings Case Studies

The following hypothetical examples show how Real Time Ratings™ may help a variety of different borrowers find the right car loan.

  • Andrew – the first-time car buyer

Andrew has finally got his full licence and is excited to stop using his parents’ car and buy his first car. He’s got his heart set on a used car that will cost him $10,000. He doesn’t have a lengthy credit history as he is under 30, so he learns that he may get a lower rate by securing the car against the loan as collateral.

Andrew visits RateCity to compare his options and enters his loan amount, ideal loan term and credit score in the search engine. He then adds another filter to show car loans secured by the vehicle. 

RateCity’s Real Time Ratings™ then helps Andrew narrow down his short list by showing which car loans rank best for both cost and flexibility. He knows he wants a car loan that scores well for average monthly repayments, and Real Time Ratings™ highlights the stand-out options for him. He’s not as fussed on car loan flexibility right now but knows that it may come in handy down the line.

Andrew makes a list of a few 4- to 4.5-star car loans and reaches out to the lenders for more information that day.

  • Georgie and David – The growing family

Georgie and David have two kids and a third is on the way. They know that it’s finally time to upgrade the family car and have their sights set on a $45,000 SUV with lots of space.

They both hate having debt hanging over their heads, so they choose to look for a car loan that allows for extra repayments. They decide to shop around for a secured car loan with flexible features, and head to RateCity.

RateCity’s Real Time Ratings™ then helps them to not only find the most affordable car loans in terms of monthly repayments, but also find the loans that offer the most flexibility in their features. As they want to be able to make extra repayments, Real Time Ratings™ helps them to narrow down the most competitive options that rank best for cost and flexibility.

Although Georgie and David have stuck with a big four bank their whole lives, they decide to pursue a car loan with an online lender. Online lenders typically offer more competitive rates than the big, brick-and-mortar banks due to having less overhead. Without Real Time Ratings™ they would never have known to consider this online lender in their search.

How RateCity leaderboards work

We’ve built these leaderboards to help you quickly see what are the top banking products in each of the key categories.

The most recent Gold Award 2021