Get a free offset account with your home loan
Compare home loans with free offset accounts to see how much you could save on interest. Check the interest rates, fees and other home loan features to find a lender that's right for you.
Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 1yr
special1.99% variable rate for 12 months then 2.48% variable rate
Interest rates ranked in the best 20%
No ongoing fees
based on $300,000 loan amount for 25 years at 1.99%
p.a Fixed - 2 years
Borrow up to 80%
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Homeowners may lock in a competitive interest rate for two years and enjoy access to features like a 100% offset account.
Borrow up to 60%
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Borrow up to 60%
Borrow up to 80%
Borrow up to 60%
While a lot of us look for offset accounts when comparing home loans, it’s important to check if these mortgages also charge extra fees. While an offset account can help you pay off your loan faster and save money on interest, it might not provide as much value if you also have to pay an annual fee.
Home loans with free offset accounts may be able to provide valuable benefits without requiring extra costs. Compare different options before you apply, so you can be confident in the value that different home loans offer.
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What are home loans with free offset accounts?
Offset accounts work like regular savings or transaction accounts that are linked to your home loan. Any money saved in your offset account is included when your lender is calculating your home loan interest charges.
For example, if you had a $500,000 mortgage, and kept $20,000 saved in a 100 per cent offset account, you’ll be charged interest as if you only owed $480,000.
When you’re charged less interest on your mortgage, more of each payment can go towards repaying your loan’s principal. This means an offset account can help you put extra money towards your home loan, so you may be able to pay off your property sooner and save money on interest charges.
The more features and benefits a mortgage lender offers, the more likely they are to charge you a higher interest rate or extra fees. Some lenders may charge a monthly or annual fee on your offset account, which may reduce the value it offers overall.
However, there are also plenty of mortgage lenders that offer free offset accounts, where you won’t need to pay an extra fee to access an offset account. This may allow you to enjoy more interest savings on your home loan and clear your debt faster, without having to worry about as many extra costs.
How do home loans with free offset accounts compare to other home loans?
It’s important to check all of the usual features and benefits when comparing home loans with free offset accounts. Look at what you’d pay in fees and interest charges and compare this cost to the estimated value you could enjoy from any other features and benefits.
Keep in mind even if a home loan doesn’t charge an extra fee specifically for the offset account, that doesn’t mean the offset account is completely free. Sometimes a home loan with a free offset account will have a higher interest rate or charge a higher annual fee than the next home loan. Even with the potential interest savings, you could end up paying more for a home loan with an offset account than you would for a more basic “no-frills” home loan with a low interest rate and no fees.
To get a better idea of a home loan’s overall cost, look at its comparison rate. This figure combines a loan’s interest rate with the cost of its standard fees and charges, so you can tell at a glance which loans may cost you more in total.
What are the main benefits of home loans with free offset accounts?
If you have some savings available, a free offset account may allow these savings to work for you by reducing the amount of interest you pay on your home loan. The more money you can keep saved in your offset account, the more you may be able to save in interest charges on your home loan, and the faster you may be able to pay off your property.
For example, if you had a mortgage of $500,000, and kept $20,000 saved in your offset account, interest will only be charged on $480,000. Daily interest is thus calculated on a lower amount and you may therefore be able to pay off the loan more quickly than expected. Assuming a 3 per cent interest rate and a 30-year loan term, you could pay off this mortgage 22 months sooner and save over $27,000 in interest charges (hypothetical example for illustrative purposes only).
What should you consider before you apply for a home loan with a free offset account?
Before you apply for any home loan, it’s important to check the fine print to make sure you are getting exactly what you expect. As well as looking at the interest rates, fees, features and other benefits, there’s more to consider if you’re looking at home loans with free offset accounts.
Check if your home loan offers a 100 per cent offset account, where the full offset account balance is deducted from your home loan balance before interest is calculated for the day.
Check if you can deposit and withdraw funds from the account when you want to, either online, through a teller or at an ATM, and if any fees apply. There may be times when you need to access cash from your savings, though it’s important to consider how reducing your offset account balance may affect your home loan’s interest charges.
Senior Financial Writer
Mark Bristow is a senior financial writer for RateCity and an experienced analyst, researcher, and producer. Working for over ten years, Mark previously wrote and researched commercial real estate at CoreLogic, and has seen articles published at Lifehacker and Business Insider, among others. Most recently, Mark has joined RateCity working across finance as a whole. Whatever the topic, Mark’s goal is always to provide simple solutions to complex problems.
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Frequently asked questions
How does an offset account work?
An offset account functions as a transaction account that is linked to your home loan. The balance of this account is offset daily against the loan amount and reduces the amount of principal that you pay interest on.
By using an offset account it’s possible to reduce the length of your loan and the total amount of interest payed by thousands of dollars.
Example: If you have a mortgage of $500,000 but holding an offset account with $50,000, you will only pay interest on $450,000 rather then $500,000.
What is the difference between offset and redraw?
The difference between an offset and redraw account is that an offset account is intended to work as a transaction account that can be accessed whenever you need. A redraw facility on the other hand is more like an “emergency fund” of money that you can draw on if needed but isn’t used for everyday expenses.
What is an ongoing fee?
Ongoing fees are any regular payments charged by your lender in addition to the interest they apply including annual fees, monthly account keeping fees and offset fees. The average annual fee is close to $200 however there are almost 2,000 home loan products that don’t charge an annual fee at all. There’s plenty of extra costs when you’re buying a home, such as conveyancing, stamp duty, moving costs, so the more fees you can avoid on your home loan, the better. While $200 might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it adds up to $6,000 over the life of a 30 year loan – money which would be much better off either reinvested into your home loan or in your back pocket for the next rainy day.
Example: Anna is tossing up between two different mortgage products. Both have the same variable interest rate, but one has a monthly account keeping fee of $20. By picking the loan with no fees, and investing an extra $20 a month into her loan, Josie will end up shaving 6 months off her 30 year loan and saving over $9,000* in interest repayments.
How do I apply for a home improvement loan?
When you want to renovate your home, you may need to take out a loan to cover the costs. You could apply for a home improvement loan, which is a personal loan that you use to cover the costs of your home renovations. There is no difference between applying for this type of home improvement loan and applying for a standard personal loan. It would be best to check and compare the features, fees and details of the loan before applying.
Besides taking out a home improvement loan, you could also:
- Use the equity in your house: Equity is the difference between your property’s value and the amount you still owe on your home loan. You may be able to access this equity by refinancing your home loan and then using it to finance your home improvement. Speak with your lender or a mortgage broker about accessing your equity.
- Utilise the redraw facility of your home loan: Check whether the existing home loan has a redraw facility. A redraw facility allows you to access additional funds you’ve repaid into your home loan. Some lenders offer this on variable rate home loans but not on fixed. If this option is available to you, contact your lender to discuss how to access it.
- Apply for a construction loan: A construction loan is typically used when constructing a new property but can also be used as a home renovation loan. You may find that a construction loan is a suitable option as it enables you to draw funds as your renovation project progresses. You can compare construction home loans online or speak to a mortgage broker about taking out such a loan.
- Look into government grants: Check whether there are any government grants offered when you need the funds and whether you qualify. Initiatives like the HomeBuilder Grant were offered by the Federal Government for a limited period until April 2021. They could help fund your renovations either in full or just partially.
Who has the best home loan?
Determining who has the ‘best’ home loan really does depend on your own personal circumstances and requirements. It may be tempting to judge a loan merely on the interest rate but there can be added value in the extras on offer, such as offset and redraw facilities, that aren’t available with all low rate loans.
To determine which loan is the best for you, think about whether you would prefer the consistency of a fixed loan or the flexibility and potential benefits of a variable loan. Then determine which features will be necessary throughout the life of your loan. Thirdly, consider how much you are willing to pay in fees for the loan you want. Once you find the perfect combination of these three elements you are on your way to determining the best loan for you.
Can I take a personal loan after a home loan?
Are you struggling to pay the deposit for your dream home? A personal loan can help you pay the deposit. The question that may arise in your mind is can I take a home loan after a personal loan, or can you take a personal loan at the same time as a home loan, as it is. The answer is that, yes, provided you can meet the general eligibility criteria for both a personal loan and a home loan, your application should be approved. Those eligibility criteria may include:
- Higher-income to show repayment capability for both the loans
- Clear credit history with no delays in bill payments or defaults on debts
- Zero or minimal current outstanding debt
- Some amount of savings
- Proven rent history will be positively perceived by the lenders
A personal loan after or during a home loan may impact serviceability, however, as the numbers can seriously add up. Every loan you avail of increases your monthly installments and the amount you use to repay the personal loan will be considered to lower the money available for the repayment of your home loan.
As to whether you can get a personal loan after your home loan, the answer is a very likely "yes", though it does come with a caveat: as long as you can show sufficient income to repay both the loans on time, you should be able to get that personal loan approved. A personal loan can also help to improve your credit score showing financial discipline and responsibility, which may benefit you with more favorable terms for your home loan.
How can I calculate interest on my home loan?
You can calculate the total interest you will pay over the life of your loan by using a mortgage calculator. The calculator will estimate your repayments based on the amount you want to borrow, the interest rate, the length of your loan, whether you are an owner-occupier or an investor and whether you plan to pay ‘principal and interest’ or ‘interest-only’.
If you are buying a new home, the calculator will also help you work out how much you’ll need to pay in stamp duty and other related costs.
How do you determine which home loan rates/products I’m shown?
When you check your home loan rate, you’ll supply some basic information about your current loan, including the amount owing on your mortgage and your current interest rate.
We’ll compare this information to the home loan options in the RateCity database and show you which home loan products you may be eligible to apply for.
Does the Home Loan Rate Promise apply to discounted interest rate offers, such as honeymoon rates?
No. Temporary discounts to home loan interest rates will expire after a limited time, so they aren’t valid for comparing home loans as part of the Home Loan Rate Promise.
However, if your home loan has been discounted from the lender’s standard rate on a permanent basis, you can check if we can find an even lower rate that could apply to you.
What is an interest-only loan? How do I work out interest-only loan repayments?
An ‘interest-only’ loan is a loan where the borrower is only required to pay back the interest on the loan. Typically, banks will only let lenders do this for a fixed period of time – often five years – however some lenders will be happy to extend this.
Interest-only loans are popular with investors who aren’t keen on putting a lot of capital into their investment property. It is also a handy feature for people who need to reduce their mortgage repayments for a short period of time while they are travelling overseas, or taking time off to look after a new family member, for example.
While moving on to interest-only will make your monthly repayments cheaper, ultimately, you will end up paying your bank thousands of dollars extra in interest to make up for the time where you weren’t paying off the principal.
What are the features of home loans for expats from Westpac?
If you’re an Australian citizen living and working abroad, you can borrow to buy a property in Australia. With a Westpac non-resident home loan, you can borrow up to 80 per cent of the property value to purchase a property whilst living overseas. The minimum loan amount for these loans is $25,000, with a maximum loan term of 30 years.
The interest rates and other fees for Westpac non-resident home loans are the same as regular home loans offered to borrowers living in Australia. You’ll have to submit proof of income, six-month bank statements, an employment letter, and your last two payslips. You may also be required to submit a copy of your passport and visa that shows you’re allowed to live and work abroad.
When do mortgage payments start after settlement?
Generally speaking, your first mortgage payment falls due one month after the settlement date. However, this may vary based on your mortgage terms. You can check the exact date by contacting your lender.
Usually your settlement agent will meet the seller’s representatives to exchange documents at an agreed place and time. The balance purchase price is paid to the seller. The lender will register a mortgage against your title and give you the funds to purchase the new home.
Once the settlement process is complete, the lender allows you to draw down the loan. The loan amount is debited from your loan account. As soon as the settlement paperwork is sorted, you can collect the keys to your new home and work your way through the moving-in checklist.
What do people do with a Macquarie Bank reverse?
There are a number of ways people use a Macquarie Bank reverse mortgage. Below are some reasons borrowers tend to release their home’s equity via a reverse mortgage:
- To top up superannuation or pension income to pay for monthly bills;
- To consolidate and repay high-interest debt like credit cards or personal loans;
- To fund renovations, repairs or upgrades to their home
- To help your children or grandkids through financial difficulties.
While there are no limitations on how you can use a Macquarie reverse mortgage loan, a reverse mortgage is not right for all borrowers. Reverse mortgages compound the interest, which means you end up paying interest on your interest. They can also affect your entitlement to things like the pension It’s important to think carefully, read up and speak with your family before you apply for a reverse mortgage.
Why does Westpac charge an early termination fee for home loans?
The Westpac home loan early termination fee or break cost is applicable if you have a fixed rate home loan and repay part of or the whole outstanding amount before the fixed period ends. If you’re switching between products before the fixed period ends, you’ll pay a switching break cost and an administrative fee.
The Westpac home loan early termination fee may not apply if you repay an amount below the prepayment threshold. The prepayment threshold is the amount Westpac allows you to repay during the fixed period outside your regular repayments.
Westpac charges this fee because when you take out a home loan, the bank borrows the funds with wholesale rates available to banks and lenders. Westpac will then work out your interest rate based on you making regular repayments for a fixed period. If you repay before this period ends, the lender may incur a loss if there is any change in the wholesale rate of interest.
When does Commonwealth Bank charge an early exit fee?
When you take out a fixed interest home loan with the Commonwealth Bank, you’re able to lock the interest for a particular period. If the rates change during this period, your repayments remain unchanged. If you break the loan during the fixed interest period, you’ll have to pay the Commonwealth Bank home loan early exit fee and an administrative fee.
The Early Repayment Adjustment (ERA) and Administrative fees are applicable in the following instances:
- If you switch your loan from fixed interest to variable rate
- When you apply for a top-up home loan
- If you repay over and above the annual threshold limit, which is $10,000 per year during the fixed interest period
- When you prepay the entire outstanding loan balance before the end of the fixed interest duration.
The fee calculation depends on the interest rates, the amount you’ve repaid and the loan size. You can contact the lender to understand more about what you may have to pay.
Remaining loan term
The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.
How do I refinance my home loan?
Refinancing your home loan can involve a bit of paperwork but if you are moving on to a lower rate, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. The first step is finding another loan on the market that you think will save you money over time or offer features that your current loan does not have. Once you have selected a couple of loans you are interested in, compare them with your current loan to see if you will save money in the long term on interest rates and fees. Remember to factor in any break fees and set up fees when assessing the cost of switching.
Once you have decided on a new loan it is simply a matter of contacting your existing and future lender to get the new loan set up. Beware that some lenders will revert your loan back to a 25 or 30 year term when you refinance which may mean initial lower repayments but may cost you more in the long run.
How can I pay off my home loan faster?
The quickest way to pay off your home loan is to make regular extra contributions in addition to your monthly repayments to pay down the principal as fast as possible. This in turn reduces the amount of interest paid overall and shortens the length of the loan.
Another option may be to increase the frequency of your payments to fortnightly or weekly, rather than monthly, which may then reduce the amount of interest you are charged, depending on how your lender calculates repayments.
How much deposit do I need for a home loan from ANZ?
Like other mortgage lenders, ANZ often prefers a home loan deposit of 20 per cent or more of the property value when you’re applying for a home loan. It may be possible to get a home loan with a smaller deposit of 10 per cent or even 5 per cent, but there are a few reasons to consider saving a larger deposit if possible:
- A larger deposit tells a lender that you’re a great saver, which could help increase the chances of your home loan application getting approved.
- The more money you pay as a deposit, the less you’ll have to borrow in your home loan. This could mean paying off your loan sooner, and being charged less total interest.
- If your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the property value, you might incur additional costs, such as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
I have a poor credit rating. Am I still able to get a mortgage?
Some lenders still allow you to apply for a home loan if you have impaired credit. However, you may pay a slightly higher interest rate and/or higher fees. This is to help offset the higher risk that you may default on your repayments.