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. With some of Autralia's lowest rates, you can find the lender that's right for you.
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 size home loan can I afford?
Buying a new home is a big decision, and is one of the most expensive investments of your life, too. But before you even start to look for that dream home, you should find out how much you can borrow. This will help you narrow down your search and get an idea of what your repayments will look like in the future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can I apply for an ANZ non-resident home loan?
You may be eligible to apply for an ANZ non-resident home loan only if you meet the following two conditions:
- You hold a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa or its predecessor, the Temporary Skilled Work (subclass 457) visa.
- Your job is included in the Australian government’s Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List.
However, non-resident home loan applications may need Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval in addition to meeting ANZ’s Mortgage Credit Requirements. Also, they may not be eligible for loans that require paying for Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI). As a result, you may not be able to borrow more than 80 per cent of your home’s value. However, you can apply as a co-borrower with your spouse if they are a citizen of either Australia or New Zealand, or are a permanent resident.
How can I get ANZ home loan pre-approval?
Shopping for a new home is an exciting experience and getting a pre-approval on the loan may give you the peace of mind that you are looking at properties within your budget.
At the time of applying for the ANZ Bank home loan pre-approval, you will be required to provide proof of employment and income, along with records of your savings and debts.
An ANZ home loan pre-approval time frame is usually up to three months. However, being pre-approved doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your home loan. Other factors could lead to your home loan application being rejected, even with a prior pre-approval. Some factors include the property evaluation not meeting the bank’s criteria or a change in your financial circumstances.
You can make an application for ANZ home loan pre-approval online or call on 1800100641 Mon-Fri 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (AEST).
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.
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 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 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).
What is 'principal and interest'?
‘Principal and interest’ loans are the most common type of home loans on the market. The principal part of the loan is the initial sum lent to the customer and the interest is the money paid on top of this, at the agreed interest rate, until the end of the loan.
By reducing the principal amount, the total of interest charged will also become smaller until eventually the debt is paid off in full.
What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?
It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.
The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.
But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.
What is a fixed home loan?
A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.
Can I get a NAB home loan on casual employment?
While many lenders consider casual employees as high-risk borrowers because of their fluctuating incomes, there are a few specialist lenders, such as NAB, which may provide home loans to individuals employed on a casual basis. A NAB home loan for casual employment is essentially a low doc home loan specifically designed to help casually employed individuals who may be unable to provide standard financial documents. However, since such loans are deemed high risk compared to regular home loans, you could be charged higher rates and receive lower maximum LVRs (Loan to Value Ratio, which is the loan amount you can borrow against the value of the property).
While applying for a home loan as a casual employee, you will likely be asked to demonstrate that you've been working steadily and might need to provide group certificates for the last two years. It is at the lender’s discretion to pick either of the two group certificates and consider that to be your income. If you’ve not had the same job for several years, providing proof of income could be a bit of a challenge for you. In this scenario, some lenders may rely on your year to date (YTD) income, and instead calculate your yearly income from that.
How long does Bankwest take to approve home loans?
Full approval for a home loan usually involves a property valuation, which, Bankwest suggests, can take “a week or two”. As a result, getting your home loan approved may take longer. However, you may get full approval within this time if you applied for and received conditional approval, sometimes called a pre-approval, from Bankwest before finalising the home you want to buy.
Another way of speeding up approvals can be by completing, signing, and submitting your home loan application digitally. Essentially, you give the bank or your mortgage broker a copy of your home’s sale contract and then complete the rest of the steps online. Bankwest has claimed this cuts the approval time to less than four days, although this may only happen if your income and credit history can be verified easily, or if your home’s valuation doesn’t take time.
Why should I get an ING home loan pre-approval?
When you apply for an ING home loan pre-approval, you might be required to provide proof of employment and income, savings, as well as details on any on-going debts. The lender could also make a credit enquiry against your name. If you’re pre-approved, you will know how much money ING is willing to lend you.
Please note, however, that a pre-approval is nothing more than an idea of your ability to borrow funds and is not the final approval. You should receive the home loan approval only after finalising the property and submitting a formal loan application to the lender, ING. Additionally, a pre-approval does not stay valid indefinitely, since your financial circumstances and the home loan market could change overnight.