What interest rates are charged for personal loans?
Lenders aren’t allowed to charge interest on loans of $2,000 and under. Instead, they make their money by charging a one-off establishment fee of up to 20 per cent and a monthly account-keeping fee of up to four per cent. Lenders might also ask you to pay a government fee.
For loans between $2,001 and $5,000, lenders can make their money in only two ways: a one-off fee of $400 and annual interest rates of up to 48 per cent.
For loans of $5,001 and above, or for loans that have terms longer than two years, lenders can charge annual interest rates of up to 48 per cent. (Those fee caps don’t apply to loans offered by authorised deposit-taking institutions such as banks, building societies or credit unions – although such institutions are highly unlikely to charge interest rates of anywhere near 48 per cent.)
The advantages of personal loans are that they’re easier to obtain than mortgages and usually have lower interest rates than credit cards.
One disadvantage with personal loans is that you have to go through a formal application process, unlike when you borrow money on your credit card. Another disadvantage is that you’ll be charged a higher interest rate than if you borrowed the money as part of a mortgage.
If you need to borrow $2000 or less, alternatives to getting a personal loan or payday loan include using a credit card or the redraw facility.
Before you borrow $2000 on a credit card, remember that interest will continue being charged on what you owe until you clear your credit card balance. To minimise your interest, consider prioritising paying off your credit card.
Before you draw down $2000 in extra repayments from your home, car or personal loan using a redraw facility, note that fees and charges may apply, and drawing money from your loan may mean your loan will take longer to repay, costing you more in total interest.
Many lenders will allow you to make extra repayments onto a quick personal loan when you can afford them, or even exit the loan early, which can help reduce the total interest you are charged. Be sure to check your quick loan’s terms and conditions, as some lenders charge early exit fees for paying off a loan ahead of schedule.
While some personal loans can be secured by the value of an asset, such as a car or equity in a property, student personal loans are often unsecured, with higher interest rates.
Some lenders also offer guarantor personal loans to students. These loans have lower interest rates, as a guarantor (usually a relative of the borrower with good credit) will guarantee the loan, taking on the financial responsibility if the borrower defaults.
In some instances, bad credit personal loans can help people with bad credit history to consolidate their debts in such a way that it makes it easier for them to repay those debts. This is because the borrower might be able to consolidate several debts with higher interest rates (such as credit card loans) into one single debt with a lower interest rate.
However, this strategy can backfire if the borrower spends the extra money instead of using it to repay the new loan. Another disadvantage of bad credit personal loans is that they have higher interest rates than regular personal loans.