What to consider when choosing a personal loan

Why make it personal? There are times in your life when despite your best efforts you fall short of the funds you need to achieve what you desire. Personal loans can provide a way of achieving what you need in the present by allowing you to pay it off in the future.

Whether you are trying to consolidate your debts, booking an overseas trip or need the money to set up a nursery, we will show you what type of personal loans are available so you can feel comfortable choosing the right one, at the right price.

1. The benefits of a personal loan

What’s the difference between a credit card and a personal loan, which both give you access to money you don’t have? The main benefit of a personal loan and what attracts many people to this option compared to a credit card, is that their interest rates are usually lower and you have an allocated time frame in which to pay the loan back. This means that it’s often easier to pay off and you could save you a lot of money in interest.

2. Types of personal loans

Secured, unsecured, variable, fixed? With lots of options can sometimes come confusion but it’s important to do your research and pick a loan type that is going to suit your personal needs. A few minutes of reading here could save you a few bucks too.

We have broken it down for you so that you can quickly, and hopefully easily, identify which person loan type is going to meet all your requirements.


If you are purchasing a new car or a large asset, then a secured loan may be for you. With this type of loan the asset in which you require the loan for, is used as security against the loan. Meaning that if you were to default on your repayments, the financial institution has the authority to repossess your asset, sell it and use the money to pay off your debt. These types of loans can sometimes be advertised at a lower interest rate than unsecured loans as they are seen as less risk to the lender.


If you are looking for some extra cash for your holiday, are consolidating your debts or renovating your home, an unsecured loan could do the job. An unsecured loan doesn't require any security against the loan but as such, are considered a higher risk for the lender and therefore usually come with a higher interest rate than a secured personal loan. If this is your first loan, you may have to provide a guarantor on your application to guarantee that the repayments will be met.


Like the yin and yang there are positives and negatives to a variable loan but it all comes down to your personal preferences. A variable rate personal loan is a type of loan where the interest rate is not fixed and can fluctuate. Because of this, the repayments on this type of loan may go up and down depending on the lender's discretion, which can make it difficult to set a budget. Benefits of this type of loan include if interest rates decrease, your repayments will be less, and in general variable rates are usually lower than a fixed rate. However if the rate increases your repayments will rise as a result.


Unlike variable rate loans, fixed rate personal loans offer a fixed interest rate throughout the length of the loan so you don’t have to worry about rate increases. This means that your repayments remain the same amount throughout the term of the loan, making it easier to manage your budget. The downside to having a fixed rate however is that if interest rates overall drop, because your interest rate is fixed it is unaffected, so effectively you may pay more than you need to.


The emergency fund of personal loans, this type of loan is one option available to make sure you have enough money in your account when you need it. It is a convenient way to have access to money quickly for those financial emergencies that pop up when you least expect it. You only pay interest on the money you use, however there is usually a maximum amount that you can apply for with this type of loan. The interest rate can be higher with this type of loan compared to other types of personal loans so make sure you compare.

Line of credit

This type of personal loan offers access to funds as you need them, allowing you to withdraw additional funds as required. The benefit is that you only pay interest on the money you use and not the total amount borrowed. Another good thing is that there is no need to reapply for another loan when you need more money, you can redraw on your available balance. A line of credit usually has a minimum and maximum amount that you can access, however the limit is usually higher than the maximum amount usually available with an overdraft loan.

3. How to get the best deal on your personal loan

Identifying the need, doing your research and shopping around will ultimately pay in dividends and lead you to uncovering the best personal loan for you.

If you have a loan amount in mind and have identified what type of loan you require then it’s time to get serious and start comparing. Comparing home loans doesn’t mean hours of leg work, instead kick your feet up and start comparing some of Australia’s best personal loans online. To use the RateCity personal loans comparison tool just visit our personal loans page, select which option you would like to search for, whether it's just compare, low interest, or debt consolidation, then simply enter in the required information so that we can filter the search results to you.

The results will show a list of products that best suit your criteria. You can then further filter your search by comparing the interest rates and fees, and once you find one that best meets your criteria, you can apply online. Your chosen lender will then be in touch with you to notify you of the status of your application.

Easy! Hasn’t the internet changed our lives?

4. Personal loan application Checklist

  1. Work out the amount you want to borrow.
  2. Calculate how much you can afford to make in repayments.
  3. Work out how long it will take to pay off, and how often you want to make the repayments (weekly, fortnightly or monthly.)
  4. Decide whether you will require a secured (if buying an asset such as a car) or unsecured loan.
  5. Will a fixed or variable rate personal loan suit you?
  6. Compare personal loans online, look for one with a lower interest rate and lower fees.
  7. Organise any documentation and paperwork that is required to support you application and have this ready.
  8. That’s it! You are now ready to apply online.

Start comparing some of the best personal loans available today.

This is an information service. By browsing on the website and/or using our search tools, you are asking RateCity to provide you with information about products from multiple financial institutions. We will try to show you a range of products in response to your request for information. The search results do not include all providers and may not compare all features relevant to you, for further details refer to our FSCG. The rating shown is only one factor to take into account when considering these products. We are not a credit provider, and in giving you product information we are not making any suggestion or recommendation to you about a particular credit product. If you decide to apply for a product, you will deal directly with a financial institution, and not with RateCity. Rates and product information should be confirmed with the relevant financial institution, and you should review the PDS before you decide to purchase. See our terms of use for further details. This advice is general and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider whether this advice is right for you.