powering smart financial decisions

Updated on 20 May, 2022

Real Time Ratings™

Real Time Ratings™ rates over 100 providers with a score out of 5, based on how much the personal 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 personal loans based on your individual lending requirements.

Unlike other personal 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 personal 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.

It can be difficult to navigate the personal loan market. That’s why Real Time RatingsTM is here to do the work for you, so you have the most up-to-date assessment at your disposal.

How we calculate Real Time Ratings™ for Personal Loans

Real Time RatingsTM analyses personal loans from over 100 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.

Personal loan

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 personal loan.

  • Jane – The home renovator

Jane is desperate to fix up her house’s old bathroom and wants to renovate as soon as possible. She has saved up a little herself but knows she realistically needs at least an extra $15,000 to afford her dream bathroom. Jane is also still paying off her home loan, so keeping a personal loan interest rate and fees as low as possible is a priority for her. 

Jane knows that banks look favourably on applicants who have savings under their belt, and that they generally reserve the most competitive loan rates for borrowers with excellent credit scores. She is thankful she worked hard at saving a little before searching for a personal loan. 

Jane visits RateCity to compare her options and enters her loan amount ($15k), ideal loan term (3 years) and credit score (excellent) in the search engine. She is then able to view the most competitive personal loans and looks closely at their comparison rates, as this more accurately reflects how much fees will come into play. 

Then, using RateCity’s Real Time Ratings™, Jane narrows down her short list by comparing loans that rank highly for affordable repayment amounts. These are then compared against her own budget so she can judge which loan may be the best fit. Real Time Ratings™ helps her find a loan that rates highly for not just affordability, but also flexibility too. She then decides to apply for a 4.5-star personal loan with a competitive interest rate, lots of flexibility and easy-to-meet monthly repayments. 

  • Adam – The debt consolidator

Adam has decided that enough is enough. He is going to pay off his multiple outstanding debts – two maxed-out credit cards with $5,000 in debt each, and a car loan with $7,000 left to pay. Juggling multiple debts with multiple interest rates and multiple repayment amounts is getting far too difficult. 

A debt consolidation loan may offer Adam some much-needed simplicity in his life by combining all his debts into one $17,000 loan, with one interest rate and one monthly repayment. He also wants to keep his repayments down through a low interest rate, but also a longer loan term of five years. 

It’s important for Adam that he finds a personal loan with a competitive monthly cost, as he knows he may be paying more interest by spreading the debt consolidation loan out over five years. He decides to hop onto RateCity and compare debt consolidation loans.

RateCity’s Real Time Ratings™ helps to show Adam which loans would be the most affordable against his budget through their average monthly cost algorithm. He doesn’t need a redraw facility or any other major feature, so he doesn’t worry too much about the Flexibility Score. But he is still pleased to choose a debt consolidation loan with a 4-star Real Time Ratings™ score, as it gives him peace of mind that he’s picked a competitive loan option. 

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