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

Each personal loan displayed on RateCity’s personal loan comparison table has been assessed using an algorithm that compares both the price and features of personal loans using a methodology that assesses the value proposition of each product considered relative to its peers.

To arrive at a Total Score, RateCity applies a weight against a Cost Score and Flexibility Score. This method can be summarised as:

Real Time RatingTM = Weighted Cost Score + Weighted Flexibility Score

How is the Cost Score calculated?

The Cost Score of each product is dynamically calculated using the Average Monthly Cost of the product and is based on the user inputs of the personal loan comparison table. Scores are indexed based on the subset of products that meet the criteria of the inputs. E.g. a user that has filtered for unsecured personal loans for $30k will be returned a list of products available for this criteria with the Cost Score of each product indexed against only the other products that meet this criteria. 

Each time a user input filter impacting the assumptions of the Average Monthly Cost calculation or the available products is changed, the Cost Score calculations are retriggered. The following table outlines the values used in calculating the Average Monthly Cost for each product:

 Product DetailsGeneral Assumptions 
 Advertised interest rateLoan term (based on user input)
 Introductory interest rate (if applicable)Loan amount (based on user input)
 Duration of any applicable introductory periodStandard payment schedule based principal and interest repayments
 Upfront feesInterest charged over the duration of the term
 Ongoing feesCost rounded to 1 decimal place

Calculating Cost Score from Average Monthly Cost

When calculating the Cost Score from the market of Average Monthly Costs being displayed, outliers are handled such that really low or really high scores are adjusted to fit within the distribution of the rest of the market.

Once outliers have been adjusted, scores are normalised using a Box-Cox transformation. A Box-Cox transformation is a way to transform data so that it is more normally distributed and allows the Average Monthly Costs of personal loans to be compared based on the other options in the market.

Following this, scores are scaled to a range between 0 to 5.

How is the Flexibility Score calculated?

Real Time RatingsTM uses discrete scoring (i.e. having a specific feature is worth a specific number of points) and the overall Flexibility Score is based on the aggregated total of all points scored across all features assessed.

The percentage of available points listed below are based on the total number of points achievable for each category as a percentage of the maximum possible number of points achievable in the Flexibility Score. Percentages have been rounded to assist with interpretation of the methodology.

 CategoryDescriptionPercentage of Available Points 
 Flexibility 50%
 Application Channels Methods available for applying for the loan (branch, online, phone, mobile lender, broker)Equally weighted for remaining 87% of the category
 Instant Approval Is the loan able to be instantly approved upon application
 Time to Funding Following approval, how long until funds are received by the borrower
 Maximum Loan Amount How much can be borrowed, with larger loan amounts seen as favourable
 Security options What security can be used for the loan (vehicle, property, deposit)13% 
Repayment FrequencyWhat are the available repayment frequencies (daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually)32% 
Extra RepaymentsAre additional repayments allowed to be made against the loanEqually weighted for remaining 68% of the category
Redraw FacilityAre additional repayments allowed to be redrawn
No Early Exit PenaltyNo penalty for paying off the loan early

The flexibility points scored by a product is then converted into the Flexibility Score using the following steps:

  • Adding up all the flexibility points for each savings account being evaluated.
  • All personal loans are ranked based on their total flexibility points. This ranking is then changed into a percentile score. For example, the top 1% of accounts (those with the most flexibility points) are given a 99th percentile ranking.
  • Each product is then given a score that fits a normal distribution. This score is based on where it sits within the distribution of all the products, considering that the 'average' product scores a 3 and with variability around that average.
  • Finally, scores that naturally fall above 5 based on the distribution are adjusted to be capped at a maximum of 5.

Applying Weights to Calculate Real Time RatingsTM

Following the calculation of the Interest Score and the Flexibility Score, a Real Time RatingTM is then calculated by weighting the Cost Score and the Flexibility Score and adding these scores together to come up with the Real Time RatingTM for the product.

This is done using the following weights with accompanying examples:

Cost Score Flexibility Score Total Score 
 90% 10%Real Time RatingTM  = 4.33
 Interest Score of 4.5 x .90 = 4.05 Flexibility Score of 2.8 x .10 = 0.28

As both the Cost Score and Flexibility Score are out of 5, once each is weighted and added together the maximum possible Real Time RatingTM score for a personal loan is 5.

How often are products reviewed for Real Time RatingsTM purposes?

Real Time RatingsTM are calculated on an hourly basis based on the information that is available in the RateCity database.

Does RateCity rate all products available in the market?

We endeavour to include the majority of product providers in the market and to compare the product features most relevant to consumers in our Real Time RatingsTM. However, this process is not always possible and it may be that not every product in the market is included in the rating nor every feature compared that is relevant to you. 


To the extent that the information in this report constitutes general advice, this advice has been prepared by RateCity Pty Ltd A.C.N. 122 743 542 Australian Financial Services Licence (“AFSL”) and Australian Credit Licence number (“ACL”) 316710 (“RateCity”). The information has been prepared without taking into account your individual investment objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Before you decide whether or not to acquire a particular financial product you should assess whether it is appropriate for you in the light of your own personal circumstances, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You may wish to obtain financial advice from a suitably qualified adviser before making any decision to acquire a financial product. RateCity provides information about credit products. It is not a credit provider and in giving you information it is not making any suggestion or recommendation to you about a particular credit product. Please refer to RateCity’s FSCG  for more information. You should check rates and product information directly with the provider. Consider the Target Market Determination (TMD) before making a purchase decision. Contact the product issuer directly for a copy of the TMD.

The information in this report must not be copied or otherwise reproduced, repackaged, further transmitted, transferred, disseminated, redistributed or resold, or stored for subsequent use for any purpose, in whole or in part, in any form or manner or by means whatsoever, by any person without RateCity’s prior written consent. All information obtained by RateCity from external sources is believed to be accurate and reliable. Under no circumstances shall RateCity have any liability to any person or entity due to error (negligence or otherwise) or other circumstances or contingency within or outside the control of RateCity or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents in connection with the procurement, collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, communication, publication, or delivery of any such information.

The RateCity Real Time RatingsTM results do not include all providers in the market  and may not compare all features relevant to you. The rating is only one factor to take into account when considering these products. RateCity  acknowledges that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Reference to third party products, services or other information by trade name, trademark or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of RateCity by the respective trademark owner.

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