Compare the top variable rate personal loans
Find personal loans from a wide range of Australian lenders. Compare personal loan interest rates, repayments, fees and more.
If you’re looking to take out a personal loan and are considering an option with a variable interest rate, then you’ve come to the right place to compare the rates on offer from Australian lenders.
A variable rate means that the amount of interest you pay on your personal loan will not be fixed in advance, but may instead be raised or lowered by your lender in accordance with the current economic conditions.
By using RateCity to compare the different variable rate personal loans that are available, you can get a better idea of which lenders have offers that will best match up with your household’s unique financial situation.
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Understanding the difference between secured vs. unsecured personal loan
Suppose you find yourself looking to apply for a personal loan to fund a new car, renovations or something else. You’ll need to get a better understanding of the difference between an unsecured personal loan vs. secured personal loan.
Advantages and disadvantages of a variable interest rate
When you compare the advertised interest rates for variable rate personal loans, keep in mind that what you see may not end up being what you get. If your lender cuts its interest rates, you may end up with lower monthly repayments than you initially budgeted for, leaving you with some surplus cash available.
While you may want to put these savings to use somewhere else, many variable rate personal loans also offer the flexibility to pay extra onto your loan, allowing you to get ahead of your repayment schedule, bringing you closer to fully paying off your personal loan and making an early exit.
However, it stands to reason that if interest rates on your personal loan can fall, they can also rise in the right economic conditions. Increasing interest rates can lead to more expensive monthly personal loan repayments, which can leave you short if you haven’t budgeted accordingly. This can make variable rate personal loans a bit more high-maintenance to look after than their fixed rate counterparts.
While it’s worth comparing the advertised interest rates when choosing a lender for your personal loan, it’s also worth remembering that the lowest advertised interest rate doesn’t guarantee that you’re getting the cheapest personal loan deal available. Even if your lender doesn’t raise its rates, a low interest personal loan that charges high fees could be ultimately more expensive overall than a personal loan with higher interest rates and lower fees and charges.
One alternative is to look at each personal loan’s Comparison Rate, which combines its advertised interest rate with its standard fees and charges, to provide a more accurate guideline of the approximate costs of different personal loans.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the each lender may charge nonstandard fees that aren’t included in the personal loan’s Comparison Rate. Alternatively, they may offer extra features and benefits that could make their personal loan more appealing to you. It’s worth doing your homework after using the Comparison Rates to narrow down your shortlist of potential personal loans.
If you owe money to a variety of different lenders, then you may find yourself struggling to manage multiple repayments each month, as well as paying interest on each debt, each at a different rate.
A simpler option could be to take out a personal loan to consolidate these debts. Not only would this mean making only one repayment per month, but you’d also be making just the one interest payment per month, which could potentially work out cheaper than the previous arrangement.
Not every variable rate personal loan can be used for debt consolidation, so it’s a good idea to check first when making your comparisons, if that is your goal.
Secured/unsecured personal loans
If you’d prefer to keep your personal loan’s interest rates on the low side, then you may want to consider securing your loan. Secured personal loans guarantee the sum you borrow against the value of an asset that you own, whether that’s a car, equity in your property, or something similar. Of course, to apply for one of these loans, you’ll need one of these assets with enough value to reduce the lender’s financial risk, so you can in turn enjoy a lower interest rate.
Unsecured personal loans are also available, for when you don’t have access to a high-value asset, or if you’d prefer not to risk losing your asset to the lender if you’re unable to make your repayments. However, due to their relatively high lender risk, these personal loans tend to have higher average interest rates than similar secured personal loans.
Early exit/extra repayment penalties
One reason why many people love variable interest rate loans is the flexibility they offer.
If your lender chooses to cut interest rates, your monthly repayments could end up going down as a result, which gives you a choice – do you keep the savings from this discount, or do you take this opportunity to pay a little bit extra onto your loan, potentially paying it off early and ultimately paying a bit less in interest?
If this prospect appeals to you, keep in mind that some lenders charge fees for making extra repayments on a personal loan or for making an early exit, to help make up for the interest payments they’d be missing out on. These fees tend to be more common for Fixed Rate personal loans with pre-set repayment plans, though they are sometimes also applicable for Variable Rate Personal Loans.
Don’t end up surprised by extra charges if you try to pay off your personal loan early!
When you have extra money available in your bank account, whether it’s from a bonus, a tax refund, or left over in your budget following a rate cut, you may decide that making an extra repayment on your personal loan would be a great idea to bring you closer to getting your loan fully paid off.
But what if there was an emergency and all of your cash was tied up in your personal loan?
With this in mind, some lenders include a Redraw Facility as part of their personal loans. This nice little feature can be used when you get ahead on your personal loan repayments, and allows you to withdraw the surplus balance, subject to your lender’s terms and conditions.
By providing you with extra flexibility in how you use your finances, you’ll have the option to make extra repayments onto your personal loan with confidence that you can still access this money again if you really need it.
100% Personal Loans
Do you have a deposit all saved up and ready to get your personal loan started? No? Well, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your dream wedding or home renovation.
Some lenders offer high LVR (Loan to Value Ratio) personal loans, where your deposit is smaller, and you borrow a greater percentage of your total instead. Some lenders can even provide personal loans where you borrow 100% of the balance, with no deposit required.
If you do choose a high LVR or 100% personal loan, remember that you may find yourself paying a higher than average rate of interest, to make up for increased financial risk to your lender.
It may be worth weighing up whether it would be more affordable for you to make higher monthly repayments, or to save up a full deposit before taking out a personal loan.
Compare variable rate personal loans
By comparing the different personal loans that are currently available, you can work out which lenders offer the features and benefits that will perfectly match the requirements of your financial situation.
At RateCity, you can compare a wide variety of personal loan providers, so start your search today and enjoy the benefits tomorrow! Or at least, when you get approval from the lender…
Personal Finance Writer
Alex is a personal finance writer and PR professional at RateCity, and has been writing about finance for over three years. She is passionate about closing the gender pay and superannuation gap, and aims to help young Aussies to overcome their financial apathy and better manage their finances. Alex has been published in numerous print and online outlets, including Money Magazine, Lifehacker Australia, and Business Insider.
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Frequently asked questions
Should I get a fixed or variable personal loan?
Fixed personal loans keep your interest rate the same for the full loan term, while interest rates on variable personal loans may be raised or lowered during your loan term.
A fixed rate personal loan keeps your repayments consistent, which can help keep your budgeting consistent. You won't have to worry about higher repayments if your rates were to rise. However, on a fixed loan you’ll also potentially miss out on more affordable repayments if variable rates were to fall.
Can you refinance a $5000 personal loan?
Much like home loans, many personal loans can be refinanced. This is where you replace your current personal loan with another personal loan, often from another lender and at a lower interest rate. Switching personal loans may let you enjoy more affordable repayments, or useful features and benefits.
If you have a $5000 personal loan as well as other debts, you may be able to use a debt consolidations personal loan to combine these debts into one, potentially saving you money and simplifying your repayments.
Is a personal loan a variable or fixed-rate loan?
Depending on the personal loan lender, you may be able to choose between a fixed and a variable interest rate. But, there are a few distinct differences between the two, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on what’s right for you.
A fixed interest rate loan gets you the convenience of knowing exactly how much you need to repay each fortnight or month. On the other hand, you generally won’t be able to make lump sum or advanced payments to close your personal loan early - or at least not without a penalty.
With a variable interest rate personal loan, you may be able to get a longer loan repayment term, with the option of paying off the loan early. You typically won’t need to pay any additional charges for an early full repayment either. The potential disadvantage with an interest rate that can change is that your repayment is not entirely predictable, as it can fluctuate with the market. However, you’ll likely have more options as more lenders offer a variable interest rate personal loan.
What is the average interest rate on personal loans for single parents?
Like other types of personal loans, the average interest rate for personal loans for single parents changes regularly, as lenders add, remove, and vary their loan offers. The interest rate you’ll receive may depend on a range of different factors, including your loan amount, loan term, security, income, and credit score.
What is a bad credit personal loan?
A bad credit personal loan is a personal loan designed for somebody with a bad credit history. This type of personal loan has higher interest rates than regular personal loans as well as higher fees.
How much can you borrow with a bad credit personal loan?
Borrowers who take out bad credit personal loans don’t just pay higher interest rates than on regular personal loans, they also get loaned less money. Each lender has its own policies and loan limits, but you’ll find it hard to get approved for a bad credit personal loan above $50,000.
Do student personal loans require security?
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, which typically have 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 fully or partially guarantee the loan, taking on the financial responsibility if the borrower defaults.
Can I repay a $3000 personal loan early?
If you receive a financial windfall (e.g. tax refund, inheritance, bonus), using some of this money to make extra repayments onto your personal loan or medium amount loan could help reduce the total interest you’re charged on your loan, or help clear your debt ahead of schedule.
Check your loan’s terms and conditions before paying extra onto your loan, as some lenders charge fees for making extra repayments, or early exit fees for clearing your debt ahead of the agreed term.
Are there low doc personal loans?
Self-employed borrowers may be eligible for low doc personal loans, which require less documentation in their application process than many other personal loan options.
It’s important to remember that though low doc personal loans may require less paperwork, you may need to provide additional security, or pay a higher interest rate.
What is a personal loan?
A personal loan sits somewhere between a home loan and a credit card loan. Unlike with a credit card, you need to sign a formal contract to access a personal loan. However, the process is easier and faster than taking out a mortgage.
Loan sizes typically range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, while loan terms usually run from one to five years. Personal loans are generally used to consolidate debts, pay emergency bills or fund one-off expenses like holidays.
Can unemployed single parents get personal loans?
It can be more difficult for unemployed borrowers to successfully apply for a personal loan. Most lenders require borrowers to have a regular income available to cover the cost of loan repayments.
If you’re self-employed, or if less than half of your income comes from Centrelink, you may not be eligible for some personal loan options. Consider contacting the lender before applying.
Can I get a no credit check personal loan?
Personal loans with no credit checks are available and called ‘payday loans’. These are sometimes used as short-term solutions for cash-strapped Australians. They often carry higher interest rates and fees than regular personal loans, and individuals risk putting themselves into a worsened cycle of debt.
How long does it take to get a student personal loan?
Completing an online personal loan application can often take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on your lender, processing your personal loan application may take anywhere between 1 and 24 hours. If your personal loan application is approved, you may receive the money in your bank account the following business day, or, in some cases, the same day.
What do credit scores have to do with personal loan interest rates?
There is a strong link between credit scores and personal loan interest rates because many lenders use credit scores to help decide what interest rates to offer to potential borrowers.
If you have a higher credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a lower-risk borrower. That means they’ll be keen to win your business, so they may offer you a lower interest rate if you apply for a personal loan.
If you have a lower credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a higher-risk borrower. That means they might be concerned about you defaulting on the loan and costing them money. As a result, they might protect themselves by charging you a higher interest rate.
What are the pros and cons of personal loans?
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.
What is an unsecured bad credit personal loan?
A bad credit personal loan is ‘unsecured’ when the borrower doesn’t offer up an asset, such as a car or jewellery, as collateral or security. Lenders generally charge higher interest rates on unsecured loans than secured loans.
What are the pros and cons of debt consolidation?
In some instances, debt consolidation can help borrowers reduce their repayments or simplify them. For example, someone might take out a $7,000 personal loan at an interest rate of 8 per cent so they can repay an existing $4,000 personal loan at 10 per cent and a $3,000 credit card loan at 20 per cent.
However, debt consolidation can backfire if the borrower spends the extra money instead of using it to repay the new loan.
How can I improve my credit rating/score?
Your credit score will improve if you demonstrate that you’ve become more credit-worthy. You can do that by minimising loan applications, clearing up defaults and paying bills on time.
Another tip is to get the one free credit report you’re entitled to each year – that way, you’ll be able to identify and fix any errors.
If you want to fix an error, the first thing you should do is speak with the credit reporting body, which may take care of the problem or contact credit providers on your behalf.
The next step would be to contact your credit provider. If that doesn’t work, you can refer the matter to the credit provider’s independent dispute resolution scheme, which would be the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
AFCA provides consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.
If that doesn’t work, your final options are to contact the Privacy Commissioner and then the Office of the Information Commissioner.
Can I get a personal loan if I receive Centrelink payments?
It is hard, but not impossible, to qualify for a personal loan if you receive Centrelink payments.
Some lenders won’t lend money to people who are on welfare. However, other lenders will simply consider Centrelink payments as another factor to weigh up when they assess a person’s capacity to repay a loan. You should check with any prospective lender about their criteria before making a personal loan application.
Can I get guaranteed approval for a bad credit personal loan?
Few, if any, lenders would be willing to give guaranteed approval for a bad credit personal loan. Borrowers with bad credit histories can have more complicated financial circumstances than other borrowers, so lenders will want time to study your application.
It’s all about risk. When someone applies for a personal loan, the lender evaluates how likely that borrower would be to repay the money. Lenders are more willing to give personal loans to borrowers with good credit than bad credit because there’s a higher likelihood that the personal loan will be repaid.
So a borrower with good credit is more likely to have a loan approved and to be approved faster, while a borrower with bad credit is less likely to have a loan approved and, if they are approved, may be approved slower.