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Cashback Home Loans

Cashback offers from lenders can help refinancers and first home buyers with the cost of establishing a new loan. Savvy helps you compare offers.

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, updated on August 8th, 2023       

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Lenders are now offering a variety of incentives to attract new customers to take out home loans.  Cashback home loan offers can help to offset the cost of switching loans or establishing a loan for first homeowners, but are they the best option available?  Savvy can help you make the best financial decision by comparing home loans all in one place.

What are cashback home loan offers?

Cashback home loan offers are made by lenders as an incentive for potential new customers to take up a new loan with them.  Ranging in value from $500 up to around $6,500, these cashback mortgage offers come in the form of either cash offers, or the equivalent reduction in an established loan amount, or the waiving of loan establishment fees to the value of the advertised cashback.

With competition between banks and lenders so fierce, lenders use these cashback home loan offers to entice new customers.  Some may offer a fantastic opportunity to first home buyers and refinancers alike, but other such cashback offers need more scrutiny. 

The bottom line is that the home loan interest rate offered, combined with interest-saving loan features (such as offset accounts and the ability to make lump sum repayments) will probably be far more important long-term to the overall cost of the loan than any small cash incentives.  For example, be wary of putting your stock in ‘cashback offers’ which are, in effect, just a waiving of loan establishment fees that may never have been charged in the first place.

Savvy compares home loans and presents financial information about the true cost of loans side-by-side so that you’re able to make the best financial decisions for your particular family’s circumstances.

Make sure your cashback offer is a genuine one

Genuine cashback offers present a great opportunity for first home buyers and refinancers to offset the cost of early exit or break fees and switch loans at no cost.   These great cashback deals come with a very low interest rate and offer genuine cash placed in a linked offset or transaction account that is opened at the same time as the loan is taken out.

What limitations are there on cashback offers?

Lenders place various limitations and restrictions on home loan cashback refinance offers.  They fall into several categories:

  • restrictions on the size of the loan you’re able to take out, such as a minimum loan size of $250,000 to receive a $3,000 cashback
  • specifications about the size of deposit required to get the largest cashback loans on offer, such as a minimum deposit size of 30% of the value of the property to be purchased in return for a $5,000 cashback
  • Conditions about the type of loan that can receive a cashback; for example, the offer may be limited to first homebuyers only, refinancers only or investment loans only
  • limitations about where the cashback offer cash is paid into; for instance, some lenders specify it must be paid into a transaction account linked to the home loan (for which they may charge a substantial establishment and administration fee)
  • conditions which state the mortgage cashback offer can only be used to offset fees, either those charged by that lender or another lending institution
  • rules which state the offer is only open for a limited period for a loan settled by a certain date, so you’d have to be quick to take advantage of that offer

Some home loan cashback offers have almost no limiting factors, and cashback offers can be a welcome relief to first homebuyers coping with the high expense of setting up a new home.  You should compare offers with Savvy to make sure you’re getting the best interest rate available and the best deal possible.

Frequently asked questions about home loan cashback offers

Will I have to pay tax on my cashback?

No – the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) made a ruling that personal rewards from loyalty programs and flight rewards, and cashback offers from all sources, do not count as income for taxation purposes, so you won’t have to declare your cashback as income and pay tax on it.

What happens to my cashback if I want to refinance in two years' time?

Read the fine print of your loan offer carefully, because some lenders do specify that you’re required to keep your cashback home loan for a minimum period.  If there are no such restrictions, you’re free to refinance and choose another cashback home loan offer, if you’re able to secure loan approval, and keep your cashback.

Do some lenders also waive application fees in addition to offering a cashback?

Yes – some lenders do waive establishment fees, application fees and ongoing fees in addition to offering a genuine no-strings cashback, so you should always read the small print of your loan carefully and make sure you compare as many different offers as possible.

What is a cashback loan comparison rate?

This refers to the comparison rate being charged for the loan, which is the base interest rate being offered, with all loan fees added in to give an accurate representation of the cost of your loan.  It is more realistic to compare loan comparison rates rather than rely on base interest rates, which don’t take any other loan costs into account.

Can I get an offset account with a cashback refinance home loan offer?

Yes – cashback refinance mortgage offers can come with a whole range of additional features depending on your financial needs, which includes offset accounts.  They can come with variable home loans, investment property loans, construction loans, interest-only loans and more.  You can also access offset accounts on loans which offer the ability to make lump sum payments to pay the loan off more quickly with no additional penalties attached.

With a cashback mortgage offer, can I fix my interest rate?

Yes – both fixed rate, fixed term loans and variable interest rate loans are included in cashback home loan offers.  There are hundreds of different home loans available in Australia, so Savvy can help you find your way through the maze to select a home loan that’s just right for your individual needs.

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