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*WARNING: The Comparison Rate combines the lender's interest rate, fees and charges into a single rate to show the true cost of a personal loan. The comparison rates displayed are calculated based on a loan of $30,000 for a term of 5 years or a loan of $10,000 for a term of 5 years as indicated, based on monthly principal and interest repayments, on a secured basis for secured loans and an unsecured basis for unsecured loans. This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may inﬂuence the cost of the loan.
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Best Personal Loans
Picking the best personal loan can be tough. Find out what you should look out for and how to compare the different types.
What are the different personal loan types?
There are two main ways personal loans differ – by the type of interest rate (Fixed or Variable) and if security is required.
Fixed loans have the same interest rate and repayment amounts for the life of the loan. A variable rate personal loan has an interest rate that could change (increase or decrease) at any time. The right rate type will depend on recent interest rate trends and the term of your loan.
A secured loan uses an asset (e.g. a car) as a type of insurance. If you fail to make your payments, the lender can sell the asset to cover their costs. An unsecured personal loan does not have this security, so is riskier for the lender and can be harder to get. The right loan type will depend on your credit history and what you will use the loan for.
Beyond this, every lender has their own interest rates, fees, and eligibility requirements. As a result, every loan varies slightly, so you should always read the terms and conditions carefully.
Isn’t the best personal loan just the one with the lowest interest rate?
Not necessarily. While the interest rate is important, and lower is usually better, there are other factors you need to consider.
Sometimes, low interest rates will be used to hide higher fees. As such, it’s important to look at the total cost of the loan, rather than just the interest rate.
Similarly, some lenders will offer a lower interest rate for a longer term. While your repayments will be lower, you could end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan. Again, looking at the total cost of the loan will help you avoid this issue.
We recommend looking at the loan’s comparison rate, instead of its interest rate. The comparison rate represents the true cost of the loan. It takes into account several factors, including the interest rate, all the fees, and the loan term.
The best personal loan type for your situation
While each personal loan will be different, some loan types are better suited to certain situations.
- If you’re buying a car, a secured loan is probably best. This will be easier to get and should have a lower interest rate.
- If you’re renovating your home, you may want to consider a line of credit. This will provide you with more flexibility and allow you to access funds as required.
- If you’re buying furniture or planning a holiday, an unsecured loan is probably the best. Alternatively, you may be able to use another asset, like your car, as security.
- If you’re investing, an unsecured loan is probably the best. However, you will need a good credit rating to secure such a loan.
- If you’re consolidating your debt, an unsecured loan is probably the best. However, you should consider all of your options if you are struggling with your debt, like entering a debt agreement.
- If you have a poor credit history or an unstable income, you may need a non-standard lender. But, keep in mind, these lenders will usually charge higher interest rates and fees.
How do I choose the best personal loan?
If you need some help choosing the perfect personal loan, just follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Work out how much you need and how much you can afford to pay
There are many reasons you may need a personal loan; like buying a car, consolidating debts, or a home renovation. Being clear about what you need the loan for will help you calculate how much you need to borrow. It should also assist with the application process as lenders will want to know what the money is for.
Failing to repay your loan can have long lasting effects, including limiting your ability to get credit in the future. As such, it’s critical you also make sure you will be able to make the repayments. Do this by working out how much of your monthly income you could comfortably do without.
Step 2: Work out how much you can borrow
Lenders will have set borrowing limits and you should make sure the amount you require falls within these. They will also assess your lending capacity based on a number of factors, like your income and expenses. If they do not believe you can afford the repayments for the amount you request, they will reject your application.
To avoid this, use a borrowing power calculator to work out how much a lender is likely to give you.
You should also check your credit rating. Lenders will use this to decide if they should give you a loan and how much they should give you.
Step 3: Work out any additional features you want
Do you want to be able to make extra repayments or pay off your loan early? Do you want to be able to redraw from your loan? Or do you just want the lowest possible payments?
Different personal loans offer different features. Usually these will come with higher fees or interest rates, so think carefully about what you actually need.
Step 4: Choose the type of lender you want
Not all personal loan providers are the same. Some lenders are larger and provide all the services any customer could need. Others are smaller and keep the costs down by focusing on specific customer types. And there are some that only deal in non-standard arrangements.
The main lender types are:
- Traditional banks: These are the big names that most people know. You probably already have an account with one of them, which can make getting a loan easier. However, this convenience comes at a cost, as these lenders usually charge higher fees.
- Credit Unions: These are similar to traditional banks but are ‘membership based’. As such, they generally offer great additional features, like a redraw function. However, you will need to become a member first, usually by opening a bank account.
- Online lenders: These are lenders that operate online only. They are usually cheaper than other lenders. However, the lower fees can come at the cost of customer service.
- Bad credit lenders: These are companies that specialise in helping people who would struggle to get a loan from other types of lenders. This includes people with a poor credit history and those that are self-employed. However, this flexibility comes at a price and these lenders consistently charge the highest fees and interest rates.
As you can see, each lender type has its strengths and weaknesses. The right one for you will depend on your overall financial situation and the features you want in your loan.
Step 5: Choose the best personal loan with lowest comparison rates
Once you know exactly what you’re looking for and understand how does a personal loan works, check out the loans available to you. Savvy can really help with this, as we bring together offers from a range of reputable lenders. You can also use our filters to narrow down the list to the best personal loans for your specific circumstances.
Once you have a shortlist of suitable loans, choose the one with the lowest comparison rate.
If there are features you want, but don’t actually need, see how much they will cost you. You can check this by comparing the lowest comparison rates for loans with, and without, those features. You can then make the call whether it’s worth the extra expense.