In our monthly Ratehacker round-up, Jeremy Cabral from comparison site finder.com.au highlights recent credit card offer changes, plus the best savings accounts and home loans.
Money picture from Shutterstock
The RBA has made the decision to hold the cash rate yet again so if you’re looking to make some savings you’ll have to do a comparison on your own to get a better interest rate. If you’re wanting to make a fresh start on your finances ahead of starting the new financial year in July, you should review your bank accounts structure now and doing the work so you’re prepared come June 30.
Feature: 0 percent balance transfer
NAB Premium Visa Card: 0% on balance transfers for a 15 month period, which is one of the most competitive balance transfer lengths on the market, especially considering this card has 0% on purchases for the same period of time. It will also give you complimentary access to NAB’s VIP List Card Cover Program, which is normally around an extra $98 per year. There is a $90 annual fee on this card.
Feature: No annual fee credit card
ME Bank frank Credit Card: No annual fee and low purchase rate. This no annual fee card also has a purchase rate of 9.99%, which puts it in a good spot for being an everyday or emergency card. However it will incur a $4 or 2% fee (whichever is greater) if you request a cash advance.
Feature: 0 per cent purchase rate
Virgin Australia Velocity Card: While paying 0% on purchases for 12 months on this card, you can still earn Velocity Rewards points on applicable purchases. The 0% on balance transfers makes this card a triple threat for debt consolidation and management, but only provided you can manage a $129 annual fee.
Feature: Bonus Velocity Points
American Express Velocity Escape Card: 20,000 bonus points. This card also comes with no annual fee for the life of the card, a unicorn amongst a swathe of rewards cards slapped with high yearly costs. It also comes with a 0% balance transfer offer for 12 months, however there is a 1% balance transfer fee. This means 1% of the balance you’re carrying over will be added to cover the costs of initiating the transfer.
Feature: Variable Rate Home Loan
UBank UHomeLoan Standard Variable Rate Value Offer: 3.99% p.a. with no application or ongoing fees either. This loan has a maximum LVR of 80%, so you’ll need the standard 20% deposit squirreled away. This loan is designed for owner occupiers who are up for paying off both their principal and interest.
Feature: Introductory Rate Home Loan
Mortgage House Advantage Discounted Variable: 3.69% for 6 months, reverting to 4.19%. Aside from a honeymoon rate, this home loan comes with a 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees, making for some speedy uptime – except for the $200 settlement fee. At the opposite end of the lifecycle you’ll also need to consider a $450 discharge fee.
Feature: Fixed rate home loan
: Teacher’s Mutual Bank 3 Year Fixed Option: 3.99%. Another sturdy loan from a non-bank lender, with the option for a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees. You’ll also be able to split the loan if desired, which could help given the current forecasts for the cash rate, however before anything else there’s a $600 application fee to consider, closely followed by a $150 settlement fee.
Feature: High maximum variable interest rate
ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser: 3.50% p.a. When linked to an ING Orange Everyday bank account that’s receiving your salary, this savings account can act as a nice little workflow to ensure you’re banking some of your hard-earned cash. There are no account keeping fees either, which means you’re not getting axed simply for putting your money away – which should never be the case, but quite often is.
Feature: Incentive saver
Bankwest Hero Saver: 3.15% when you deposit at least $200 per month and make no withdrawals. This account can be linked to any Australian bank account and entails no service or ongoing fees. With a strong setup geared at squirreling away your funds, this loan could take your financial dreams to new places – but if you slip up and dip into those savings, you’ll lose the bonus rate. It’s an incentive, but it’s also inflexible.
Feature: High base interest rate
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account: 2.55% p.a. base interest rate, up to 3.50% p.a. With both a high base interest rate and a high maximum variable rate, this savings account is a pretty hefty contender even when at the lower end of its ‘rate lifecycle’. You’re allowed to transfer in and out without penalty to your bonus rate, making it quite a bit more flexible than other accounts. Another consideration is that RaboDirect are an online-only lender, which may rule out those who prefer traditional banking experiences.
Feature: Free ATM withdrawals
ME Bank EveryDay Transaction Account: No ATM withdrawal fees and free access to any ATM in Australia. Not only does this account have no service fees or minimum amount, there are also no expenses for using third party ATMs, which is handy given the lack of ME Bank branches across Australia. You will get hit for international use though, with a $4 international withdrawal fee and a 2.50% foreign currency conversion fee.
Feature: Cashback on PayWave Purchases and Free ATM Withdrawals
HSBC Day to Day: No ATM withdrawal fees as well as 5% cashback on payWave purchases under 5% . With the additional bonus of no monthly account keeping fees, this no-frills transaction account is also very inexpensive. That being said, HSBC ATMs aren’t overly prolific, so checking out where "your local" is situated will be key to avoiding fees from third parties.
Feature: Rewards Transaction Account
Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account: Earn Qantas rewards points on applicable purchases while still having no account keeping fees. If you want to earn rewards points for your spending but the thought of a credit card makes you sweat, then this could be the next best thing. You’ll also have free access to both the CommBank and Bankwest network of ATMs, which is the biggest national network – so you’re definitely covered in that respect. One serious consideration is linking your salary to this account, as it needs at least $2,000 per month in deposits in order to continue having no monthly account keeping fees.
Feature: Debt Consolidation Line of Credit
CUA Fixed Rate Personal Loan: from 11.99% ficxed for up to seven years. This loan has some serious staying power, while also maintaining a low application fee ($120) and minimum loan amount ($1,000). There’s also no penalty for paying the loan out early.
Feature: Fixed Rate New Car Loan
AutoCarLoans: rates from 5.18% . AutoCarLoans are the mortgage brokers of the automobile industry, as they take your loan application and match it against their portfolio of providers. You’ll be allowed to borrow up to $500,000, which is a considerably impressive amount in this kind of space. There is a $5 monthly service fee for using their services which, while it’s comparatively loose change, also might be a little annoying as a thought sitting in the back of your head.
Feature: Low Interest Rate Personal Loan
HSBC Personal Loan: from 11.99% and no security needed.This loan has one of the most competitive starting rates on the market and has a variety of features that tie into its unofficial name – ‘The #WhyWait Personal Loan’. As mentioned above, you won’t be needing security for this loan and the monthly account servicing fee of $5 is negligible in most cases.
Feature: Policy Discount
1Cover Easter Special: 10%: 10% off policies until April 30. As the name suggests, the crew at 1Cover are offering an Easter special that won’t be rising after just three days. Instead, you’ve got the whole month to cash in on this saving. Even if you’re travelling after the promo period, locking in the insurance now will see you reap the 10% bonus regardless.
Feature: Discounted Premium
NobleOak Term Life Insurance: Fully underwritten cover when taking out up to $15 million. NobleOak in particular do a pretty good job of covering the bases when it comes to events that you might need financial assistance with. Diagnosis of a terminal illness or death will both result in a lump payout, while crisis recovery benefit is an peripheral you may elect to cover the cost of significant, debilitating life events that are perhaps less extreme than those warranting a complete payout.
Jeremy Cabral is the Publisher at finder.com.au and finder.com which includes comparisons for credit cards, tools to find savings accounts, insurance and a constantly updated database of discounts and coupon codes. Connect with Jeremy on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.