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site-logos Symple Loans Personal Loan
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Earn up to 50,000 Qantas Points with a more rewarding personal loan from Symple

site-logos Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
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Borrow up to $50,000 with personalised rates and repay over 3 or 5 years loan terms.

*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.

Savvy provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation or seeking independent advice. While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Savvy.

What is a personal loan?

Considering a personal loan? We’ve compiled everything you need to know in one place to make choosing a loan easy.

Personal loans help you cover life’s big expenses. Listed below are just a few reasons people take out personal loans:

  • To make big, expensive purchases
  • To pay tuition/school fees
  • To move house, furnish or renovate their home
  • To go on holiday
  • To pay medical bills
  • To fix their car
  • To get married
  • To pay for funeral expenses
  • To consolidate debts

When filling out a loan application, you will be asked why you want to borrow the money. It is always best to answer honestly. If your reasons for borrowing are not on the list, your lender will usually accept ‘other’ as an answer.

There are a few things that you can’t use a personal loan for. If you need funds for any of the reasons below, you can talk to your lender about other financial products that might be suitable :

  • Buying a home
  • A business loan
  • Investing in the stock market
  • Overdue bills, fines or court-ordered payments

Pros and cons of where I can get a personal loan

compare the most commonly used organisations offering personal loan in Australia


As you would expect, most personal loans are issued by traditional banks. The current advertised interest rates for banks are around 12-14%.


Easily accessible

The major banks have multiple branches across Australia, so it’s easy to talk to someone face-to-face.

Advanced online platforms

To make the application process convenient, most banks give you the option of using online forms. They also provide calculators that can help you estimate your repayments and costs before you apply, and their apps make it easy to monitor your loan once you’re approved.


Cookie-cutter approach

Banks have set procedures in place, and so they are fairly rigid in their approach to approving loans. If you don’t fit their set criteria, you may have your application rejected.

Lacking personal service 

As you would expect, in a large bank, customer service is much less personal.

Credit Unions

Credit unions are similar to banks, but instead of having shareholders, they are owned by members. Some may only grant membership to a particular community or profession; however, many credit unions have opened up their membership to the public. The current advertised interest rates for personal loans through credit unions are 8-12% on average.


Lower rates and fees

As not-for-profits, credit unions generally offer better interest rates and fees than the banks. This is because they don’t have to pay shareholders and can focus solely on keeping members’ costs low.

Personal service

Most credit unions begin as community institutes with a strong focus on personalised customer service. Though many have grown beyond their original limited membership, they still retain these excellent service standards.


They don’t use the same cookie-cutter approach that the banks use and may be able to offer flexibility to customers who would otherwise be rejected by traditional banks.


Their products tend to be much simpler than the banks and much easier for their customers to understand and manage.


Fewer locations

Because they are smaller institutions, they are likely to have fewer branches. Some may only operate in a localised area.

Fewer products

Credit unions usually offer fewer options than the major banks because they cater to a more limited customer base.

Less advanced technology

Because their technology budget is smaller than the major banks, their online systems may not be as comprehensive or easy-to-use.

Online Lenders

Though online lenders are relatively new to the Australian market, their market share is growing quickly. The current advertised interest rates for online lenders are around 6-9%.


Faster approvals

Online lenders are known for their efficiency in processing loan applications. Some even automate the approval process.

Variety of products

There are many online lenders, and many of them deliberately do things differently to the banks. So, if traditional bank products aren’t the right fit for you, you may want to consider an online lender instead.


Because they’re not a brick-and-mortar business, they have fewer overheads and are able to offer lower interest rates and fees.


Online only 

If you prefer face-to-face customer service, then online lenders may not be the right option for you.

Note: If you are considering an online lender, remember to always check their license on the ASIC Professional Register, to ensure they are legitimate. While they may not have traditional branches, there should still be a valid address listed on their website for their head office. It’s also a good idea to look for reviews about the lender on independent websites.

Pros and cons of fixed vs variable rate personal loans

With so many different lenders and dozens of personal loan products on the market, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re shopping for a loan. To simplify things, we suggest you start with two key questions.

These questions will allow you to find products that are right for you and filter out the rest. We’ve defined these terms below to help you make your decision.

Secured loans: For a secured personal loan, you’ll need an asset (usually a car or other vehicle) as collateral. If you don’t meet your repayments, the lender can seize your asset and sell it to recoup their costs.

Unsecured loansUnsecured personal loans don’t require an asset as surety. If you don’t repay an unsecured loan, the lender can take you to court, but they can’t take your possessions. Because this is riskier for lenders than secured loans, they will usually charge more interest.

Fixed-rate loans

As the name suggests, the interest rate on a fixed-rate loan is set from the start and doesn’t change over the life of the loan.


Budgeting is simple

The lender will tell you, when you first take out the loan, exactly what your repayments are going to be, and how often you need to make them, making planning easy.

Direct debit

Many lenders will allow you to set up a direct debit so that the repayment is made automatically every month and hassle-free. Some may also allow you to change your payment dates to coincide with your income so that you’re never caught short.


Limited redrawing options

 If you want to access some of the repayments you’ve made, there may be restrictions involved. For example, the lender may limit how many times you can redraw or how much. Some may only allow you to redraw if you are ahead on your repayments, while others may not let you redraw at all. You may need to get approval or pay redraw fees.

Costs of paying early

Usually paying a loan off early is a good thing, and it can save you a lot of interest. However, when it comes to fixed personal loans, the lender may charge you fees for ending the contract early.

Variable loans

The interest on variable personal loans changes over time in line with the market.


Redraw options

Most variable loans have redraw options. There may be some limitations, but usually, they are far more flexible than fixed loans.

Early repayments without fees

Variable loans rarely have early repayment costs, which means that if you can pay your loan off early, you could save a lot of money.

Take advantage of interest rates decreases

The interest on variable loans adjusts to reflect the market so that if rates decrease, you could save a lot of money.


Risk of interest rate rises

If interests rates rise, your variable rate will reflect this, and you could end up paying a lot more than you originally expected.

Changing repayments

The repayments will change from month to month, and so they are harder to budget for.

Higher interest rates

Because variable loans allow you a lot more flexibility, banks tend to charge higher interest rates for them, than they do for fixed-rate loans

What is the comparison rate?

All loans are structured differently. Some may have high fees, and low interest rates; others may have low fees and high interest rates. This makes it very hard to compare them. To combat this, the government mandated that all lenders must provide a comparison rate for all fixed loans.

The comparison rate takes a $30K loan, paid over 5 years, and adds up all the interest and fees to give you the overall cost of the loan as a percentage. Because all lenders use the same formula, you can compare these rates to see which works out cheapest.

It is important to note that the comparison rate is only useful as a comparison tool. It does not represent the actual cost you’ll pay. If you are borrowing a different amount, say $10K instead of $30K, then your total cost will be different than the comparison rate. Similarly, if you are paying off the loan over 7 years instead of over 5 years, then your costs will be different from the comparison rate. The comparison rate also doesn’t account for things like late fees if you miss a payment, or early payment fees if you pay off your loan ahead of schedule.

What are the fees on a personal loan?

These are some of the most common types of fees you might see on personal loans.

Establishment fee – This is a once-off start-up cost. It can be a flat fee or a percentage of the loan amount. Not all lenders charge an establishment fee, but for those that do, a typical flat fee is around $150-$250. It’s important to note that there are a few lenders who charge much more, so always doublecheck the fees before you apply.

Administration fee – This is usually in the form of a flat fee; around $10 per month. Many lenders don’t charge any administration fees.

Late fees – If you don’t make payments on time, you may be charged a late fee of approximately $10-$30.

Early termination fees – If you pay off your loan early, or refinance it with another lender, you may be charged a fee. Some lenders use flat fees, while others calculate the early termination fee based on the market conditions at the time. Some may charge you a combination of both. It’s important to make sure you read the terms of your loan carefully, because these fees can be large and difficult to predict. Of course, some lenders don’t charge early elimination fees at all, particularly if you have a variable loan.

Documentation fee – If you need a statement reprinted, or other documents relating to your loan.

How much can I apply for?

When filling out a loan application, it is important that you know what your budget is and how much you’ll be able to repay. Make sure to leave yourself some wiggle room for unexpected expenses. If your budget says you’ll only have $10 leftover at the end of each month, it may be a bit unrealistic.

Most lenders have calculators on their websites to help you estimate how much your repayments will be. If you are approved, you might find that the lender is offering you different repayments to what you were expecting, or a different interest rate to what they advertised. It’s important to read the offer carefully and make sure it still fits in your budget.

If you have a good credit rating, the lender may offer to lend you more than you applied for. Though this might seem enticing, remember that the more you borrow, the more interest you’ll pay. You can see how quickly this adds up in the table below. For this example, we are using an interest rate of 11.99% and a loan term of 5 years.

Loan Amount Estimated Interest Cost Over 5 Years

What should my personal loan term be?

Loan applications will ask you for the timeframe you need to pay the loan back, usually somewhere between 12 months and 7 years. It can be tempting to pick a long timeframe because your monthly repayments will be lower. However, the longer you keep your loan, the more interest costs you’ll end up paying overall. In the table below, we use the example of a $15,000 loan with an interest rate of 11.99%. You can see that as the loan term increases, the weekly payments get smaller, but the interest costs grow substantially.

Loan Term (Years) Repayments (Weekly) Estimated Interest Cost

What documents do I need?

You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a loan. The lender can ask you to provide any of the following:

  • 100 points of ID
  • Proof of employment
  • Payslips
  • Bank statements
  • Details of your assets
  • Details of your expenses
  • Details of other debts you have

Do I need a co-borrower or a guarantor?

When you apply for a loan, the lender will always check your credit rating. If your credit score is low, you may use a guarantor or a co-borrower to get approval.

A co-borrower is someone you are sharing the loan with. The lender will check both your credit scores and you are both equally responsible for making repayments.

A guarantor is a person who is responsible for your loan only if you can’t make your repayments.

An example of this is if you and your spouse apply for a loan, and one of your parents agrees to be the guarantor. In this situation, you and your spouse are co-borrowers, and you are both responsible for making repayments. If neither of you can pay, then the guarantor, your parent, must pay off the loan instead.

It is important to note that both the co-borrower and the guarantor will be financially impacted by your loan, even if you meet all your repayment obligations. For example, if they wish to apply for credit for themselves, the bank will consider your loan as part of their existing debt obligations, and this may impact how much they can borrow. If they have put up their assets as collateral for your loan, they may not be able to use these assets as collateral for their own loans.

How do I improve my credit score?

Lenders use your credit scores to decide whether to approve your loan. Your credit score will also determine how much they are willing to lend you and the interest rate they offer. People with low credit scores are considered risky borrowers, and lenders will usually charge them more interest.

If you would like to know your credit score, you can order one free credit report per year.

Depending on which credit agency provides your report, your credit score could be in the range 0-1000 or 0-1200. The higher your score, the better your credit rating, and the more likely it is that you’ll be approved for a loan.

There are a few things you can do to keep your credit score healthy:

  • Pay on time – Pay your bills, rent and mortgage repayments on time. If you are in financial hardship, talk to the companies you owe money to, and work out a payment plan.
  • Manage your credit cards – Always pay the minimum credit card repayments on time. If you can afford it, pay more than the minimum. If you have credit cards you’re not using, consider cancelling them, or reducing your credit limits.
  • Check your credit report before applying for a loan – If you find any errors, call the credit agency straight away and have them fixed.
  • Try not to apply for too many loans in a short period as this can negatively impact your credit rating. When you’re filling out a loan application, doublecheck for errors so that you don’t have to apply twice.

  • It is important to remember that your credit score won’t improve overnight. You need to consistently manage your bills and payments to show that you are creditworthy.

I’m self-employed. Can I apply for a personal loan?

Absolutely. With more and more people owning their own businesses or working as sole traders, most lenders will have procedures in place to verify your income and approve your loan. In addition to the documents we’ve already discussed, you will also need to supply

  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements for your business
A lender could also ask for any of the following :
  • Your business’ ABN and licences
  • Profit-and-loss statements
  • Proof of business loans or credit
  • A letter from your accountant

When you’re looking for a personal loan, remember to look for features that fit your needs. For example, many self-employed people don’t have a regular paycheque and find that their income levels change from month to month. If you’re in this situation, it can be helpful to have a loan that has flexible repayments and drawdown options.