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Fixed rate vs variable rate personal loans

Find out whether you should lock your rate.

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Choosing the right personal loan is key to being able to manage your loan effectively. As well as choosing a lender, deciding on your loan term and choosing between secured and unsecured, you also have to decide whether you want your rate to be fixed or variable. These two rate options offer different benefits and drawbacks. The guide below will take you through the differences between fixed and variable interest rates and help you decide which option is right for you.

The key differences between fixed and variable interest rates on personal loans

Fixed ratesVariable rates
DescriptionYour rate remains the same throughout the specified term.Your rate may fluctuate throughout the loan term.
Typical rates8-15% p.a.10-16% p.a.
Main benefit
  • Your repayments remain the same no matter what's happening in the market.
  • You can generally make additional repayments and repay the loan early without penalty.

What are fixed and variable interest rates on personal loans?

Personal loans come with two types of interest rates: fixed or variable. Fixed interest rates on personal loans remain the same throughout the specified term, which may be for the entire loan term or for an introductory period. If you opt for a variable rate personal loan you will receive the advertised rate, but this rate may change throughout the loan term depending on interest rate movements in the market.

What are the benefits of each type of interest rate?

Fixed rate personal loans

  • Your repayments remain unchanged throughout the specified term.
  • You may be able to secure a lower rate.

Variable rate personal loans

  • You can generally make additional repayments without penalty.
  • You're usually able to repay the loan early without any fees.
  • You can find more loan options with longer repayment periods (up to seven years).

interest rate choice

What are the drawbacks of each type of interest rate?

Fixed rate personal loans

  • You generally can't make additional repayments or pay the loan off early.
  • If you are able to make additional repayments or pay the loan off early, you may be charged a fee. Additional repayments may also be capped.
  • Some fixed rate loans come with shorter repayment periods (up to five years).

Variable rate personal loans

  • Your interest rate could increase and make your loan unnaffordable.
  • You may find less competitive rates.

How do I work out which rate type is best for me?

The right type of interest rate for you will depend on a few different factors. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide:

  • Do I want the option of making additional repayments or repaying the loan early? If the answer is yes, you're much more likely to find a variable rate loan that will let you do so.
  • How affordable are my repayments? If your repayments are only just working with your budget, a fixed rate loan will ensure they will not increase.
  • What interest rate can I get? The most competitive rate is going to make your loan repayments more affordable.

Compare a range of fixed and variable rate personal loans

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan

From 6.99% (fixed)
7.79%
$2,000
3 to 5 years
$575 ($275 for loans of below $5,000)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 25.69% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $50,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 year terms.
Plenti Fixed Rate Personal Loan

From 6.49% (fixed)
6.84%
$2,001
3 to 5 years
From $149 to $599
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.49% p.a. and 12.79% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 3 years. Interest and comparison rates calculated for a loan term of 5 years.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan (2-3 years)

From 6.99% (fixed)
6.99%
$5,000
2 to 3 years
from 0% to 5% (capped at $995)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan (5 years)

From 7.99% (fixed)
7.99%
$5,000
5 years
from 0% to 5% (capped at $995)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed

From 9.99% (fixed)
10.88%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 9.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 10.88% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
NOW FINANCE Personal Loans

From 6.95% (fixed)
8.57%
$15,001
18 months to 7 years
$495 (Based on $30,000)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.95% p.a. and 17.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for loans from $15,001 and get a dedicated loan advisor. No security required.
NOW FINANCE No Fees Personal Loan

From 6.95% (fixed)
6.95%
$5,000
18 months to 7 years
$0
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.95% p.a. and 17.95% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow from $5,000 to $15,000 and get a tailored interest rate. Pay no establishment and early repayment fees.
Latitude Personal Loan (Unsecured)

From 7.99% (fixed)
9.24%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$250 (Loans under $5000 - $140)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.99% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for what you need from $3,000 and use it for a range of purposes. Repay weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Alex Personal Loan

From 6.95% (fixed)
6.95%
$2,100
6 months to 5 years
$0 (waived $295)
$0
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 6.95% p.a. to 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow between $2,100 and $30,000 from 6 months to 5 years. Benefit from no ongoing fees. Note: The establishment fee of $295 is waived for all applications until 30 September 2020. Terms & conditions apply.
CUA Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
9.89% (fixed)
10.14%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 9.89% p.a.
An unsecured loan from $5,000 with flexible repayments and no monthly fee.
Heritage Bank Fixed Personal Loan
8.99% (fixed)
9.62%
$5,000
1 to 5 years
$200
$5
Choose a fixed rate loan and receive a comparison rate of 9.62% p.a.
Fixed rate loans are available up to $100,000 on terms from 1 to 5 years.
OurMoneyMarket Personal Loan

From 7.99% (fixed)
8.46%
$2,001
1 to 7 years
1.5–6% of your total loan amount
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 7.99% p.a. to 25.25% p.a. based on your risk profile
A personalised loan from $2,001 to $75,000 that varies based on your credit history and financial situation.
ING Personal Loan
Finder Award
ING Personal Loan
8.99% (fixed)
9.13%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
$100
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.99% p.a.
Benefit from no ongoing fees, no early repayment fees and flexible loan terms on amounts up to $30,000.
MoneyMe Personal Loans

From 8.99% (fixed)
10.68%
$3,001
2 to 5 years
5 - 8% of the principal borrowed, capped at $1,200
$0
You'll receive an interest rate between 8.99% p.a. and 29.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible personal loan from MoneyMe with access to cash when you need it.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Variable Rate

From 9.99% (variable)
10.88%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 9.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 10.88% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes. Benefit from fee-free additional repayments and a redraw facility. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
Plenti Variable Rate Personal Loan

From 6.49% (variable)
7.49%
$2,001
1 to 2 years
From $149 to $599
$0
You'll receive a variable rate from 6.49% p.a and 12.79% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 12 months. Benefit from transparent costs and a rate estimate before you apply.
Symple Loans Personal Loan

From 5.75% (variable)
6.47%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
from 0% to 5% of the loan amount
$10
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
CUA Unsecured Variable Personal Loan
11.89% (variable)
12.15%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a variable rate of 11.89% p.a.
Borrow from $5,000 with the option for flexible repayments and no monthly fees.
Wisr Personal Loan

From 7.95% (fixed)
8.78%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$595 (Establishment Fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.95% p.a. and 19.45% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 that charges no fees for extra or early repayments. Keep in mind security is required in some cases.
Heritage Bank Standard Variable Personal Loan
11.99% (variable)
12.61%
$5,000
1 to 10 years
$200
$5
Choose a variable rate loan and receive a 12.61% p.a. comparison rate
Variable rate loans are available from $5,000 - $100,000 on terms of 1 to 10 years.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: Shutterstock

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Personal Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 25.69% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $50,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 years terms.

Logo for NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed

You'll receive a fixed rate between 9.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 10.88% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.

Logo for SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.

Logo for Pepper Money Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
Pepper Money Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.95% p.a. and 17.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Make additional repayments or pay off the loan early, penalty-free.

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