How to actually pay off your mortgage faster

Four tips you can use which will really help you pay it down quickly

There are so many simple ways to quickly cut down how much you owe on your mortgage. Yet, the majority of tips all seem to focus on telling you to make extra payments and nothing else. But this is taking a very simplified view on what you can do to pay off your home loan sooner.

There are multiple features already included in your home loan that can assist you in this, alternatively you can look at refinancing to see if that may help.

Is it possible to pay off the average home loan in 10 years?

1. Increase your repayment frequency

Make fortnightly or 'bi-monthly' payments

You really can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges and reduce your loan term by making fortnightly rather than the standard monthly repayments.

Here's how it works. Let's assume your monthly repayment is $1,000. Don't do any fancy calculations here. Just divide your monthly payment amount by 2 and pay this new amount on the same day every fortnight. You'll be paying $500 per fortnight.

Now, if you were to stick to your monthly payments of $1,000 you would end up paying $12,000 by the end of that year (12 months x $1,000 = $12,000). However, if you make fortnightly payments of half your monthly amount, you end up making exactly one additional payment per year (26 fortnights x $500 = $13,000).

This additional payment helps to reduce your balance faster. You could cut your loan term by as much as six years by doing this. Use our calculator below to work out the effect fortnightly or bi-monthly repayments might have on your home loan.

What about weekly payments?

Weekly payments don't accelerate the effect of bi-monthly payments, but they still put you ahead due to the way interest is charged.

Let's assume your monthly payments are still $1,000. Divide this figure by 4 to get $250 per week. Pay this amount of money on the same day every week. If you pay $1,000 per month, you'll pay $12,000 by the end of the year (12 months x $1,000 = $12,000). If you pay $250 per week, you'll pay $13,000 by the end of the year (52 weeks x $250 = $13,000).

2. Make your interest calculations work for you

Take advantage of interest calculations

The interest on your mortgage is calculated on the outstanding balance every day. This means you can reduce the amount of interest you pay overall by increasing how often you make a payment on your mortgage. Let's take a look at an example. In this scenario, you owe $300,000 and you're paying 6.06% interest. Your monthly repayments are $1,810.24.

Payment NumberLoan AmountPaymentInterest PaidBalance
1$300,000$1810.24$1515.00$299,704.76

After just one month, you've paid $1810.24 on your repayment and you've paid $1515.00 in interest charges.

Fortnightly

Let's see what happens if you pay exactly the same amount of money over the same four weeks, but you pay it more frequently. In this example we'll make exactly two fortnightly payments of $905.12 – this is exactly half of the previous monthly payment.

Payment NumberLoan AmountPaymentInterest PaidBalance
1$300,000$905.12$699.23$299,794.11
2$299,794.11$905.12$698.75$299,587.74
(totals)($1810.24)($1397.98)

By paying fortnightly, you only paid $1397.98 in interest instead of $1515.00. This is $117.02 less interest coming out of your hard earned cash. On top of this, your balance is down to $299,587.74. Of course this is $117.02 less than the previous example, as that interest saving is now paid off your mortgage balance instead.

Weekly

Let's look at how paying the exact same amount of money on a weekly basis affects your mortgage balance. Your monthly payment is still $1810.24. Divide this number by four to get $452.56 and pay this amount weekly.

Payment NumberLoan AmountPaymentInterest PaidBalance
1$300,000$452.56$349.62$299,897.05
2$299,897.05$452.56$349.50$299,793.99
3$299,793.99$452.56$349.38$299,690.80
4$299,690.80$452.56$349.26$299,587.49
(totals)($1810.24)($1397.76)

Once again, you've still paid exactly the same monthly payment amount of $1810.24 over those four weeks, so you haven't made any extra payments yet; however, the amount of interest you've paid is $1397.76 instead of $1515. This $117.24 you saved gets paid off your mortgage balance instead. This figure is only marginally higher than the amount you saved by paying fortnightly. However, this example only runs over one month. Over the term of a 30 year loan, those small savings really do add up to a lot of money.

3. Rounding up: small change counts

The vast majority of banks will allow you to nominate the amount you want to use to make each repayment. This means you don't have to pay just the minimum amount. Of course, if you don't want to stretch your budget too far you can simply round up the payment you make to the nearest $5 or $10. This makes it easier to remember and it counts as making an extra payment.

If you have a mortgage of $300,000 at 6.06% your monthly payment is $1810.24. Round this figure up to an even $1820 each month. It's only $9.76 per month extra so it won't break your budget. Yet, you'll shave 6 months off the end of your mortgage term and save $6,293.33 in interest charges. Small change has a big impact. Imagine how much more you could save and how much faster you'd repay your mortgage if you could round up that number even higher.

4. Use the features

Offset accounts

Any opportunity you have to reduce the amount of interest you're charged helps you to pay off your mortgage faster. If your home loan has the capacity to link a 100% offset account to it, take advantage of this. Every dollar you leave in your offset savings account actively reduces the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage. For example, if your mortgage is $300,000 and you have $10,000 in your offset account you'll only pay interest on $290,000.

Redraw facilities

Another popular modern home loan feature is redraw, where you can withdraw money from your home loan if you have made additional repayments. This gives you the freedom to make additional repayments, without having to worry about losing access to those funds in an emergency.

You will need to make sure that your mortgage repayment plan allows additional repayments because if it is not an included feature, you will usually pay high fees each time you make an additional repayment or redraw.

Mix and match any of the above and review your own loan

The best part about mortgage reduction tips is that you have the freedom to mix and match them to suit your own budget and your own preferences. You can even put them all to good use and take advantage of the interest savings as you repay your home loan much faster.

Do some simple calculations and see what effect making a few extra repayments can make to your current mortgage. Work out how much you'll save by making your payments more frequently.

Really sit down and work out your budget to see how much extra you're able to afford. Each of these things will help you to pay off your home loan faster in the long run. It's also important to compare your options and check the market for loans that have a better rate. Refinancing your loan with another lender can save you thousands.

About how to save money on your home loan

The drawbacks of mortgage overpayments

Whether you can repay your mortgage early will also depend on whether your lender charges early repayment and overpayment fees. If you truly want to benefit from mortgage overpayments to get out of debt sooner, make sure you choose a home loan which allows unlimited additional repayments for free.

If you do have a home loan which charges fees for additional repayments, save up any additional repayments and make them as one lump sum amount, to lessen the fees applied. If your loan does allow unlimited repayments without a fee check to see if this feature comes with a higher interest rate, you may be smarter to look at shopping around for another loan.

Just because you don't feel like you've got a lot of spare cash to throw at your home loan now, this is not necessarily true. If you get bonuses at work, you work on a commission basis, you get a generous tax bonus or gift of cash on your birthday, all of these can go towards repaying your home loan debt sooner.

Compare a selection of home loans

Rates last updated March 25th, 2017.

Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)

Interest rate increased by 0.08%

February 20th, 2017

State Custodians Line Of Credit Loan - LVR 80% to 90% (Owner Occupier)

Interest rate increased by 0.10%

February 27th, 2017

Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier)

Interest rate increases by 0.10%

February 27th, 2017

View latest updates

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Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed rate package loan with flexible repayments options.
3.98% 4.97% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
HSBC Home Value Loan - Resident Owner Occupier only
Enjoy the low variable rate with $0 ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.75% 3.77% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.59% 4.42% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable - LVR 80% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.69% 4.03% $0 $299 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A low-interest rate loan suited for purchases and refinances with no application or ongoing fees.
3.59% 3.61% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier)
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
3.84% 4.22% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Offset Variable - Up to 80% LVR (Owner Occupier P&I)
Take advantage a 100% offset account along with no annual or application fee.
3.67% 3.69% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
SCU Basic Variable Rate Home Loan
A basic home loan with a low interest rate and a redraw facility available. Take out a new SCU loan and enjoy $500 cash back on loans above $150k, terms and conditions apply.
3.77% 3.81% $200 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
A competitive budget rate without any unwanted bells and whistles.
3.87% 3.92% $445 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
ME Flexible Home Loan With Member Package - LVR <=80% $400k up to $699,999 (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy a discount of a competitive interest rate and 100% offset account.
3.89% 4.30% $0 $395 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
State Custodians Line Of Credit Loan - LVR 80% to 90% (Owner Occupier)
Borrow up to 90% property value and pay no application fee.
3.79% 4.12% $0 $299 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Heritage Bank Discount Variable Home Loan - Special Rate Offer (Owner Occupier) New Customers Only
A low rate variable home loan offer with no monthly fees or application fee charge.
3.79% 3.81% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan - Up to 110% LVR
Discounted rate available with family pledge loans. Family pledge loans require no LMI and no deposit. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 110% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
A competitive variable that allows borrowers to borrow a minimum of $100,000 with a $0 ongoing fee.
3.79% 3.83% $595 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Beyond Bank Low Rate Special Home Loan
A special low variable rate for Owner Occupier with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
3.83% 3.83% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A competitive rate with redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Auswide Bank Home Loan Plus with Freedom Package - Special Package Discount LVR <= 90% (Owner Occupier) P&I
A high maximum LVR home loan with redraw facility and additional payments.
3.79% 4.18% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
SCU My Life Fixed Rate Home Loan Package - 3 Years
Enjoy the same interest rate for 3 years fixed and borrow up to 95% LVR. Enjoy $500 cash back on new loans above $150k, terms and conditions apply.
3.69% 4.00% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ClickLoans The Online Home Loan - Owner Occupier ≤ 80% LVR
Enjoy a competitive interest rate when you have a deposit of at least 20%.
3.69% 3.69% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
State Custodians Breathe Easy - LVR 80% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.82% 3.85% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Switzer Home Loan
No upfront or ongoing fees and a competitive variable rate for owner occupiers.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable Home Loan - Owner Occupier
A basic mortgage with flexible repayments options.
3.89% 3.94% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate)
A limited time 2 year fixed rate for owner occupiers. Conditions apply.
3.89% 4.79% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayments options.
3.84% 4.59% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Kick Starter Home Loan
$0 ongoing service fees, maximum 80% LVR and a linked transaction account.
3.79% 3.82% $600 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate)
A limited time fixed rate home loan with extra repayment abilities. Conditions apply.
3.99% 4.73% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) LVR < 80%
A discounted 2 year fixed rate loan with high maximum LVR and no application fee.
3.69% 4.31% $595 $350 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Years Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 95% (with LMI) of your home value.
4.49% 4.90% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Essentials - Smart Loan Package P&I
This competitive rate is only available if you package your investment loan with your owner occupier loan.
3.59% 3.61% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - LVR<=80% $700k + (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy the discounted interest rate with redraw facility and no ongoing fees.
3.82% 4.17% $595 $350 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable - LVR 90% (Owner Occupier)
A special rate for owner occupiers with free 100% offset account and no application fee.
3.79% 4.12% $0 $299 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Get a short term fixed rate for that investment property with no application or ongoing fees.
4.49% 4.95% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ME Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
4.09% 4.80% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Health, Wealth and Happiness Package - (Owner Occupier)
Get a 0.60% discount on your rate, a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees.
4.05% 4.08% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
NAB Base Variable Rate Home Loan - Owner Occupier (P&I)
A competitive no frills home loan with no application fees for a limited time.
4.17% 4.21% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Wealth Builder Investor Package Home Loan - Variable
An investment loan with no ongoing fees and borrow up to 90% LVR.
4.19% 4.22% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Variable Rate - $250k to $749,999 P&I (Owner Occupier)
A packaged low rate interest offer from NAB. Includes mortgage offset.
4.47% 4.86% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Essential Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
Access to redraw facility and offset account without the annual fee.
4.09% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 5 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A competitive loan with flexible features.
4.59% 5.05% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ANZ Simplicity PLUS Home Loan - Special Offer (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy a home loan with no aplication fee or ongoing fee.
4.03% 4.07% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now
3.88% 3.89% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Enquire now
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - 3 Years Introductory Special Offer (New Owner Occupier, P&I)
A limited time deal for new owner occupiers. Advertised rate includes 1.03%p.a. discount for the first two years.
4.02% 4.40% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now
St.George Basic Home Loan - Promotional Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
4.08% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now
Commonwealth Bank Wealth Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) P&I
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
3.99% 4.99% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package -  2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cash back available for refinancers, conditions apply.
3.99% 5.04% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years, P&I
A low interest rate home loan with a low service fee.
3.99% 5.10% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now

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4 Responses to How to actually pay off your mortgage faster

  1. Default Gravatar
    Carter | August 24, 2015

    Hey,
    I am doing a maths assignment and have been asked
    “the effect that the frequency of the repayment (weekly, fortnightly, monthly) can have on the total amount repaid”
    Could you please help me answer this :)

    Cheers

    • Staff
      Belinda | August 25, 2015

      Hi Carter,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      On this page you can read our review about fortnightly vs monthly repayments and you can use our bi-monthly calculator to estimate the interest and time saved on a mortgage based on different repayment frequencies.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  2. Default Gravatar
    Russell | August 23, 2015

    How does the calculator know how much I am currently paying monthly

    • Staff
      Marc | August 24, 2015

      Hi Russell,
      thanks for the question.

      This calculator uses an estimate on what loan repayments would be for the figures entered into it. As such it should be used as an estimate only.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

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