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Show me the money: 1 in 4 Australians would prefer a cashback loan


Low interest rates may not be enough to attract new mortgage customers, but cash could sweeten the deal, according to new research by Finder.

A new Finder survey of 1,004 respondents has revealed that 1 in 4 Australians (25%) – equivalent to almost 5 million people – would prefer a home loan with a cashback offer over a low interest rate.

A cashback offer is where your lender deposits a certain amount of money (usually between $1,000 and $4,000) into your account once you settle your home loan. They are becoming increasingly common as lenders seek to entice borrowers to switch.

Despite this, almost half the population (46%) would still prefer the benefit of a slightly lower interest rate on their mortgage.

Richard Whitten, home loans expert at Finder, said that home loan customers now have the upper hand.

"Cashback offers have been around for a few years, with lenders using this as a way to entice new customers.

"But we're now seeing cashback offers on home loans that already have exceptionally low interest rates.

"In an increasingly crowded market, lenders are really having to up the ante to stand out from their competitors," he said.

The research found that men (34%) are more than twice as likely as women (16%) to favour a one-off cash bonus over long term loan savings.

Around 1 in 3 millennials (34%) would prefer a cashback loan, compared to just 10% of baby boomers.

A separate Finder study also revealed that 1 in 3 borrowers (34%) are planning to refinance their mortgage over the next 12 months.

Whitten urged mortgage customers to think about their options before refinancing.

"While it's hard to ignore a dangling cashback carrot, you need to first consider whether this is the right option for you.

"The cashback incentive is often enough to cover the costs of refinancing, but if the interest rate isn't as competitive or the loan is less flexible or has less features, it might not be the best fit.

"If you tend to refinance every few years, you may be financially better off by choosing a one-off cash bonus, but a lower interest rate is always going to save you more money over time.

"It's also important to take into account any fees involved, how flexible the loan is, and whether you can put the cashback funds back into your mortgage.

"If you're unsure where to start, you can compare home loans with cashback offers at Finder," he said.

If you were buying a home, would you consider a home loan offering cashback over one offering a low rate?
No, I'd rather have a slightly lower rate to save over time46%
I've never heard of cashback on a home loan29%
Yes, I'd rather have the money upfront25%

Source: Finder December survey 2020

What to consider before refinancing for a cashback offer:

  • Loan amount. Most cashbacks specify a minimum loan amount. If you're refinancing a small loan amount, say $100,000, then you might not qualify.
  • Time limit. Cashbacks are usually offered for a limited time. This means that you have to apply by a certain date and have the loan settled by a certain date.
  • Loan purpose. Some cashback offers are limited to refinancers, or are specific to home buyers only, meaning customers with an investor loan may not be eligible.
  • Are you getting a good deal? Don't let the prospect of "free money" be the sole reason you refinance. You need to check that the loan is a good deal itself by comparing it against other home loans on the market.

Need home loan help? Quickly compare some of the market's best cash back offers.

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