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An offset account is a bank account, but instead of earning interest for you, every dollar you have in your offset account will reduce the amount of interest you pay on your home loan. Instead, the interest you pay will be calculated based on your loan amount minus the value in your offset.
Your monthly repayments stay the same, but you get out of debt faster.
While you don't earn interest on an offset account, the interest you save is usually at a much higher interest rate than you'd earn in your bank account.
If your loan amount is $500,000 and you save $1,000 in your offset account, your lender will calculate your daily interest charges on $499,000.
As long as that $1,000 remains in the offset account, you won't be charged interest on that amount of your home loan.
The more money you have in your account, the greater your financial savings will be.
But what if you put $20,000 into your offset account at the start of the loan?
Your monthly repayments would still be $2,388. But now your loan term would shrink to 27 years and 6 months.
And because of this, you would pay $90,035 less in interest charges.
Using the above numbers, let's see how much you could save if you added money to your offset account 2 years into your loan.
|Offset savings||Amount of interest saved||Updated total to repay||Years saved on your 30-year loan term|
|$20,000||$81,225.27||$1,537,561.15||1 year, 6 months|
|$50,000||$184,500.28||$1,434,286.13||3 years, 5 months|
Use our calculator below to estimate how much time and money an offset account could save you. Just enter your mortgage details, the amount you will put into the offset account and how far into your mortgage you currently are.
How much you can save using an offset account depends on your loan amount, interest rate, how much money is in the offset account, when you put it there and how long it stays there.
Most offset accounts will offset your loan principal 100%, so every dollar you save in the account offsets your principal by the same amount, dollar for dollar.
Partial offsets only offset your loan principal to a specified percentage. For example, a partial offset may offset your principal by 60%, meaning $1 offsets your principal by 60 cents.
Partial offsets are significantly less beneficial and our calculator does not offer a partial offset calculation. It's not worth settling for a partial offset account when there are so many fully featured 100% offset account options available.
At first glance, using an offset account seems similar to making extra repayments on your mortgage and just using your loan's redraw facility to pull money out as needed. In both situations, you get a reduction in interest charges, you pay off your loan faster and you still have access to your money – in theory.
But an offset account actually offers you more flexibility and control. The key difference is that money in an offset account belongs to you while extra repayments belong to your lender. Redraw facilities can come with restrictions or fees and your lender can change the rules at their own discretion and make it harder for you to access the money.
Money in an offset account may also give you greater tax deductions if you convert your home into an investment property.
If you save enough money, over many years your offset savings could eventually equal the amount that you owe on your home loan. This is obviously a great position to be in. But you have to decide what to do next.
You've essentially paid off your mortgage and if you want to end the home loan, you can move the offset savings over to the loan and then discharge the mortgage. Now you're debt-free.
However, all of your offset savings have now been spent. If this is the bulk of your savings, you will suddenly be very low on cash, which leaves you financially vulnerable if an emergency or unexpected expense arises.
You could decide to repay most of the loan, leaving some savings accessible while you repay the final loan amount. Or you could keep going with all of your savings offsetting your loan. This means that every mortgage repayment you make will just be paying down the loan's principal and you won't be paying any interest at all.
If you're not sure what the best option is for you, consider speaking to an experienced mortgage broker.
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