RBA cash rate decrease

RBASepWhat does a drop in the RBA’s official cash rate mean for your finances? Find out here.

Interest rates - we all know what they mean and that they apply to financial products like home loans and savings accounts, but how do banks decide on the rate they charge their customers? What does it mean for everyday Australians when interest rates fall?

Although interest rates can seem like quite a confusing concept to wrap your head around, they’re actually quite easy to understand once you know a few basic points. The perfect place to begin any explanation of interest rates in Australia is with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) official cash rate.

What is a drop in the cash rate?

The RBA is Australia’s central bank that is responsible for maintaining a strong financial system and ensuring the economic prosperity and welfare of all Australians. To do this, the RBA is responsible for Australia’s monetary policy and sets the interest rate for overnight loans that it provides to commercial banks. This is known as the official cash rate, and when the RBA makes changes to this rate, banks and financial institutions around Australia follow suit.

On the first Tuesday of every month (barring January), the RBA board meets to decide whether to raise the rate, drop it or keep it at the same level. This rate decision is based on a wide range of actors including consumer confidence, the strength of the economy, the housing market and the performance of the Aussie Dollar.

When the rate moves, it usually does so in increments of 0.25 per cent. When the RBA lowers interest rates, this is referred to as a drop in the cash rate.

What does an RBA cash rate decrease mean for me?

A decrease in the RBA’s cash rate can have a number of implications for Australian consumers, with rate drops influencing different financial products in different ways.

Home Loans

Most lenders will typically pass on the RBA’s rate cut to their own home loans, although some will be a little more tardy than others. If you have a variable rate loan and your lender passes on the rate cut, you’ll be able to enjoy a noticeable reduction in the amount of interest you have to repay toward your loan.

However, if you’re locked into a fixed rate loan, you’ll have to wait until the fixed rate period ends before you can take advantage of lower rates. When the fixed period is up, you may wish to negotiate a better rate or see if another lender might be willing to offer you a more attractive deal.

Another effect of a cash rate decrease is that more people are likely to enter the property market. As lower interest rates means home loans become more affordable, home buyers will likely experience increased competition in the real estate market. This competition can drive prices up and make it more difficult for first home buyers to get a foothold in the property market.

Compare current home loan offers

Rates last updated August 15th, 2018
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
$0 p.a.
Special discounted interest rate
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
$0 p.a.
Competitive interest rate and limited fees
A simple mortgage with a competitive interest rate and no application or monthly fees. Borrow up to $2 million from a convenient online lender.
$0 p.a.
Get approved faster with a speedy online application
Low interest rate and limited fees. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
Earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points with this mortgage to spend on flights and more (subject to eligibility requirements). Redraw facility available on this variable rate home loan. Competitive interest rate.
$395 p.a.
Save on interest with a 100% offset account
Unlock a range of savings with this competitive package home loan offer. Offset account and redraw facility included.
$0 p.a.
A low interest rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
$0 p.a.
A basic owner-occupier home loan with a low variable rate that requires a 20% deposit.
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
Earn thousands of Velocity Frequent Flyer Points on your mortgage (subject to eligibility requirements). Plus, access a 100% offset account to save on interest.
$0 p.a.
A competitive interest rate for first home buyers that keeps fees low. You will need a 20% deposit and can borrow up to 500000.
$395 p.a.
100% offset account plus package discounts
New borrowers or refinancers from another lender get a discounted rate with this package loan.

Compare up to 4 providers

Credit Cards

If banks agree to pass on the interest rate cut and lower their credit card interest rates - which doesn’t always happen - this can be good news for cardholders. A lower interest rate on your card means you will have to pay less interest on the purchases you make, which means it will be more affordable to spend your money and easier to pay off your debt.

Decreases in the cash rate are designed to encourage consumer spending by making credit card purchases more affordable. However, if your bank doesn’t lower your credit card interest rates, it may be worthwhile looking for a different card that offers a better rate and other attractive features. You may even be able to take advantage of a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers to help you get out of debt quicker.

Compare credit cards

Rates last updated August 15th, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$99 p.a.
Long-Term Balance Transfer Offer
Get platinum perks and save with 0% p.a. interest for up to 25 months on balance transfers with no BT fee.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a 0% for 24 month balance transfer option, first year annual fee waiver and a competitive purchase rate.
Citi Clear Platinum - Exclusive Offer
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Reduced First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
finder Exclusive: Receive 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers and a discounted annual fee in the first year. Plus, access to Citi World Privileges.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Exclusive Balance Transfer Card Offer*
finder Exclusive: Receive a long 18-month, 0% p.a., no fee balance transfer and earn Suncorp Rewards Points or Qantas Points per $1 spent.
St.George Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
Low Annual Fee with Balance Transfer Offer*
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a competitive annual fee.
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$90 p.a.
Platinum Credit Card with Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer and access to a 24/7 concierge service for a $90 p.a. annual fee.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
$58 p.a.
Long-Term Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee. Plus a low 12.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$49 p.a.
Low Purchase Rate & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a $49 annual fee, 10% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months (capped at $100) and 0% p.a. for 14 months on balance transfers.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card - Qantas
20.24% p.a.
$50 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter)
Bonus Points and Annual Fee Offer*
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of card approval. Plus, a $50 first year annual fee.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Platinum Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($89 p.a. thereafter)
Low Rate with Annual Fee Offer*
Offers premium features such as mobile phone and tablet insurance and purchase protections, plus, a $0 first year annual fee.

Compare up to 4 providers

Savings Accounts

If you’ve got money tucked away earning interest in a savings account, an RBA cash rate decrease may not be the news you’ve been hoping for. You’ll want your savings balance to be earning interest at the highest rate possible, so any drop in interest rates will see the speed with which you can build a sizable savings balance slow down.

However, if your funds are locked away in a term deposit, you won’t feel the effect of the rate decrease until your deposit matures and you can access your funds. Of course, the fixed nature of a term deposit means you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of any rate hikes should they occur.

But with careful planning and a sensible approach to your personal finances, an RBA cash rate decrease doesn’t have to cause any pain for your hip pocket.

Compare Savings Accounts

Rates last updated August 15th, 2018.

Bankwest Hero Saver

Variable rate changed from 3.15% to 2.90%

October 20th, 2015

ANZ Progress Saver

Introductory interest rate was changed from 2.00% to 1.90%

October 31st, 2016

ING Savings Maximiser

Introductory interest rate increased from 1.15% to 1.40%

December 12th, 2016

View latest updates

Debbie Mariano Debbie
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Monthly Account Fee
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account
Introductory rate of 3.05% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.80% p.a. Available on balances below $250,000
3.05% 1.80% 1.25% $0 $0 / $1 Go to site More
ING Savings Maximiser
Ongoing, variable 2.80% p.a. when you link to an ING Orange Everyday bank account and deposit $1,000+ each month and make 5+ card purchases a month. Available on balances up to $100,000.
2.80% 1.00% 1.80% $0 $0 / $0 Go to site More
Bankwest Hero Saver
Ongoing, variable 2.60% p.a. rate when you deposit at least $200 each month and make no withdrawals. Available on balances up to $250,000.
2.60% 0.01% 2.59% $0 $0 / $0 Go to site More
Bank of Queensland WebSavings Account
Introductory rate of 2.90% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to the standard rate of 1.30% p.a. Available on balances up to $5,000,000 and subject to approval above this balance.
2.90% 1.30% 1.60% $0 $1 / $1 Go to site More
AMP Saver Account
Introductory rate of 2.55% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 2.10% p.a. Available on balances below $5,000,000.
2.55% 2.10% 0.45% $0 $0 / $0 Go to site More
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UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount offer for Owner Occupiers, P&I Borrowing over $200,000

Take advantage of a low-fee mortgage with a special interest rate of just 3.59% p.a. and a 3.59% p.a. comparison rate.

loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)

A competitive interest rate home loan with interest only options. Interest rate 3.64% p.a.
comp rate of 3.66% p.a.

Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)

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Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150k+ Owner Occupier, P&I) Discount 1

New borrowers or refinancers from another lender get a discounted rate with this package loan.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AnushaJanuary 13, 2016

    what is the impact of rate cut on shares.

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyJanuary 14, 2016Staff

      Hi Anusha,

      Thanks for your question. Please note that finder.com.au is an online comparison and information service and can only provide general advice.

      If you’re looking for personalised advice, we recommend you speak to a stock broker or financial planner.

      Generally a rate cut signifies that the economy is moving slowly towards it’s trough in the economic cycle. As a result, the share market usually loses value until the market peaks again.


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