RBA Cash Rate Decrease

Rates and fees last updated on

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

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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 P&I) First Home Buyer Special
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.69% 4.92% $0 $395 p.a. 95% 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.
3.64% 3.66% $0 $0 p.a. 80% 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% 4.48% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
3.69% 3.72% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate, P&I)
A limited time 2 year fixed rate for owner occupiers. Conditions apply.
3.84% 4.86% $0 $0 p.a. 95% 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
3.74% 3.74% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Finsure Home Loan Deal
Enjoy a low variable rate with $0 application fee.
3.69% 4.03% $0 $299 p.a. 80% Enquire now More info
Mortgage House Advantage Home Loan 80 - Special Owner Occupier
A low interest rate home loan that allows borrowers to borrow up to 80% of the property value.
3.73% 3.88% $0 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 80% 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
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 June 28th, 2017
Name Product Product Description Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
St.George Vertigo Platinum
Low Rate Platinum Credit Card Offer
A low rate Platinum card with up to 55 interest-free days on purchases and complimentary insurance covers.
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months
$99 p.a.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
0% for 24 months Balance Transfer Offer*
Earn Citi Reward Points on everyday spend and receive complimentary travel insurance.
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Platinum Card with 0% interest rates on purchases and balance transfers
An exclusive credit card offer through finder.com.au that includes complimentary insurance covers.
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
St.George Vertigo Visa
$0 First Year Annual Fee with Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a competitive variable purchase rate and up to 55 interest-free days.
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Platinum Credit Card with a Balance Transfer Offer*
Earn uncapped HSBC Rewards Plus points per $1 spent and get complimentary insurance covers.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
Velocity Rewards Credit Card with a Balance Transfer Offer*
Earn 2 Velocity Points on top of the standard earn rate per $1 spent within the first 3 months, plus a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Bankwest Breeze Mastercard
0% for 21 months Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a competitive low variable purchase rate and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 21 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
100,000 Velocity Points Credit Card*
Earn up to 100,000 bonus Velocity Points on signup when you apply and spend $1,500 on your new card within the first 3 months.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
$0 First Year Annual Fee with Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a low variable purchase rate and enjoy up to 55 days interest-free.
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
Long-term Balance Transfer Offer*
Enjoy the benefits of the home&Away Privilege Program and the ability to pay using Apple Pay.
13.25% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.

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 June 28th, 2017.

Bank of Melbourne Incentive Saver

Variable rate was changed from 1.85% to 1.75%

December 23rd, 2016

ANZ Online Saver

Bonus interest rate was changed from 1.60% to 1.40%

December 23rd, 2016

Westpac Reward Saver

Introductory interest rate was changed from 1.84% to 1.74%

December 23rd, 2016

View latest updates

Debbie Mariano Debbie
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$
months
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned
Bankwest Hero Saver
Ongoing, variable 2.65% p.a. rate when you deposit at least $200 each month and make no withdrawals. Available on balances up to $250,000.
2.65% 0.01% 2.64% $0 $0 / $0 Go to site More
Bank Australia Bonus Saver Account
Ongoing, variable 2.60% p.a. when you deposit at least $100 and make no withdrawals. Available on the entire balance.
2.60% 0.15% 2.45% $0 $0 / $1 Go to site More
MyState Special eSaver Account
Ongoing, variable rate of 2.50% p.a. Available on a balance over $50,000.
2.50% 2.50% 0.00% $0 $0 / $0 Go to site More
Bank Australia mySaver Account
Ongoing, variable 2.60% p.a. when you deposit $10+ each month and make no withdrawals. Available on balances $10+ and to customers under the age of 25.
2.60% 0.15% 2.45% $0 $0 / $10 Go to site More
Bank Australia Online Saver Account
Ongoing, variable rate up to 1.65% p.a. when you link to a Bank Australia Everyday Access or Pension Access or a mortgage offset account. Available on balances more than $5,000.
1.65% 1.65% 0.00% $0 $150,000 / $5,000 Go to site More
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Bank of Queensland Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate Discount Rate $150k+ <80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)

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Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)

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NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I)

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Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)

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2 Responses to RBA Cash Rate Decrease

  1. Default Gravatar
    Anusha | January 13, 2016

    what is the impact of rate cut on shares.

    • Staff
      Shirley | January 14, 2016

      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.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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