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

Rates last updated October 20th, 2017
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic home loan with a competitive rate and low fees.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no ongoing fees and borrow up to 90% of the value of the property.
3.58%
3.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate product with low fees offered by a 100% online lender.
3.49%
4.47%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.54%
3.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
For new home buyers only. No refinance option. A low interest variable home loan with no application fee and free redraws.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A home loan with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.69%
3.72%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low rate home loan with no ongoing fees.
3.65%
4.84%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A 2 years fixed platinum package that has $0 application and a loan redraw facility.
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.

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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 October 20th, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
$90 p.a.
Platinum Card with an Exclusive Balance Transfer Offer
Exclusive to finder.com.au, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 24 months (with no BT fee), travel insurance and a 24/7 concierge.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points with Balance Transfer Offer*
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on eligible spend and enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Supermarket Platinum Credit Card Offer
Receive a $50 Woolworths eGift Card when you apply by 31 January 2018. Earn up to 3 points per $1 spent at Woolworths stores.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months Balance Transfer Offer*
Enjoy up to $25 off your first Uber ride. Plus, the convenience of the Westpac mobile banking app.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Platinum Credit Card with a Balance Transfer Offer*
A long-term balance transfer card that earns uncapped HSBC Rewards Plus points per $1 spent, plus, complimentary insurance covers.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
Low Rate Platinum Credit Card Offer
A low rate Platinum card with a long-term balance transfer offer, up to 55 interest-free days on purchases and complimentary insurance covers.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
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)
Platinum Card with 0% interest rates on purchases and balance transfers
An exclusive credit card offer through finder.com.au that features 0% interest on both purchases and balance transfers.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
Low Introductory Balance Transfer Rate*
Enjoy 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and a low annual fee.
Westpac Altitude Black - Altitude Qantas 100k Bonus Points
20.24% p.a.
$195 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 20,000 points on approval and an additional 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement. Ends 26 October 2017.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Low Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer
Receive up to 44 interest-free days on purchases and complimentary Purchase Protection Insurance.

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 October 20th, 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
$
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Monthly Account Fee
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
HSBC Serious Saver
Introductory rate of 3.00% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.60% p.a. Available on balances below $1,000,000.
3.00% 1.60% 1.40% $0 $0 / $0 Go to site More
ANZ Progress Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.81% p.a. when you deposit $10+ each month and make no withdrawals. Available on the entire balance.
1.81% 0.01% 1.80% $0 $10 / $10 Go to site More
Westpac Reward Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.50% p.a. when you deposit at least $50 and make no withdrawals each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.50% 0.01% 1.49% $0 $0 / $0 Go to site More
St.George Maxi Saver
Introductory rate of 2.80% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to a rate of 1.00% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
2.80% 1.00% 1.80% $0 $1 / $1 Go to site More
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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AnushaJanuary 13, 2016

    what is the impact of rate cut on shares.

    • Staff
      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.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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