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 May 22nd, 2018
$
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
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees. Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply).
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A mortgage with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get a flexible loan with the ability to split up to 6 times.
3.64%
4.03%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
New borrowers or refinancers from another lender get a discounted rate with this package loan.
3.64%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Enjoy all the benefits of the Basic Home Loan and take advantage of an offset account.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get a 100% offset account to save on interest charges, and pay no application fee.
3.69%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
3.52%
3.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Go from application to approval in as little as 20 minutes with a variable rate loan from this innovative online lender. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
3.69%
4.06%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with other AMP products and save on rates and fees.
3.70%
4.13%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with an eligible credit card for discounts on rates and fees, and get a 100% offset account.

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 May 22nd, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 26 months on balance transfers with a one-time 2% balance transfer fee and a $0 first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer
Platinum card benefits including complimentary insurance, plus first year annual fee waiver and 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
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 Offer*
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
13.25% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
Long-term Balance Transfer Offer*
Receive up to 20 months interest-free on balance transfers with a 2% BT fee. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
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.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months
$129 p.a.
Introductory Purchase Rate Offer*
Buy now and pay later with 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months. Plus, 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 6 months.
ME frank Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
No Annual Fee Low Rate Credit Card*
Save money with a $0 annual fee for life, the same low 11.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases and up to 55 days interest-free.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter)
Low Rate Credit Card Offer*
A no-frills card with a first year annual fee waiver, a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Citi Simplicity Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Low Intro Balance Transfer Interest Rate with No Annual Fee
Save with 5% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 90 days from approval. Plus, a 15 month balance transfer offer.

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 May 22nd, 2018.

HSBC Flexi Saver Account

Variable interest rate was changed from 2.75% to 2.50%

May 8th, 2015

Bankwest Hero Saver

Variable rate changed from 3.15% to 2.90%

October 20th, 2015

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% 1.15% 1.65% $0 $0 / $0 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
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 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
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Important Information*
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I) First Home Buyer Special

Start your home buying journey with 2 years of fixed repayments and a reasonable rate from a big 4 bank. Available with a 10% deposit.

UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Owner Occupied Variable P&I Rate — borrowing $700,000 or more

Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule. Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply).

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

Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, Qld and ACT residents only.

Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier, P&I)

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.

    • 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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