RBA cash rate decrease

RBASepWhen the RBA cuts the official cash rate the rates on your home loan, credit card and savings account could all go down. Here's how it works.

The Reserve Bank of Australia sets the official cash rate, which is the interest rate for overnight loans provided to banks. The cash rate has a big effect on your home loan, credit card and savings account interest rates. A decrease in the cash rate typically means interest rates go down. Very good news if you have a mortgage but not so good for the interest you earn on your savings account.

On the first Tuesday of every month (except 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 home 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.

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Rates last updated September 16th, 2019
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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.
Low variable rate mortgage for owner occupiers looking to switch. Refinancers only.
$0 p.a.
Get one of the lowest rates on the market with this fixed rate mortgage. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
$0 p.a.
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
$0 p.a.
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online. Available with just a 10% deposit.
$0 p.a.
This low, variable rate loan has no ongoing fees and a redraw facility. Requires a 20% deposit.

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What if my lender doesn't pass on the cut?

If your variable rate doesn't change then it's time to look around for a lower rate and refinance your mortgage. A 25 basis point cut can make quite a difference to your repayments. If you had borrowed $400,000 on a 30-year mortgage with a 4% rate your repayments would be $1,910 a month. A 25 basis point cut down to 3.75% would reduce your repayment to $1,853 per month, saving you $684 a year.

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 September 16th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
Ongoing Annual Fee Discount & Bonus Points
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Annual Fee Refund & Balance Transfer Offer*
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Platinum Credit Card with a Low Interest Rate*
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks. Ends 30 September 2019.
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard
21.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
International Shopping Credit Card
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees on purchases. Plus, complimentary flight delay passes, global wifi access and a concierge service.
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.

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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.

Rates last updated September 16th, 2019
Name Product Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned Product Description
Rabobank Online Savings High Interest Savings Account
$0 / $0
Maximum variable rate of 2.75% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.30% p.a. No deposit or withdrawal conditions. Available on balances below $250,000
UBank USaver
2019 Winner
UBank USaver
$0 / $0
Ongoing, variable 2.41% p.a. when you link your USaver account to a UBank Ultra transaction account and transfer at least $200 per month into either account. The linked transaction account has no monthly fees and no international fees. Bonus interest available on balances up to $200,000.
AMP Saver Account
$0 / $0
Introductory rate of 2.61% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.65% p.a. The bonus rate offer is for new AMP Saver customers only, and applies to the first $250,000 deposited.
HSBC Flexi Saver Account
$0 / $0
Ongoing, variable 2.15% p.a. when you grow your balance by $300+ per month. Earn bonus interest even if you make withdrawals during the month. Available on balances up to $5,000,000.
Suncorp Growth Saver Account
$0 / $0
Ongoing, variable 2.05% p.a. when you grow your balance by at least $200 (excluding interest) and make no more than one withdrawal in the month. Available on the entire balance.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AnushaJanuary 13, 2016

    what is the impact of rate cut on shares.

    • Avatarfinder 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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