What does it mean when the RBA puts the official cash rate on hold?

Rates and Fees verified correct on December 4th, 2016

How you should respond when the RBA leaves the cash rate on hold RBA Cash rate unchanged

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is responsible for managing the country’s monetary policy. With an aim to maintain price stability,  low levels of unemployment and consumer confidence, the RBA is responsible for setting the interest rate on overnight loans to commercial banks.

This rate is known as the official cash rate and it affects other interest rates across the financial sector, influencing the actions of lenders and borrowers and impacting on the health of the economy as a whole.

How does the RBA come to a 'no change' decision?

With the exception of January, the RBA board meets on the first Tuesday of every month to discuss monetary policy and to set the official cash rate. The board examines factors such as financial markets, economic conditions in Australia and around the world, and the considerations for monetary policy.

After assessing each of these important areas, the board will then decide what the cash rate target should be in order to satisfy its monetary policy goals. So on the first Tuesday afternoon of the month, the RBA’s governor announces whether the official cash rate will rise, fall or remain the same.

If you hear news that the cash rate is on hold, this means that the RBA board has decided to leave the rate unchanged. There are many reasons why the RBA can decide to leave the rate at its current level, such as if the economy is performing at  a suitable level and inflation is within  target, or if the RBA is waiting for the effects of previous rate changes to filter through the economy as a whole.

For example, when the decision was made to leave the rate unchanged in March 2015, the board was influenced by factors such as slower than expected growth, an undervalued currency and a high unemployment rate.

Preparing for a rate change

Just because the cash rate may have remained unchanged recently, it doesn’t mean you should expect it to stay in the same place in the future. Here at finder.com.au, every month we ask our resident rate experts to predict what the RBA’s next decision on the cash rate will be. Staying up to date with these expert forecasts can ensure that you are fully prepared for when the rate does rise or fall in future.

There are also several steps you can take to minimise the impact a rate change has on your personal finances, including:

  • Making extra home loan repayments. If your loan allows you to make extra repayments ahead of time, doing so is a great idea. Not only will this reduce the amount of debt you have, but it’ll also minimise the outstanding balance on which you have to pay interest, should interest rates rise.
  • Pay off your credit card debt. When rates look set to rise, working to pay off as much of your credit card balance as possible is also a good move. With less owing on your card, there’s a smaller amount on which you’ll have to pay interest.
  • Consider refinancing and debt consolidation. If you’re worried that a predicted change in the cash rate could have a negative effect on your financial situation, now is a good time to assess your options. If you think you’ll struggle to continue to make home loan repayments, perhaps you need to look into refinancing. If you have multiple repayments you need to manage for several different debts, looking at consolidating all your debt into one loan and one regular repayment could save you a whole lot of money and stress.
  • Lock in a rate. If you need a home loan and you think now is the best time to find a great rate, consider taking out a fixed rate loan and locking in an attractive interest rate for a set period. The same applies with savings accounts - if you think interest rates will drop and your savings balance will suffer as a result, consider locking away some of your funds in a term deposit to take advantage of higher interest rates while you can.
  • Find a home loan with an offset account. Home loans with offset accounts allow you to reduce the amount of interest you pay. This can help protect you when the RBA raises the official cash rate.

Has the RBA left the cash rate on hold? Compare refinancing home loans

Rates last updated December 4th, 2016
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Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
HSBC Home Value Loan - Resident Owner Occupier only
Enjoy the low variable rate with $0 ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.55% 3.57% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
3.74% 3.74% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Essentials - New Purchases Only Up to 80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Low variable rate for new purchases as well as no application or ongoing fees. Special offer ends 15 December.
3.39% 3.41% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable Spring Special - LVR 80% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.59% 3.92% $0 $299 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.59% 4.42% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
ANZ Breakfree Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) $150k+
This 2 year fixed ANZ Breakfree Package rate comes with package discount and product bundle. Terms and conditions, package fee and fees, charges & eligibility criteria apply.
3.75% 4.62% $0 $395 p.a. 95% 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
loans.com.au Offset Variable - New Purchases Only Up to 80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)
No application or annual fees, and access to a 100% offset account. Special offer ends 15 December.
3.49% 3.51% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed rate package loan with flexible repayments options. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.
3.75% 4.87% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
A competitive variable that allows borrowers to borrow from a minimum of $100,000 and $0 ongoing fee.
3.59% 3.60% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
CUA Kick Start Variable Home Loan - 2 Years Introductory (Owner Occupier)
Borrow up to 90% LVR and enjoy an introductory rate for the first 2 years.
3.69% 3.87% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Kick Starter Home Loan
$0 ongoing service fees, maximum 80% LVR and a linked transaction account.
3.79% 3.82% $600 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
State Custodians Breathe Easy Spring Special  - LVR 80% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.72% 3.75% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
ME Bank Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
3.84% 4.66% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier)
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
3.74% 4.12% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
A competitive budget rate without any unwanted bells and whistles.
3.87% 3.92% $445 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Switzer Home Loan
No upfront or ongoing fees and a competitive variable rate for owner occupiers.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A discounted rate with 100% offset account. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89% 4.27% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Essentials - Variable Refinancers Only (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A low-interest rate loan suited for refinancing with no application or ongoing fees.
3.59% 3.61% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable Spring Special - LVR 90% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.69% 4.02% $0 $299 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) LVR < 80%
Buy a new home even if you haven't yet sold your existing one with the bankmecu Bridging Loan
3.69% 4.24% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Accelerator Home Loan  - LVR <=80% $300k+ (Owner Occupier)
A two year discounted rate which reverts to an ongoing life of loan discount afterwards.
3.64% 4.39% $445 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A competitive rate with redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Beyond Bank Low Rate Special Home Loan
A special low variable rate for Owner Occupier with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
3.73% 3.73% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Years Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 95% (with LMI) of your home value.
3.69% 4.76% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ClickLoans The Online Investor Home Loan - LVR <70%
An investment home loan with competitive rate and 100% offset account.
3.79% 3.79% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 5 Year Fixed ($150K+ Investor)
A discounted 5 years fixed rate with a redraw facility and no application fee.
4.09% 4.55% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 2 Year Fixed ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW,QLD and ACT residents only.
3.74% 4.40% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package Fixed - 5 Year Fixed Rate LVR <90% (Owner Occupier)
Get the security of knowing your repayments with this 5 year fixed rate package home loan.
3.98% 4.35% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
AMP Essential Home Loan  -  Owner Occupier
Take advantage of a redraw facility, competitive variable rate and no application or settlement fees for a limited time.
3.98% 4.00% $350 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - LVR<=80% $700k + (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy the discounted interest rate with redraw facility and no ongoing fees.
3.74% 4.09% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
CUA Kick Start Variable Home Loan - 2 Years Introductory (New Investment Only)
Enjoy a 2 year introductory rate with CUA Kickstart Variable Home Loan.
3.69% 4.28% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Get a short term fixed rate for that investment property with no application or ongoing fees.
3.69% 4.87% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Switzer Fixed Rate Home Loans - 2 Years Fixed Rate
A competitive 2 year fixed rate with your very own lending service manager.
3.97% 3.99% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Health, Wealth and Happiness Package - (Owner Occupier)
Get a 0.60% discount on your rate, a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees.
3.99% 4.02% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
3.85% 4.26% $0 $395 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayments options.
3.69% 4.56% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Essential Home Loan - LVR < 80% (Owner Occupier)
Access to redraw facility and offset account without the annual fee.
4.09% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
NAB Base Variable Rate Home Loan - Owner Occupier (P&I)
A competitive no frills home loan with no application fees for a limited time. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.
4.10% 4.14% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Wealth Builder Investor Package Home Loan - Variable
An investment loan with no ongoing fees and borrow up to 90% LVR.
4.19% 4.22% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Variable Rate - $250k to $749,999 P&I (Owner Occupier)
A packaged low rate interest offer from NAB. Includes mortgage offset.
4.40% 4.79% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ME Bank Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
No application or ongoing fees and a competitive 2 year fixed rate.
3.84% 4.75% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - 3 Years Introductory Special Offer (New Owner Occupier, P&I)
A limited time deal for new owner occupiers. Advertised rate includes 1.03%p.a. discount for the first two years.
3.99% 4.37% $0 $0 p.a. 95% More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 5 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A competitive loan with flexible features. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.
4.59% 5.02% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Special Offer $150k+ LVR <=90% Owner Occupier)
Lock in a special offer rate for 3 years for loans over $150k with LVR below 90%.
3.64% 4.26% $0 $375 p.a. 90% More info
Commonwealth Bank Wealth Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term. $1,250 cash back offer for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.84% 4.97% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package -  2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cash back available for refinancers, conditions apply.
3.99% 5.07% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years
A low interest rate home loan with a low service fee.
3.99% 4.97% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
St.George Basic Home Loan - Promotional Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
4.08% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 95% More info

Shirley Liu

Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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