Repaying your loan before the scheduled due date is a great goal to have. You will pay less interest than is set out in your loan contract, and you may save on annual or monthly fees. But before you repay your loan early, you should check if you'll be charged prepayment penalties.
Can I pay off my personal loan early?
Yes, you can pay off your loan ahead of schedule and make an early exit. However, some personal loans charge a fee for either extra repayments or early exit. This penalty is put in place to deter borrowers from closing their loan accounts before schedule.
Before you make any payments, you should look into whether your lender will charge you. Make sure that by closing early you will be saving, and not paying out more.
Depending on the type of loan and your lender, you may or may not be charged. Fixed rate loans, for instance, often come with an early exit penalty. In some cases, how much you'll be charged will depend on when you exit. Exiting in the first year of your contract may incur more charges than if you exit after.
Which personal loans charge early repayment fees?
As we mentioned before, not all lenders will charge an early exit penalty. The table below outlines what lenders charge if you exit early.
Why should I pay my loan early?
There are a number of reasons why people would choose to exit their loan contracts early. These include:
- Saving money. When you pay off your loan early, you'll be saving on interest payments and fees. Instead of spreading your payments over a longer period and being charged interest and fees for that time, you'll be paying the loan principal and interest charges until you break your loan contract. Of course, this would only work if your potential savings are more than any early exit penalties. You should do the maths to figure out if paying off your loan can help you save.
- Getting out of debt. Owing money can be stressful. It's another thing to worry about and it can be a relief to finally be done with your payments. Some people pay off their loans early for the peace of mind that being debt-free can bring.
- Freeing borrowing capacity. If you're looking to apply for a new loan, say a mortgage, paying off your personal loan can free up your borrowing capacity. This is because lenders will look at how much debt you hold and calculate your borrowing capacity accordingly. Having no debt and fewer financial obligations can increase how much you can borrow. If you wish to increase your borrowing power, paying off your personal loan may help.
When should I not repay my loan early?
Paying your loan off early has its advantages, but there may be instances where it's not beneficial. These include:
- When you're left out of pocket. If repaying your loan early comes with no financial benefit and will cost more than you save, you may want to reconsider.
- When you have less money to spend. If a big payout is going to leave you with less money to spend, you should look into how this will affect your budget and other obligations. If it looks like you'll have nothing left over and an emergency bill or expense will knock you cold, paying more in increments may be better.
- When it puts you under financial stress. If paying a large sum of money is likely to add stress to your finances, you may want to rethink it. This stress could leak into other areas of your life. It could also prevent you from maintaining your current lifestyle. If you want to free yourself of debt, you could make extra repayments and slowly pay it off if you can't afford to comfortably pay it in one go.
- When it eats into your other goals. You may want to save up for your retirement by adding it to your super. Or you may be saving for something else, like a holiday or a down payment for a house. If it's getting in the way of your savings goals, it may not be worth it.
Getting out of debt is never a bad idea, but you should also approach your repayments judiciously. There are other ways to reduce how much debt you're in. This includes making extra repayments. You should look into whether your lender has penalties or limits on how many extra repayments you can make. Making extra repayments could also help you achieve your financial goals and pay down your debt faster.
What should I do before repaying my personal loan early?
Before you close your loan account, you should:
- Check your loan contract for early repayment fees. All fees that apply to your loan will be set in your loan contract. This will include any fees you'll be charged for closing your personal loan account early. Look for "early repayment penalty" or "early repayment fee".
- Confirm with your lender. Even if you've checked your contract, contact your lender to get confirmation and ask for the total payout cost of the loan. If you're speaking to a representative on the phone or in person, ask them to email the information so that you have it in writing.
How can I pay my personal loan early?
The process will differ between lenders, but it's generally a good idea to start the proceedings by contacting your lender and getting the total payout figure. If you're comfortable paying it, then you can proceed. The lender will either direct debit the amount from your account, or will provide details on how you can make the payment.
After the payment has been made, check if your loan account has been closed. This may take some time, but it's important to confirm. You can also check your credit report to see if it's been updated with the new account information. You can also check if your credit score has been affected. You can check both your credit score and report for free on Finder.
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