If you like the security of consistent monthly payments that let you stick to a budget, you may want to consider taking out a fixed rate loan. Fixed interest rate loans have a set or predetermined interest rate, which remains locked-in for either the entirety of the loan term or a specified number of years.
Changing market interest rates will not affect a fixed interest rate, as they remain stable. This stability can be a great bonus when market interest rates are fluctuating, and the future seems uncertain.
If you’re looking to take out a car, home or personal loan, it can be overwhelming if you are unsure of what to look out for. Use finder.com/nz to compare fixed rate loans and remove the stress of finding a loan that works for you.
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
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Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
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- Max. loan amount: $70,000
- Loan term: Up to 60 months
- Turnaround time: 99% of approved online applications funded in 24 hours
- Fees: Establishment fee of $200 for loans from $2,000-$5,000 and $450 for loans from $5,000-$70,000
- No early repayment fees
- Personalised interest rates based on your circumstances
Comparison of fixed rate personal loans for 2019
How does a fixed rate loan work?
The primary purpose of a fixed rate loan is to lock in an interest rate, avoid market interest fluctuations and keep your repayments stable, which means you can stress less and enjoy the security of knowing your repayments will remain the same. Fixed rate loans are perfect for purchasing or refinancing a new house, purchasing an investment property or buying a new car.
Typically, a fixed term will be from one to five years, after which you either renew the loan with another fixed interest rate or change to a variable interest rate. An ideal time to take out a fixed interest loan is when there is a drop in interest rates. Taking advantage of low interest rates may save you a substantial amount of money in the long run, depending on the economic market.
How to compare fixed rate loans
- Interest rates. Fixed interest rates vary depending on the lender. However, the lowest fixed interest rate does not necessarily mean you will pay a lesser amount than another loan. You must also consider the other features of the loan.
- Repayment flexibility. Previously, many fixed rate loans did not offer the option of advanced or additional repayments. However, as the market has become more competitive, some lenders may have flexible repayment options. Making advanced or extra repayments on your fixed rate loan can lower the term of your loan considerably.
- Fees and charges. In addition to the interest rate, there are other one-offs or ongoing expenses that contribute to the overall cost. These may include charges like establishment or application fees, monthly administration fees or early termination fees. Try to find a lender with minimal charges to reduce the overall cost.
- Comparison rates. It is essential to consider the comparison rate when comparing fixed rate loans. It incorporates all the associated costs, and lenders calculate it using the amount and term of the loan; the frequency of repayment; the interest rate and fees. However, it does not typically include early repayment fees. The comparison rate gives a complete view of the overall cost of the loan.
Pros and cons of fixed rate loans
- Consistent repayments. The interest rate remains the same for the term of your loan, which is excellent for managing your budget.
- Secure and stable rates. If market interest rates rise, you can save a substantial amount of money in the long run by having your rate locked in.
- A feeling of security and stability. The lender cannot increase the interest rate at any point during the fixed term period, giving you peace of mind when making repayments.
- Low market interest rates. If interest rates drop, you could be paying more money than if you had a variable rate loan.
- Limited flexibility. Fixed rate loans generally attract less feature and more penalty fees, such as extra costs for early or advanced repayments.
- Higher fees. Fixed rate loans typically have higher upfront and establishment fees, which increases the overall cost of the credit, which is in return for offering secure interest rates.
- Exit fees. If you want to get out of your loan or change the loan term, the cost for doing so is usually quite high.
Things to avoid about fixed rate loans
- Not considering your personal and financial situation beforehand. One of the most significant indicators as to whether a fixed rate loan may suit you is to take a look at your current circumstances. If you’ve just started a new job, or if it is one of your first credit commitments, then a fixed rate may help you get on top of the repayments as they are the same every time. Older professionals and families may opt for a variable loan because they’re already familiar with the credit process and can cope with fluctuating repayments as they may have cash reserves on hand.
- Early termination of the loan. If there are cheaper variable loans on offer, you may consider terminating the fixed loan period. However, this is often not a wise idea. When entering a fixed loan contract, the lender is offering you security in return for a set term. If you choose to exit it early, the lender expects compensation as they will now be financially disadvantaged. They will charge you “break costs”, which typically take into account the time left on the fixed term and the amount remaining of the original loan. Ask your lender to provide a break cost figure, before you opt to terminate your loan, as the fees can be quite substantial and put a big hole in your savings.
- Fees and charges. Fees are the biggest pitfall to avoid, which may seem obvious. The best piece of advice to take on board is, “read the small print”. Be sure you shop around and research as much as possible, to avoid those little extra payments that can add up to significant costs.
How to apply for fixed rate loans
Anyone who is over 18 and a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident can apply for a fixed rate loan, through all major banks and lenders. Some even let you do so online, making the process even more straightforward and convenient.
- You need to provide details, such as contact information and address; income and debt information, and details of your ongoing living expenses (such as bills and personal spending).
It is essential to read the fine print of any loan to make sure the provider doesn’t hit you with unexpected costs. It’s also important to make sure the lender you choose offers features and options, such as advanced repayments, that will save you money in the long term. Compare lenders with finder.com/nz to find the best* fixed rate loan for you.