Whether you are overwhelmed by debt spread across different accounts or you have found a deal that will save you money, refinancing a personal loan can reduce the amount you’re paying or help you manage your debt better.
If you are considering refinancing, it’s important to understand everything involved.
How does personal loan refinancing work?
Refinancing a personal loan works in much the same way as refinancing a home loan. You apply for a loan which covers the amount you have left to pay on your current loan/s and then use the new loan to pay off the original one. Some lenders can even organise the funds to be paid to your existing loan account, saving you the hassle.
You still have the same amount of debt, but you may save money by consolidating your debt or if the new loan offers better terms, lower fees or a reduced interest rate.
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Ready to refinance? Here’s a selection of loans
Why should I refinance my personal loan?
There are a few reasons people choose to refinance their personal loans, but it boils down to either finding a better deal or consolidating debt.
You’ve found a better deal
- If you think you have found a better deal, it might be worth using a personal loan repayment calculator, such as the one below, to compare the two loan options and see if the move is worth it. When comparing loans don’t just focus on interest rates, but look at ongoing fees and repayments as well as loan establishment costs. You should also consider the loan’s features to make sure they suit your needs. For example, if you currently make additional repayments you should confirm whether this is allowed for the new loan.
You’re consolidating debt
- If you are refinancing a personal loan to consolidate debt, then you need to do a few more calculations. First, calculate the total monthly repayments for each existing loan. This includes fees, rates and any other charges you incur with the loan. Then compare this figure to what you can expect to pay for the new consolidated loan. Using a personal loan repayment calculator, as mentioned above, can simplify this process.
How do I refinance my personal loan?
- Compare your personal loan options. Take a look at what personal loans are available to see if you can find a better deal.
- Calculate the costs of refinancing. Include break and exit fees, and the establishment fees for your new loan to ensure it is worth your while.
- Apply for the new personal loan. If you meet the criteria for the new personal loan, submit your application. You may have to inform the lender that your loan purpose is to refinance or consolidate.
- Pay out your current loan with the funds from the new loan. If the loan is for debt consolidation your lender may be able to arrange this for you, but with other lenders, you will need to transfer the funds from your new loan into your current personal loan account.
- Make sure you close the old loan. Confirm with your previous lender that your loan account is closed, and you have no balance owing.
What are the costs of refinancing a personal loan?
Banks and lenders don’t want you jumping ship every time you see a cheaper rate from a competitor, which is why refinancing comes with a cost. Here are some fees to take into account when you are calculating the cost of refinancing:
- Application fees could set you back as much as $500, so confirm if you will be charged a fee for the new loan.
- Early repayment fees are sometimes charged by lenders and can put a considerable dent in the saving you could make from switching.
- Ongoing fees are also a cost to take into consideration. These fees can add up quickly and may offset a lower rate offered by the new loan.
Is it worth refinancing?
The value of refinancing depends on your current personal loan and your financial situation. To determine the value of refinancing you should:
- Calculate what your current loan/s are costing you and compare this to the cost of your new loan.
Remember to include the initial cost for setting up a loan and the interest you will save over the life of the loan, not just in the initial period.
- Consider other features of the loan when deciding whether to refinance.
For example, if you are refinancing from a fixed rate loan to a variable rate you may save money as long as the variable rate lasts, but these rates are called variable for a reason. The rate could increase and you may discover you would have been better off staying with the first loan. The same goes for other features of the loan, you may make additional repayments to pay your loan back sooner, but the new loan you refinance to may not have this option or may charge for it.
When determining the value of refinancing, remember to take all aspects of both loans into consideration.