Is a cashback deal on a home loan better than a low rate

- October 30, 2020 3 MIN READ

One of my children is doing the rounds of the lenders at the moment to finance their first home and they were telling me they are being besieged by cash-back offers on home loans.

There are now 29 lenders offering cashback deals of up to $4,000 for the average homeowner looking to refinance their mortgage… a new record and more than twice the number available in February.

Research group RateCity ( has just completed a major analysis of the sector and found;

. 29 lenders are offering cashback deals, up from 12 in February (list at end).

. Deals range from $1,000 up to $4,000 for average mortgages.

. Most cashbacks are for refinancers only.

. All big four banks are offering cashback deals (ANZ through a broker).

 The latest ABS lending indicator figures show 137,372 loans have been refinanced in the five months from April to August inclusive, with May hitting a record high. compared the cashback specials from the big four banks and their subsidiaries to the lowest rate options on the market, based on a typical refinancer (see assumptions at end).

VARIABLE: Big four lowest variable rates (+cashback) Vs lowest ongoing variable rate

. After 2 years: The cost of the Westpac, St George, Bank of Melbourne loans at this point were cheaper than the lowest variable rate loan.

. After 3 years: Only the Westpac loan was cheaper.

. After 5 years: All of the loans tested were more expensive after 5 years, despite the cashback.

FIXED: Big four lowest fixed rates (+cashback) Vs lowest fixed rate loans on market

 . 2-year fixed: St George, Bank of Melbourne, Westpac, ANZ and NAB deals were all cheaper at the end of the 2-yr fixed period when the cashback was included.

. 3-year fixed: St George, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac were cheaper at the end of the fixed period.

. 5 year fixed: None of the big bank loans were cheaper, than the lowest 5-yr fixed rate, despite the cashback.

. All big bank loans tested were significantly more expensive after the fixed rate period finished if the loan rolled over to the revert rate. research director Sally Tindall said, “Don’t just assume you’ll be better off with a cashback special. Do the maths yourself to work out if the whole package is going to put you ahead or leave you in the red,” she said.

Before refinancing for a cashback deal – check:

Is the interest rate competitive? Look for a rate starting with a ‘2’.

Pick a loan that suits your finances.

Are the fees high? Ask the new lender to waive them if there are.

Can you refinance? You’re likely to need a steady job and at least a 20 per cent deposit or equity.

Can you put the cashback bonus into your mortgage? Extra repayments help reduce your interest charges over the years to come.


List of lenders offering home loan cashback deals on

Big Four bankTypeCashbackLowest ad. variable rate
ANZ (through a broker)Refinance$3,0002.72%
Other lenders   
St GeorgeRefinance$4,0002.54%
Bank of MelbourneRefinance$4,0002.54%
SuncorpRefinanceup to $4,0002.68%
Bank FirstRefinanceup to $3,0002.84%
Credit Union SANew loans & refiup to $3,0002.59%
Virgin MoneyNew loans & refi$3,0002.55%
Orange Credit UnionRefinance$2,0202.89%
86 400Refinance$2,0002.49%
BankVicNew loans & refi$2,0002.74%
GMCUFHB loans$2,0002.48%
Heritage BankFHB loans$2,0003.07%
Illawarra Credit UnionFHB loans$2,0002.45%
MyState BankRefinance$2,0002.69%
Newcastle PermanentRefinance$2,0002.59%
People’s Choice CURefinance$2,0002.49%
RAMSNew loans & refi$2,0002.59%
Southern Cross CUNew loans & refi$2,0002.78%
Reduce Home LoansNew loans & refiup to $2,0002.39%
Police BankNew loans & refiup to $2,0002.79%
Homestar FinanceRefinanceup to $1,5002.29%
QBankNew loans & refi$1,5002.74%
Beyond BankFHB loans$1,0003.24%

Source: home loans under $850,000. Reduce Home Loans offers higher cashbacks for larger loans. FHB = “first home buyers”.







VARIABLE RATES – Cashback deals V refinancing to the lowest rate lender

LenderRateCashbackExtra paid vs lowest – 2 yrsExtra paid vs lowest – 3 yrsExtra $ vs lowest – 5 yrs
Westpac2.19% for 2yrs, then 2.69%$3,000-$2,843-$910$2,813
St George2.54%$4,000-$835$567$3,265
Bank of Melbourne2.54%$4,000-$835$567$3,265
Lowest rate2.17%$0$0$0$0

Source: below.


FIXED RATES – Cashback deals V refinancing to the lowest rate lender

LenderCashback2-year fixedExtra paid vs lowest3-year fixedExtra paid vs lowest5-year fixedExtra paid vs lowest
St George$4,0002.24%-$2,0432.24%-$7352.74%$2,621
Bank of Melbourne$4,0002.24%-$2,0432.24%-$7352.74%$2,621
LowestTypically none1.99%$01.99%$02.39%$0