Bankwest Personal Loans
With a banking history that spans more than 120 years, Bankwest has certainly come a long way since it was established by the WA Government back in 1895. Created to service the needs of the state’s farmers, Bankwest quickly expanded beyond that remit, setting up bases throughout WA over the decades, so that by the 1950s, it was ready to compete with the big boys.
In 1956, Bankwest became a savings bank, just a few short weeks after the Bank of NSW (now Westpac) and ANZ, and ahead of the other big banks. In the 60s and 70s, the bank went on to introduce all sorts of firsts, such as ‘blue light’ signature verification units, drive-in bank branches, and WA’s first after hours cash dispenser – long before ATMs were even invented.
Opening its first branch in Sydney in the mid-80s, the bank started trading under the name Bankwest around a decade later. Then, in 2008, Bankwest joined the Commonwealth Bank Group and became part of Australia’s largest provider of financial services. Not bad for a plucky, little bank that started out with just two people.
Today, Bankwest prides itself on its service and no-nonsense attitude, while offering a trusted alternative to those keen to look beyond the Big Four. And, with a look at all of its awards, it must be doing something right. Having been recognised in the prestigious Financial Review Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Awards, Bankwest was named Bank of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2017, and Business Bank of the Year in 2013 and 2014.
According to Bankwest, it’s all down to the fact that it goes the extra mile for its customers. But, does that mean Bankwest is the right provider for you? With home loans, credit cards, bank accounts and more on its books, Bankwest certainly has a lot to offer. Are its personal loans right for you?
Bankwest Unsecured Personal Loans
While Bankwest offers a Secured Car Loan for borrowers looking to buy a vehicle – and those who want to use that vehicle as security on the loan – our main focus here is the Bankwest Unsecured Personal Loan. Well then, how does the loan work?
As a fixed rate loan, Bankwest’s Unsecured Personal Loan has a rate that remains the same throughout the life of the loan. This offers a few very appealing benefits:
- No matter what the market is doing, the rate on this loan will always be the same. That means if at the time of applying, rates are low, you can lock in a low rate, safe in the knowledge that it won’t go up, even if rates elsewhere start to rise.
- From beginning to end, you will know what your repayment amount will be. This can make budgeting easier, as you will always know how much you need to set aside each month.
It is worth mentioning that having a fixed rate can have its downsides as well. Namely, if rates fall, you will not benefit.
With an unsecured loan, you don’t have to put down collateral. In other words, the loan is not secured against any asset. This can offer both advantages and disadvantages, so it will depend on your own personal circumstances whether this type of loan will suit you.
With the Bankwest Unsecured Personal Loan, you can borrow $3,000 to $50,000. This should give you plenty of leeway in terms of how much you need to borrow, whether that’s a little or a lot.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that just because loans extend to $50,000, that doesn’t mean Bankwest will provide you with a loan up to that amount. Instead, the amount you can borrow will depend on your employment, your income and your creditworthiness, with the bank taking care during the application process to make sure you can repay what you borrow.
Like many unsecured personal loans, there is plenty of flexibility on offer when it comes to what you can use the funds for. Bankwest uses the examples of debt consolidation, home renovations, buying a car or paying for a holiday or wedding, but you will usually find you can use the loan for whatever you need – as long as you can prove you are not a risk.
The flexibility in Bankwest’s repayments comes in two parts:
- You can choose your repayment frequency. This can make it easier to budget and plan for your repayments. This could mean setting them to a specific date or frequency, perhaps to match your paycheque, or setting them apart from other big repayments.
- You can choose a loan term between three and seven years. By playing around with loan terms, you should be able to find one that offers a repayment schedule you can afford.
Unlike some fixed loans, the Bankwest Unsecured Personal Loan allows you to make extra repayments. Allowing you to pay more than your minimum repayment amount as and when you choose, this offers two major benefits:
- You can pay off your loan sooner. By paying more than your minimum repayment amount, you can chip away at your loan to pay it off sooner.
- You can pay less in interest. By paying off your loan sooner, you can pay less in interest over the life of the loan.
- You may benefit from better credit. By paying off your loan early – and always making your regular repayments on time – you should see a boost to your credit score. By clearing your debt early, it may also make it easier for you to apply for more credit, should you want it, as that debt is no longer counted against you.
Another benefit of making extra repayments on your loan is that you have extra cash available, should you need it in future. Bankwest offers a redraw facility on its Unsecured Personal Loan, allowing easy access to those additional funds paid onto the loan, via the Bankwest app.
What should you be aware of?
With that in mind, there are certain factors to take into consideration before you decide whether this loan from Bankwest is right for you. First up, loan term. Bankwest only offers loan terms from three to seven years. For some borrowers, especially those who are borrowing smaller amounts, a shorter loan term of one or two years would be more appropriate.
Fees should also be taken into account. Check the small print to find out more about any one-off or ongoing fees you will have to pay. Be aware that Bankwest charges an early repayment fee if you choose to pay off the loan in the first two years.
As you don’t have to put down an asset as collateral, this type of loan can work well for those who don’t want to place an asset against their loan, as well as those who don’t have a suitable asset to use as collateral.
With no collateral placed on the loan, there is no risk of losing that asset should you fail to pay off the loan. With that being said, you may still face serious consequences if you are unable to repay what you owe.
As a loan that is deemed higher risk to the lender, an unsecured personal loan typically charges higher rates of interest than secured personal loans. This can make the loan more expensive overall, with higher loan repayments.
When borrowers reduce the risk on their loan by placing collateral against it, lenders may be more lenient during the application process. In other words, secured loans can be easier to get approved for than unsecured loans. So, you may find you need better credit to get approved for this type of loan to prove you are not a risk.
Why choose this loan?
Is this Bankwest loan right for you? Let’s see.
- You need to borrow between $3,000 and $50,000.
Whether you need to borrow a little or a lot, Bankwest has you covered with its wide-ranging loan amount. Just make sure that you can pay off what you borrow within three to seven years. Try playing around with repayment schedules, loan terms and loan amounts using a personal loan calculator before you apply.
- You like to plan your budget.
If you are a careful organiser, you will likely find the security of a set repayment schedule comforting. When you know exactly how much your repayments will be month after month, year after year, you can budget accordingly, arranging your other financial responsibilities around that known outgoing.
- You want to lock in your rate.
With a fixed rate loan such as this, you know that your rate will never go up. By applying for this type of loan when rates are low, you can lock in that low rate and continue to enjoy it over the life of the loan, even as rates increase elsewhere.
- You like the flexibility of making extra repayments.
Not all fixed rate personal loans allow you to make extra repayments, but the Bankwest Unsecured Personal Loan does. This offers some nice flexibility, allowing you to reduce interest costs on the loan, while also providing access to those funds via redraw should you need them.
- You think you might pay off the loan early.
No one can predict the future. But, if you think you might be able to pay off your loan early, you should choose a loan that will allow you to do that without penalty. Be aware that early exit fees apply on this loan if you decide to pay off the loan within the first two years.
- You don’t want to put down collateral.
When you don’t have a suitable asset to use as collateral, or you simply don’t want to put collateral down on the loan, an unsecured loan such as this can be a great option.
- You have good credit.
When you apply for a loan, the lender will assess the risk of lending to you, first and foremost. That means checking you have the means to repay the loan, as well as your history as a borrower. With no collateral on this loan, you will typically need to prove you have good credit in order to be approved.
- You meet the bank’s eligibility criteria.
You will also need to meet Bankwest’s eligibility criteria. That means you must:
• Be aged 18 years or over
• Be a permanent Australian resident
• Have a regular income of over $20,000 a year
Buying a Car
As we mentioned earlier, Bankwest also offers a Secured Car Loan within its personal loan offering. You may find this is a worthy alternative to the bank’s Unsecured Personal Loan option if you are buying a car and want to secure the car against the loan. Here’s a quick run-down of its features:
- Lower Rates: As a secured loan, it offers lower rates than its unsecured counterpart. With lower rates can come lower interest costs and lower repayments, offering the potential for a lower cost loan taken out over a shorter period of time.
- Loan Amount: Bankwest’s Secured Car Loan offers borrowers the opportunity to borrow between $10,000 to $100,000 (up to 120% of the value of your security).
It’s also worth noting that cars and motorcycles used as security must be valued at least $10,000 or be less than seven years old.
Aside from that, most features on this loan are the same as Bankwest’s Unsecured Personal Loan.
Before you make your final decision, let’s run over why you might choose Bankwest over other lenders.
- You want a name you can trust.
Bankwest has a long history here in Australia. It is a well known brand, with plenty of awards under its belt.
- You don’t want to borrow from a Big Four bank.
While Bankwest may be part of the Commonwealth Bank Group, it isn’t a big four bank. So while it can provide the big name, it is still a bank that prides itself on thinking of the little guy.
- You want great service.
Another thing Bankwest prides itself on is its service. As a borrower, you can speak to real people in the Bankwest contact centre, while managing your loan using the bank’s app and online banking service.