Westpac Personal Loans
As Australia’s first bank and oldest company, Westpac has played an important role in the economic and social fabric of this country for more than 200 years. Today, it is one of four major banking organisations in Australia, also known as the ‘Big Four’. As such, it offers a huge range of financial products and services to its personal and business banking customers.
Where did Westpac come from exactly? Westpac started out as the Bank of New South Wales, which was established way back in 1817 to assist with the banking needs of the state’s ever-expanding community of settlers. Expanding rapidly over the decades, the bank was eventually renamed Westpac in 1982, following the acquisition of the Commercial Bank of Australia.
With a proud history under its belt, Westpac says it’s just as committed to helping Australians today as it was 200 years ago. One of the ways it does this is with the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service, which has been on the go since 1973. It also offers a number of grants to support local not-for-profit social enterprises making a difference in their communities.
And its customers? Westpac says its purpose is to ‘Help Australians Succeed’. While this is quite a broad purpose, as a customer you may benefit from choosing Westpac in any number of ways. You may enjoy the sense of security that comes with banking with a big bank. You could also benefit from its wide range of products, and the service that backs them up.
Unsecured Personal Loan
The focus of Westpac’s personal loan offering is its Unsecured Personal Loan. Let’s look at what it has to offer as a loan, so you can decide whether this loan – and Westpac as a lender – are the right option for you.
With this loan, you can borrow between $4,000 and $50,000. This gives you plenty of flexibility to fund what you need the loan for. It’s worth pointing out, however, that you will only be approved for an amount that Westpac decides you can comfortably repay. This will be determined by factors such as your assets and debts, your income and your creditworthiness.
Like many unsecured personal loans, this loan from Westpac is nice and flexible with regards to what it can be used for. Westpac offers the following possibilities.
- Debt Consolidation. By rolling your other debts into a single loan, you can simplify your finances considerably. With just one repayment to keep on top of, this could make managing your debts much less stressful. You could also save on interest, depending on the loan you choose and the debts you consolidate.
- Renovations. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your white goods or you want a whole new kitchen, a personal loan such as this could make it happen. A personal loan could cover the cost of a home renovation project large or small, whether you want to DIY or get a professional in.
- Buy a Car. While Westpac also offers a secured personal loan designed for car buyers, that loan does come with certain conditions. Opting for this unsecured loan could see you buying a new or used car, or covering repairs on a car you already own – with no need to put your car down as security.
- Cover Other Costs. Got school fees to pay? Planning your dream holiday? Organising your big day? This personal loan could help cover all that. Bear in mind, you will need to provide details of what you want to use the loan for when you apply.
Westpac offers unsecured personal loans over one to seven years. By using a personal loan calculator, you can try out different loan terms within this range to find one that offers a comfortable repayment schedule. Remember, choosing a shorter term should help you keep interest to a minimum – but be sure to choose a repayment schedule you can afford.
Another flexible feature on this loan allows you to choose your repayment frequency. Opting for weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments, you can align your repayments with your incoming paycheque – or move it further away from other outgoings to make your budget more manageable.
With a fixed rate, you know both your rate and your repayments will never change. This can provide you with another handy budgeting tool, as you always know how much you will need to set aside for your repayments. It can also allow you to lock in a rate, giving you peace of mind that it will never go up, even if rates rise elsewhere in the market.
Buying a Car?
As we mentioned earlier, while you can use Westpac’s unsecured personal loan to buy a car, there is also a secured loan option on offer designed specifically for car buyers. Here’s how the Westpac Secured Car Loan works.
- You can borrow between $10,000 and $100,000. This amount may vary according to the value of the car you are buying, your ability to repay the loan, and your creditworthiness.
- The car you are buying can be new or used, as long as the car is less than seven years old.
- You can benefit from a lower rate by using your car as security. As secure loans are seen as less of a risk by lenders, they often reward borrowers with lower rates. This can make the loan more affordable, offering both lower repayments and a lower interest cost.
- You can choose a loan term over one to seven years. You can also choose to make your repayments weekly, fortnightly or monthly to suit your budget.
- You will pay a fixed rate on your loan, so you know that your repayments will always be the same, month after month.
- With pre-approval, you can negotiate confidently with the dealer, as you will know exactly how much you can spend.
- You can borrow an additional 10% of the car’s value to help cover incidentals and on-road costs, provided the total amount is within your approved limit.
- You can enjoy greater confidence when buying a used car, using Westpac’s complimentary check of the car’s reported history. This can cover its expected value, if finance is owing, or if it’s been previously been written off or stolen.
- You can save time and hassle when buying, as Westpac will manage the final payment to the dealer or private seller for you.
Secured vs. Unsecured
Why choose secured over unsecured? Or unsecured over secured? The choice will really depend on your circumstances – and what you want to get out of the loan. Here are some pros and cons for each option.
- You can benefit from a lower interest rate. Most secured loans offer a lower interest rate, making them a more affordable option. With a lower interest rate, you will pay less in interest, while taking advantage of lower repayments. Alternatively, you could borrow more, knowing that your interest costs are less, while still staying within your budget.
- You may find it easier to get approved. You will still have to meet the eligibility requirements on the loan – while proving you can repay the loan comfortably – but, choosing a secured loan may be easier to get approved for, as it is lower risk for the lender.
- If you fail to repay the loan, you may lose your asset. With an asset placed against the loan as collateral, you stand to lose that asset if you cannot repay your loan in full.
- You don’t need to put down collateral. If you don’t have an asset worthy of using as security on the loan, or you just don’t like the idea of putting down an asset, an unsecured personal loan could be a better option.
- You may pay less in fees. When you apply for a secured loan, the lender may carry out checks on the asset you want to use as collateral, to then formally register the asset for the loan. There could be fees associated with these processes, which you as the borrower may have to cover.
- The loan may cost more in interest. With a typically higher rate, unsecured loans tend to come with higher interest costs and larger repayments. This may mean you have to borrow less or opt for a longer term to make the loan more affordable.
Regardless of whether you choose a secured or unsecured personal loan from Westpac, it’s worth comparing the rate you will pay with Westpac to the rate you may pay on other loans. Like many of the big banks here in Australia, Westpac has high overheads – which is typically reflected in higher rates and fees than you would find on loans from online only providers, for example.
Talking of fees, it’s a good idea to work out how much you will pay in fees overall as you compare loan options. Westpac charges a substantial establishment fee to process the loan application, as well as an ongoing monthly service fee. Calculate how much you will pay in these known fees, according to the loan term you choose.
It’s also worth looking at the fees you may be expected to pay along the way. These could include missed payment fees and bank cheque fees, as well as prepayment fees if you decide to pay off the loan early. Westpac charges a prepayment fee if you choose a term greater than two years and pay it off in less than two years. This fee is waived if you pay out your personal loan by re-financing to another Westpac personal loan.
Thinking of applying for a Westpac personal loan? You must meet Westpac’s basic eligibility criteria for your application to be considered. This includes:
- You must be aged 18 years or over.
- You must have a regular permanent income before tax of at least $35,000 p.a.
- You must be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or hold an acceptable visa.
- If you’re a non-resident, you must have confirmed employment in Australia.
Westpac also notes the following may help your application:
- You are regularly meeting your repayment obligations for your mortgage, other loan or credit card accounts.
- You have considered whether you need to keep any credit accounts you may no longer use, such as store cards.
Why choose Westpac over other lenders?
- It is a big bank. The idea of borrowing from a big bank or banking with a big bank can offer a sense of security for some. Unlike borrowing from an unknown online lender, you know exactly where you stand with Westpac.
- It’s there when you need it. While Westpac may have higher fees and interest than certain other lenders, it does put its deep pockets to good use. Borrowers can get in touch with the bank online or over the phone, or even pop into a branch, should the need arise.
- It offers choice. Unlike smaller lenders, which may only offer one type of personal loan, Westpac creates a range of loan options, each with plenty of flexibility. You can choose the loan that works for you, ensuring your loan matches both your needs and your budget.
Want to find out more about Westpac’s personal loans? This is the place to be. Click through to each loan page to find out more – or simply ask us anything you’d like to know.