With sites like Canstar and Finder, loan comparison sites have become the norm amongst savvy consumers looking to get the best possible deals on everything from personal loans to insurance.
In this article we’re going to provide you with a snapshot of Australia’s leading loan comparison websites and provide you the guidance you need to compare products like a pro!
Australia’s leading comparison sites
Canstar & their star ratings
Canstar is Australia’s leading loan comparison website and offer Australians a loan and credit comparison system that doesn’t look for the cheapest option only but the one that offers the best value.
Although you may argue that value is subjective and that this should be something you’re allowed to decide for yourself, their system is very reliable and has proven to be accurate time and time again.
Their star ratings simply assign a star rating based on the cost and features of a loan, reserving their 5-star rating for only the best finance products. These ratings are based on a six-month data cycle which means introductory offers will not necessarily come out on top.
Canstar’s star ratings – what they mean
Five stars: Five star rated products are the highest valued products and according to Canstar, represent only 10% of products on the market.
Four stars: Four star rated products are second only to five-star rated products and are said to be a great mix between cost and value.
Three stars: Three star rated products offer satisfactory value but the four and five star rated products would be a better choice.
Two and single star rated products: Two or single star rated products are those which do not offer good value and are among those products you want to stay clear of.
Canstar allow you to compare products across 30 defined finance categories including home loans, credit cards, car loans and personal loans as well as term deposits, savings accounts, Superannuation and online trading. In addition, Canstar’s website is filled with article and information which is ideal to boost your financial knowledge and help you find out which products, strategies and saving options are best for you.
Finding the right loan with Finder
Founded in 2006, Finder allows Australians to compare almost any form of financial, electricity and gas, mobile phone or insurance product on the market.
This makes it the comparison site with the greatest range of categories. They are big on personal service and allow consumers to chat with their experts and as a consumer favourite they’ve been awarded numerous awards by Ernst & Young.
In terms of comparing loans and credit cards, Finder has a range of sub-categories for each major category which allows you to get really specific with the product that you’re looking for.
For instance their personal loan category is divided into six separate sub-categories including unsecured loans, peer to peer loans and debt consolidation loans.
When comparing loans on their site you will have all the major details of the various lenders and loans available in a simple and easy to review box.
This box includes a comparison rate that is useful for comparing the total cost of loans which always includes both the interest and any applicable fees.
Their site allows you to review these boxes which provide all the important details on the various offers and then select the ones that you are interested in and would like compare.
This will then bring up the data in a side by side table that makes it easier to compare. What’s nice about Finder is that you can compare products hands on and quickly get more information when you need it.
Accessing the best rates with RateCity
RateCity is one of the newer loan comparison websites on the market but offers an impressive range of categories and a large list of lenders and financial products. Their categories include home loans, personal loans, vehicle finance as well as banking and Superannuation.
The Superannuation comparison tables provide a 5 year performance graph which provides a snapshot of how stable a particular fund is. Their knowledge hub is also worth a visit with a range of useful calculators and informative articles and new pieces related to finance.
Saving big with Mozo
Mozo is a comparison site designed to help you save which is why they also include energy, investing and business finance solutions in addition to the normal finance categories like home loans, personal loans and credit cards.
They also offer a range of loan calculators on their site and take pride in providing visitors with information and tips on how to save money across all expense categories.
Although their platform is not as sophisticated as the larger comparison sites, they offer comprehensive information on each of the products on their site which makes research a breeze.
How to compare loans & credit cards
Comparing loans and credit cards is quick and easy using any of the comparison sites discussed as well as a huge range of others that we did not. Just because comparing is quick and easy, this does not mean that there are no common pitfalls and points that you should take note of.
These points and pitfall may just save you from taking out an undesirable loan or credit card product that doesn’t meet your needs and is more expensive than need be.
How to compare home loans
Before comparing home loans you should always work out a budget, consider your deposit and decide if you want a fixed rate or variable rate mortgage. Once you have these three things clear you can then compare home loans use one of the various comparison sites and tools available online.
When comparing home loans, you should look not only at the interest rates offered but, also at the fees and loan features offered. While a redraw facility may be important to you it may not be so important to the next person. While you may intend to repay your loan early, some will not mind if their loan terms include early repayment penalties.
Comparing credit cards
Comparing credit cards is one of the most challenging financial products to compare due to the varying features and purposes which make it almost impossible to compare products unless you select the credit card designed for the same purpose.
When comparing cards it’s important to, in addition to the interest free periods, check the revert and standard purchase rate as well as any annual fees and compare credit cards based on all these features.
Compare personal loans
When it comes to comparing personal loans you need to consider the interest rate but also be mindful of any initiation and service fees. If you intend on making additional payment or simply settling your loan in full prior to the end of the loan term, you will need to find a lender that does not charge for early repayment.
Whichever loan comparison site you make use of, remember to consider the full range of benefits and not focus solely on the interest rate offered. In addition, if you plan to switch to a cheaper option, always ensure you are aware of the costs involving in switching over as these may make the switch futile.