Accessing Your Money: Offset Account or Redraw? | Your Finance Adviser

Over the course of the last few months, the COVID situation has shown us just how important it is to have some money in the bank. During the lockdown, many Aussies experienced job losses and lowered income, and as the weeks in isolation rolled by, even generous government payments couldn’t stretch to cover the bills and many savings accounts were depleted.

According to research from the Gratten Institute, only 20 per cent of Australians have more than $50,300 in savings. A whopping 50 per cent of Australians have less than $7,000 in the bank.

Unfortunately, these numbers are certainly telling us that the average Australian isn’t prepared for that rainy day when it finally arrives.

Source: Gratten Institute

Given the long-term strength of the housing market in Australia, it’s understandable that most Australians have a large portion of their wealth tied up in the family home. Perhaps they put any spare cash into paying down their loans, which is a prudent thing to do. However, that doesn’t always make it easy when you need to access some spare cash.

Fortunately, there are a few money management options for homeowners who want to get their hands on some cash – just in case.

Redraw Facilities

In years gone by, most borrowers have looked to a simple principal and interest loan with the goal of paying it over the lifetime of the loan – normally 25 to 30 years.

Some of these loans afford you the ability to redraw any extra money you’ve put into the loan, over and above the contracted principal loan and interest repayments. Basically, if you’re ahead on your payments, some lenders will let you access that money, a little bit like a savings account.

While this is good in theory, and certainly some Australians will have accessed this type of facility in recent months, the big issue is that the offer to redraw is still at the discretion of the lender. So theoretically, a lender can refuse a request to access these extra funds.

With that being the case, while a redraw facility is still a positive step toward having cash on hand when you need it, there might just be better options for borrowers to consider.

Offset Account

These days there is a wide array of loan products that can significantly increase a borrower’s flexibility and reduce the amount of interest paid over the lifetime of the loan.

For most borrowers, the best feature is often having a 100 per cent offset account. An offset account is basically a transaction account, that is linked to your loan.

Money in the offset account reduces the overall loan balance which in effect, cuts down your interest payments.

It’s a way of having your cake and eating it too.

By parking some spare cash, or your savings in your offset account, you are going to be saving a significant amount of interest.

This is because mortgage rates are virtually always higher than the interest you pay on your mortgage than on savings accounts, or even term deposits. And you can be sure they are far higher than any type of transactional account.

You’ll be saving a significant amount of interest and that will put you ahead of just trying to save.

Refinancing

Depending on your personal circumstances, you could consider refinancing and accessing equity that has been built up in your home.

You can then take advantage of your offset account by parking that equity in there and accessing it as you need it, while not paying interest on it.

This money could be used in an emergency or even for something like the purchase of an investment property. Not all offset accounts are created equal, but that’s something you can talk to your mortgage broker about.

What’s important is that you have control of your finances and you’re able to use that extra money or equity should you need it.

As we’ve already seen, $7,000 in savings is not a lot, when something unforeseen comes along.

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    Westpac

    $2,000 Refinance Cashback: For new refinance applications received between 23 September 2019 to 30 September 2020 and settled by 30 November 2020.

    Eligibility

    • Offer current as at 23 September 2019.
    • Offer available on the Premier Advantage Package and Flexi First Option Home Loans for Owner Occupier with Principal and Interest repayments and all Investment Loans.
    • Offer may be varied or withdrawn at any time.
    • $250k min loan per property refinanced.
    • Only 1 cashback per property refinance will be paid regardless of the number of loans involved.
    • Excludes Portfolio Loans, switches and refinances of home loans within the Westpac Group which include St.George, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and RAMS.
    • Offer not available for Owner Occupier Interest Only loans or residential lending originated under family or company trusts.
    • Applicants must have a Westpac Choice transaction account linked to the home loan at the time of settlement and must keep this account open for 60 days after settlement.
    • The cashback will be automatically deposited into this account within 60 days after settlement.

    Owner Occupied Loan

    Offering a Refinance Cashback of $2,000 to customers who refinance their home loan from another financial institution to St George. Excludes Portfolio Loans, switches, and refinances of home loans within the Westpac Group which include Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and RAMS.

    For new refinance applications received between 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020 and settle by 30 November 2020. This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.

    Eligibility

    • Credit criteria, fees and charges apply. Terms and conditions available at St.George
    • Offer available on the Advantage Package and Basic Home Loans for Owner Occupier with Principal and Interest repayments and Investment Loans.
    • Offer current as at 1 April 2020.
    • Offer may be varied or withdrawn at any time.
    • $250k min loan per property refinanced.
    • Only 1 cashback per property refinance will be paid regardless of the number of loans involved.
    • Offer not available for Owner Occupier Interest Only loans or residential lending originated under family or company trusts.

    Criteria

    • The cashbacks will be paid into a St.George transaction account within 60 days of settlement.
    •  The transaction account must be linked to the home loan at the time of settlement and kept open for 60 days after settlement.
    • Tax consequences may arise from this promotion for investors and customers should seek independent advice on any taxation matters.

    Notes

    • St George do have an online ONLY offer of $3,000 cash back for the first refinance Application.  Please note, this can be approved through BDM.

    First Home Buyer Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) Offer5

    Offer details

    • For eligible first home buyers with a Loan to Value Ratio (LVR7) up to 85%, the LMI will be reduced to only $1.00.
    • This offer is not an LMI waiver and clients will be charged $1.00 for LMI which will be reflected in their Loan Offer Documents.
    • The offer is available on eligible home loan applications submitted from Monday 13 July 2020 and can be withdrawn or varied at any time.
    • Clients must adhere to LMI obligations during the loan agreement. The LMI factsheet will also be issued to the customer along with the other Loan Offer Documents.
    • Clients are not required to be receiving the First Home Owner Grant to be eligible for the First Home Buyer LMI Offer.
    • First Home Buyer Flag must be selected within Apply Online and notes section to include instructions to apply First Home Buyer LMI Offer. For more information, refer to the training pack on the secure portal.
    • Available with the Basic Home Loan and the Advantage Package6 Home Loan, both Fixed and Variable rate ($395 annual package fee applies).

    Eligibility criteria:

    • Applications must be for a first home loan for a first property (for joint applications, only one applicant must be a first home buyer).
    • Loans with an LVR7 up to 85% at the time of formal approval.
    • Owner Occupier with Principal and Interest repayments only.
    • Maximum loan size of $850,000.
    • Only one property to be financed per application.
    • Available for applications submitted from Monday 13 July 2020.

    Loans not eligible:

    • Owner Occupier with Interest Only repayments.
    • All Residential Investment Home Loans.
    • Portfolio Loans.
    • Construction Loans.
    • Offer not available in conjunction with the Family Pledge option.
    • Residential lending originated under family or company trusts.
    • Switches and internal refinances of home loans within the Westpac Group which include St. George, Bank of Melbourne, Westpac, BankSA and RAMS.

    Suncorp

    Offering a Refinance Cashback of $2,000 ($250k - $749k ) and $3000 ($750k+) to customers who refinance their home loan from another financial institution to Suncorp.

    Applications must be submitted before Wednesday 30 September, 2020, with loans funded by Tuesday 29 December, 2020. Minimum refinance amount $250,000. This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.

    Eligibility

    • Owner Occupied Home Loans; and
    • All Investment Home Loans; and
    • All Lines of Credit.

    Criteria

    • To be eligible, the approved loan/s must satisfy the following
    • Regulated Retail Home Lending
    • Minimum new home loan amount of $250,000, with the purpose of Refinance from an external financial institution
    • Application fully received before the 30th of September 2020
    • Settlement on or before the 29th of December 2020
    • Standard Variable, Back to Basics Variable and Fixed Rate Home Loans
    • Loan to Value Ratio (“LVR”) including Lenders Mortgage Insurance (“LMI”) is less than or equal to 90%

    Note

    • Personal/Owner Occupied & Investment lending
    • Principal and Interest or Interest Only
      • Annual Fee Offers

        • Home Package Plus: 1 x Annual Package Fee Waiver
          • Waivered for the first year – save $375. The first annual package fee is waived for new Home Package Plus customers only with new lending of at least $150,000.
        • Home Package Plus for first Home Buyers: Ongoing Annual Fee Waiver
          • For First Home Buyers, we’ll refund the $375 annual Home Package Plus fee for the life of the loan saving you up to $11,250 over a 30 year term. Applicable for Owner Occupier First Home Buyers who have never previously purchased a property. An eligible home loan has minimum new home lending in the Home Package Plus of $150,000 or more
          • Refinance Cash Bonus Offer (1) – how much is the customer eligible for?

            • >= $250,000 will receive $2,000, or
            • $750,000+ will receive $3,000

            Frontline Extra Cash Bonus Offer (2) – for eligible occupations

            • >= $250,000 will receive a total of $3,000 or;
            • $750,000+ will receive a total of $4,000

    ANZ

    Effective 1 June 2020, ANZ home loans eligible customers who are refinancing $150,000 or more from another lender (which may include some additional new lending), a cashback amount of upto $3,000 will be available. See below for details

    Eligibility criteria

    • Loan amount refinanced: at least $150,000 but less than $250,000 - $1,200 cashback
    • Loan amount refinanced $250,000 or more - $3,000 cashback

    Dates:

    • Loan applications must be submitted by 23 November 2020
    • Loans must be drawn down by 22 January 2021

    Eligible home loans

    • ANZ Standard Variable Rate Loan;
    • ANZ Fixed Rate Loan;
    • ANZ Simplicity PLUS Loan;
    • ANZ loan product which permits a borrower to draw down credit progressively for the purchase and/or construction of a property or a home;
    • ANZ bridging loan;

    Exclusions

    • Equity Manager
    • Other lines of Credit
    • Non-Credit Critical (NCC) Applications
    • Internal ANZ Refinances (e.g. New Loan containing the same borrower(s))
    • Credit Cards and Personal Loans

    Conditions

    • Must include an OFI Home/Residential Investment Loan
    • 1 cash back offer per customer within any 12-month period
    • This switching cashback offer is not available in conjunction with any other advertised switching offers (but is available in conjunction with any special interest rates discounts available to the customer)
    • Cash back account: Must be an ANZ Transaction Account (cannot be OFI/Cheque)

    Note

    Important note: ANZ's home loans switching cashback discretion can be varied by ANZ from time to time and may be withdrawn at any time.

    First home buyer conveyancing rebate

    Up to $1,000 rebate for eligible first home buyers (including recipients of State or Territory government first home buyer concessions) with home loans over $250,000.

    Apply by 30 September 2020 and draw down by 31 December 2020. Eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply.

    Eligibility

    • Offer is only available to eligible First Home Buyers (including recipients of a government First Home Owner Grant and/or first home buyer stamp duty concession and apply for an eligible ANZ loan [refer to www.firsthome.gov.au for eligibility details of the State or Territory government First Home Owner Grants and stamp duty concessions.]).
    • Offer available only on application and is limited to one rebate of up to $1,000 per single property purchase for eligible First Home Buyers who take out an eligible ANZ Loan for an owner occupier purpose.

    Other Conditions

    • To enable reimbursement of conveyancing fees, you must hold an ANZ Access Advantage or ANZ One account at draw down.
    • Offer is not available in conjunction with or in addition to any other offer, discount or benefit unless specifically advised by ANZ in writing.
    • Offer may be altered or withdrawn by ANZ at any time.
    • For full terms and conditions of the offer, contact any ANZ branch or ANZ Mobile Lender.
    • All applications for credit are subject to ANZ’s credit approval criteria.
    • Terms and conditions apply and are available on application.
    • Fees and charges and eligibility criteria apply.

    BOQ

    Cashback Offer for customers refinancing their existing lending to BOQ, meaning eligible customers will be able to take advantage of the $2,500 cashback.

    The end date for applications to be received is Saturday, 26 September 2020, with loans required to settle by Saturday, 12 December 2020.

    Eligibility

    • Personal customers taking out a new home loan with BOQ
    • The loan is refinanced to BOQ from another financial institution (excluding Virgin Money and BOQ Specialist)
    • Applications need to be submitted through ApplyOnline (and supporting documents received) on or after Wednesday, 17 June 2020 and on or before Saturday, 26 September 2020
    • Loans must settle prior to Saturday, 12 December 2020
    • Minimum new lending of at least $250,000 with maximum LVR of 70%
    • Lending must be flagged with refinance purpose on the loan application.

    All customers will be paid the cashback, provided the lending meets the eligibility criteria outlined above. Provided customers have opened a BOQ transaction account the cashback will be paid to the account within 30 days of the loan settlement.

    Note

    Special limited time $2,500 cashback offer only available for new refinance applications received between 17 June 2020 and 26 September 2020 (inclusive) and that settle by 12 December 2020. This offer is open to Australian residents aged 18 and over who are personal customers taking out a new home loan with BOQ, refinanced from another financial institution. Offer available on BOQ’s Clear Path, Economy, Intro Rate, or Fixed Rate home loan products only. Minimum total new lending of at least $250,000. Maximum loan-to-value ratio (LVR) of 70%. Not available for the refinance, restructure or switches of home loans within BOQ Group, which includes BOQ, Virgin Money (Australia) and BOQ Specialist. An applicant will be eligible for a maximum of one cashback payment during the offer period, regardless of the number of loan applications they are party to, provided the total amount drawn at settlement across all loans is at least $250,000

    CBA

    Offering a Refinance Cashback of $2,000 to customers who refinance their home loan from another financial institution to CommBank.

    Applications must be submitted before Saturday 31 October 2020, with loans funded by Thursday 31 December 2020. Minimum refinance amount $250,000. This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.

    Eligibility

    • Owner Occupied Home Loans; and
    • All Investment Home Loans; and
    • All Lines of Credit.

    Criteria

    • Owner Occupied Interest Only are eligible if funded on or from 7 April 2020.
    • Customers must refinance their eligible Home/Investment Home Loan from an OFI.
    • The refinance amount from the OFI must be $250,000 or more. New money and Top Up applications are not included in the $250,000.
    • Refinancing of an existing CommBank or Bankwest Home/ Investment Home Loan is not eligible for this offer.
    • Limit of one $2,000 cashback payment per borrowing entity and per customer over a 12-month period.
    • We will credit the $2,000 cashback amount only to a CommBank Transaction Account within two weeks of loan funding.
    • We will not combine the $2,000 cashback offer with our MAV fee waiver.

    Note

    • This offer is not available for Bridging Loans.
    • We reserve the right to terminate the offer at any time.