Tracking down the best cheap loans doesn’t have to be hard work. Canstar rates over 50 unsecured and secured personal loans from 11 providers.
Not only do our comparison tables show current interest rates, fees and the cost of loans, they also feature Canstar’s expert ratings and our 5-Star personal loan award winners. To decide the winners, our research team judges each loan primarily on cost, but also reviews the features and services associated with each loan. These features cover the entire loan journey, from application to closure, and include:
- Online application
- Loan terms and eligibility, including for the self-employed
- Online repayments and management of the loan facility
- Ability to make lump-sum repayments
- Fees and penalties
- Customer service
Only the best-rated loans are then awarded Canstar’s ultimate 5-Star seal of approval.
Cheap Loans NZ. In this article we cover:
Cheap unsecured loans
Currently, there are big differences in interest rates and charges on our comparison tables. Some lenders don’t have establishment fees, while others charge over $200. And while interest rates start around 8%, they can be as high as 23%.
But here’s a rundown of the top unsecured loans with the lowest interest rates currently on our database. The following figures are for a $10,000 unsecured loan in Auckland over a three-year term. (Rates & fees correct as of 25/10/23).
|Lender||Loan/Credit Range||Interest Rate||Application Fee||Monthly Repayment||Total Cost of Loan*|
|The Cooperative Bank||A++ to A||8.99%||$155||$317.95||$11,446.20|
|Gem||Personal Loan Unsecured||9.99%||$0||$322.62||$11,614.32|
|The Cooperative Bank||B+ to B||10.95%||$155||$327.15||$11,777.40|
|BNZ||Advanced Personal Loan||12.90%||$0||$336.46||$12,069.36|
|The Cooperative Bank||C to C-||12.95%||$155||$336.70||$12,121.20|
|ANZ||Fixed Personal Loan||13.90%||$0||$341.29||$12,286.44|
|ASB||Personal Loan Unsecured||13.90%||$99||$341.29||$12,286.44|
|Westpac||Fixed Personal Loan||13.90%||$0||$341.29||$12,286.44|
* Total loan costs are for principal and interest only, excluding fees and charges.
Looking for the Cheapest Personal Loan?
The table below displays some of our referral partners’ unsecured personal loan products for a three-year loan of $10,000 in Auckland (some may have links to lenders’ websites). The products are sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) followed by company name (alphabetical). Use Canstar’s personal loan comparison selector to view a wider range of products on Canstar’s database. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.
How to save thousands on your personal loan: work on your credit score
Your credit score will have a big influence on the interest rate you’ll be able to secure. Ultra-low interest rates, such as the 7.99% in our database, are reserved for those with impeccable credit scores.
One big loan provider researched by Canstar has 25 levels of risk and advertises rates from 7.99% to 22.99%. But only the top five risk levels have sub-10% rates, while the other 20 risk levels are all over 13%.
Whether you need a personal loan or not, it always pays to work on your credit score. Improving a credit score isn’t a quick or easy fix, however, it is possible. And taking back control of your personal finances will have other long-term benefits, ultimately helping you save for a brighter financial future.
Things you can do to improve your credit score, include:
- Paying your bills on time
- Not applying for new credit
- Paying off existing loans and debts
- Lowering the limit on your credit cards
For more information on improving your credit rating, check out our stories:
→ Related article: How to Check Your Credit Score And Why You Should
→ Related article: How to Improve Your Credit Rating: 7 Steps
Cheap personal loans: the fees and charges
Regardless of your credit score, you should always thoroughly read the small print of any loan agreement. There are many hidden fees and charges that can apply, and you need to be across all of them before you sign on the dotted line.
Things to look for include:
The per annum interest rate and loan period
Always check the exact interest rate that you’ll be paying. Most loan companies have calculators and are clear about their true interest rates. Per annum, or p.a., is the rate you want to concentrate on – which is the standard measure of interest rates.
Also, make sure that you know the exact term of your loan contract before you sign. Some repayment calculators on loan companies’ websites are not clear about the length of the loan period. A low monthly repayment sum might look attractive, but if you’re paying it for years and years, you’ll end up paying more for your loan. So check the term of the loan, not just the monthly repayments – the longer the term period the more you’re likely to pay.
Fees and charges
- Establishment fees – some lenders don’t charge establishment fees. Others charge a fee depending on the size of your loan. Be aware of how much you’re paying as a proportion of your loan
- Brokerage fees – some loan websites belong to brokerages, not loan providers. For recommending your business to a loan provider, the brokerage will exact a fee, which could be up to $1000
- Administration fee – this is an ongoing fee charged over the life of your loan to cover the costs of administration. Some lenders don’t charge this fee, others charge $7.50 per month. Over a three-year loan, a $7.50 monthly fee adds up to an extra $270 on your repayments!
- Variation fee: to change the terms of your loan
- Full repayment fee: to pay off your loan early. This can run into big amounts if it covers the lender for any loss of interest
Ultimately, the best way to ensure you get the most advantageous loan rate is to do your research, and to check out all the lenders in the market. If you’re willing to shop around and compare lenders, you’ll be able to secure the best possible loan rates and fees.
A great way to do this is to use Canstar’s free personal loan tool. It compares all the big banks and lenders across loan rates and fees in one easy-to-use tool. It also gives added information about Canstar’s expert research into the best loan providers and our prestigious Star Ratings and awards. To check out our loan comparison tool, just hit the big button below.
About the author of this page
This report was produced by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.
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