Personal loans with no application fees

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on April 06, 2021
Personal loans with no application fees

When applying for a personal loan, you can be charged hundreds of dollars just for the privilege of being approved.

Given there are loans on the market that don’t charge you for this, why would you choose one that does? There are reasons for doing so, but being lazy and not comparing different personal loans shouldn’t be one of them.

Here you’ll find some personal loans with no application fees, as well as information on what they cost on average, and how much of a difference a no-fee loan can make.

Compare personal loans with no application fees

The table below shows a selection of personal loans on the market with no application fees, sorted by the interest rate (ascending order).

Lender
Advertised rate Comparison rate Monthly repayment Interest TypeSecured TypeEarly Withdrawal FeeOngoing FeeApplication FeeTotal RepaymentEarly RepaymentInstant ApprovalOnline Application

FixedUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details
NO ESTABLISHMENT, ACCOUNT OR EARLY REPAYMENT FEES

No Fee Personal Loan

  • No security required
  • Can apply online
  • Fast time to funding
NO ESTABLISHMENT, ACCOUNT OR EARLY REPAYMENT FEES

No Fee Personal Loan

  • No security required
  • Can apply online
  • Fast time to funding
VariableUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details
NO ONGOING FEES

Plenti Personal Loan (Excellent Credit Rating) (Variable)

  • No application fees
  • No ongoing fees
  • Apply online
NO ONGOING FEES

Plenti Personal Loan (Excellent Credit Rating) (Variable)

  • No application fees
  • No ongoing fees
  • Apply online
FixedUnsecuredN/AMore details
CHECK YOUR RATE IN 2 MINUTES
  • No ongoing fees
  • No application fees
  • Apply online
CHECK YOUR RATE IN 2 MINUTES
FixedUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details
NO ONGOING FEES

Plenti Personal Loan (Excellent Credit)

NO ONGOING FEES
VariableUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details

Personal Loan - Excellent Credit

Rates based on a loan of $30,000 for a five-year loan term. *Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate, Rates correct as of December 7, 2021. View disclaimer.

What is a personal loan application fee?

The personal loan application fee, also referred to as an establishment fee or just an upfront fee, is charged by lenders for the cost of arranging a personal loan for you. These costs might be to pay staff members, file and submit paperwork, assess your application digitally and more. This is a common fee in all types of loans and is often charged on both home loans and car loans.

See also: The different personal loan fees explained.

What do personal loan application fees cost?

Personal loan application fees tend to cost between $0 and $600, although a select few charge much more than this. But on average, personal loans charge about $165 on average for upfront fees, which can be around $270 if other ‘upfront’ fees like documentation or valuation fees are included. Other lenders will charge a percentage of your borrowed amount as a fee instead, around 1-5% of the loan value.

The big four banks (Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac) charge an average of $388 to apply for a personal loan at the time of writing. This should give you an idea of how much more you can pay if you don’t compare different options.

How many personal loans have no application fees?

Application fees are very common on personal loans. In a sample of more than 200 products, Savings.com.au’s research found there are only 21 personal loans that charge a flat $0 or 0% to apply. That’s less than 10%.

Other personal loan fees are less common, but there’s a good chance a loan you’re comparing will charge an upfront fee for an application.

Are $0 application fee loans cheaper?

‘Cheaper’ can be determined by many things, including how quickly someone pays off their loan. But in terms of pure interest rates and fees, personal loans with no application fees look to be cheaper overall.

Based on Savings' research, that selection of loans with 0 application fees have lower interest rates on average compared to those that do charge one. The average interest rate is 7.87% p.a (per annum) for no upfront fee loans compared to about 10.30% p.a otherwise. The maximum interest rate on these loans is also 15% p.a and 20.25% p.a respectively.

Comparing two average loans in terms of fees and interest rates lead to two very different total repayments for a $30,000 loan with a five-year term (fixed repayments):

 

Loan 1

Loan 2

Interest rate

7.87% p.a

10.30% p.a

Upfront fee

$0

$270

Monthly repayments

$606

$642

Total cost

$6,386

$8,781

Based on this scenario (no ongoing repayments or extra repayments made) loan 1 would be cheaper by almost $2,400 over five years, which is nearly $40 per month. On average, loans with no application fees are cheaper, but that is no guarantee.

Related: Compare the lowest-rate personal loans

Fixed vs variable personal loans

Personal loans can have fixed and variable repayments just as home loans and car loans can. Like car loans, fixed personal loans are more common but only just. Based on that sample of 200-odd loans earlier (213 to be exact), just over half (112) have fixed repayments and 101 are variable.

There isn’t much difference between the two in terms of fees. Both have loans offering no application fees, while the average upfront fee is approximately $167 for fixed loans and $163.5 for variable loans. The maximum fee ($600) is charged on a fixed-rate loan, but on average these loans are very similar in terms of application fees.

Secured vs unsecured personal loans

Fees for secured personal loans are often lower than fees for unsecured loans because of the reduced risk to the lender.

What other personal loan fees are there?

Aside from upfront fees, personal loans can charge any of the following:

  1. Ongoing annual fees
  2. Monthly fees
  3. Other ongoing fees
  4. Documentation fees
  5. Encumbrance check fees
  6. Early repayment fees
  7. Missed repayment fees
  8. Redraw fees
  9. Break/early exit fees

Before taking out a personal loan, make sure you understand what fees the lender will charge by reading the product disclosure statement (PDS). Some of these fees are more common like ongoing annual or monthly fees, while others are avoidable like break fees, which can be much larger on the off chance you have to pay them.

The table below shows a selection of personal loans on the market with no ongoing fees, sorted by the interest rate (ascending order).

Lender
Advertised rate Comparison rate Monthly repayment Interest TypeSecured TypeEarly Withdrawal FeeOngoing FeeApplication FeeTotal RepaymentEarly RepaymentInstant ApprovalOnline Application

FixedUnsecuredN/AMore details
APPLY ONLINE

Low Rate Personal Loan Unsecured (Excellent Credit)

  • No extra repayment or early exit fees
  • Up to $75,000 in loan amounts
  • Funding approved within 24 hours
APPLY ONLINE

Low Rate Personal Loan Unsecured (Excellent Credit)

  • No extra repayment or early exit fees
  • Up to $75,000 in loan amounts
  • Funding approved within 24 hours
FixedUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details
CAN APPLY ONLINE

No Fee Joint Personal Loan

  • No fees. NOW. And forever.
  • No security required
  • Fast time to funding
CAN APPLY ONLINE

No Fee Joint Personal Loan

  • No fees. NOW. And forever.
  • No security required
  • Fast time to funding
VariableUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details
NO ONGOING FEES

Plenti Personal Loan (Excellent Credit Rating) (Variable)

  • No application fees
  • No ongoing fees
  • Apply online
NO ONGOING FEES

Plenti Personal Loan (Excellent Credit Rating) (Variable)

  • No application fees
  • No ongoing fees
  • Apply online
FixedSecuredN/AN/AMore details
NO EARLY PAYOUT FEES

Personal Loan - Credit Builder

  • No ongoing fees
  • Cash in bank account in 60 seconds once contract signed
  • Approval is instant
NO EARLY PAYOUT FEES

Personal Loan - Credit Builder

  • No ongoing fees
  • Cash in bank account in 60 seconds once contract signed
  • Approval is instant
FixedUnsecuredN/AMore details
CHECK YOUR RATE IN 2 MINUTES
  • No ongoing fees
  • No application fees
  • Apply online
CHECK YOUR RATE IN 2 MINUTES

Rates based on a loan of $30,000 for a five-year loan term. *Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate, Rates correct as of December 7, 2021. View disclaimer.

There are very few personal loans that have absolutely zero fees. Lender NOW FINANCE introduced a personal loan with no establishment, ongoing or early repayment fees last year - one of the few on the market - but only for loans under $15,000. There are only a handful of others, like:

  • The Citi Personal loan plus
  • The Liberty Personal loan
  • The Police Credit Union Solar Eco Loan
  • MoneyPlace Unsecured Personal Loan

But at the time of writing, some of these loans also charge late payment fees for missing a repayment. Across all the fees listed above, there’s bound to be at least one hidden in the terms and conditions.

Savings.com.au’s two cents

While upfront fees can be expensive (often costing a couple of hundred dollars), they aren’t the most important thing to consider. That would be the interest rate in the vast majority of cases. In the comparison of the two loans above, most of that $2,000+ difference in cost is down to the different interest rates. On a five-year loan with $0 fees for everything, this is the difference a good rate can make:

$30,000 loan 

$50,000 loan 

6% p.a. interest rate 

$34,799

$57,998

10% p.a. interest rate

$38,245

$63,741

15% p.a. interest rate 

$42,822

$71,370

Look for a personal loan with a combination of a low interest rate and a low application fee, but prioritise the low interest rate first. The comparison rate on the personal loan can be a good giveaway as to how cheap it truly is, as it generally accounts for these upfront and ongoing fees.


Photo by DocuSign on Unsplash

Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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William Jolly joined Savings.com.au as a Financial Journalist in 2018, after spending two years at financial research firm Canstar. In William's articles, you're likely to find complex financial topics and products broken down into everyday language. He is deeply passionate about improving the financial literacy of Australians and providing them with resources on how to save money in their everyday lives.

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