Personal loans with Money Matchmaker®

Personal loan advertised rates vs actual rates

Written by

Shaun McGowan

Are the advertised rates on personal loans accurate?

You want to apply for a personal loan, so you look online and find a range of very enticing offers; interest rates so low that you apply immediately, not wanting to miss out on the opportunity.

You know you can comfortably meet your repayments, you have a stable income and you aren’t borrowing more than you need for a specific purpose.

After hours, days, or even weeks of waiting to hear from the lender to discuss approval, you finally receive your loan documents to review and sign … and notice the interest rate is much higher than the advertised rate you first saw and applied to receive.

So what gives, and why aren’t advertised personal loan rates the same as the actual rates?

Let’s take a closer look at how lenders assess applicants on risk and their credit score, and why (until now) it’s been hard for consumers to find clarity on what their actual rate will be.

If you want to see the actual rate you can get on a personal loan today, simply use the Smart Form to compare real, personalised loan offers from Australian lenders.

How to get the advertised rate on a personal loan

Unfortunately, there’s very little way to tell if you’ll be offered the same rate as you see advertised online.

Each lender will have its own criteria for risk assessments, but it’s unlikely you will ever get the rate you see advertised as ‘From X%’ simply because it would require anyone to be absolutely perfect and for there to be zero risks in lending the money.

On paper, this makes sense, but the reality is that we are all different, and your credit profile and history would need to be flawless. In general, people with flawless credit profiles who can comfortably wait around to save money don’t take out personal loans.

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Can I borrow $10,000 no-questions-asked?

Imagine you are living with one of your friends, and they ask if they can borrow $100 to pay their portion of the rent. Previously, you thought this friend was quite financially stable, had a good job, always paid their bills on time, and has never had any difficulties with money.

Now imagine they ask to borrow $10,000. You have the money, you’ve saved it up for quite a while. What thoughts go through your head?

  • Do you feel comfortable handing over the money after being asked that question?
  • Are you suddenly questioning the integrity of their financial capabilities?
  • Why do they need the money so urgently?
  • Will they ask again in the future?
  • How will they pay you back?
  • Can you trust them to pay you back?
  • Is this a one-time situation or will it happen again?
  • Will you ever see the money again?

These aren’t unreasonable questions to ask of someone if they’re borrowing money as a friend, so imagine if your business was reliant on that money as well. In the world of personal lending, lenders are first and foremost a business.

They need to take care of their rent, but also their staff, their profits, their shareholders, and numerous other dependents that make risk assessment a serious and strict process.

This is why our credit score is so important, and also why bank statements can be a simple, but crucial aspect of determining someone’s reliability in borrowing and repaying the money; it affects the actual loan rate you can qualify for.

Risk vs Credit Score

Your credit report is a history of borrowing and other personal and financial information kept by credit reporting agencies. Your credit score boils all this information down into a single number that represents your reputation or quality as a borrower - the higher the score the better.

Lenders use your credit score to profile the level of risk you present as a borrower and help decide whether to lend you money and what to charge if they do. Credit scores range from 0 to 1,000 or 1,200, with 1,000 and 1,200 being excellent scores.

How your credit history affects your loan options with Money Matchmaker

How can I check my credit score?

Check yours and view your credit report for free and without any impact on your credit score with Money Matchmaker®.

You'll need to create an account with these details:

  • Full legal name
  • Driver Licence number
  • Residential address
  • Date of birth

Your score won't be negatively affected and we protect your data with encryptions.

See what parts of your credit report are negatively, or positively, affecting your score.


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About want to make managing money easy and fun! By giving Australians simple tools so they can make the best decisions they can about their money.

We understand that the world of finance is complex, and offer free, extensive guides on Personal Loans, Car Loans and Business Loans, along with tools like our Budget Planning Spreadsheet to help you better manage and understand personal finance.

About the Author

Shaun McGowan from



Shaun McGowan

Shaun is the founder of and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded and Lend.