It’s official – there is a bank loyalty tax Older variable rate mortgages typically have higher interest rates than new loans, even when borrowers of similar characteristics are compared, according to new data put together by the Reserve Bank, APRA and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “This means that existing borrowers who are able to refinance with another lender or negotiate a better deal with the existing lender can achieve interest rate savings.” Mortgages that are four years old have an average rate 0.40 percentage points higher on average than new loans. Some of the difference can be explained by the declining share of interest-only and investor loans, which tend to have higher rates but even when the RBA compared identical loan types, older mortgages still had higher average rates than new loans. Refinancers can get big 1.5% discounts The Reserve Bank, APRA and the ABS have reported that new home loans and refinanced loans have lower average loan rates than older loans. Variations in rates reflects the creditworthiness of borrowers, different features offered with loans and also the level of competition in the market. Competition in the mortgage market, and the best rates is strongest for new borrowers and refinancers. The RBA reported that lenders are offering discounts off their advertised standard variable rates of more than 1.5% pa to keep good borrowers, up from an average offered discount of 1.0% pa five years ago. “The rise in the average differential between new and existing loans reflects the increased discounting on more recently originated loans,” said the RBA last week. Refinancing is easier with InfoChoice. Refinancers can save thousands of dollars and there is no need to fear the process of comparing and finding a new home loan. You can compare 1800 home loans at InfoChoice and click straight through. Refinancers are in the best position to take advantage of competition between lenders and score a lower rate. A small reduction in interest rate can mean big savings, use a refinancing calculator to work it out. Refinancing a typical $300,000 25-year mortgage from 4.0% pa to 3.0% pa could save you almost $50,000. Read more about great deals for refinancers in February. Romance scam apps and sites revealed Australians reported almost 4,000 dating and romance scams in 2019, with losses of more than $28.6 million, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch service. Around 37.5 per cent of reports resulted in a loss, with an average loss of more than $19,000. The ACCC said these figures are just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ As well as traditional dating websites, like Tinder and Match.com, the highest losses were from romance scams originating on Instagram and Facebook. Google Hangouts, Words with Friends and Scrabble are also apps that are being used by scammers to fool victims. How does an online romance scam work? The ACCC said increasing numbers of Australians are being caught out by romance scams. “We’ve seen an increase in reports from people who did not originally seek an online relationship but have been caught up in a dating and romance scam,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said. “No longer are dating websites the only contact method for dating and romance scams, with an increasing number of reports coming from these emerging websites and apps.” Scammers encourage their target to fall in love and they typically quickly profess their love for the victim, then normally weave complicated stories about why they can’t meet in person. They ask the victim to send money or provide financial aid so they can travel to meet them. Less commonly, there have also been instances of scammers meeting their victim in person and requesting money. If the person sends money, the scammer will ask for more. Top term deposit rates in February The highest term deposit rates in February on InfoChoice are from smaller banks and online institutions. Right now, Judo Bank, has TD rates of up to 2.40 per cent pa. Compare Judo Bank rates with other term deposits. UBank’s Personal Term Deposits and Green Term Deposits have competitive rates and a 0.10% pa loyalty bonus for customers who roll their cash over into a second UBank term deposit. Read more about February’s top term deposit rates at InfoChoice. Credit cards with 100,000 Velocity points Here are two top credit cards that can earn you thousands of VFF points. The Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Visa credit card offers new card holders the chance to earn 100,000 bonus VFF points if they spend $3,000 a month in the first three months. The American Express Velocity Platinum credit card offers 100,000 bonus VFF points if you apply before February 12 2020 and spend $3,000 in the first three months. Read more about these credit cards and other credit cards that are promoting thousands of Velocity points at InfoChoice. Which NBN plan is right for me? There are four basic tiers of NBN plan: NBN 12 – basic. The basic plans are suitable for users looking for entry–level speeds. NBN 25 – standard. These plans are good for users who want an improvement from their old ADSL broadband plan. You should get download speeds of up to 25mbps and uploads at 5mbps. NBN 50 – standard plus. Standard plus plans are ideal for small businesses and for households in which several people are using the internet at the same time. NBN 100 – premium. If you have a need for speed then premium is the way to go, with maximum evening speeds of around 85mbps. Read more about comparing NBN plans at InfoChoice. Auction Results for 8 February 2020. Small volumes but solid auction results in Sydney and Melbourne mark the beginning of the new year’s auction results from Domain. Sydney Auction Results for Saturday 8 February 2020 There were 402 residential property auctions held in Sydney on Saturday 8 February 2020. 80 per cent produced a sale for a median sale price of $1,150,000 in preliminary results reported by Domain. Melbourne Auction Results for Saturday 8 February 2020 There were 381 residential property auctions held in Melbourne on Saturday 8 February 2020. 74 per cent produced a sale for a median sale price of $760,000 in preliminary results reported by Domain. Adelaide Auction Results for Saturday 8 February 2020 There were 50 residential property auctions held in Adelaide on Saturday 8 February 2020. 59 per cent produced a sale for a median sale price of $695,500 in preliminary results reported by Domain. Brisbane Auction Results for Saturday 8 February 2020 There were 84 residential property auctions held in Brisbane on Saturday 8 February 2020. 37 per cent produced a sale in preliminary results reported by Domain. Canberra Auction Results for Saturday 8 February 2020 There were 51 residential property auctions held in Canberra on Saturday 8 February 2020. 83 per cent produced a sale for a median sale price of $800,000 in preliminary results reported by Domain. Keep up to date with the latest property market outlook at InfoChoice.