Your guide to supermarket personal loans

Coles are now offering personal loans, but will their options outdo the big banks? A Current Affair investigates.

With the banks not in our good books, the big supermarkets are stepping up to the plate and offering more financial services than ever, including credit cards and home and car insurance.

But now there is a new option, with Coles offering personal loans, promising to put fast cash in your pocket.

“It’s great, it’s online, it’s fast, you can save money within just 24 hours,” Scott Parry from Crown Money Management told A Current Affair.

Coles’ personal loan interest rates are based on a customer’s credit score, with rates ranging from 11.99% to 19.99%.

There are no exit fees for paying out the loan early, plus it comes with the ability to reuse available credit up to your borrowing limit, without needing to reapply. However, they will slug you with a $199 loan establishment fee, and a $10 fee per month.

“If you’re a Fly Buys member, you will be eligible for a lower interest rate, and you’ll also get bonus Flybuys points, which means more money off your shop,” said Martine Alpins from Coles.

Parry said he thinks the Coles loan is a good option.

“I like the fact that you’re getting FlyBuys with your personal loan,” Parry said. “That’s very rare and unique in the market, as well as there’s no exit fees, so if you’ve got a lump sum at any time in the personal loan, you could pay that loan out in full and not be penalised for it.”

However, Parry warned it may encourage some consumers to go back and take out another loan.

“From there, they’re a reusable line of credit,” he said. What that really means is once you’ve paid off the personal loan, that gives you the temptation to go back and reuse that line of credit. So you’re continually recycling and further and further into debt and never actually paying the loan off.”

Tips and tricks to help you manage your personal finances

All up, Parry believes it’s a better option than taking a personal loan from the big four banks, with the interest rate around 4% lower.

However, Kirsty Lamont from money comparison site Mozo said there are better options on the market.

“Some of the best rates on the market start from just 5.9%, and those are available from smaller banks like CITI, mutual banks like GNC Mutual and Police Credit and peer-to-peer lenders like Harmoney and SocietyOne,” she said.

COLES OFFERS WOOLWORTHS OFFERS
PERSONAL LOANS

 

  • Rates range from 11.99% – 19.99%
  • No Exit Fees
  • Reuse credit up to borrowing limit
  • $199 loan establishment fee
  • $10 fee per month
 

N/A

 

CAR INSURANCE

 

  • Save $10 instantly at Coles supermarket checkout every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points
  • Save 10% on car insurance policy when purchased online
  • If drivers are 25 or over, Woolworths will beat any current comparable Comprehensive renewal notice.
  • Save up to 10% if you buy online

Coles also has a car insurance discount if you apply over the internet.

“Coles car insurance, they give you ten per cent (off) if you apply online, which is really solid,” Parry said.

Woolworths supermarket home insurance can save you up to 30%, according to the companies head of financial services Katie Parris.

“With our home insurance product you can save up to 30% when you purchase a combined home and contents insurance policy online,” Parris said.

Meanwhile, Coles will offer 25% off if you bundle your home and contents insurance.

COLES OFFERS WOOLWORTHS OFFERS
HOME INSURANCE
  • 25% off combined Building & Contents Insurance when you buy online
  • Save $10 instantly at a Coles Supermarket checkout every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points
  • All Coles-authorised building repairs are guaranteed for life
  • 5% off all meat, vegetables and fruit at Coles just by taking out a policy.
  • 30% off combined Woolworths Home and Contents policy online
  • Save up to 15% when you purchase a combined Landlords Building and Contents policy
CREDIT CARDS

(Coles – Platinum Rewards Mastercard, Platinum No Annual Fee Mastercard, Platinum Low Rate Mastercard)

(Woolworths – Everyday Platinum Credit Card, Qantas Platinum Credit Card)

  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on all purchases across all three Coles credit cards on offer
  • Collect 2 Flybuys points per $1 when using the Coles Platinum Rewards Mastercard
  • Get 10% off your shop once a month
  • Get a bonus $50 Woolworths eGift card when you take out a Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card

“I take the Coles on this one, because that 25% bundle lasts for the life of the policy whereas the Woolworths is only for that first 12 months,” Parry said. “It is something where it is a great first year offer but after that first-year offer, it’s going to get a bit more expensive.”

Coles also had an exclusive announcement for insurance customers on A Current Affair.

“From next week, we have a very special announcement for people who take our Coles insurance on the eastern seaboard states,” Martine Alpins from Coles said on A Current Affair. We will be offering them 5% off all meat, vegetables and fruit at Coles just by taking out a policy.”

Simple ways to save on your everyday household costs

Finally, Parry gave some advice on supermarket credit cards.

“The Woolies credit card offers are really good… they’re actually giving you an interest free on a balance transfer for up to fourteen months, which is great,” he said.

Coles has today launched a new promotion, allowing you to pay 0% interest for 15 months for any purchases with your Coles credit card.

“We all know the banks there to make money, that’s what they’re there to drive for the shareholders, and it’s not their core business with the supermarkets. They’re making money elsewhere, they don’t need to make as much margin as what the banks are making on these personal loan products,” Parry said.

As for the future of supermarket banking, Parry said he thinks home loans are the next step.

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.