The best personal loan rates available right now
Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

Taking out a personal loan can be an exciting but also stress inducing decision. In this article, we give our top tips for taking out a personal loan followed by a side-by-side comparison of interest rates across Ireland’s major lenders. Whether it’s for your dream car, education, home improvement or otherwise; here’s everything you need to know about taking out a personal loan.

Don’t let attractive monthly repayment amounts fool you!

Research carried out by the ESRI’s Price Lab division found that consumers are easily confused into making bad decisions when taking out personal loans.

It can be very tempting for instance, to apply for a loan based solely on the monthly repayment amount, ignoring the overall cost of the loan which can lead to overpaying.

Banks are also quick to exploit this natural tendency to look for the lower cost and will employ clever marketing techniques designed to highlight monthly repayment rates instead of the overall cost of credit to consumers.

To avoid this pitfall and see a clear breakdown of how much a certain interest rate and term will really cost, you should always use a loan repayment calculator.

Let’s take a look at an example to illustrate the importance of considering the overall price of a loan

Let’s say you decide to take out a personal loan of €5,000 with a bank at a rate of 8.5% APR.

On this rate, if you repay it over three years, your monthly repayment will be €157.26.

But if you borrow the exact same amount at the exact same rate but pay it back over five years, your monthly repayment will fall to €101.98. At a glance, this might look like the better deal.

However, things look very different when you consider the overall cost of the loan.

In the first scenario, where €5,000 is borrowed over three years, the overall cost of credit is €5,661.33. But in the second scenario, where the repayment term is five years, the cost goes up to €6,118.88.

So, the longer term and lower monthly rate would actually cost you an extra €457.55 by the time your loan is paid off.

Remember that existing customers will most likely get a better rate

The most obvious way of lowering the cost of your loan is to shop around for the lowest rate on the market, which is something you can easily do on

According to the chart down below, the best rate for a €10,000 loan at the moment is 6.3% from KBC. However, this rate is only available to KBC current account holders. If you're not already with KBC and you're not willing to switch over to them, you'd have to settle for a rate of 7.3%.

Consider a "cash secured" loan

Another way to get a better rate is to consider taking out a "cash secured" loan, meaning you must have the amount of money you’re borrowing, or a percentage of the money, in a savings account with the bank. This money then acts as security for the loan and cannot be accessed until the loan has been fully paid off.

For example, Permanent TSB is currently offering a 100% cash secured loan and one at 75%, with APR rates standing at 6.4% and 7% (variable) respectively.

Consider the loan purpose

Lenders often price loans differently based on the loan purpose.

Holiday loans, if offered, will often be the dearest and usually up to a maximum of one or two years in term. Car loans tend to be cheaper and will have terms up to five years in general.

Loans for home improvements will often have the lowest rates of interest and in some cases banks might lend for up to 10 years. Personal loan rates tend to fall in the middle somewhere. 

Before applying for a loan always consider the purpose of your loan and check whether there's a lower rate on offer with the bank.

Let’s take a look at the market

Having considered all of the above points, let’s take a look at how current rates of interest compare from bank to bank. Down below you will find three charts comparing rates across the main lenders for three loan amounts (€3,000, €10,000 and €25,000) with different repayment terms. 

Note that these comparisons do not include cash secured rates as discussed above. Also, these are personal loan rates only. As mentioned, if you're looking to borrow for home improvements there may be cheaper rates available from some of the lenders.

To be sure of a full comparison, use the loan calculator.

Loan of €3,000 over 1 year

Bank Typical APR Total Repayable Monthly Repayment
Bank of Ireland 8.5% APR (variable) €3,135.75 €261.31
AIB 8.95% APR (variable) €3,142.41 €261.87
Permanent TSB 14.3% APR (variable) €3,222.18 €268.52
Ulster Bank* 14.3% APR (fixed) €3,237.42 €269.79

Loan of €10,000 over 5 years

Bank Typical APR Total Repayable Monthly Repayment
KBC* 6.3% APR (fixed) €11,635.98 €193.93
KBC 7.3% APR (fixed) €11,900.54 €198.34
Bank of Ireland 7.5% APR (variable) €11,965.83 €199.43
Ulster Bank* 7.5% APR (fixed) €12,022.77 €200.38
Ulster Bank 8.5% APR (fixed) €12,214.71 €203.58
An Post 8.7% APR (fixed) €12,281.02 €204.68
AIB 8.95% APR (variable) €12,353.34 €205.89
Avantcard 9.6% APR (fixed) €12,513.33 €208.56
Permanent TSB 12.5% APR (variable) €13,286.11 €221.44

Loan of €25,000 over 5 years

Bank Typical APR Total Repayable Monthly Repayment
Avantcard 5.9% APR (fixed) €28,790.42 €479.84
KBC* 6.3% APR (fixed) €29,089.96 €484.83
KBC 7.3% APR (fixed) €29,751.36 €495.86
Bank of Ireland 6.8% APR (variable) €29,419.53 €490.33
An Post 6.7% APR (fixed) €29,631.08 €493.85
Ulster Bank* 6.9% APR (fixed) €29,631.08 €493.85
Ulster Bank 7.9% APR (fixed) €30,342.85 €505.71
AIB 8.95% APR (variable) €30,883.35 €514.72
Permanent TSB 10.5% APR (variable) €31,870.57 €531.18

*Rate only available to current account holders 

Before you decide, always compare!

A wrong decision when taking out a personal loan can end up costing you a lot of money, stress and time.

By carefully considering the lifetime cost of the loan, committing to a monthly repayment amount that you can afford and by shopping around for the best deal available, you can avoid those costly personal loan pitfalls and enjoy making those home improvements or taking that new car for a spin.

You can compare all loan types across all the major lenders on right now.