Mortgages

Are mortgage cashback offers good value?

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Image Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

With so many banks now offering cashback on their mortgages, it's no surprise that customers, and especially first-time buyers, are being tempted by these often sizeable lump sums of cash. The question to consider before diving in is; do these offers represent the best value over the long term?

Are mortgage cashback offers good value?

The mortgage cashback craze was kicked off by Bank of Ireland way back in June 2015 and now all the major lenders in Ireland are offering some form of cashback deal.

So who's offering what in terms of cashback and are these deals actually good value in the long term?   

Note: if you're a buy-to-let investor then these deals don't apply.

AIB - €2,000 to switchers

AIB isn’t offering cashback to first-time buyers. It is, however, offering €2,000 back in cash if you switch your mortgage to the bank.

The cash will be transferred directly into your current account within two months of drawing down your loan and it's suggested that it's used to help pay for the legal fees associated with switching.

AIB currently has among the lowest rates in the market and is mainly relying on its competitive rates, rather than cashback offers, to attract new customers.

Bank of Ireland – up to 3% cashback

Bank of Ireland increased its mortgage cashback offer from 2% to 3% in August 2016, and it’s available to all first-time buyers, movers and switchers who have a current account with the bank. You’ll receive 2% cashback after drawing down your mortgage from the bank and a further 1% in five years' time.

The 2% deal is still available to those who don’t have a current account with the bank.

Let's take a home worth €300,00. First-time buyers are permitted to borrow up to 90% of a property’s value, so in this instance they could get a mortgage worth €270,000.

With Bank of Ireland’s 3% cashback offer, a first-time buyer drawing down a loan of this size could get €8,100 back in cash.

Figures like this can look extremely appealing, but it’s essential to consider the lifetime cost of the loan before making a decision. More on that later.

However BOI's 1.90% four-year 'green' fixed rate - its lowest rate on offer - doesn't come with any cashback.

EBS - 3% cashback

EBS, which is a subsidiary of AIB, first announced a 2% cashback offer in June 2016 and in January 2019 increased its offer to 3%.

Like BOI, you’ll receive 2% cashback upfront and a further 1% in five years' time.

The deal is available to first-time buyers, movers and switchers and, staying with our example above, a first-time buyer could get €5,400 cashback upfront on a €270,000 mortgage and a further €2,700 in five years' time.

Unlike BOI's offer, there's no requirement to have a current account with the bank to avail of the deal.

However EBS's 2.10% four-year 'green' fixed rate - its lowest rate on offer - doesn't come with any cashback.

Haven - up to €5,000 cashback 

Haven offers first-time buyers, movers and switchers €5,000 cashback on select fixed rates if they take out a mortgage of €250,000 or more.

Switchers borrowing less than €250,000 are eligible for €2,000 cashback. 

Permanent TSB - 2% cashback 

Permanent TSB is offering 2% cashback upfront to first-time buyers, movers and switchers. 

Customers who make their mortgage repayments from the bank's Explore current account will also receive 2% cashback on their monthly mortgage repayments every month until 2027.

So a €270,000 mortgage would get you €5,400 cashback upfront and then a further €25.47 per month (€305.61 per year) until 2027 (monthly cashback based on a 3-year fixed rate of 2.95% over a 25-year term paid to 2027).

However Permanent TSB's 2.05% fixed rate over four years - its lowest rate on offer - doesn't come with any cashback.

Can I switch mortgage provider if I take a cashback offer?

Although the banks won't be willing to admit it upfront, you can switch mortgage provider at any stage even if you've received cashback from your bank. 

This is because under the EU's Mortgage Credit Directive from 2014, a bank can't seek to claw back any cash that it's paid out as part of your mortgage.     

So theoretically, if you take out a mortgage with any of the above lenders, there's nothing to stop you switching to another lender in a few years' time without being penalised. However, if you take out a fixed-rate mortgage, you'll need to wait until the end of the fixed-rate period, otherwise you could be charged a breakage fee. 

Approach cashback offers with caution

Some cashback offers may look simply irresistible to prospective buyers who are tirelessly saving up for a big deposit; however, what may provide short-term financial relief may lead to long-term repayment pain.

Let’s return to our example of a €300,000 house with an LTV of 90% - so the total loan size is €270,000. And let's assume a 30-year repayment term.

Let's say a bank is offering 2% cashback and is charging an interest rate of 4.2% for this type of mortgage.

A first-time buyer will receive €5,400 cashback upon drawdown and the cost of credit over the lifetime of the loan will be just over €205,324. Taking the €5,400 cashback away from the cost of credit gives a sum of €199,924.

Another bank, which isn’t offering any cashback to first-time buyers, has a rate of 3.50% for borrowers with an LTV of 90%. At this rate, the cost of credit over 30 years will be just over €166,471.

Therefore, in this example, taking 2% cashback in the short-term may end up costing you an extra €33,453 in interest over the lifetime of the loan!

Always consider overall cost of credit  

While the above example may have you recoiling at the idea of taking any cashback offer, there is still something to be said for getting a nice lump sum just after buying your new home to help with the decorating and furnishing or legal fees.  

There's also anecdotal evidence that many first-time buyers are using cashback offers to pay back the 'bank of mum and dad' who have perhaps helped towards the deposit, meaning these offers are often a key way for younger buyers to get on to the property ladder. 

In short there's nothing wrong with cashback offers per se - just don't get blindsided by them. The key is to always consider the interest rate and overall cost of credit over the lifetime of the loan, as quite often the banks that offer the best cashback deals also charge some of the highest interest rates.

You can easily compare rates and offers from all of Ireland's mortgage providers and see what the lifetime cost of credit will be for your specific requirements right now on bonkers.ie with our easy-to-use Mortgage Calculator.

Quick view comparison

Bank

Cashback offer

AIB

None available to first-time buyers, €2,000 to switchers 

Bank of Ireland

2% cashback – first-time buyers, movers and switchers  

3% cashback – available to BOI current account holders only. 2% upfront, additional 1% in 5 years 

EBS

3% cashback – first-time buyers, movers and switchers. 2% upfront, additional 1% in 5 years

Haven 

€5,000 – first-time buyers, movers and switchers on fixed-rate mortgages of €250,000 or more

Permanent TSB

2% cashback – first-time buyers, movers and switchers 

2% cashback each month (until 2027 only) – on mortgage repayments from a PTSB Explore account  

Compare mortgage rates 

Are you a first-time buyer or a mortgage holder looking to switch lenders to avail of a cheaper rate?  

You can use bonkers.ie to compare the market in just a few easy steps.

With our mortgage calculator, you can easily compare interest rates, loan terms, mortgage offers and cashback incentives from all of Ireland’s mortgage lenders.

And when it’s time to apply for your mortgage, you can submit an online enquiry through our new mortgage broker service and one of our experienced financial advisors will call you back to get your application started.

You’ll be happy to hear that our mortgage broker service is entirely free and is fully digital from start to finish, meaning everything can be carried out online from the comfort of your home. And it's completely paper-free too! 

To learn about how your mortgage application will be assessed, take a look at this guide.

Take a look at our other mortgage guides

For more information before applying for a mortgage, you might want to consult some of our other helpful guides:

You can stay up to date with all the latest mortgage news and top tips with our blogs and guides.

Have any questions?

If you have any questions about mortgage cashback offers or applying for a mortgage, let us know. We have an in-house mortgage team made up of qualified advisors who are happy to help!

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