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Home loan guide / Home loans explained

Getting a home loan online - is it safe?

5 min read

Caitlyn Smith

Online home loans seem really convenient, but is your personal information safe? Find out all you need to know.

When you think about getting things online, a home loan probably isn’t one of the first things you think of. But there are many benefits to getting a home loan online, and if you do your research, it is completely safe to do.

With online home loans, all your application information is stored digitally, which actually makes it safer than a traditional home loan application. There’s no paperwork sitting on a desk, instead everything is encrypted and securely stored online. And it can only be accessed by the people who need to access it (the credit assessors). As well as this, more of the process is automated, which lessens the chance for human error. To err is human, but an automatic process means that every application is assessed accurately, with less chance of mistakes.

Woman looking at phone

The security of Tic:Toc

At Tic:Toc, we pride ourselves on our security and our customer service. We want to make the home loan process as quick, easy and secure as possible. Here’s how we keep things safe and sound:

1. Dedicated security team

Our dedicated security operations centre is responsible for securing our system, identifying vulnerabilities and responding to security events. They make sure our security is always up-to-date and state of the art.

2. Customer service team

Our delightful customer service team is available every day from 8am to 6:30pm (AEST) on weekdays, and 9am to 5pm (AEST) on weekends. They are available via phone or email to answer all of your questions and help you through the application process.

3. Your details are secure

In order to validate your financial information we ask you to enter your online banking details using software by Yodlee. This software fetches read-only copies of your transaction history from your bank.

We know it sounds odd asking for your banking login details but rest assured that nobody (not even Yodlee) sees them. As soon as your details have been entered and validated in the approval stage of your home loan application, they are encrypted, separated, and securely stored. Once your financial validation has been completed they are completely obliterated, never to be seen again.

It is impossible for anyone to transfer, move or do anything else with your bank accounts aside from receiving a copy of your transactions. And we only see the information we need to approve your loan application (which is exactly the same information you would provide to us if you chose to manually submit your documents). This is just a quicker way of doing it. You can find out more about Yodlee and their general security statement here.

4. Your information is encrypted

We encrypt your information according to the industry standard Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2. This standard is currently used by most banks in Australia, so you better believe it’s secure.

What to check

Not all online home loans are created equal. When looking at online home loans, you do need to make sure you apply with a reputable lender that is offering a true online home loan (and isn’t just gathering information). Things you should check include:

1. Upfront costs for quotes or pre-approval

Applying for a home loan shouldn’t cost you anything. If the lender you’re thinking of applying with is trying to get you to pay money before you’ve even been approved. Stay away.

2. Unlicensed lenders

This is an important one. Always check that the lender you are applying with has an Australian Credit Licence. For instance, Tic:Toc’s ACL is 496431.

3. Information gathering

Google search results would suggest just about every bank and financial institution offers an online home loan (or the ability to apply for a home loan online) but in reality there are very few truly online home loan providers in existence (as a matter of fact, almost two years after launching, Tic:Toc is the first and the only online home loan provider in the market).

What’s the difference? Most “online applications” are just platforms for data capture and still have a heavy reliance on human assessors and human verification. At Tic:Toc your application is assessed in real-time by our world-leading technology. This means that as you're entering your information, we're digitally validating it by running valuations on the property, recommending products based on your preferences, verifying your identify and (should you decide to digitally validate your financials), validating your income and expenses against your bank account details. And just to reiterate, nobody sees your login details before they are encrypted.

We haven't completely eliminated the need for humans though - a team of home loan specialists will step in when needed.

4. Lack of customer service

Online home loans should still offer excellent customer service. If it’s too hard to get in contact with someone, or they take a long time to respond to you, be wary. If you have questions or problems with your loan, you may find it difficult to resolve them without a good customer service team available.

Benefits of online home loans

There are lots of benefits to getting a home loan online that you may not have realised. Online home loans can offer things such as:

1. Lower rates

Online home loan providers often offer lower interest rates for their home loans. They can do this because online lenders have fewer overhead costs compared to traditional banks and lenders.

2. Low fees

Just like their rates, online home loans often come with low (or no) upfront fees because they have less costs associated with them.

3. Easier application

Online home loans also make the application process easier. Everything can be filled out online so there is very little paperwork to complete.

4. Apply any time

When applying for a home loan online, you aren’t restricted by business hours. You can apply whenever you have the time to spare - even in the middle of the night.

5. Faster processing

True online home loans are able to assess your application as you complete it. Which means you’ll get an answer quicker. And because the whole process is online, you won’t need to wait for your paperwork to be processed.

As long as you’ve done your research and apply with a reputable lender, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to getting a home loan online.

If you want even more information, you can read more about Tic:Toc’s security here and you can read our privacy policy here.

And if you’re thinking of applying, you can start here.

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