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How Do Offset Mortgages Work?

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When looking for a mortgage, you might come across something called an “offset mortgage.” But what is it, and how does it work?

This article will explain offset mortgages in simple terms. We’ll also compare them to tracker mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages, so you can understand the pros and cons of each and make the best choice for your needs.

What is an Offset Mortgage?

An offset mortgage is a type of mortgage that links your savings and sometimes your current account to your mortgage.

Instead of earning interest on your savings, the money in your savings account reduces the amount of mortgage interest you pay. This can save you money and help you pay off your mortgage faster.

If you are a natural saver and want to avoid paying a lot in mortgage interest, then an offset mortgage might work well for you. They also work well for savers that are also higher rate taxpayers due to ‘net interest rate’ you will receive.

How Does an Offset Mortgage Work?

An offset mortgage can be a great way to manage your mortgage payments and savings more efficiently. Here’s how it operates.

Imagine you have a £200,000 mortgage and £20,000 in savings. With an offset mortgage, your savings are used to “offset” your mortgage balance.

This means that instead of paying interest on the full £200,000, you only pay interest on £180,000. While your £20,000 savings won’t earn any interest, they significantly reduce the interest you owe on your mortgage.

Monthly Payments

Your monthly payments with an offset mortgage may remain similar to those of a regular mortgage. Since you’re paying interest on a smaller loan amount, a larger portion of your payment will go towards reducing the principal, the amount you originally borrowed.

This can help you pay off your mortgage faster and save money on interest in the long run.


Offset mortgages also offer a level of flexibility that can be beneficial for managing your finances. You can typically add more savings to your account or withdraw money if needed.

This flexibility allows you to adjust your financial strategy according to your needs, making it easier to handle unexpected expenses or to save more effectively.

Pros of Offset Mortgages

  1. Interest Savings: You pay less interest on your mortgage because your savings reduce the mortgage balance.
  2. Faster Repayment: More of your monthly payment goes towards paying off the principal, which means you can pay off your mortgage faster.
  3. Flexibility: You can access your savings if you need them, giving you more control over your money.
  4. Tax Efficiency: In the UK, you don’t pay tax on the interest saved through an offset mortgage, which can be beneficial if you are a higher-rate taxpayer.

Cons of Offset Mortgages

  1. No Interest on Savings: You won’t earn interest on your savings. If you could get a high-interest savings account, it might be better to keep your savings separate.
  2. Higher Interest Rates: Offset mortgages can sometimes have higher interest rates compared to regular mortgages. The rate is higher due to them being more expensive for the lender to administer and the flexible features that they offer.
  3. Need for Discipline: You need to keep a good amount of savings in your account to benefit from the offset. This requires financial discipline. If you are not going to save, then a fixed-rate deal will work out cheaper.

Comparing Offset Mortgages to Tracker and Fixed-Rate Mortgages

To help you decide if an offset mortgage is right for you, let’s compare it to tracker mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages.

What is a Tracker Mortgage?

A tracker mortgage has an interest rate that follows, or “tracks,” the Bank of England base rate. This means your mortgage payments can go up or down depending on changes to the base rate.

Pros of Tracker Mortgages

  1. Potentially Lower Rates: If the base rate is low, your mortgage payments will be lower.
  2. Simplicity: The rate changes are straightforward to understand because they follow the base rate.
  3. No Early Repayment Charges: Some tracker mortgages allow you to make overpayments or repay the mortgage early without fees.

Cons of Tracker Mortgages

  1. Uncertainty: Your payments can go up if the base rate rises, making it harder to budget.
  2. Short-Term Changes: If the base rate changes frequently, your payments could change often, which might be unsettling.
  3. Higher Rates: If the base rate increases significantly, you could end up paying more than with a fixed-rate mortgage.

What is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage?

A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that stays the same for a set period, usually 2, 3, 5, or even 10 years. This means your monthly payments will be the same during the fixed period, regardless of changes to the base rate.

Pros of Fixed-Rate Mortgages

  1. Certainty: Your payments stay the same, making it easier to budget and plan.
  2. Protection from Rate Increases: If the base rate goes up, your payments won’t change.
  3. Stability: Fixed-rate mortgages provide stability, which can be reassuring if you prefer predictable payments.

Cons of Fixed-Rate Mortgages

  1. Higher Initial Rates: Fixed rates might be higher than the initial rates on tracker or offset mortgages.
  2. Less Flexibility: There may be early repayment charges if you want to repay the mortgage early or make large overpayments.
  3. Limited Benefit from Rate Cuts: If the base rate drops, you won’t benefit from lower payments.

Which Mortgage is Right for You?

Choosing the right mortgage depends on your financial situation, goals, and preferences. If you are a more mature customer, there may be better mortgages for over 60s that suit your needs.

Offset Mortgage

An offset mortgage is best for those with significant savings who seek flexibility and tax efficiency. This type of mortgage is ideal if you have enough savings to make the offset worthwhile and prefer the flexibility of reducing your mortgage interest rather than earning interest on your savings.

Tracker Mortgage

A tracker mortgage is suitable for people who are comfortable with changing interest rates and want the potential for lower payments when the base rate is low. Consider this option if you can handle fluctuations in your monthly payments and wish to avoid early repayment charges.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage is ideal for those who prefer stability and predictable payments. This type of mortgage is beneficial if you want to budget easily and protect yourself from potential rate increases, even if it means possibly paying a higher rate initially.

Making the Best Mortgage Choice for Your Needs

Understanding how offset mortgages work and comparing them to tracker and fixed-rate mortgages can help you make a smart decision about your home loan.

An offset mortgage can save you money on interest and help you pay off your mortgage faster if you have significant savings. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and consider your financial situation.

If you’re still unsure which mortgage is right for you, an independent mortgage broker like us at UK Moneyman can help.

We can provide personalised advice and find the best mortgage options for your needs. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation appointment, and let us help you navigate your mortgage choices.

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About the Author

Malcolm Davidson

Managing Director of UK Moneyman LTD

Malcolm is one of the UK’s most well-known and respected Mortgage Advisors. He is passionate about providing a 5* customer experience and he has also trained and mentored dozens of fellow Advisors in a career that is now in its third decade.

In addition to his day to day duties as Managing Director, Malcolm still gives out mortgage advice and feels lucky that his job is also very much his hobby.

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