What kinds of credit cards are out there?
Australians can get a whole range of credit cards that combine convenience with a selection of rewards and features. The major credit card companies in the Australian market are Visa and MasterCard. Banks or credit unions usually issue these credit cards. American Express (AMEX) and Diners Club also offer credit cards themselves direct to Australian customers (not through a bank, though banks can offer AMEX and Diners Club.)
Credit cards fall into five major categories: Low Rate Cards, Low Fee Cards, Premium Cards, Rewards Cards and Frequent Flyer Cards. Some banks issue credit cards as Balance Transfer cards, which means a new bank or lender takes on your balance from another lender. This is ideal if your new credit issuer is offering a lower rate, lower fees, or a combination of the two. Balance Transfers are not a category of cards themselves, as they can be any one of the five categories listed above. With this in mind, you can start to compare features and rates.
What sort of credit card is right for me?
With any financial product, you need to factor more than one aspect of a credit card to figure out if it’s right for you. The best method is to figure out how much you intend to spend on your card, whether the cost of an annual fee gives you enough benefits for the price, if you want rewards such as discounts or frequent flyer points, and your current financial situation in terms of income and outstanding debts.
This should give you a good basis to make a shortlist of credit cards that are right for you. For example, if you use your credit card to make purchases for frequent flyer points, one with this feature is best. If you need a credit card and want to defer payment of purchases in an interest free period, this may be more attractive to you. A lower rate overall is better for people who only use credit cards in emergencies. A premium card may have exclusive rewards and a higher credit limit, but you will have to pay more in annual fees. It’s all up to your values, preferences and financial needs.
How can I compare credit cards?
Comparing credit cards was once a time intensive task, requiring you to find brochures and make inquiries at various banks and credit lenders. We brings you credit cards from some of Australia’s biggest and most trusted credit card companies and banks so you can make a side-by-side comparison. Easy to use, you can select and compare credit cards with low rates, low fees, rewards programs, frequent flyer programs and premium cards. Our cards come from a variety banks and credit unions using Visa, MasterCard, AMEX or Diners Club.
You can choose cards with a rate or rewards program that suits you, or your proposed level of spending. Find cards with interest free periods on purchases, enhanced frequent flyer points and more. No matter what you prefer, we present the best selection of credit cards so you can get the balance of rewards and rates right.
Do you have questions about rewards credit cards?
Helpful guides to making the most of your credit card
How can I save on credit card interest?
There are two sure-fire ways to save on credit card interest; opt for a low-rate credit card and pay off more than the minimum each month. A low-rate credit card with interest free days will save you on interest on each purchase. However, interest will accrue if you do not pay the card off in full and on time. The next tip is to pay more than the minimum on your card.
A $2,000 balance at 18% interest with a minimum of $41 means you’d pay $5,691 over 18 years! Making monthly repayments of $100 would save you $3,330 in interest.
Visa or MasterCard?
Although most locations accept both without incurring extra fees, differences creep in as to what banks offer which credit cards. Commonwealth Bank only issues MasterCard, while the other big three offer both. The battleground is in rewards and frequent flyer points, as both credit companies offer different perks. For example, Visa may have access to preferred seating at a sports tournament while MasterCard holders can buy earlybird tickets to a concert while the other cardholder cannot and vice-versa. They may give you frequent flyer points for different airlines. It’s mostly what you value in terms of rewards.
Premium credit cards
Premium credit cards are indeed the “top of the range” in credit cards, offering the highest credit limits and most benefits. Rankings begin at Silver or Gold at the bottom end, with Platinum, Black or Diamond at the higher end. Platinum credit cards offer complimentary insurance, purchase protection, access to fine dining or exclusive events and at Black levels, on-call concierges available 24/7! Of course, this means a much higher interest rate and annual fee compared to regular credit cards.
Making the most of a balance transfer
If you’re considering a balance transfer into a new card and a new rewards program, you should make a decision based on what is right for you and your financial situation. To make the most of your balance transfer, you should aim to pay off the original balance with the new card as quickly as possible. Many balance transfer cards offer low or zero interest on the balance for a limited time. If you can pay off that balance before expiry, you could save thousands of dollars on interest.