Are rewards credit cards worth it?

Peter Terlato 25 January 2017

rewards credit card woman computer shopping

Non-rewards card customers are $625 better off.

New research suggests Australians may financially be better off using a non-rewards credit card.

A study conducted by finder.com.au analysed the cost difference between rewards and non-rewards credit cards, considering purchase rates and fees.

With a rewards credit card you receive benefits each time you pay on plastic, from bonus frequent flyer points to supermarket, petrol station and merchandise discounts and exclusive offers.

On average, rewards cards holders pay $182 in annual fees and possess a purchase rate of 19.58%. Comparatively, non-rewards card customers pay $49 in fees and have a lower purchase rate of 14.65%.

When repaying an average credit card balance of $6,298 over a two year period, rewards cardholders incur costs of $1,728, while non-rewards customers pay $1,103 in fees and interest over the same period.

Despite their complimentary extras, financially, rewards card customers are $625 worse off.

However, these figures don't take into account interest-free periods or balance transfer deals.

Many rewards credit cards offer at least 1 point for every $1 spent but this can fluctuate depending on the provider and the program, subjecting customers to earning or time limit restrictions.

A separate survey found over two-fifths of Aussies return from summer holidays with credit card debt.

Aside from North Americans, Australians are the most impulsive online shoppers. More than a third of Australians (35%) make same day online purchases, the second-highest conversion rate globally.

Millions of Aussies save their credit card details online but would you trust an online store with yours?

Compare a variety of different credit card options before deciding on the right one for you.

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