Ask Credit Card Finder: What transactions don’t earn points?
What exceptions do you need to know about when you want to earn credit card rewards?
I want to get a credit card that earns points per $1 spent but I'm just wondering what eligible transactions are? For example, I noticed that St.George does not include BPAY transactions as eligible. Is this the case with other credit cards?
While you will get points for most retail transactions made with a rewards card – such as groceries, petrol, dining and movie tickets – the list of transactions that are not eligible to earn points often includes cash advances, gambling transactions, government charges (such as ATO payments) and BPAY payments.
It does vary between issuers but, in the case of BPAY payments specifically, many lenders explicitly list these transactions as ineligible for rewards. This includes St.George (as you pointed out), along with CommBank, Citi, Virgin Money and Westpac.
On the flipside, there are a few companies that don't list BPAY transactions as ineligible for points on personal reward or frequent flyer cards. This includes American Express, ANZ and NAB.
If you make a lot of BPAY payments – or are wondering about other payments that won't earn points – check the terms and conditions for the complete list of transactions that do not earn points.
There is another potential issue to consider: not all credit cards offer a facility for you to make BPAY payments. During my research for this article, I reached out to American Express to ask if I could use my card to make a BPAY payment. I was told that there isn't a facility to do this through my online account, and was advised to contact the merchant or biller and see if there was another way to pay with my card.
So, before you apply for a card, it may be worth contacting the credit card issuer directly and asking if you can make BPAY payments from the account. Or, if you have bills that you usually pay through BPAY, check to see if there's another payment option that would allow you to use a credit card and earn points.
If you want to delve into this topic further, our guide on earning points for bill payments offers more details on the different definitions of eligible transactions, while this one on paying rent with a credit card could also give you another way to get rewards for everyday expenses.
Ask Credit Card Finder is a weekly column written by finder's credit card experts Amy Bradney-George and Sally McMullen. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice.
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