How to make the most of comparison charts to help find the right card for you.
When it comes to comparing credit cards, there are a lot of different factors to consider. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed by interest rates, balance transfer offers or cash advance rates, and follow our handy guide on how to use our comparison tables to find the card with the features you need and the benefits you want.
What's a comparison chart?
A comparison chart is the bread and butter of Credit Card Finder It lists all the main features of the product you are looking at, whether that be credit cards, home loans, insurance products or travel money options. A comparison chart is the easiest way to compare products, as you can look at the same features across the range of products you have selected.
There are two types of comparison charts on Credit Card Finder, a general comparison chart and a more comprehensive chart. When you are on Credit Card Finder you can first simply find the type of product you want to look at in one of the menus. Once you have selected this product type you will be taken to a comparison chart that lists the main product features. Here you can select the specific products that you want to compare, and then you will be taken to the more comprehensive chart that compares your selected products.
Keep reading for our guide on how to use the comparison charts to find the most suitable product for you.
What kind of card do you need?
This is the most important question to ask yourself when choosing a credit card. Here are some things to consider when answering this question:
- Interest rate
The interest rate offered by a card is the amount you are charged for outstanding balances. The effect of this rate depends on the type of spender you are. If you will use your credit card sparingly and feel confident that you will make your repayments in full for each month, then you needn't worry about the interest rate too much, although lower is always better. If you know you will run into some outstanding balances, try and calculate how much you will be charged. A card with a lower interest rate would be the ideal option.
- Balance transfer rate
A balance transfer rate is the amount of interest you are charged when you bring over an existing balance from another credit card. Some cards have balance transfer rate offers of 0% p.a. for a limited period of time. If you are confident you can pay off your outstanding balance in this time then a card with a balance transfer rate offer may be a good option for you. Be sure to check what the rate will revert to when the period ends in case you don't pay off your balance.
- Annual fee
Some providers charge you a fee for using the credit card. This is something to watch out for as they can be quite high.
- Cash advance rate
The cash advance rate is the interest you are charged when you withdraw cash using your credit card. This should usually be used as a last resort.
How to use the comparison charts
Here's a quick guide on how to use the finder.com.au comparison charts.
- Select the types of credit card you want to compare
- Enter the relevant amounts at the top of the chart to get the rates that are relevant to you. When you see a credit card that looks good, check the box next to it. Once you have selected all the credit cards you are interested in select the 'compare' button at the top or bottom of the table.
- This will bring up a new table with a more detailed product comparison. Compare the features of the card, and click 'more' for more information. If you find a card that you want to purchase, simply click the 'Go to site' button.
Case Study: Sam
Sam has a $5,000 debt with her current card. She is paying 17% p.a. in interest and would like to transfer her debt to a card with a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate offer so she can catch up on her repayments.
She selects balance transfer rate credit cards on finder.com.au, inputs the amount owed on her current card and presses 'calculate'.
She can now see the interest she can save by transferring her balance.
Sam selects the credit cards that will save her the most money and presses 'compare' . She then weighs up the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
- All of the cards offer balance transfer rates which last 12 months or longer, giving her plenty of time to pay off her debts without incurring interest.
- All the cards have a reasonable interest free period of 55 days on purchases.
- After selecting 'more' and reading about the cards, she can see that each card's balance transfer revert rate, excluding one, is less than the interest she is paying now.
- Sam sees that three out of the four cards will charge her an annual fee which she will need to take into account when calculating her savings.
- If she is planning on sticking with this card she should be aware of things like overseas ATM withdrawal fees, which are quite high on three of these cards.
- Sam will need to check the application requirements to make sure she is eligible to apply for these cards.
Sam reads more about these cards and decides her ideal option could be the Westpac Low Rate Card.
What else should you keep in mind when using a comparison chart?
When you are comparing credit cards you should go through all the features of each card to make sure you understand everything about the product you are applying for. Here are a few other things to keep in mind when comparing cards using a comparison chart.
- Application requirements. The application requirements will help you to determine whether you will be eligible for the credit card you are interested in. Some requirements include a minimum income or a good credit rating. Cards differ on their availability to temporary residents as well so be sure to check that.
- Foreign currency fees. Credit cards also differ on their treatment of currency conversions. Some credit cards are more overseas-friendly and will charge you less of a fee, or no fee at all. If you are planning to use your card overseas you might want to opt for a card with a low currency conversion fee.
- Overseas fees and replacement cards. If you are planning on using your card overseas the comparison chart will tell you what you will be charged at overseas ATMs to withdraw money or to check you balance. You can also see if you will be charged for overseas emergency card replacement.
- Gambling transactions allowed. Gambling transactions are not treated by card providers as normal transactions, and as such different rules apply. Some providers, such as Citi, have a global policy not to authorise online gambling payments. Other card providers will allow them but treat them as cash advances.
- Additional cardholders. If you are planning to use your credit card for family or business purposes and require additional cardholders then you can check if this is available on the comparison chart, and also if there are any associated fees.
Remember that whatever you need from your credit card, the first step to finding the perfect card is by comparing your options.