Credit card comparison made easy
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Welcome to Credit Card Finder®, where we've been researching, reviewing and comparing credit cards for over 15 years. If you're trying to cut down your interest payments, rack up points or get a new card for that next big purchase, you can use Finder to compare over 270 credit cards available in Australia. When you find one you're looking for, and we'll take you directly to the bank's website to apply securely online.
Are some of the terms on this table a little confusing? We get it. Jump down to our handy glossary to learn about key features and how to compare cards.
What's in this guide?
What's happening in credit cards in April 2021
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas is petitioning the government to lower credit card interest rates. His statements back Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe's sentiment expressed in February urging Australians to find "better products". The average credit card interest rate is sitting at 19.94% and the official cash rate is at 0.1%, so there does appear to be some disparity.
If you're struggling with debt from credit card interest, a balance transfer card or switching to a low rate card could certainly help. That said, if you're paying off your bill every month and racking up great rewards, the interest rate isn't as much of a concern.
Jacinda Ardern announced a trans-Tasman bubble, meaning Aussies can start to travel internationally (without needing to quarantine) again starting 19 April. With overseas travel starting to come back and 50% off heaps of domestic fares, we're also seeing some big frequent flyer offers on the market including 120,000 bonus Qantas Points and 100,000 bonus Velocity Points – enough for a flight to NZ. Coles has also come to play on the points front with 20,000 bonus Flybuys points and a $0 first year annual fee on its Rewards card.
New and existing Amex cardholders also have something to be excited about starting this month. American Express has launched a new version of Shop Small which offers card members 3 extra points per $1 spent with participating small businesses. It runs from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2022, giving you 12 months to earn the maximum 40,000 points on offer.
Updated by Alanna Glenn on 7 April 2021
What is a credit card?
So let's take it back to basics.
A credit card is a convenient way to pay for things. While a debit card requires money in your bank account to make a purchase, a credit card lets you borrow money which you then pay back over a certain period of time, usually with interest. It's useful for people who don't have enough money to pay for something or those who don't want to pay the entire amount immediately. It's also an easy way to "get something for nothing" with reward points. Some people also use credit cards to improve their credit history.
If you pay off your credit card balance on time, it can be kind of like an interest-free loan. If you can't pay on time, your purchases will begin collecting interest on top of the amount owed. That's why it's so important to get a credit card that suits your income and circumstances.
What types of credit cards are there?
There are a few different types of credit cards available, which is great if you've got a specific purpose in mind. Not 100% sure which card to go with? We've rounded up some of our top picks and dropped them into each of the different categories below. Just keep in mind that there's no set card that's best for everyone, so make sure you check your eligibility before you apply. You can learn more about the best credit cards here.
Balance transfer credit cards
If you're struggling with existing credit card debt and are being charged a motza in interest rates, it might be time to explore balance transfer credit cards. These allow you to move your existing credit card debt over to a new balance transfer credit card, where you'll pay low – or no! – interest for a certain amount of time.
⭐ Hot tip: Look for a balance transfer card with a low annual fee and a long introductory period!
|Card||Current offer||Annual fee|
|HSBC Platinum Credit Card – Balance Transfer Offer||Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 26 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, complimentary travel insurance and HSBC Rewards.||$0 annual fee for the first year ($129 thereafter)|
No annual fee credit cards
This one kind of speaks for itself – you'll pay no annual fees on this card, either ongoing or just for the first year. If you're only going to use your card a few times a year and you plan on paying back your balance in full each month, a no annual fee card could be right up your alley as you'll have almost no additional expenses.
⭐ Hot tip: Keep an eye on interest rates as they can be pretty high on these cards.
|Card||Current offer||Annual fee|
|Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card||0% p.a. interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months.||$0|
Low interest rate cards
Not sure if you're able to pay off your bill in full each month? A low interest credit card could help. These cards will allow you to buy what you need without racking up too much interest so you can keep your borrowing costs low.
⭐ Hot tip: Look for cards with interest rates of 14.99% p.a or less. Watch out for annual fees as they can be higher on these cards.
|Card||Current offer||Annual fee|
|ANZ Low Rate Card||Save with 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 20 months with no balance transfer fee. Purchase interest rate of 12.49%.||$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)|
Rewards credit cards
Spend money and get rewarded? Sign us up. Rewards credit cards let you accumulate points every time you pay for something, which can then be cashed in for things like shopping vouchers, petrol, frequent flyer points and more. If you're likely to spend more money on your credit card and pay your bill in full each month, this could be a good option for you.
⭐ Hot tip: Look for cards with a bonus points offer. This is usually the quickest way to build your balance.
|Card||Current offer||Annual fee|
|Citi Rewards Card – Bonus Points Offer||Get 100,000 points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first 90 days. Plus, complimentary insurance.||$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)|
Frequent flyer credit cards
Love to travel? Love to shop? Combine your passions and explore a frequent flyer credit card. Whenever you make a purchase on your card, you'll accumulate points which you can then redeem on sweet perks such as a free holiday, seat upgrades and even the newest iPhone.
⭐ Hot tip: Look for bonus points offers and other perks such as insurance and airport lounge passes.
|Card||Current offer||Annual fee|
|Qantas Premier Platinum||Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, lounge passes and insurance.||$199 annual fee for the first year ($299 thereafter)|
Do I need a credit card?
We're going to be straight up – not everyone needs a credit card.
Getting a credit card for the sake of getting a credit card isn't the best idea. You never want to take on debt you don't really need to, especially if you're paying interest on it!
There are also some types of people who might be more susceptible to bad debt. For example, people who tend to impulse shop could rack up unnecessary debt and get into hot water quick.
That being said, if you have a plan for how you're going to use your card and how you're going to pay it off, a credit card can be a great addition to your wallet, helping you improve your credit score and accrue perks and benefits.
Did you know? Finder analysis shows that emergencies, rewards, big-ticket items and building up credit are the four most common reasons for taking out a credit card in Australia.
Should I or shouldn't I?
Still not sure if a credit card is for you? Let's jump into some of the pros and cons to help make that decision easier.
- Flexibility! If you've got a big purchase to make or a bill to pay but don't have the cash in the bank, a credit card can give you the money you need. You can then pay it back straight away or over time.
- Convenience. Credit cards allow you to buy what you need, when you need it. You can use them to shop in-store, online and overseas.
- Rewards. Everyone loves perks. Using a credit card could help you get frequent flyer points, cashback on your groceries, upgrades or even gift cards. Nice.
- Debt. If you don't manage your credit card properly, you could get into debt. Credit card interest can add up quickly if you don't pay your balance on time, which could land you in hot water.
- They can be expensive. Compared to some other loans, credit cards are relatively expensive. The average interest rate for an Australian credit card is around 20%, while the average interest rate for a variable rate loan is 14.41%.
- Sneaky fees and surcharges. Some businesses add a surcharge to credit card payments, which can be 1-2% of the total purchase cost.
TL;DR: Credit cards have a mix of great perks and understandable risks. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you've got a payment plan in mind and understand your limits.
How to compare credit cards
Not sure what you should actually be looking for in a card? Don't worry, you're not the only one. Here's our breakdown of what features you should be looking at and some things to keep in mind.
|Fee or feature||What is it?||What you should know|
|Annual fee||The amount you'll have to pay each year just to use the card.||The more perks and rewards your card has, the higher the annual fee will usually be.|
|Purchase interest rate||The amount of interest you'll pay on your balance if you don't pay your balance off in full by the due date.||The lower the interest rate, the better. However, if you're planning on paying your card off as you go, this shouldn't be a huge deal. A low purchase interest rate is usually below 15% p.a. And there are a few cards around 8.99% p.a.|
|Interest-free period||The amount of time you'll get before you're charged interest on your purchases. Usually, you will have to have paid the previous month's balance off in full to get this.||Most cards offer between 44 and 55 days interest free. More days give you more flexibility and breathing room.|
|Balance transfer rate||If you transfer debt over from another card, this is the interest rate you'll pay.||The lower the interest rate, the longer the time frame and the lower the fee, the better.|
|Cash advance rate||If you take cash out from an ATM or make a cash equivalent transaction (like buying a lotto ticket), you'll pay a one-off cash advance fee plus interest charges straight away.||Avoid cash advances unless it's an emergency. Take cash out on your debit card instead.|
|Foreign transaction fee||What you'll be charged (on top of the interest rate) on purchases made in a foreign currency overseas or online.||This will either be a dollar or percentage amount. The lower this fee, the better if you plan to spend in currency other than AUD. There are plenty of cards on the market with 0% foreign fees.|
|Rewards program||A program that offers points and perks that you can earn while spending.||Perks usually come at the cost of an annual fee. Make sure you'll get enough value out of them to be worth this fee. Common features include points, insurance, lounge passes and premium services.|
So how do I actually pick a credit card?
Getting a bit overwhelmed with all the options out there? We totally get it. But picking a credit card that's right for you is easy once you narrow down your choices. Follow these easy steps if you find yourself getting lost or overwhelmed.
- Figure out what you want your credit card to do for you. Do you want to pay off your existing debt faster? Then you'll want to keep an eye out for a 0% interest balance transfer credit card. Looking to get extra perks in your life? Start investigating rewards credit cards. Once you figure out your number one goal, it'll make it a lot easier to filter out the cards that aren't serving that purpose.
- Decide how much you're willing to pay. Are you willing to spend a bit on your credit card to reap the rewards or do you want to keep things as cheap as chips? If you don't want to spend much, keep a close eye on annual fees and interest rates.
- Figure out which, if any, rewards you want to earn. If this is important to you, consider what rewards in particular you want to be accruing. Maybe you're a Flybuys person or a Qantas Frequent Flyer. Whatever it is, make sure you filter this into your comparison.
- Be honest with yourself on how likely you are to pay in full. Be as realistic as possible. If you find yourself sometimes paying bills a little late or you know you may be strapped for cash down the line, be wary of cards with high interest rates. If possible, look for cards with a longer interest-free period.
- Draw a hard line on your dealbreakers. Need a card with Flybuys? Maybe you're not willing to budge on paying annual fees. Whatever it is, figure out what your dealbreakers are and make sure to consider them in your comparison. Our handy table above can help you filter what's important to you so you can find a card that suits you faster.
How to use a credit card (and avoid debt!)
Yes, a credit card is really convenient, but it also comes with a risk of debt. We already know that if you don't pay off what you owe each month, you'll be charged interest, so here are 3 tips to help you stay on top of your payments and make the most of your credit card without getting into debt.
- Ask for a credit limit you know you can manage. Credit card companies determine your limit based on what you could "reasonably" afford to pay off over 3 years. But sometimes that means that they could give you access to thousands of dollars that you don't need to spend. Avoid temptation and request a specific credit limit when you apply.
- Plan your repayments. Each month you'll get a statement that tells you how much money you owe, the bare minimum you need to repay, and a payment due date. Make sure you set a reminder in your calendar each month, or better yet, set up automated payments each month. That way, you'll never forget and you won't be hit with unnecessary fees. You can also check out our handy repayment calculator to help you.
- Get help if you need it. If you're struggling with your credit card, call your bank or provider to see what support is available. You can also get free financial advice by calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
Got a question? We've got answers
Is a personal loan or a credit card better?
This comes down to what you want the money for. A credit card might be better for everyday spending, such as petrol, groceries and shopping. A personal loan might be more suitable if you've got a big event or expense coming up, like a wedding, a medical procedure or a car purchase. Credit cards are more popular for shorter-term purchases and earning rewards. Loans, because they usually have lower interest rates, tend to be better for longer-term financing.
What do I need to get a credit card?
This bit is a little technical. You'll need to be over the age of 18 and meet some pretty standard eligibility requirements that include your income, residency status and credit history. If you're looking at a card with more perks and features, you'll come across stricter requirements than your typical card. When you're applying, you'll also need to give the bank your proof of income, residency, identification and information about your assets, expenses and liabilities.
What will getting a credit card do to my credit score?
Both applying for and being approved for a credit card will affect your credit score. Each time you apply, it will be recorded on your credit file and may bring your score down for a while. If you miss repayments, your score will also take a hit. But regular payments and responsible use of your credit card can see your score go up. It's all in how you use it.
Can I get a credit card if I have a bad credit history?
Yes. But it may be a bit more difficult. It's a good idea to chat to your current bank before applying so that they can give you a bit of guidance. If you can't get a credit card, an unsecured personal loan could also be an option.
How do credit cards compare to Afterpay and other buy now pay later services?
The discussion around credit cards vs Afterpay has been going on for years, but both cards and buy now pay later (BNPL) services have different features. Here's a basic breakdown:
- Credit cards: You can use a credit card almost everywhere: shops, cafes, online. Basically, they just need to accept the type of card you have (Amex, Mastercard, Visa). If you don't pay off your balance in full each month, you'll be charged interest. When you apply, the bank will check your credit score to decide what limit to give you.
- Buy now pay later: Most BNPL services let you buy items from partnered stores, then pay them off in fixed instalments over a few weeks or months. They don't typically charge interest but they may have other fees (especially for late payments). Usually, your credit history isn't checked when you apply and your limit will increase with responsible use.
How do I actually apply for a credit card?
The easiest way to apply for a new credit card is online. You click the apply button, agree to some standard terms & conditions and go through a few pages of a form. The whole process takes about 15 minutes and will ask you basic questions about your address, job, living costs and other credit products. You'll be asked to submit some documents to prove your identity and address as well (usually your Medicare card, passport and a recent payslip will do the job).
What is Credit Card Finder® and how can I use it?
Credit Card Finder® is a free, Australian-owned service that you can use to compare credit card offers from banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. We've been around since 2006 and keep a database of virtually every credit card on the market in Australia. You can compare cards by bank or brand, read credit card reviews and check out the latest introductory offers. You can use Finder's guides and tables to inform your decision and find the best credit card for you.
When you do find a credit card that you want to apply for, just click the "Go to Site" button in the table or review. This takes you to the official application page, where you can read the full terms and conditions before starting a secure, online application with the bank or lender. This also means that Finder doesn't collect your personal details or information during the application process.
Important credit card guides
- Can I transfer money from a credit card to a bank account?
- What are the easiest credit cards to get approved for?
- How do I get a refund on my credit card?
- How to check on your credit card application
- Are there any credit card options for those with bad credit?
- What cashback credit cards are there?
- What credit cards offer instant approval?
- What is a balance transfer?
Read more on this topic
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard – Exclusive Offer
Enjoy 10,000 bonus points and 12 months interest-free on balance transfers and purchases. Plus, an ongoing $0 annual fee.
Citi Rewards Card – Bonus Points Offer
Earn flexible rewards points as you spend and enjoy a big 100,000 bonus points offer with the Citi Rewards Credit Card.
International Women’s Day Report
Finder's International Women's Day report explores the personal finance gap between men and women and the key drivers of financial inequality.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
This card offers 0% interest on balance transfers for 36 months, a discounted $29 first year annual fee and platinum benefits including airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Citi Rewards Card – Velocity Points Offer
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Velocity Points, a reduced first-year annual fee and points per $1 spent with the Citi Rewards credit card.
Kogan Money Black Card – Exclusive Offer
Pay 0% interest on balance transfers and get a $50 Kogan.com Credit with a new Kogan Money Black Card.
Citi Rewards Card – Points & Gift Card Offer
Enjoy an introductory 90,000 bonus Citi reward Points, a $100 Coles eGift card, plus a reduced first-year annual fee with this Citi Rewards Card offer.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas – Existing customer offer
With bonus Qantas Points and a range of complimentary insurance covers, the Westpac Altitude Platinum - Qantas is worth considering if you want more frequent flyer points.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card – Existing Customer Offer
Earn Altitude rewards with Westpac’s Altitude Platinum credit card, while enjoying the benefits and privileges of platinum status.
MoneyMe Freestyle Virtual Mastercard
Apply online, get approved for a credit limit of up to $20,000 and start using your card straight away on your mobile devices.
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