man-holding-credit-card-and-laptop

Credit Cards: The pros and cons of owning a credit card

There are many pros and cons to credit card ownership, and having a full understanding of these will allow you to enjoy a healthier relationship with your credit card.

The main pro is the convenience of being able to pay for goods or services without physically handing over cash or organising a bank transfer of some sort. Look for a low interest credit card or a low or $0 annual fee credit card. The main con is the possibility of ending up in financial straits from overspending or not managing your debts wisely. If debt is an issue, perhaps a debit card should be considered.

The pros of credit cards

  • Flexibility. Credit cards allow the customer to avoid having to carry large amounts of cash around. They are perfect for those occasions when an unexpected purchase becomes necessary, and sufficient cash is not available. They also allow for quick and simple phone and internet transactions.
  • Safety. When cash is lost or stolen, there may be no way of recovering it. If your credit card is lost or stolen, the card will be replaced, and your maximum liability for fraudulent use is limited by law to $50. However, Visa, Mastercard and American Express all operate zero-liability policies so that the customer is not liable for even a single cent.
  • Spending power. Credit limits on credit cards often mean that customers can purchase large goods straight away that they would normally have to save up for over many months.
  • Rewards programs. These reward the customer for their spending on a credit card so that they can claim rewards in various areas such as flights, retail rewards, and cashback.
  • Special offers and rates. Credit card providers will often announce special offers with affiliated companies, and regularly allow new or existing customers to make balance transfers at preferential rates.

The cons of credit cards

  • Overspending. When talking about the pros and cons of credit cards, this is the classic downside. Some individuals can get easily carried away with their credit card, creating a debt that is beyond their means to pay off. Credit cards should not be seen as having access to "free money". In fact, once the interest starts kicking in, you will end up paying more than the purchase price of your goods.
  • Multitasking. A credit card should be used for just one task. If it has a good rate for purchases, then it should be reserved for that. If a balance transfer is made to a credit card, then it should be used for nothing else. Problems arise when customers think it's okay to carry out both these transactions on their credit card simultaneously. This creates a conflict of interest - literally. The lower interest debt is always paid off first, which means the higher interest purchases will keep accruing interest untouched by your repayments.
  • False sense of security. Covering everyday purchases on a credit card can lead customers to believe they have more cash available than they really do. Having cash in your pocket must be logically balanced by the level of your credit card debt. If your credit card debt is building, your ready cash should be set aside to cover it at the end of the month.These are the main pros and cons to be aware of with credit card ownership. Remember that owning a credit card means you are involved in a legally-binding contract, so you need to make sure you are playing a straight game.

Compare credit cards

Rates last updated October 22nd, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Product Description
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card - Exclusive Offer
19.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$90 p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
25 Month Balance Transfer Offer
finder Exclusive: Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest for 25 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$58 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
Long-Term Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee. Plus a low 12.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Online Offer
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 24 months Balance Transfer Offer*
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer offer, plus complimentary international travel insurance.
Qantas Premier Everyday
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
4.9% p.a. for 24 months
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Bonus Points Offer
Take advantage of up to 40,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $0 first year annual fee plus complimentary overseas travel insurance.
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 14 months
Platinum Credit Card with a Low Interest Rate *
Offers a 0% p.a. for 14 months balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a 0% for 24 month balance transfer option, first year annual fee waiver and a competitive purchase rate.
ME frank Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
No Annual Fee Low Rate Credit Card*
Save money with an ongoing $0 annual fee, the same low 11.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases and cash advances, and up to 55 days interest-free.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Low Rate Platinum Credit Card Offer
Offers a long-term balance transfer, $0 first year annual fee, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Annual Fee Refund & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000. Plus, 2 airport lounge passes every year.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$295 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Bonus Qantas Points Offer*
Collect 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 60 days of account opening. Plus, a $295 annual fee in the first year.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$425 p.a.
$150 back & 120,000 bonus Qantas Points*
Earn 120,000 bonus Qantas Points and $150 back when you spend $7,500 in the first 3 months. Plus, 75 Status Credits.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$299 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
60,000 bonus Qantas Points with Balance Transfer Offer
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas points and a $300 Qantas Flight Voucher when you spend $4,000 in 90 days. Plus, complimentary lounge passes.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Low Rate Platinum Card with No Foreign Transaction Fees *
Receive a 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months, complimentary travel insurance and 0% foreign transaction fees.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months
Up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points Offer*
Earn up to 60,000 bonus points in the first 3 months with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, the chance to win 1 million Velocity Points.
Citi Simplicity Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
Low Intro Balance Transfer Interest Rate with No Annual Fee
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 6 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
St.George Amplify
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$79 p.a.
0% for 14 months Purchase Offer*
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus, earn 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases, uncapped.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$79 p.a.
0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 13 months Balance Transfer Offer*
Receive purchase and balance transfer offers of 0% p.a. for 13 months, a low ongoing rate and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$375 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
75,000 Velocity Points Credit Card*
Receive 75,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, Status Credits & lounge passes.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$30 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Low Annual Fee and up to 44 days interest-free
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45 p.a.
Low Rate Credit Card Offer*
A no-frills card with a competitive annual fee, a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
Up to 44 days on purchases
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% for 14 months Purchase Offer with Virgin Australia Gift Voucher*
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months. Plus, the chance to earn 1 million Velocity Points. Ends 31 Oct 2018.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
17.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$0 Annual Fee & 0% Foreign Transaction Fees
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
Low Annual Fee with Balance Transfer Offer*
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a competitively low annual fee and purchase rate.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$49 p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
Low Purchase Rate & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a $49 annual fee, 10% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months (capped at $100) and 0% p.a. for 14 months on balance transfers.

Compare up to 4 providers

Images: Shutterstock

Back to top
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Qantas Premier Everyday

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

0*

*$49 p.a. after first year

Westpac Low Rate Card

Interest rate

13.49

Annual fee

0*

*$59 p.a. after first year

ANZ Low Rate

Interest rate

12.49

Annual fee

58

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site