From 0% p.a. interest rates to bonus points, discover how you can make the most of a credit card this Christmas.
Christmas is the season for giving. Unfortunately, it's also the time year when many of us turn to plastic to pay for gifts, food and everything else. But what if you took control of your Christmas spending before it got out of hand?
It is possible and it's simple to do – it just starts with knowing what your options are. So, let's take a look at different credit cards that could suit your goals.
What credit cards can I compare for Christmas shopping?
- I want to make interest-free purchases – 0% interest credit cards
- I want to earn points on my shopping – rewards credit cards
- I want a card for online shopping and travel – $0 foreign fee cards
- I want to save on credit card costs – low rate and $0 annual fee cards
- I want to pay off Christmas credit card debt – 0% balance transfer cards
- How can I compare Christmas credit card offers?
Buy now, pay later: Credit cards with 0% purchase rate offers
These credit cards help you save on interest charges by offering you a 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases during the introductory period. After that, any debt left on the card will be charged interest at a higher standard rate. But if you can pay off the card before the introductory period ends, you may be able to avoid any interest charges on your Christmas shopping.
Earn points as you spend: Frequent flyer and reward credit cards
These credit cards offer you points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, including groceries, petrol and retail spending. If you want to get a new frequent flyer or rewards card before Christmas, you could also collect thousands of bonus points through an introductory offer. Usually, these offers require you to meet a spend requirement – such as $3,000 in the first 3 months – so putting all your holiday spending on the card could help you reach this goal faster.
Save on overseas shopping: Cards with no foreign transaction fees
If you're planning to do a lot of Christmas shopping online or you're heading overseas, these credit cards can help keep your costs down by waiving the usual 2-3% fee that most cards charge for transactions that are made online or overseas with an international retailer.
Shop without the frills: Low rate and $0 annual fee cards
If you want to save on costs and don't need all of the trimmings this Christmas, you might want to consider a credit card that offers a low ongoing interest rate or no annual fee. The competitive rates and fees on these cards can help keep your costs down during the silly season and beyond. Just keep in mind that some low rate and no annual fee cards are also lighter on perks such as rewards or complimentary insurance.
Compare low rate credit cards
Compare credit cards with no annual fees
Deal with Christmas credit card debt: Balance transfer cards
If you're planning to pay on plastic over Christmas, a balance transfer credit card could help you manage your debt in the new year. These cards offer an introductory low or 0% interest rate when you transfer debt from your existing card over to the new one. At the end of the introductory period, a higher standard interest rate applies for any debt remaining from the transfer. But with introductory periods usually ranging from 12 to 24 months, these cards can help you save on interest costs and clear your debt faster.
How can I compare credit cards this Christmas?
If you're looking for a new credit card this Christmas, here are the key details to keep in mind when you're comparing different options:
- Introductory 0% interest offers. Many of these cards will offer you an introductory 0% on purchases, balance transfers or both. Remember to check the length of the introductory offer, so you know how long your balance will be interest-free.
- Standard interest rates. It's essential you check the card's standard variable interest rates for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. These rates will apply as soon as any 0% p.a. interest period ends and could add a lot to your balance.
- Annual fee. Make sure you check this cost before you apply, keeping in mind that some cards offer a reduced or $0 annual fee in the first year before the standard fee applies.
- Bonus points. The bonus point offers available on some reward and frequent flyer credit cards can give you hundreds of dollars extra value when you first sign up. Just remember to check the offer requirements, as you'll usually need to spend a set amount in the first few months before you'll get the points.
- Rewards. If you want a card that rewards you for your spending, make sure you look at the standard number of points you'll earn per $1 spent and check for any points caps. It's also a good idea to browse the rewards website and get an idea of how many points you'll need to redeem different items so you can find a program that's worth it for you.
- Extras. Complimentary perks such as travel insurance, extended warranty cover, airport lounge access and concierge services can help you get more value from a credit card. But think carefully about whether you'll use these extras and weigh them against the cost of the card to decide if it's worth it.
Three tips for using a credit card this Christmas
Whether you're getting a new card or using one you already have, these tips can help you manage your balance:
- Keep track of your balance. It's easy to overspend when you're shopping for presents, food, drinks and everything else at this time of year. But taking a moment to log in to your credit card's mobile or Internet banking app and check the balance can help you stick to your budget.
- Plan your repayments. credit card repayment calculatorUse the to work out how much you can afford to pay off the card each month. This will give you a clear goal for paying off your account and can help you reduce interest charges.
- Compare other cards. Before you start shopping, take a moment to check if your credit card has competitive rates, fees and perks compared to other options. This could help you save on interest charges or get extra perks, such as points or refund insurance, as you shop. Meanwhile, if you've spent way more than expected and are being charged interest on your balance after Christmas, you could also look at moving the debt to a credit card that offers 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers to help you save on interest charges.
It's easy to get carried away with a credit card at this time of year but that doesn't have to mean running up a huge debt. Taking some time to compare different Christmas credit card offers based on your budget and needs will help you find a card that works for you.
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