Do you want a credit card that rewards spending? If so, Country First might have something for you.
Country First merged with Beyond Bank
In April 2016 Country First Credit Union merged with Beyond Bank Australia. This page has been kept for historical purposes.
Country First Credit Union began operations in the form of the Murrumbidgee Mutual Credit Union more than four decades ago. Murrumbidgee Mutual merged with Agristaff Credit Union, and operated under the latter’s name until 1998. In this year, after the relocation of the Department of Agriculture’s head office to Orange, the credit union closed its Sydney office and relied on its Griffith and Leeton offices to focus on the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA).
Country First now has offices in Leeton, Griffith, and Narrandera, as well as an agency in Hay. Amongst other financial services and products, it offers its members credit cards in association with Citi.
Types of credit cards the Country First offers
Country First, through a special arrangement with Citi, gives its members the ability to apply for a Citi Mastercard, where Citi makes the final decision on your application, and your contract is with Citi. Further details are as follows.
Rewards credit cards
You can choose between two rewards credit cards through Country First, the Silver Mastercard and the Gold Mastercard. Both these cards offer special balance transfer rates, and you can take advantage of up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Learn more about rewards credit cards
Benefits of Country First credit cards
Both these credit cards, given their Mastercard affiliation, are ones you can use the world over, at ATMs, EFTPOS terminals, online, and over the phone. These cards come with a bunch of other benefits as well.
Silver cardholders are automatically enrolled in the Standard Rewards program and Gold cardholders can also enrol in the BlueSky Rewards program by paying a slightly higher annual fee. With the latter, cardholders can redeem their points for Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
The PayLite plan allows cardholders to spread the cost of repaying purchases exceeding $500 over 6, 12, 18, 24, or 36 months. Under this plan, the amount attracts a lower interest rate, and you have to make monthly repayments. After making an eligible purchase, you'll have 14 days to register the purchase as a PayLite purchase, and this payment plan does not attract any penalty for early repayment.
The Gold Mastercard comes with complimentary international travel and accident insurance as well as purchase cover, whereas the Silver Mastercard comes with purchase cover. Purchase cover offers protection against damage, theft, or loss with three months from purchase. International travel insurance provides cover against medical expenses, trip cancellations, unexpected travel expenses, loss or damage to personal items and personal liability.
If you're struggling to repay a debt that's incurring high interest, you can conduct a balance transfer with a Country First credit card to take advantage of a competitive low balance transfer rate for a promotional period.
Applying for a Country First credit card
Once you've picked a Country First credit card that works for you, click on the corresponding ‘Go to Site’ button. Before you move forward with the application, though, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria.
- Age. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
- Residency. You must be a permanent resident of Australia to apply for the card.
- Income. You should also meet minimum income criteria, which is $15,000 p.a. for the Silver Mastercard and $35,000 p.a. for the Gold Mastercard.
- Credit history. Applicants will only be approved if they have a good credit history.
To complete the application you have to provide information about yourself, your employment, and your finances:
- Personal details. These include your name, date of birth, phone number, email address, residential address, and driver’s license number.
- Employment details. This includes employment status and your employer’s name and contact details.
- Financial details. You'll need to provide information regarding all of your sources of income including investments in real estate and shares. Expenditure includes rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, child support and alimony payments, school fees, and so on. Under assets, you have to list equity in your home and any other real estate, investments, and savings. You also have you list out your liabilities which include loans and credit cards.
- Balance transfer details. If you want to conduct a balance transfer with your new card, you'll need to provide information regarding how much you'd like to transfer and the details of your existing account.
What happens after applying?
If you have to submit any more information you’ll receive a phone call. In addition, you can help in moving the process along quicker by letting your employer’s human resource department know about the probable income verification call.
If you’re not a Country First member you have to complete an identity verification process, as required by the Australian government. You have to complete this process before you receive your credit card, and you might have to visit a Country First Branch for the same.
Frequently asked questions
A number of questions pop up when it comes to Country First credit cards, and here are answers to the ones asked most commonly.
Do I have to be a credit union member to be eligible for the Mastercard?
The credit union is a mutual financial services organisation and as such is owned by its members, each one of whom is a shareholder. Therefore you must be a member prior to your Mastercard being issued.
How long does it take to complete the online application?
You should be able to complete the online application in about 10 minutes. You have the option of saving the application in between and accessing it later.
Can I check the status of my application?
Yes. After you complete your application you receive an email with an application ID which you can use to check the status of your application online.
Can I get additional cards?
Yes, you can get up to four additional cards for free, and these can be for your partner, family members, or other dependents over 16 years old.
Can I request for an increase in credit limit?
The minimum credit limits of the Silver and Gold cards are $2,000 and $5,000 respectively. You can apply for an increase in your original limit but its approval is subject to Citi’s credit criteria. The maximum credit limit for the Silver Mastercard is $7,500 and for the Gold Mastercard this changes to $25,000.
Does the rewards program require me to pay a fee?
While membership to the Standard Rewards program is free with both cards, if you have the Gold Mastercard you can also join the BlueSky Rewards program by paying an annual fee.
How can I find out how many points I have?
You can find out how many points you have online or over the phone. In addition, you receive a rewards statement every quarter.
Do the reward points expire?
Your points in the Standard Rewards Program don’t expire, as long as your credit card account is open and I good standing.
How do I redeem reward points?
You can redeem reward points you earn through the Standard Rewards Program for travel rewards through Take Flight, or for a range of merchandise, store vouchers, or your card’s annual fee. Through the BlueSky Rewards program, you can redeem your reward points for Qantas Frequent Flyer points. Customers should contact the Rewards Service Centre to redeem their points for rewards. The Rewards Service Centre can be contacted by phone on 1300 136 551.
How can I make repayments?
You can make payments towards your Mastercard via electronic funds transfer from just about any Australian bank account. You have the option to mail in a cheque or you can also drop one in by visiting a branch. Other payment options include BPAY, Easi-Pay, and Bank@Post.
What should I do if I lose my card?
Since Citi issues these credit cards, you have to report a lost or stolen card by calling the Citi credit cards department at 13 24 84. You can call this number 24/7.