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Deliverance from Debt: Your Credit Card Management Guide

Kill your credit card debt with these 8 tips

Tip: #1: Pay on time

The first tip is obvious for some and not so for others. Drum-roll please…

Always pay your credit card debt on time! Doing this will keep your credit history intact. A bad credit rating means buckles chance of getting a loan, a mortgage or another credit card. The credit reporting system means lenders can see when you’ve missed a payment if you go to apply for another financial product. This is particularly important for people looking to transfer their credit card debt to another card under a balance transfer facility.

Low Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Tip: #2: Pay more than the minimum

If you can, pay more than the minimum payment required each month. Even better, pay the whole thing off each month and then start afresh.

Every little bit extra you can pay above the minimum each month will reduce the cash you have to fork out to cover interest charges down the track - this may mean a few sacrifices to get your debt under control.

If you have a $2,000 debt at just shy of 20% interest p.a. and you only pay the minimum amount each month of 2%, it will take you over forty years to pay back, and you will have paid over $5,000 in interest. However, pay an additional $50 above the minimum, you’ll pay the card off in three years and you will have paid just $500 in interest.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Tip: #3: Introductory offers should also be approached with caution

Whether it’s a balance transfer promotional offer or an introductory offer on purchases, if you can’t pay back the balance in the introductory period, don’t take the offer.

You need to know that the introductory period that you’re looking at is long enough to accommodate your repayment budget. Jumping at a 0% rate, failing to pay off your debt before the period expires, then being clobbered by a high regular rate of interest will be a disaster for your bank balance.

One tip here if you are looking for a balance transfer offer, is to check what the revert rates are if you are unable to repay the debt in time. Some cards revert to the purchase rate, whereas some revert to what is typically a higher cash advance rate. Learn more about which cards revert to their standard purchase rate and which don't.

What rate does my balance transfer revert to?

Long-Term Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Rates last updated August 25th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a yearly annual fee refund when you spend $6,000 and 2 lounge passes per year.
Westpac Low Rate Card
2019 Winner
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$59 p.a.
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus $0 first year annual fee.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$49 p.a.
Get a $49 annual fee, 10% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months (capped at $100) and a 14-month balance transfer.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive ends 31 August 2019:
Save with a 0% balance transfer offer and a $49 first year annual fee when you apply online.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$45 p.a.
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers, plus a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. on purchases.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 75,000 bonus Velocity Points and save with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, a long-term balance transfer offer.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Features a long-term 0% balance transfer offer, $49 first year annual fee and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
20.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months, a reduced annual fee for the first year and complimentary travel insurance.
BankSA Vertigo
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 16 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase interest rate.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and competitive purchase rate.
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
18.99% p.a.
6.9% p.a. for 36 months
$0 p.a.
Offers 6.9% p.a. for 36 months on balance transfers and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee.
BOQ Low Rate Visa Credit Card
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$55 p.a.
A no-frills card offering 0% on balance transfers for the first 14 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a competitive purchase interest rate.
St.George No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a low minimum credit limit of $500 and a long-term balance transfer offer.
Bank of Melbourne No Annual Fee Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and no annual fee for the life of the card.
BOQ Platinum Visa Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 1,000 bonus Q Rewards points monthly when you meet the spend requirement, a 12-month balance transfer offer and $0 first year annual fee.
BankSA No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Offers a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.

Compare up to 4 providers

Tip: #4: Haggle with your provider

Competition is fierce among credit card providers. They are always keen to keep their customers on board. You can ask your lender for an interest rate review. What’s the worst that can happen - they say, ‘no’? Your provide is all too aware of the promotional offers they give new customers, and the offers other banks can provide to you if you jump ship. They’re not going to see you walk away for the sake of a slight adjustment in your interest rate.

Tip: #5: Limit yourself

Credit limit increase invitations are something you have to agree to receive from the bank. But who’s ever heard of a credit limit decrease invitation? No one, that’s who. That’s because they don’t exist.

Your bank wants to see you continue to use the card, that’s because most of us are debt revolvers - carrying a balance from month to month. This is where the lender makes their money. Why not lower your credit limit as you pay your card off? This will stop you from spending the money you’ve paid off the card.

Just remember, each time you apply for a credit limit increase, it gets recorded on your credit file.

Tip: #6: Use cash whenever possible

Cash is king! Try to use cash where you can. Using cash makes it easier to stay out of debt. Of course, this may not be practical all the time, especially since buying a car with cash is likely to earn you a visit from the drug squad. Whether you're using cash or a debit card (which is really just electronic cash), it's cash is a great way to only spend what you have.

Rates last updated August 25th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a yearly annual fee refund when you spend $6,000 and 2 lounge passes per year.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 90,000 when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30,000 after 12 months.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 75,000 bonus Velocity Points and save with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, a long-term balance transfer offer.

Compare up to 4 providers

Tip: #7: If you have a debt on your credit card, make sure it's a low rate

Always check to understand what interest rate your credit card offers. Not all credit cards have the same rate and the variance is quite large. Check out some of the low rate cards in market at the moment.

Low Interest Rate Credit Cards

Tip: #8: Ask about hidden charges

We’re all aware of credit card surcharges, the extra fees that comes with buying a flight online, for example, can make you cringe. In some cases it can be beneficial to use an escrow service, like paypal, to pay for goods or services that attract a credit card surcharge.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Got any extra tips? Let us know how you deal with credit card debt.
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    sunnyApril 10, 2013

    how do credit cards work

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated August 25th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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