When it comes to choosing the right credit card, we're spoilt for choice from credit card products.
In Australia, there are a number of major banks that offer a range of credit cards and deals. On this page can navigate through all the major banks in Australia and their credit card offers, and sort through the ones that suit your financial situation.
Overview of major Australian banks
The following table lists the financial institutions Credit Card Finder features. Each will lead you to an overview of credit card offers and provide you with guidance to choose the right card. Whether you need a low rate on purchases, a great balance transfer deal, a rewards program or more, you can find something right for you. Keep in mind that not all credit card products are issued from banks; there are a number of credit unions, supermarkets and airlines that offer them too.
Compare Australian credit card issuers
In Australia there are several credit card issuers offering all sorts of deals on plastic. No matter what your budget or financial history is you can usually find a credit card that has an eligibility criteria to suit you.
Even though there are a lot of card issuers, many of the cards themselves fall into one of the categories on the left hand side navigation bar, so you might base your decision on the card issuers history and popularity.
The right credit card issuer gives you a card that suits your budget and a reputation that you can trust.
Choosing an Australian credit card product
Choosing a credit card sometimes isn't not an easy decision. The market is flooded with so many cards and offers that it can be easy to get lost in them. Many Australians tend to sign up for a credit card with their existing bank, rather than comparing the offers in the market. While there is nothing wrong with loyalty, you may be missing out on the better offers out there.
- Is it easily accessible to you? Most card issuers have online portals that allow you to do most of your transactions and account reviews. Make sure the one you choose has a system that is easy for you to use and gives you any options that you find important. You might want to consider whether or not there is a branch near you that you can visit if you have a problem or need to do something in person.
- Do they have many ATMs? Even with new regulations that require ATMs to display their charges it's still costly to use ATMs not affiliated with your bank. These ATMs charge around $2 for each transaction, a cost you can easily avoid if your credit card issuer has plenty of ATMs for you to use. Remember, you shouldn't be conducting cash advances on your credit card as you are charged at an incredibly high interest rate.
- Do they have a good reputation? Keep in mind that just because a bank is big does not necessarily mean they have good customer service. Some smaller banks continue to offer great products and competitive rates as well. Reading through the user comments on Credit Card Finder can give you an indication of the nature of the bank.
- What will it cost you to do your banking? Credit cards cost money; not only will you have to pay interest if you carry a balance but there are usually annual fees and all kinds of credit card penalty fees you could wind up paying. Carefully examine the fee schedules of all card issuers to ensure you are getting the most competitive deal possible.
- Is there a rewards scheme? If you are going to use your card on a regular basis then you may want to get more value out of your spending. This is where reward schemes become valuable, so make sure you choose a card that rewards your spending style. It's common for points to just sit in accounts untouched because cardholders love the concept of getting rewards, but don't actually use them.
As you look at a credit card product, consider all of the points listed above so you can make the right choice for your budget. In addition, look into any other benefits a card offers like free insurance and security measures to help you make your final decision.
Rates, charges and fees
Unfortunately, you'll find that most credit cards charge fees. These fees can include late payment fees, cash advance fees and annual fees. The trick is to find the card with the lowest possible annual fee and to avoid any late payments or cash advances.
Almost all cards, with the exception of some standard credit cards, are going to offer you some features. You will need to consider the features that you're going to use. For example, if the card is linked to a frequent flyer program and has a high annual fee, it wouldn't make economical sense for a non-traveller to apply for it.
The interest rate is a percentage of your balance that the lender charges you in order to borrow their money for your purchases. Some cards charge higher rates because of their features, others charge higher rates because of the size of the bank. Generally, the cheapest credit card is one with the lowest fees and interest rates. It may also be worthwhile to keep an eye out for 'interest free' days because if used correctly, you can pay minimal interest charges.
Considering a credit card balance transfer?
The credit card balance transfer is like a 'get out of jail free card' to relieve credit debt. A credit card balance transfer is the process of moving the balance on a credit card to another account with a different credit card company. This is a good way to lower the interest rate on the debt that you have transferred. Credit card companies use these deals to lure new customers. They offer low rates and other incentives like rewards points or low interest on purchases to gain your business. While this practice can be a great way to pay off old debts cheaply, there are many things you should be careful of if you choose to do a balance transfer.
Balance transfer tips
- Standard rates. Your credit card balance transfer or purchase rate might only be the low rate for six months. After that it usually reverts to the cash advance rate. Make sure when you get a new credit card that the revert rate is reasonable and do your very best to pay off your balance transfer before the introductory rate expires.
- Transaction fees. Some balance transfers charge a fee that is a percentage of the amount transferred. Compare these costs to make sure you will still save money in the long term even with this fee.
- Introductory periods. The low rate introductory periods can last anywhere from three months to 24 months. In order to really save money you should aim to pay off all of your transfer before this rate expires. In most cases your rate reflects the length of the introductory period with longer terms incurring slightly higher rates.
- Card hopping. This is when a person continually moves his balance from one card to another for low rates while not actually paying down the debt. This is a not a good strategy because the credit card companies eventually catch on and stop approving cards and balance transfers. It also negatively impacts your credit to have so many open credit applications and cards, even if their balances are low.
You can use a credit card balance transfer to get out of credit debt. If you are smart, it is an excellent strategy that will both help you clear your debt and save money. Be honest about your ability to make payments and choose the offer that suits your needs. If you can manage it you will be out of credit card debt in a flash with money to spare.
Always pay attention to the terms and conditions as well as the interest rates and introductory offers. Each of these will influence how much the card will truly cost you. There are ways to take advantage of just about any credit card offer if you know what you are doing. The first step starts by looking at the various credit card banks and their offers and then drilling down into the small print.Back to top