If you're looking for a new credit card, you can take advantage of introductory offers to save on fees, earn more points or get cash back to your account. Usually, credit card offers are only available for a limited time and you need to meet specific requirements to take advantage of the deal. You can use this guide to compare current introductory offers and to learn how to choose a credit card that works for you.
HSBC Credit Card Offer
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers
Offer ends 30 September 2020
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
HSBC Credit Card Offer
A platinum card offering 0% interest on balance transfers for 22 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases
You usually have to meet a set of requirements to be eligible for an introductory offer on a credit card. These conditions vary but usually include:
New customers. Introductory offers, such as bonus points, are usually reserved for new credit card customers. For example, if you have a card issued by American Express, you likely won't be eligible for another Amex introductory offer.
Application dates. Many promotional offers are only available to applicants who apply and are approved by a set date.
Spend requirements. When a bonus points offer is available, often you'll be required to meet a spend requirement by a set date to receive the points. For example, you may need to spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of card approval to earn your bonus points.
Before you apply for a card with an introductory offer, make sure you fully understand these terms and conditions to ensure you can get the full value from the offer.
What types of introductory credit card offers can I get?
There are different introductory offers available depending on what you want from a credit card. For example, if you want to save on debt, you could look at balance transfer offers that give you a low or 0% introductory interest rate. Or, if you want rewards for your spending, then you can compare cards that offer introductory bonus points. With so many different introductory credit card deals in Australia, here we've summarised some of the most popular options you can compare.
0% balance transfer credit card offers
A 0% balance transfer credit card can be a useful tool to consolidate and repay debt without the cost of interest for 12 to 26 months. Once the promotional offer ends, a standard revert rate applies and any remaining debts will begin to collect interest, often at the higher cash advance rate.
Interest-free balance transfers are only available for a limited time, so you'll be required to apply and receive approval before the offer end date to take advantage of the promotional 0% interest rate. You can usually request the balance transfer and provide the details of your existing account when you apply.
You can save by paying low or 0% introductory interest rate on your purchases during the honeymoon period. At the end of the introductory period, the promotional rate reverts to a standard interest rate that applies to any balance carried from these purchases.
Purchase rate offers can be useful if you have a lot of planned expenses coming up and want a flexible and affordable way to pay them off over time. To get the most out of low or 0% purchase rate deals, you should aim to pay off the new charges before the end of the introductory period.
This type of introductory offer charges a $0 annual fee or reduces the annual fee for a promotional period (usually the first 12 months). Depending on the credit card, these promotions can save you tens or hundreds of dollars. You usually need to apply before a specific date to enjoy an introductory annual fee offer.
After the introductory period, the standard annual fee will be applied to the account. So, if you plan to use your credit card beyond the promotional period, you should pay attention to the standard annual fee when comparing credit cards.
Many rewards credit cards offer bonus points when you apply and are approved for the card. Depending on the offer, you could get up to 200,000 bonus points.
Bonus points offers are usually only available when you apply by a certain date and meet the spend criteria. For example, you may need to spend a set amount of money in the first few months to collect the bonus points. As long as the spend requirement fits within your budget and doesn't outweigh the value of your bonus points, it can be an easy way to boost your points balance as soon as you apply for the card. You can learn more about bonus point spend requirements in this Finder guide.
Credit cards that offer bonus frequent flyer points
Many frequent flyer credit cards also offer bonus points on sign up. Most cards offer either Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer points but many other rewards cards also let you transfer your bonus points to other programs such as Emirates Skywards, KrisFlyer or Asia Miles. Again, you usually need to apply by a certain date and spend a minimum amount within a set period of time to qualify for the bonus points offer.
This type of introductory offer gives you cashback when you get a new credit card. You usually need to spend a minimum amount of money on the card before you can enjoy the cashback offer. For example, an offer might give you $200 cashback if you spend $500 in the first 3 months you have the card.
Some cashback offers also require you to spend the minimum amount in a specific way. For example, by making contactless payments. This type of offer can give you extra value if you have planned purchases you want to make on your credit card, but may not be worth it otherwise.
As well as the major introductory offers outlined above, some credit card companies may offer other more unique deals for new customers. These introductory offers could include:
Gift cards. This is a variation of cashback credit card offers and gives new customers a complimentary gift cards (instead of cashback on the account). The gift cards are often for an affiliated store or brand. To be eligible, you usually have to apply during the promotional period and may need to enter a promotional code online.
Discounted purchases. Some credit cards may offer you a discount on specific transactions. For example, a frequent flyer credit card could offer 10% off flight bookings made with the affiliated airline during the promotional period.
Depending on the credit card, you may be able to take advantage of more than one of these offers at a time. For example, a card that offers a 0% balance transfer rate could also have a discounted annual fee for the first year, while a card with bonus points may also offer 0% interest on purchases during the honeymoon period.
How to compare credit card introductory offers
While introductory offers can sweeten the deal when you sign up for a credit card, you should also look at the card's other features. Thinking about the following factors will help you find an introductory offer that suits your needs in the short-term and a credit card that fits your circumstances in the long-term.
The promotional interest rate. Depending on the card, the promotional offer may have a low or 0% interest rate. Usually, the lower the interest rate, the more savings you'll make. However, you should also weigh up the promotional interest rate against the length of the offer and the annual fee to help you decide which credit card offers the most savings.
The length of the introductory period. With a low purchase rate or balance transfer offer, the promotional rate applies as soon as your card is activated. It's important that you calculate how much you need to pay each month to repay the entire balance before the introductory period ends. Otherwise, any remaining balance will attract the standard interest rate and begin to cancel out your savings.
The promotional offer end date. Credit card offers are only available for a limited time, so you need to apply before the end date to take advantage of them. Check the terms and conditions to make sure any offers you want are still available before you apply.
The standard interest rates. If you have a card with a low or 0% purchase or balance transfer deal, the standard interest rates will apply to any balances remaining at the end of the introductory period. These rates are generally much higher than those of the introductory offer, so looking at them before you apply will help you avoid nasty surprises when the promotion ends.
Standard annual fees. If you get a credit card that offers a reduced or waived annual, make sure you check the standard annual fee so that you know how much you will have to pay after the first 12 months. If you only plan to use the card while the waived annual fee is in place, make sure you know when the standard annual fee will apply and close your card before that date to avoid paying extra.
Other fees and charges. As well as the annual fee, check for any balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, foreign transaction fees and late payment costs. You can use the reviews on Finder browse a full list of rates and fees associated with a credit card. This helps you understand exactly how much you have to pay when you use the card.
Interest charges. If you have to meet a spend requirement to earn bonus points or redeem an introductory offer, remember that these purchases will collect interest (unless they are eligible for an interest-free period). This is why it's important to check that the spend requirement fits within your budget – otherwise the interest costs could easily outweigh the value of the points or bonus offer.
Rewards and extras
Spending requirements. Most cashback and bonus point offers require you to spend a minimum amount in a set timeframe. You might need to spend as little as $100 or as much as $10,000 depending on the card, so it’s important to check before you apply to make sure you can afford to take advantage of the offer.
Standard rewards points. As well as the bonus points, make sure the regular rewards program (including the earn rate and how you can redeem your rewards) suits your spending behaviours and rewards goals.
Complimentary extras. Additional, ongoing perks such as international travel insurance, extended warranties and concierge services can bring more value to the card that you choose. However they can also attribute to higher annual fees, so make sure these are features you'd take advantage of before you apply.
Introductory offers have the potential to provide you with more value when you get a new credit card. While almost anyone can benefit from these deals, the value they provide really depends on your individual circumstances.
It’s also important to remember that this card's benefits only last for a set amount of time before reverting to the standard features. So being aware of how credit card offers work and considering both the introductory offer and the ongoing card features means you can choose a card that offers you value now and in the future.
Sally McMullen is a creative content producer at Finder, co-hosts our Pocket Money podcast and wrote about credit cards for almost five years. Her byline can be spotted on Yahoo Finance, Dynamic Business, Financy and Mamamia as well as Music Feeds and Rolling Stone. She has a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies majoring in Journalism (Hons) from the University of Wollongong.
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