How to manage Christmas debt in 2020

Don't let 12 days of Christmas spending turn into a 12-month debt hangover

Person holding credit card with laptop with Christmas tree in the background

If you want to kickstart the new year by getting your credit card debt under control, use this guide to compare options including balance transfer credit cards and debt consolidation personal learns, plus pick up some tips to avoid Christmas debt next year.

Use a 0% balance transfer credit card to repay with no interest

You can transfer debt from your existing card to a new card that charges no interest on balance transfer credit cards for a promotional period. Not only will you save money, but you may be able to pay off your debt faster without the burden of interest. The interest-free periods can range from 12 months up to 26 months, meaning you could have more than two years to repay your debt without any interest charges.

If you have more than one credit card, you can also consolidate multiple debts under one new account with a balance transfer. That way you only have to manage one account and all of your debts will attract no interest for the promotional period.

It's important to pay off your debt in full before the end of the promotional period, as any remaining debt will attract the much higher revert interest rate. You can learn more about how these cards can be used to consolidate and repay debt in our guide to balance transfer credit cards.

Compare balance transfer credit cards

Updated December 9th, 2019
$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount saved
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 70,000 bonus Velocity Points (60,000 in 3 months and 10,000 after first year). Plus, save with 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers.
0% p.a. for 13 months
0% for 13 months, reverts to 21.49% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive:
Save with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a discounted $49 annual fee for the first year.
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.99% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 18 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer and a discounted $49 first year annual fee.
0% p.a. for 9 months
0% for 9 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.
Westpac Low Rate Card
2019 Winner
0% p.a. for 16 months
13.74% p.a.
$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.
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.99% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for up to 18 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and competitive purchase rate.
0% p.a. for 14 months
11.99% p.a.
$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.
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.99% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 18 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase interest rate.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
80k bonus Citi reward Points when you spend $3,000 in 90 days and 40k the second year, up to 120,000 total. 120k Points = 48k Velocity Points.

Compare up to 4 providers

Repay your credit card debt with a personal loan

If your credit card debt is high, you might want to transfer it and pay it off with a personal loan. Some balance transfer credit cards only accept transfers that are up to 70% or 90% of your approved credit limit, so you might have better luck transferring it to a personal loan.

Personal loans don't offer 0% promotional offers but the interest rates may be lower than what you're currently paying with your credit card. The loan terms are also usually much longer than balance transfer promotional periods. Application and monthly fees apply and it's important to check what you'll be charged if you can't make repayments on time before applying.

You can learn more about these loans in our guide to personal loans for debt consolidation.

Compare personal loans for debt consolidation

Updated December 9th, 2019
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
From 5.75% (variable)
6.89%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
from 1% to 5% of the loan amount
$10
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
From 7.5% (fixed)
9.51%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
from 3% of loan amount
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.5% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
From 6.89% (variable)
8.89%
$2,001
6 months to 5 years
$299 (Based on $10,000)
$0
You'll receive a variable rate between 6.89% p.a. and 16.4% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 6 months. Interest and comparison rates calculated for a loan term of 3 years.
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.69%
$2,000
3 to 5 years
$500 ($200 for loans of below $5,000)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 28.69% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $70,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 years terms.
From 8.95% (fixed)
10.56%
$5,000
18 months to 7 years
$495 (Based on $10,000)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 8.95% p.a. and 16.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for loans from $5,000 and get a dedicated loan manager. No security required. Note: Applicants approved before 31 December 2019 will receive a special offer $200 Coles Gift Card.
11.99% (fixed)
13.15%
$4,000
1 to 7 years
$250
$12
You'll receive a fixed rate of 11.99% p.a.
Benefit from the security of a fixed rate with the flexibility of additional repayments.
9.89% (fixed)
10.14%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 9.89% p.a.
An unsecured loan from $5,000 with flexible repayments and no monthly fee.
From 10.69% (fixed)
11.58%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 10.69% p.a. and 18.69% p.a. ( 11.58% p.a. to 19.53% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
From 12.99% (fixed)
14.06%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$195
$12
You'll receive a fixed rate between 12.99% p.a. and 18.9% p.a. based on your risk profile
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 to fund a range of purposes.
10.99% (fixed)
12.21%
$20,000
1 to 7 years
$250
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate of 10.99% p.a.
A secured or unsecured loan available to homeowners with a large minimum borrowing amount of $20,000. Benefit from flexible repayments and fast approval.
From 7.93% (fixed)
8.77%
$1,000
1 to 5 years
$500 (from $100 to $500)
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.93% p.a. and 18.87% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan with a low minimum borrowing amount and flexible repayment options.
From 13.99% (fixed)
15.19%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$250 (Loans under $5000 - $140)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 13.99% p.a. and 24.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for what you need from $3,000 and use it for a range of purposes. Flexible repayments options.
11.89% (variable)
12.15%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a variable rate of 11.89% p.a.
Borrow from $5,000 with the option for flexible repayments and no monthly fees.
10.89% (variable)
11.15%
$30,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a discounted variable rate of 10.89% p.a.
Borrow over $30,000 and receive a discounted interest rate. No monthly fees and a redraw facility also available.
From 10.69% (variable)
11.58%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 10.69% p.a. and 18.69% p.a. ( 11.58% p.a. to 19.53% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes. Benefit from fee-free additional repayments and a redraw facility. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
From 7.88% (variable)
8.72%
$1,000
1 to 7 years
$500 (from $100 to $500)
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 7.88% p.a. and 18.82% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan with flexible repayment options and a low minimum borrowing amount.
9.99% (fixed)
11.22%
$20,000
1 to 7 years
$250
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate of 9.99% p.a.
A secured or unsecured loan available to homeowners with a large minimum borrowing amount of $20,000. Benefit from flexible repayments and fast approval.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to avoid credit card debt next Christmas

Now that you know how to get your Christmas credit card debt under control, here are some tips to keep your spending in check next year.

Use a 0% purchase credit card

If you still want to use a credit card over Christmas, you could save with a card that charges 0% on purchases for a promotional period. These cards can charge no interest on purchases for a promotional period that usually ranges between 6 months and 14 months.

As long as you pay off your card in full before the interest-free period ends, these cards can be a useful way to get some breathing room to pay off your Christmas spending without additional interest costs. Any remaining purchases will attract the standard interest rate after the promotional period ends, so it's important to pay off your balance in full before interest applies.

Stick to a budget and take advantage of sales

It's important to create a budget and stick to it ahead of Christmas. You should aim to pay off your balance in full each statement period to avoid attract interest, so only spend as much as you know you can afford to repay.

If you're taking advantage of a 0% purchase offer, create a budget based on what you know you can repay before the interest-free period ends. For example, if the card offers 0% on purchases for 12 months and you plan to spend $2,000 on Christmas, you'll need to pay around $167 each month to pay off the balance in full before interest applies.

You can also take advantage of sales, such as Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to buy gifts in the lead up to Christmas. Not only will you save with discounted prices, but you'll tick off the Christmas shopping list early.

Compare 0% purchase interest rate credit cards

Updated December 9th, 2019
$
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Interest Free Period Amount saved
0% for 13 months, reverts to 21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 13 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Finder Exclusive:
Save with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a discounted $49 annual fee for the first year.
0% for 14 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Finder Exclusive:
Low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months and on balance transfers for 6 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
0% for 9 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 9 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Enjoy a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.
0% for 14 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 55 days on purchases
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months, a reduced first year annual fee and Velocity Points per $1 spent.
0% for 15 months, reverts to 11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$45 p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
A no-frills credit card with a competitive annual fee and 0% p.a. on purchases for 15 months. Plus, a 0% balance transfer offer for 6 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

Credit cards can be a useful way to free up your cash flow at Christmas time. However, it's important to stick to a budget, repay your purchases and understand the debt consolidation options that are available if you want to get your debt under control once the Christmas decorations are packed away.

If you're looking for a new credit card to do your holiday shopping while keeping your costs under control, check out our guide to credit cards for Christmas on Finder.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Updated December 9th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
21.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees on purchases. Plus, complimentary flight delay passes and a global wifi access.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get 20,000 bonus Qantas Points per month for the first 6 months when you spend $1,500/month. Total of up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points.
0% for 9 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 9 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.

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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