How to get a credit card in time for christmas

If you’re planning to put this year’s Christmas shopping on your new credit card, here’s how to make sure it arrives on time.

Whether you want to earn points or reduce your interest costs, a credit card can be useful as your spending increases in the lead up to Christmas. But if you're in the market for a new card, you need to make sure that you've applied for your card with plenty of time to spare. You can use this guide to compare how long it'll take to receive your credit card and pick up some tips to speed up the process.

How long will it take to apply for a credit card and when will I receive it?

Card provider Application time Approval time Estimated time to receive card
American Express 10 minutes 60 seconds 5 to 10 business days
ANZ 5 minutes 60 seconds 5 to 10 business days
BankSA 5 to 10 minutes 60 seconds Up to 7 business days
Bankwest 10 to 30 minutes 60 seconds 3 to 7 business days
Bank of Melbourne 5 to 10 minutes 60 seconds 5 to 7 business days
Bank of Queensland 10 to 20 minutes Within 2 business days 7 to 10 business days
Citi 15 minutes 60 seconds 7 to 10 business days
Commonwealth Bank 10-15 minutes 60 seconds Up to 10 business days
HSBC 15 minutes 60 seconds 3 to 5 business days
ME Bank 5 to 10 minutes Within 2 business days 5 to 10 business days
NAB 15 minutes 60 seconds 5 to 10 business days
St.George 10 to 15 minutes 60 seconds 7 to 10 business days
Suncorp Bank 10 minutes 60 seconds 5 to 7 business days
Virgin Money 10 minutes 60 seconds Up to 10 business days
Westpac 10 minutes 60 seconds 5 to 10 business days

How can I speed up the application process?

The above time frames are only estimates, and can be shortened or drawn out depending on your application. You can help speed up this process by making sure that you meet all the card’s eligibility requirements and by organising the necessary documents before you apply. The specific eligibility requirements will also vary from card to card, but you can compare some of the standard criteria you'll need to meet below:

Eligibility criteria you'll need to meet

  • Age. Applicants must usually be at least 18 years of age.
  • Residential status. Most cards require that applicants are Australian citizens or permanent residents, but some cards cater for certain visa holders.
  • Minimum income. This varies among cards, but the minimum is usually at least $15,000 per annum. Make sure to check that you meet your chosen card’s income requirement.
  • Credit history. Most credit cards will require that you have a very good credit history and credit score. Having a poor credit history and rating will likely result in your application being declined.

Documents and info to include

  • Proof of identification. These will include copies of your driver’s licence and passport.
  • Financial information. You may be asked to provide copies of invoices, bank statements and other proof of finances.
  • Employment details. These generally include your employment contract and recent payslips or tax assessment documents and accountant's details if you’re self-employed.
  • Assets and liabilities. You may need to provide details of any assets (such as property or investments) or liabilities (such as other debts) you have.

What type of credit card should I get this Christmas?

There is no one best credit card to use this holiday season. Whether you want to save on purchase rates or earn points as you spend, you can compare the different credit cards to consider this Christmas below:

0% purchase credit cards

0% purchase credit cards offer an interest-free period on your purchases, usually for a fixed time between 3 and 18 months depending on the card. This means that you’ll pay 0% interest on all purchases made with the card during this promotional period. This could be a good way to free up your cash flow over Christmas and repay your balance well into the new year without accruing any additional interest. The 0% interest rate will revert to a higher standard purchase rate at the end of the promotional period, so make sure you've repaid your entire debt before this kicks in.

Rewards and frequent flyer credit cards

You can reward your generosity this Christmas by spending with a frequent flyer or rewards credit card. These cards usually allow you to earn points per $1 you spend, which you can redeem for flights, travel perks, merchandise, gift cards, cashback and more. Some of these cards also come with massive introductory bonus points offers, which can help you give your balance a boost. These cards usually come with higher interest rates and annual fees though, so they're best suited to cardholders who can pay their balance in full each statement period and will earn enough points to offset the costs.

No annual fee credit cards

No annual fee credit cards offer an opportunity to save by avoiding the yearly administrative fee. While some cards offer an annual fee waiver for a promotional period, such as the first year or two, others come with $0 annual fee for the life of the card. These cards may offset the absence of an annual fee with a high interest rate, so you can avoid any extra costs by paying your balance in full each statement period.

Balance transfer credit cards

If you’re already carrying some debt on your existing credit card(s), a balance transfer credit card could be just the thing you need for Christmas. This type of card allows you to transfer your existing credit card debt onto the new card at a lower or 0% interest rate for the promotional period. With introductory offers lasting between 6 and 24 months, this means you’ll get a breather from paying interest on your existing debt and can shop easier knowing that you’ve got more time to make repayments without having to worry about interest accumulating. However, you should avoid using one of these cards to make purchases as they usually come with higher purchase interest rates.

Whichever card you choose, make sure that you give yourself ample time to apply and wait for your new card delivery. It can be an easy and quick online process these days, just as long as you have all your documents scanned and ready to upload with your application.

Pictures: Shutterstock

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