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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.

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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. 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 providerApplication timeApproval timeEstimated time to receive card
American Express10 minutes60 seconds5 to 10 business days
ANZ5 minutes60 seconds5 to 10 business days
BankSA5 to 10 minutes60 secondsUp to 7 business days
Bankwest10 to 30 minutes60 secondsUp to 10 business days
Bank of MelbourneAround 15 minutes60 seconds5 to 7 business days
Bank of Queensland10 to 20 minutesWithin 2 business days7 to 10 business days
Citi15 minutes60 secondsAround 5 business days
Commonwealth Bank10-15 minutes60 secondsUp to 7 business days
HSBC20 minutesUp to 2 to 5 business days2 to 7 business days
ME BankAround 5 minutesWithin 2 business days5 to 10 business days
NAB25 minutes60 seconds5 to 10 business days
St.George10 to 15 minutes60 seconds7 to 10 business days
Suncorp Bank10 minutes60 seconds5 to 7 business days
Virgin Money10 minutes60 seconds5 to 7 business days
Westpac10 minutes60 seconds5 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

These 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 attracting 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. You can use these cards 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 thousands of bonus points on sign up, which can help you give your points balance a boost. These cards usually charge higher interest rates and annual fees, 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

You can save with a no annual fee credit cards by paying no yearly administrative fee. While some cards offer an annual fee waiver for a promotional period, such as the first year or two, others charge $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, a balance transfer credit card could be just the thing you need for Christmas. You can 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 26 months, you can repay your debt faster and save without the burden of interest. 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 in the lead up to Christmas, make sure that you give yourself enough time to apply and wait for your new card to arrive. It can be an easy and quick online process, just as long as you have all your documents scanned and ready to upload with your application.

Pictures: Getty

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Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Citi Rewards Card - Exclusive Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save on interest with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee and Citi Rewards.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0
Save on new and existing interest charges with 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
$249
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 50 bonus Status Credits and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year. Ends 4 November 2020.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
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* 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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