How to get your money’s worth from unwanted Christmas gifts bought on your credit card

Figures reveal that Aussies spent $20 million on dud gifts this holiday season. Learn how to cut your credit card costs in the aftermath of Christmas.

Victoria's Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garrett revealed that Aussies fork out $20 million for underwhelming gifts every Christmas. Garrett encouraged spenders to understand their rights when it comes to returns and to employ strategies to get the most out of their money. If you used your credit card to pay for those socks for Dad or that faulty juicer for Mum, there are a few tricks to ensure you’re not still paying for unwanted gifts in the new year.

How to get the most from your credit card costs after Christmas

Purchase protection

Gold, platinum and some standard credit cards may come with complimentary purchase protection on items paid with your credit card. If the gift you bought was damaged or faulty, your purchase protection should cover you for up to three months following the purchase. You may not be covered for unwanted gifts though, so you’ll want to check with your provider before making a claim. The terms and conditions will vary from card to card, so it’s best to check your product disclosure statement (PDS).

Credit Cards with Purchase Protection

Rates last updated June 26th, 2017
Name Product Product Description Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
American Express Essential®  Credit Card
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card.
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Take advantage of purchase protection repairs or replacements on eligible items if they are accidentally broken or stolen within 90 days of purchase.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
The HSBC Platinum Credit Card offers purchase protection cover for eligible purchases.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Earn uncapped Velocity points on purchases and redeem for a range of rewards including flights, accommodation, car hire and gift cards.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Receive a $200 Travel Credit every year and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($195 p.a. thereafter)
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
Get 50,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months.
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter)
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement and earn up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent.
19.99% p.a.
$199 p.a.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
Earn 2 Velocity Points on top of the standard earn rate per $1 spent in the first 3 months, plus a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
NAB Low Fee Card
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, special offers from Visa Entertainment and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Citi Clear Platinum
Save with 14.99% p.a. on retail purchases. Also enjoy free wine when you dine with the Citibank Dining Program.
14.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Citi Rewards Signature Credit Card
Complimentary international travel insurance, transit accident insurance, interstate flight inconvenience insurance, purchase cover insurance and extended warranty insurance.
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Emirates Citi World Mastercard
Receive protection through guaranteed pricing scheme, purchase cover insurance, and extended warranty insurance.
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 9 months
$149 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Qantas American Express Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
Enjoy two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year, plus the protection of complimentary travel and purchase insurance.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$249 p.a.
American Express Platinum Business Card
Enjoy a platinum business concierge, complimentary Virgin Lounge access, worldwide travel insurance and luxury hotel benefits.
$1,500 p.a.
ANZ First Student Card
An ideal credit card for students with up to 44 days interest-free on purchases. Access your account on the go with the goMoney™ app.
19.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter)
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
Enjoy platinum benefits with exclusive discounts, complimentary travel and purchase insurances and a 24/7 personal concierge.
11.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year and complimentary travel insurance.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
Offers up to 1 Velocity point per $1 on purchases, combined with complimentary insurance covers and a concierge service.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$150 p.a.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Receive a complimentary Qantas domestic return flight and 2 American Express Airport Lounge entries each calendar year.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases for 12 months. Plus, up to 0.66 Velocity Points per $1 spent.
0% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months
$129 p.a.
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 30k Bonus Points offer
Take off sooner with up to 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent and earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
20.74% p.a.
1.9% p.a. for 15 months
$144 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($289 p.a. thereafter)
NAB Premium Card
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge service and special offers through Visa Entertainment.
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$90 p.a.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
20.24% p.a.
$225 p.a.
American Express Platinum Card
Receive an annual $300 Platinum Travel Credit, membership to an elite tier of partner programs and access to more than 1,000 VIP lounges.
$1,200 p.a.
Bankwest More World Mastercard
Earn 2.5 More Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$270 p.a.
Bankwest Qantas World Mastercard
Earn uncapped Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. Also enjoy no foreign transaction fees on online and overseas spend.
20.49% p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$270 p.a.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months
$99 p.a.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
Earn up to 2 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance.
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
Earn up to 3 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive an additional card at no extra cost.
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
Take advantage of purchase protection, extended warranty and overseas travel insurance, plus a 24/7 concierge.
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
Get a range of complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months
$99 p.a.
St.George Amplify Platinum
Earn up to 2 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary overseas travel insurance.
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
St.George Amplify Signature
Earn up to 3 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive two complimentary airport lounge passes per year.
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
Earn Reward Points per $1 spent as part of the Citi Rewards Program, plus receive complimentary international travel insurance.
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Citi Simplicity Card
Earn 10% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 4 months from card approval.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$0 p.a.
Citi Rewards Classic Credit Card
Receive 1 point per $1 spent on all eligible Domestic Spend (up to $5,000 per period) and membership to the Citibank Dining Program.
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
Get up to 44 interest-free days on purchases and take advantage of a low minimum credit limit.
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
Enjoy the protection of 7 complimentary insurances including overseas travel and purchase protection insurance.
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$100 p.a.
NAB flybuys Rewards Card
Earn 1 flybuys point per $1 spent on everyday purchases and receive 7 complimentary insurance covers.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
NAB Velocity Rewards Card
This dual Amex and Visa card offers up to 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and special Visa Entertainment offers.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
Protection for new items purchased with this card, if the items are stolen or accidentally damaged within 90 days of the date of purchase. Plus a low interest rate on balance transfers for 6 months.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$250 p.a.
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
Enjoy purchase protection as a complimentary service with the NAB Qantas Rewards credit card. Plus take advantage of a low balance transfer rate.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
NAB Rewards Classic Card
Earn 0.75 NAB Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary purchase protection insurance.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
NAB Rewards Platinum Card
Collect 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 on everyday purchases within 60 days of account opening.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$195 p.a.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
Receive a $100 eGift Card when you apply by 30 June 2017 and make an eligible purchase by 31 July 2017.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Westpac Low Rate Card
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases if you pay your balance in full. Plus, the convenience of the Westpac mobile banking app.
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 12 months
$59 p.a.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Refunds

Some credit cards also come with refund protection. Refund protection on a credit card can be used if a retailer won’t give you a refund and the card provider will cover the cost of the item. However, if the product is faulty, didn’t meet your expectations or you bought the same gift as someone else, you should be able to refund the item at the store. You might find that retailers may try to deny your refund request, so arm yourself by researching what you’re entitled to before heading to the shop.

Credit Cards with Refund Protection

Rates last updated June 26th, 2017
Name Product Product Description Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year and complimentary travel insurance.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
American Express Platinum Card
Receive an annual $300 Platinum Travel Credit, membership to an elite tier of partner programs and access to more than 1,000 VIP lounges.
$1,200 p.a.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Receive a $200 Travel Credit every year and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($195 p.a. thereafter)
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Earn Qantas points that can be redeemed for a one way, return or multi-destination Classic Flight Reward on over 50 partner airlines.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Receive a complimentary Qantas domestic return flight and 2 American Express Airport Lounge entries each calendar year.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
American Express Platinum Business Card
Enjoy a platinum business concierge, complimentary Virgin Lounge access, worldwide travel insurance and luxury hotel benefits.
$1,500 p.a.
American Express Business Card
Earn Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on eligible purchases along with refund protection.
$109 p.a.

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Balance transfer

Whether the gifts were duds or successes, you don’t want to pay more than you have to. If you paid for gifts on plastic, make timely repayments to avoid accruing interest and increasing the amount you’ll have to repay. If you’ve bitten off more than you can chew this Christmas, a balance transfer could be your new year’s resolution. Compare 0% balance transfer cards that will allow you to repay your entire balance before the end of the promotional period. You could avoid having to pay more than what you were charged for your Christmas gifts.

Credit Cards with a Balance Transfer

Rates last updated June 26th, 2017
Name Product Product Description Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
Earn 2 Velocity Points on top of the standard earn rate per $1 spent in the first 3 months, plus a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend and receive complimentary travel and purchase protection insurances.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
St.George Vertigo Visa
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the ability to make contactless payments with Visa payWave technology.
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
13.25% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, special offers from Visa Entertainment and Tap and Pay capabilities.
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
A long-term balance transfer offer with the Citi Rewards Platinum Card. Earn extra points on eligible international spend, plus complimentary travel insurance.
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
NAB Premium Card
Benefit from premium credit card advantages including travel insurance, Platinum Concierge Service plus 0% p.a. for 20 months on balance transfers.
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$90 p.a.
American Express Essential®  Credit Card
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card.
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months
$99 p.a.
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
Enjoy platinum benefits with exclusive discounts, complimentary travel and purchase insurances and a 24/7 personal concierge.
11.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
NAB Low Fee Card
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, special offers from Visa Entertainment and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
Offers up to 1 Velocity point per $1 on purchases, combined with complimentary insurance covers and a concierge service.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$150 p.a.
NAB Velocity Rewards Card
This dual Amex and Visa card offers up to 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and special Visa Entertainment offers.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
A dual Amex and Visa card that allows you to earn up to 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent, plus complimentary purchase protection insurance.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
NAB Rewards Classic Card
Earn 0.75 NAB Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary purchase protection insurance.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
NAB Rewards Platinum Card
Collect 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 on everyday purchases within 60 days of account opening.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$195 p.a.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
Receive a $100 eGift Card when you apply by 30 June 2017 and make an eligible purchase by 31 July 2017.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)

Compare up to 4 providers

Learn more about the balance transfer process

Other tips and tricks

  • Trade. If your loved one is unhappy with the gift but you can’t refund or exchange it, trading it with someone who will enjoy it will ensure your money doesn’t go to waste. Garrett revealed that one in three gift cards bought during Christmas alone goes unused, so millions of dollars were “basically flushed down the toilet”. If you or a loved one are unhappy with a gift card or already have one for the same retailer, consider giving it to a friend, family member or charity.
  • Research. If you’re planning on requesting a refund, exchange or return, make sure you have your receipt (and any other supporting documents) on hand and research what you’re entitled to before heading into the store. The shop assistant may try to deny your request, but you’ll increase your chances of success if you’ve researched your rights beforehand.

Picking Christmas gifts always comes with a little risk, but protecting yourself with complimentary card insurance or simple but effective strategies will ensure that your money doesn’t go to waste after this Yuletide. Alternatively there could just be a way to avoid it all together--remember--that we also rally, review and write about the top and trending picks for gifts all year-round with our finder gift guides.

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Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is a journalist at finder.com.au who is a credit cards, frequent flyer and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.

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