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How Westpac SmartPlan works for credit card payments

Pay off your credit card debt in monthly instalments with Westpac SmartPlan.

Westpac SmartPlan lets you pay off your credit card balance in regular, monthly instalments. Each plan is customised based on your specific debt and the instalment repayments are all worth the same amount. Some SmartPlan options also give you reduced interest rates. This can make it easier to budget for repayments and may also help you clear your debt at a pace that’s manageable for you.

Use this guide to learn more about Westpac SmartPlan, including what’s required to get a payment plan and how to set one up. We also compare this option to standard credit card repayments so that you can choose an option that’s right for your circumstances.

How does Westpac SmartPlan work?

If you have debt on a personal credit card from Westpac, you can use SmartPlan to break it down into equal monthly repayments over a fixed amount of time. In comparison, with regular credit card repayments you can pay any amount as long as you meet the minimum repayment (usually 2-3% of your balance).

While regular repayments give you flexibility, they raise the risk of ongoing credit card debt and interest charges. SmartPlan reduces these risks by providing a structured repayment plan, as well as potentially lower interest rates and charges.

Westpac SmartPlan options

Westpac offers two main types of SmartPlans:

  • Large Purchase SmartPlan. This type of plan is designed to help you pay off individual big-ticket items bought with your credit card, such as a new laptop, flights or hotel bookings. You can set up a Large Purchase SmartPlan for any single purchase worth $500 or more as long as it’s been made in the past 30 days.
  • Credit Card Balance SmartPlan. This option allows you to set up instalments for purchases, cash advances or balance transfer balances worth more than $200.

How can I set up a SmartPlan?

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Westpac SmartPlans can be set up in a few minutes through Westpac Live or Westpac Mobile Banking using the following steps:

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Go through your transaction history to find transactions or balances that are eligible for SmartPlans. These will be identified by a SmartPlan icon.
  3. Click the icon and choose a repayment option that suits your budget. For example, you could be given the option of repaying over 6 months, 9 months or 12 months.

Your SmartPlan will be activated within two days of submitting your request. Westpac will also confirm the plan’s activation via your online banking message inbox and designated email address.

SmartPlan repayments

If you have set up a SmartPlan or plans on your account, your credit card balance will include details of the balance and payments that are due. Note that the SmartPlan balance will be shown separately from your full account balance, which Westpac refers to as your “Main Account Balance”. When you combine these two amounts you will get your “Closing Balance”.

Each month, you’ll be required to make your instalment repayment towards your SmartPlan balance. This can be done in the same way you would normally pay off your account, such as through BPAY or a transfer from your bank account. You can also choose to set up automatic payments for your SmartPlan through Westpac’s Card Autopay service.

Repayment amounts listed on your statement

The following repayment options will be listed on your credit card statement when you have a SmartPlan or plans set up.

  • Monthly payment due. This includes all your SmartPlan instalment repayments and the minimum you need to pay off the Main Account Balance. The monthly payment due is what you need to pay if you want to stick to your SmartPlan schedule and keep your account in good standing.
  • Minimum payment. This is the smallest amount you can pay off your credit card each month and is calculated as a percentage of your total balance. Depending on how much you owe, the minimum payment may not be enough to cover your SmartPlan repayment/s.
  • Monthly payment balance. This amount is made up of all your SmartPlan repayments that are due plus the total owed on your Main Account Balance.

Note that if you don’t make at least the minimum payment on your account, any SmartPlans you have will be cancelled. You may also be charged a late payment fee.

SmartPlan and credit card repayment allocation

If you’re due to pay an instalment on your SmartPlan balance, any payment you make will go towards that debt first. If you pay more than the required SmartPlan repayment, the remaining money will be allocated to any other debts on your account.

Keep in mind that applying payments to your SmartPlan repayments first means that other balances on your card may take longer to pay off. They could also attract greater interest charges as a result.

Can I make additional payments on a SmartPlan?

Yes, you can make as many payments as you want off your credit card, even when you have a SmartPlan. Just keep in mind that once you’ve met your instalment requirements, the repayment amount will go towards your other balances first. So you’d need to make a payment large enough to clear any other balances before the money would go towards your SmartPlan balance.

What else do I need to know about Westpac SmartPlan?

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Before you set up a SmartPlan, make sure you consider the following factors to decide if it’s right for you.

  • SmartPlan minimum amounts. For Large Purchase SmartPlans, your purchase needs to be worth at least $500 (from a single transaction). For Credit Card Balance plans, you need a minimum combined balance of $200.
  • Purchase date. If you want to set up a Large Purchase SmartPlan, the specific purchase must have been made within 30 days of requesting the instalment plan.
  • Repayment term. You will be given the choice of up to three instalment plan options. For example, you could choose to set up SmartPlan repayments over 6 months, 9 months or 12 months.
  • Missed SmartPlan payments. While you won’t be charged a specific fee for missing a SmartPlan repayment, interest will be charged on the unpaid amount (if applicable). Note that penalties will still apply if you don’t pay at least the minimum amount required by the due date on your statement.
  • Discounted interest rates. When you set up a SmartPlan, a discounted interest rate may apply to the balance. The specific rate varies, based on when you set up the plan and the type of card you have. Note that discounted rates may not apply to cards with existing promotional rates and are not available if you’re using SmartPlan on a Westpac Lite Visa.
  • SmartPlan cancellation. You can cancel your SmartPlan at any time through your Westpac Live or mobile banking account. There are no cancellation fees and it will take two business days to confirm the cancellation.

Westpac’s SmartPlan service can help you manage your credit card debt by breaking your repayments into regular monthly instalments. If not all of your account balance is eligible for a SmartPlan, it could affect your repayments. Remember to think about these factors and weigh the benefits against potential costs so you can decide if using Westpac SmartPlan to pay off your card in instalments will work for you.

Pictures: Shutterstock

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Amy Bradney-George

Amy is a Senior Writer at finder.com.au with more than 10 years experience covering credit cards, personal finance and various lifestyle topics. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on money matters, Amy spends her time as an actress.

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