Credit card hacks: How to make the most of your credit card

10 tips for saving money and maximising the value of rewards

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Credit cards can be incredibly useful, flexible and can come with valuable features such as complimentary insurance policies, no foreign transaction fees and discounts on a range of products and services.

But the value of these benefits can be slashed by fees or interest charges if you fail to use a credit card properly, so read on to find out how to make the most of your card, both from a money-saving and points-earning perspective.

Hacks for saving money

  • Pay more than the minimum. Making only the minimum repayment means you'll be paying more interest over a longer period of time. Increasing your monthly payment amount will increase the amount of your repayment going towards the actual balance rather than the interest. For example, on a balance of $1,000 with an interest rate of 18.5% and minimum repayments of 2% of the balance, you'll pay your debt off in just over eight years. Your debt will also increase to $1,924 because of interest. If you bumped up your repayments to only $50 a month this debt would be paid off in two years and only cost a total of $1,183, saving you six years of payments and $741.
  • Take the right card when you travel. Australian credit cards used overseas will incur foreign transaction fees on purchases and cash advances, and additional fees when withdrawing money from ATMs, on top of the usual interest charges. There are credit cards which waive these fees so consider one of those before travelling if you know you'll be spending a lot on credit.
  • Understand cash advance transactions and minimise them. Any transaction that's considered a cash advance will be charged the cash advance fee (usually around 3%) and the cash advance interest rate (usually around 22% p.a.) from the day they are made. Cash advances include ATM withdrawals, gambling transactions and BPAY payments where the biller does not accept credit card payments.
  • If you have existing debt, consider a balance transfer credit card. A balance transfer card offers a low or zero percent promotional rate to those who transfer their existing credit card balances over to a new credit card. The rate usually lasts from 6 - 24 months, and allows you to make more progress paying off your balance without high interest charges. There are some specific eligibility criteria for these cards, so make sure you read the fine print before you apply.
  • Make use of the included purchase & price protection policies. Many cards (not just the premium ones) offer these types of perks that could end up saving you a lot of cash. Subject to amount, availability and distance requirements, price protection covers the difference in price if an item you bought goes on sale within a certain amount of time. Purchase protection exists to insure items you've purchased if they are damaged, lost or stolen.

Hacks for maximising rewards points

  • Choose a credit card with rewards you will use. If you travel a lot and spend enough to accumulate a meaningful amount of points, consider a frequent flyer credit card. If you're looking to save money and earn rewards, compare programs that allow you to redeem points for cashback or a credit to your statement. There are also credit cards for specific retailers like Coles, Woolworths and Kogan.
  • Carefully read all of the terms and conditions. Especially when it comes to rewards and bonus points, there are always conditions you'll have to meet in order to take advantage of them. For example, if you have to spend $3,000 in the first three months to get 100,000 bonus points, make sure the $3,000 spend is actually in your budget. Additionally, make sure you know what is considered an eligible purchase before committing.
  • Shop with rewards program partners. Almost all rewards programs have partners where you can earn bonus points, or convert their points into the program of your choosing. For example, if you collect Qantas Points it could be a good idea to do your grocery shopping at Woolworths and convert Woolworths Credit Card Points into Qantas Points, on top of using a Qantas Points-earning credit card.
  • Lean on your family. Most frequent flyer or bank rewards programs allow you to pool points with family members. You can also add additional cardholders to your account to rack up rewards for their spending, keeping in mind you are still responsible for the account and repayments.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for transfer promotions. A couple of times per year Qantas and Velocity offer an increased amount of points when you convert your points from another program. For example, transferring your Flybuys to Velocity, or your Woolworths Credit Card Points to Qantas. This can bump your transferred balance by 10% to up to 25% more than the usual rate.

The main gist of these tips and tricks is to have a careful look at your credit cards and to fully understand the features and benefits available to you. When used correctly, a credit card can extend your cash flow and reward you for your everyday spending. However, when used incorrectly a credit card can cost you thousands in interest each year and contribute to a poor credit score.

If you're interested in checking your current credit score, you can do it for free with Finder. And if you don't think your card is maximising the potential value you could get from a credit card, compare Finder's best credit cards and discover if there is one more suitable for you.

Compare some of the best* credit cards

Name Product Purchase rate Interest-free period Annual fee Balance transfer rate
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 24 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $50 Kogan.com Credit
Finder Exclusive
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
humm90 Mastercard
23.99% p.a.
Up to 110 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 36 months
Long-Term 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for 36 months, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% Purchase & Balance Transfer Offers
Finder Exclusive, ends 30 June 2021
Earn 10,000 bonus Flybuys points and save on interest charges with 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$29 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 36 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $29 First-Year Annual Fee
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points & First-Year Annual Fee Discount
Earn up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 20k after 12 months).
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 30 months
30-Month Balance Transfer & Annual Fee Discount
Save with a 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months (with no balance transfer fee). Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 June 2021.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months
0% Purchase Rate & Balance Transfer Offers
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 26 months
$129 Gift Voucher & Balance Transfer Offer
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months, a reduced 1st year annual fee & $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher yearly.
Citi Rewards Card - Flybuys Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
100,000 Bonus Flybuys Points
Get 100,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $500 Flybuys dollars) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 30 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months (with no BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
14.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
No Annual Fee & 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months (with a 2% BT fee), ​an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 First-Year Annual Fee & 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Save with a $0 annual fee for the first year, plus, a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months.
Citi Rewards Card - Points & Gift Card Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months
90,000 Citi Rewards Points and $100 Coles eGift Card
Receive 90,000 bonus Citi reward Points (worth $400 in gift cards) and a $100 Coles eGift Card when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55
0% p.a. for 28 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months, with no balance transfer fee.
Citi Rewards Card - Velocity Points Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months
100,000 bonus Velocity Points
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, complimentary travel and purchase insurance.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$225 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
80,000 Bonus Points & 80 bonus Status Credits
Enjoy 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend at least $4,000 within the first 3 months, 80 bonus Status Credits on eligible spend, plus a discounted $225 first-year annual fee.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
20,000 Bonus Flybuys Points & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Enjoy 20,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $100 at Coles), a $0 first-year annual fee and an 18-month balance transfer offer.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Long-Term 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus a 11.99% p.a. purchase interest rate. Ends 30 June 2021.
Latitude Gem Visa
24.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0% Purchase Rate Offer
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases over $250 for 6 months, optional shopper's protection insurance and the convenience of Samsung Pay.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
20.24% p.a.
0% Purchase Offer & $0 First Year Annual Fee
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
Citi Clear Card
14.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months
$250 Cashback & 0% Balance Transfer Offers
Get $250 cashback when you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days. Plus, a 0% balance transfer offer and first-year annual fee discount.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Balance Transfer Offer & 60,000 Bonus Points
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months with a 1% BT fee.
MoneyMe Freestyle Virtual Mastercard
16.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
Approval within minutes
Get approved quickly online and start using your card right away. Plus, the ability to transfer money to a bank account.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
20.49% p.a.
Up to 45 days on purchases
$149 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
60,000 Bonus Qantas Points & First-Year Annual Fee Discount
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a 0% balance transfer offer.
American Express Cashback Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$120
Up to 6% cashback
Earn 1% cashback per $1 dollar spent on your everyday purchases. Plus, an additional 5% for the first 3 months (up to $200).
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
N/A
Up to 51 days on purchases
$450
150,000 Bonus Points Offer & $450 Qantas Flight Voucher
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. 150,000 bonus Qantas Points and a $450 Qantas Flight Voucher when you spend $3,000 within the first 2 months. Ends 30 June 2021.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 26 months (with 2% BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Citi Premier Card
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$150 annual fee for the first year ($300 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months
130,000 bonus Citi Reward Points & First-Year Annual Fee Discount
Enjoy 130,000 bonus points (worth $450 in eGift cards) when you spend $4,000 within the first 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
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*The credit card offers on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. The use of the terms "best" and "top" are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.Back to top

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