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

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Interest-free period Annual fee Balance transfer rate
Citi Rewards Card
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 on interest with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
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
Save on new and existing interest charges with 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months. Ends 31 January 2021.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$199 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Balance Transfer Offer & 100,000 Bonus Points
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months (with a one-time 1% BT fee).
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Get 0% p.a. promotional balance transfer rate, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, save with a first-year annual fee waiver.
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 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First Year Annual Fee
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Long-Term Balance Transfer Offer & $200 Cashback
A low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 24 months and a $200 cashback offer.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
20.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$425
20.24% p.a.
120,000 Bonus Points & $200 back
Collect 120,000 bonus Qantas Points and $200 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, complimentary lounge passes.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45
13.99% p.a.
0% Interest Rate & $150 Woolworths Gift Card Offer
Get 0% p.a. on purchases for 15 months and a $150 Woolworths Supermarket gift card when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. Ends 31 Jan 2021.
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 130,000 bonus Qantas Points & First-Year Annual Fee Discount
Up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points (100k when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months). Plus, a reduced first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Enjoy a 26-month balance transfer offer, a first-year annual fee waiver and complimentary travel insurance.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$450
100,000 bonus Qantas Points & $200 Statement Credit
Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points and $200 back on your card when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
10.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months (with a 2% BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, a 10.99% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Citi Simplicity Card
0% p.a. for 6 months, reverts to 21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 6 months
No Annual Fee & 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 6 months on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
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
$100 off a Coles Supermarket Shop & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Enjoy $100 off a Coles Supermarket, a $0 first-year annual fee and a 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months (1.5% fee applies). Ends 31 Jan 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.
Citi Clear Card
0.9% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0.9% p.a. for 15 months
0.9% Purchase & Balance Transfer Offers
Save with 0.9% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.
Defence Bank Foundation Credit Card
3.99% p.a. for 6 months, reverts to 8.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45
3.99% p.a. for 6 months
3.99% Balance Transfer Offer
Offers 3.99% interest for 6 months on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
3.99% p.a. for 6 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$149
120,000 Bonus Points Offer
Finder Exclusive. Ends 01 February 2021.
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 120,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, 2 airport lounge passes.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$249
80,000 Bonus Points and $200 Statement Credit
Enjoy 80,000 bonus Qantas Points, $200 back and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
20.49% p.a.
Up to 45 days on purchases
$99 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Balance Transfer Offer & 60,000 Bonus Points
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a long-term balance transfer offer.
CUA Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 20 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First Year Annual Fee
Take advantage of a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 20 months, $0 first year annual fee, and a low variable 11.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
N/A
Up to 51 days on purchases
$450
150,000 Bonus Points Offer
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 150,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 yearly Qantas Club lounge passes and 3x points on eligible Qantas flights.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate for 20 months on balance transfers, Visa Offers + Perks and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Cashback Offer
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$300 Cashback Offer
Get $300 cashback when you spend at least $900 in the first 90 days. Plus, platinum perks and a low variable interest rate on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Save with a 0% p.a. interest for 24 months on balance transfers, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
18.5% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$175
Business Credit Card Offer
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on everyday business purchases in the first 60 days of account opening. ABN required.
BankSA Vertigo
13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
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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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