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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 Balance transfer rate
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
23.99% p.a.
Up to 110 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 25 months
0% p.a. for 25 months
Long-Term 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
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% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee.
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
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Bonus Qantas Points Offer
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% for 7 months, reverts to 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 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Purchase Rate & 0% Balance Transfer Offers
Get 0% p.a. promotional purchase and balance transfer rates and save with a first-year annual fee waiver. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 30 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 30 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First Year Annual Fee
Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 30 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% 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.
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.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59
0% p.a. for 20 months with 1% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 20 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 20 months and a $200 cashback offer.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$129
0% p.a. for 22 months
0% p.a. for 22 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & Annual Fee Refund
Enjoy a 22-month balance transfer offer, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher 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 12 months
0% p.a. for 12 months
$500 e-voucher and Discounted First Year Annual Fee Offer
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.
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 22 months
0% p.a. for 22 months
Long-Term Balance Transfer Offer
Get 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers and a reduced first-year annual fee. Plus, earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Citi Clear Card
0.9% 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% 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.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$79
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
0% Purchase Rate Offer
Save with an introductory rate of 0% p.a on purchases for 15 months and 2.99% p.a. on balance transfers for 9 months.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% p.a. for 6 months
Balance Transfer Offer & 60,000 Bonus Points
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months and complimentary insurance covers. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% p.a. for 6 months
$0 First Year Annual Fee & $150 Woolworths Gift Card Offer
Save with a $0 first-year annual fee and get a $150 Woolworths Supermarket gift card when you spend $1,000 in the first 60 days. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
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
0% p.a. for 18 months
Balance Transfer Offer & Up to 80,000 Bonus Points
Get up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
20.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$425
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
100,000 Bonus Points & $150 back
Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and $150 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months with this premium card.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
No Annual Fee & 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Earn flybuys points for your spending and save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
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% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer
Receive an introductory 0% p.a. interest rate for 20 months on balance transfers, Visa Entertainment offers and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Balance Transfer Offer
Earn 2 flybuys points / $1 spent and save with a 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, 0% international transaction fees on purchases.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
18.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% p.a. for 12 months
No Annual Fee & 0% Balance Transfer Offer
Offers 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer
Receive 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and a long-term balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary travel insurance. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
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 points, 3x points on eligible Qantas flights & 2 lounge passes 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
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.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% for 7 months, reverts to 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 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Purchase Rate & 0% Balance Transfer Offers
Save with 0% p.a. for 7 months on purchases, 0% p.a. interest for 22 months on balance transfers and a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
0% Purchase Rate Offer & First Year Annual Fee Discount
Features an introductory 0% p.a. purchase rate, $49 first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance covers. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 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 6 months
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% for 14 months Purchase Offer with Virgin Australia Gift Voucher
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months, a reduced first-year annual fee and Velocity Points per $1 spent. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
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.
St.George Amplify Platinum
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Purchase Rate & 0% Balance Transfer Offers
Save with 0% p.a. interest rates on purchases and balance transfers. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
BankSA Vertigo
0% for 7 months, reverts to 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 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% Purchase Rate & 0% Balance Transfer Offers
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for up to 22 months on balance transfers and up to 7 months on purchases. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
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Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$99
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
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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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