Media Release

What’s the point? Aussies spending $1 billion on needless purchases

  • Over 1.7 million Aussies made purchases they didn’t ‘need’ to gain rewards points
  • Aussies waste over $1 billion collectively or $530 individually annually in pursuit for points
  • Annual fees and interest rates vary greatly with rewards credit cards so it pays to compare

23 August 2018, Sydney, Australia – One in ten (11%) Australian credit card holders make unnecessary purchases chasing rewards points, according to finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.

A new survey reveals credit card rewards programs have enticed Aussies to spend over $1 billion on purchases they didn’t ‘need’ in the past year.

The research shows credit card holders who admitted to this type of spending wasted $530 each on average in the past 12 months and a handful admitted to spending close to 10 times this amount.

Aussies were most likely to splurge on clothing and accessories in order to earn rewards points, followed by dining out and groceries. Alcohol, cosmetics and entertainment also made the list.

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at finder.com.au, said over 1.7 million Australians had purchased goods for no reason other than to earn reward value in the past 12 months.

“These people are being enticed by the notion of earning rewards points which they can later redeem. But if they're not careful they could be overextending themselves,” she said.

“With the incentive of a reward some cardholders spend more than they normally would which is counterintuitive.

“Credit card rewards do add up for big spenders but splashing out up to $500 more than you would otherwise in a year, is not going to give you much bang for your buck.

“Consumers could be better off making sure they pay off their credit card in full each month and buying the reward with the savings they would have otherwise paid in interest.”

Hassan said it is also important to know what annual fees and interest rates are associated with credit card rewards programs which could quickly erode the value of any rewards.

“While rewards cards can be a good way to unlock value and gain access to extras like flight upgrades, cashback and even fuel vouchers, they do come with fees attached.

“Some rewards cards charge as much as $450 in annual fees so you need to be sure that the value of the reward you get will more than outweigh any costs.

“When reviewing different rewards programs, you should also consider the points per dollar value, the point expiry date and any bonus point offers that apply,” Hassan said.

For the best tips, guides and news to maximise your points, head over to our frequent flyer guides.

What unnecessary purchases have you made on credit card in the past 12 months just to earn rewards points?

Type of purchaseProportion of credit card holders
Clothing and accessories12%
Dining out10%
Grocery shopping9%
Alcohol7%
Cosmetics and fragrances6%
Entertainment (music concerts, sports, movies etc)5%
Technology and electronics4%
Travel/flights/accomodation3%
Big household items (whitegoods, furniture etc)3%

(source: finder.com.au)

Demographics:

  • Men take the title of overspending in the pursuit of points - with the average male spending $767 a year, more than twice the amount females spend at $307.
  • The points spending blitz is most popular in Queensland with 14% admitting they spend up on their credit card on items they don’t need just for rewards, compared to only 4% of those from Tasmania.
  • Generation X (born 1960 - 1979) unnecessarily spend $889 on average extra a year making them the biggest spenders compared to Baby Boomers (born 1959 or prior) who only spend $284 on average extra per year.

###

For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

More than 3 million Australians turn to finder.com.au every month to save money, time and make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

Ask a question
Go to site