Plastic profanities: The 8 credit card sins to avoid - finder.com.au

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Plastic profanities: The 8 credit card sins to avoid

        • 51% of Aussie credit card users have made mistakes when using plastic in the past 12 months
        • 7 million credit card holders used their card irresponsibly
        • Tips for reducing your credit card debt

25 February 2021, Sydney, Australia – Credit card misuse is rife in Australia, according to new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

A new Finder survey of 690 credit card holders reveals 51% of credit card holders have committed a credit card sin in the past 12 months.

1 in 5 (20%) card holders has made a late payment, while 18% admitted to impulse buying.

The research shows 17% don't check their credit card statement, while 1 in 10 (10%) have maxed out their credit card.

Only paying the minimum repayment (10%), withdrawing regular cash from a credit card (8%), paying fees for more than 1 card (7%) and applying for credit cards they don't need (5%) round out the top 8 financial faux pas.

There are 13.7 million credit cards in Australia with a national debt accruing interest of $20.9 billion.

That's the equivalent of 7 million credit card holders who've used their card irresponsibly.

Taylor Blackburn, personal finance specialist at Finder, said credit card users are prone to making mistakes when using plastic.

"Better card management can literally save you thousands of dollars in interest and charges," he said.

Blackburn said these credit card misdemeanours can have a negative impact on your finances and even your credit score.

"The biggest loss is a blemished credit score which can impact your chances of getting a card or a loan in the future.

"Be mindful of your card usage – while some lousy actions might only hurt you temporarily, others should be avoided at all costs," he said.

Blackburn said there were some basic measures Aussies could take to protect their credit score.

"Build an emergency fund to avoid maxing out a credit card if you are faced with an unexpected expense," he said.

"Missing a payment attracts a penalty, so set up monthly reminders in your phone to make sure you pay on time."

The research shows men are much more likely to make a late payment on a credit card bill than women.

1 in 4 men (24%) have made a late payment in the past year, compared to only 15% of women.


Have you engaged in any of the following credit card spending behaviours within the past 12 months?
Making a late payment 20%
Impulse buying 18%
Not checking my statement17%
Maxing out my credit card10%
Only paying the minimum each month10%
Taking out regular cash advances8%
Paying fees for more than one card7%
Applying for new cards I don't need5%
I haven't done any of these49%

Source: Finder survey of 1,004 Australians in January 2021 (tick all that apply)


Methodology:

  • Finder conducted a Qualtrics survey of 1,004 respondents in January 2021.
  • Calculations are based on population data from ABS.

Tips for reducing credit card debt:

  • Take aim at the cards with the higher rates first. The card with the highest interest rate will often cost you the most in the long run, so try to smash the debt on it first. Make sure you are still paying the minimum on any and all cards to protect your credit score and keep you from being charged additional fees.
  • Consider lowering your interest rate to zero. A 0% balance transfer card can help to simplify your finances and consolidate your debts at lower or no interest. The best offers in the market are 0% for up to 2.5 years (30 months), which could save you more than $1,500 in interest on a debt of $5,000.
  • Put your card use on a timeout. Transition away from using credit for purchases (including buy now pay later schemes) and use your cash or debit card. This will help you pay down your debt faster.
  • Stay on top of your budget. Once you know how much is going in and how much you can afford to spend, you will be happier and more at peace. The Finder app can give you a bird's-eye view of your spending and protect against fraudulent spending by alerting you of unusual purchases and if your credit score changes.

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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 Finder

Every month 2.6 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to 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 three Australians: Fred Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now have offices in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

12.6 million average unique monthly audience (June- September 2019), Nielsen Digital Panel

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