Whether you’re looking to pay down debt, shop overseas or cut down on interest costs, compare some of the cheapest credit card offers* on the Australian market.
Cheap* credit cards to compare
How to compare the cheapest credit cards* in Australia
With so many different credit cards on the market, finding the cheapest option comes down to individual circumstances and needs. For example, can you pay back what you’ve spent by the end of the credit card statement period, or are you looking for a credit card to use to make a big-ticket purchase and pay back over a couple of months? What about cards that have no fees on foreign currency transactions? How you plan on using the product will determine what the cheapest credit card is for you.
Low- or no-interest credit cards
These credit cards feature a low standard variable rate of interest or a low promotional purchase rate of interest. If the credit card has a promotional offer, at the end of the introductory period, the ongoing purchase rate of interest applies to any purchases you haven’t paid back, as well as any future purchases.
The purchase rate of interest comes into play when you carry a debt from one month to the next. Remember that interest compounds. A credit card with a low rate will cost you less if you carry a balance from month to month, when compared to cards with higher rates.
Note that some transactions aren’t eligible for a low purchase rate (whether standard or promotional). In particular, cash advances accrue interest at the cash advance rate of interest and balance transfers accrue interest at the revert rate following the end of the balance transfer promotional period.
- Good if: You struggle to repay your balance in full each month.
- Bad if: You’re an infrequent spender or always pay your balance in full by the end of the statement period.
Credit cards with interest-free days
Many credit cards offer up to a certain number of interest-free days for each statement period, for example “up to 55 days”. This feature lets you pay back what you’ve spent by the statement due date without incurring additional interest charges. If you have a card that offers an interest-free period and you always pay your balance in full by the due date on your statement, the card’s annual fee could be the only additional cost you have for that account.
There are some requirements if you want to take advantage of interest-free days. If you carry a balance from month to month, for example if you have an active balance transfer promotion, you’re ineligible for interest-free days. Cash advances are also ineligible for interest-free days, so it may be better to find a credit card with a promotion on cash advances if you plan on using your credit card at the ATM.
- Good if: You always repay your balance each month and make regular purchases on your credit card.
- Bad if: You often miss repayments or are unable to pay your balance in full.
Compare credit cards with 55 interest-free days on purchases
No annual fee credit cards
There are two different types of no annual fee credit cards. You can pay no annual fee for the life of the credit card or pay no annual fee in the first year.
No annual fee credit cards can charge higher rates of interest than a low-rate credit card and can be light on value-adding features such as complimentary insurance. No annual fee credit cards are usually the cheapest option for people who pay back their card balance by the statement due date. Many no annual fee credit cards also feature up to 55 days interest free. Pay back what you spend by the statement due date and a no annual fee credit card could cost you nothing to own and use.
- Good if: You rarely use your credit card or want to cut down on extra costs.
- Bad if: You want to take advantage of extra features such as rewards, complimentary insurance and concierge services.
0% balance transfer offers
A balance transfer is a money-saving feature you can use to pay down credit card debt. These cards offer a 0% interest rate (or reduced rate) when you move existing debt to the new account. At the end of the balance transfer promotional period, any balance transfer balance you haven’t paid back will accrue interest at the revert rate. This rate varies from card to card but is usually the purchase rate of interest or the cash advance rate.
Keep in mind that a balance transfer credit card shouldn’t be used for purchases, which will accrue interest at the purchase rate for that card. Interest-free days also don’t apply if you’re carrying a balance transfer balance from month to month.
- Good if: You want to consolidate several debts under one card or want to pay off a debt without the burden of interest.
- Bad if: You plan to use your card for purchases.
0% balance transfer credit cards comparison
Rewards credit cards with no annual fee
These rewards credit cards do not charge an annual fee. A no annual fee rewards credit card can give you added value from the first dollar spent. There’s no break even point – where the value of the rewards is greater than the product’s annual fee. But if you carry a balance and have to deal with interest charges, then these costs will have to be weighed up against the value of the rewards you earn.
Compared to low-rate cards, no annual fee rewards credit cards usually have high rates of interest. But if the card offers interest-free days, you can still avoid the interest charges by paying the outstanding balance in full by the statement due date.
- Good if: You want to earn rewards while also cutting down on standard card costs.
- Bad if: You want the no annual fee for the life of the card. These are usually just for a promotional period on rewards cards.
Compare rewards credit cards with no annual fee
Credit cards with $0 foreign transaction fees
These credit cards are the cheapest to use if you want to make purchases and ATM withdrawals abroad. You can use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees to spend overseas or online with international retailers without paying the extra 2-4% for currency conversion that most cards charge. To put this in perspective, if a card charged you 3% for a foreign transaction worth AUD$500, it would cost you an extra $15. These fees can quickly add up when you’re overseas, so 0% foreign fee cards offer a cheaper alternative.
Some of these credit cards also include complimentary international travel insurance. This is another way to potentially save money on costs when you go overseas.
- Good if: You regularly shop online or have an overseas trip coming up.
- Bad if: You don’t regularly spend in foreign currencies and want to save on other standard fees such as interest rates on purchases.
Compare credit cards with no foreign transaction fees
The difference between a cheap credit card and an expensive one comes down to how you spend and repay your credit card balance. A no annual fee rewards credit card represents good value for money if you can pay your balance back in full each month, while a low rate credit card will be cheaper if you carry a balance. If you need help with your comparison of the cheapest credit cards*, get in touch with us using the form at the bottom of this page.Back to top