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rewards credit card vs low interest credit card

Reward Programs vs Low Interest Cards

How to work out what’s better for you: credit card rewards or a low interest rate?

Rewards and low interest rates are two of the most popular features to look for in a new credit card, but they don’t often go hand-in-hand. Instead it’s more common for a card with low rates to have only basic features, while a card with rewards is more likely to have a high standard variable rate of interest. So if the choice between a low rate and rewards credit card leaves you scratching your head, read this guide to work out which type of credit card is right for you.

How to choose between a rewards credit card and a low interest credit card

Both rewards and low interest credit cards are designed to offer benefits for specific spending habits and needs. To put it simply, rewards credit cards offer the most benefits to people who use their card often and always pay back what they spend, while low rate cards offer some savings to people who frequently carry a balance. If both of these scenarios apply to you, then you can use the following questions to help weigh up rewards programs and low interest rates.

What’s your income?

Your regular salary can help narrow down your credit card comparison by looking at the minimum income requirements for different products. For example, a low rate credit card could be more accessible if you’re a low income earner, with minimum income requirements often starting at $15,000. Rewards credit cards tend to have a higher minimum income requirement than low rate credit cards as they are more premium products with higher credit limits.

How much do you want to pay?

Most credit cards come with an account fee that you have to pay on a yearly basis, which can vary significantly based on the type of card you choose. For example, most reward and frequent flyer cards have annual fees well above $100, while low rate credit cards frequently have fees of less than $100. You’ll want to make sure that the value you get from either the rewards or the savings from low interest outweigh the cost of the card, otherwise it’s not of benefit to you.

What’s your average monthly spend?

A rewards credit card is cost-effective if it gives more value than it takes. Put simply: you must spend enough on the card to recoup the cost of the annual fee in rewards value. So if your annual fee is $100, you would want to earn at least $100 worth of value through the rewards program. As most credit cards offer points per $1 spent, your average monthly spending can help you work out whether or not a card will be worth it for you.A common way to calculate this value is to look at the points required for a gift card, and then work out how much you would have to spend to redeem this reward (and offset the cost of the annual fee).

*For example, a Westpac Altitude Rewards credit card has an annual fee of $100 and requires 19,000 points to redeem a $100 Myer gift card. It offers 1 point per $1 spent on a Visa card linked to the account, and 2 points per $1 spent on an Amex card. That means you would have to spend between $9,500 on the Amex card and $19,000 on the Visa card to balance out the annual fee.

You can use this calculation for any credit card and any reward when working out whether the product is cost-effective for your annual spend.

Your monthly spend is also an important thing to consider with a low rate card. If the card has a 0% purchase rate, it’ll only be in place for a promotional period, so you’ll want to make sure you can pay off the amount you’ve charged to the card by the time the offer ends and the standard rate applies. If it’s a low (not 0%) interest rate, you’ll still need to consider your monthly spend to understand how much interest you could potentially accrue on what you charge. This will also help you determine whether the card is of value to you.

*Rates and figures used for example purposes only

Do you usually pay your balance in full?

When comparing rewards and low rate credit cards, ask yourself whether you’re able to pay off your account balance in full each month. This will help you decide whether a rewards credit card or low rate card is more affordable.

Rewards credit cards usually have high rates of interest, so you’ll accrue a higher amount of interest if you’re unable to pay your balance in full by the end of the month. As your interest charges grow, this will counteract the value you’re getting from your rewards.

If you do struggle to repay your balance each month, a low rate or 0% purchase credit card could be a more suitable option. Not only will you have lower interest costs, but you won’t have the promise of rewards tempting you to overspend.As you can see, there are many considerations to weigh up when deciding between a rewards credit card and a low rate card. Essentially, if you’re a big spender and frequent traveller who always pays their balance in full, a rewards credit card could be a great way to get extra value back from your spending. Otherwise, if you struggle to repay your balance each month and want to keep your card costs low, a low interest rate credit card could be the right option for you.

Low interest rate credit cards vs. rewards credit cards

Rates last updated June 23rd, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Product Description
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$100 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
A platinum card that offers 0% p.a. for 9 months on purchases. Plus 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Offers a 0% for 24 month balance transfer option, first year annual fee waiver and a competitive purchase rate.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Platinum card benefits including complimentary insurance, plus first year annual fee waiver and 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
13.25% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$79 p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Add additional cardholders for $0 and pay using Apple Pay. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$49 p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
Offers a discounted annual fee, $100 cashback when you meet the spend requirement and 0% p.a. for 14 months on balance transfers.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter)
A no-frills card with a first year annual fee waiver, a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum Card - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Online only: Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for 24 months on balance transfers (with a one-time 1% BT fee). Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
This card offers a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 6 months on purchases. Plus 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
A no-frills Visa with the protection of a zero liability policy and a 24/7 fraud monitoring service.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$58 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
With a low minimum credit limit of $1,000, this no frills card allows you to add up to 3 additional cardholders for $0.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Online only: A low rate platinum card with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months. Plus, $0 annual fee for the first year.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated June 23rd, 2018
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Qantas - Exclusive Offer
90,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1


0.5
20.24% p.a.
$50 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Visa (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
60,000 bonus points
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
Qantas Premier Everyday
40,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.75
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of up to 40,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $0 first year annual fee plus complimentary overseas travel insurance.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Rewards Plus


1
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Suncorp Bank Rewards Program


1.25
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
finder Exclusive: Receive a long 18-month, 0% p.a., no fee balance transfer and earn Suncorp Rewards Points or Qantas Points per $1 spent.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Exclusive Offer
90,000 bonus points
Westpac Altitude Rewards


2


1
20.24% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
$0 first year annual fee & up to 90,000 bonus Altitude Pts when you meet T&C with this Visa (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
60,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$199 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months of card approval, plus enjoy complimentary travel insurance.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
$129 p.a.
Buy now and pay later with 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months. Plus, 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 6 months.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card - Qantas
60,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
20.24% p.a.
$50 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of card approval. Plus, a $50 first year annual fee.
Qantas Premier Platinum
80,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$299 p.a.
Get 40,000 bonus Qantas points each month (up to 80,000 pts) for the first 2 months when you spend at least $3,500. Plus, a long-term BT offer.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
100,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program


1
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 reward Points, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer, a discounted first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months. $64 in the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter), plus, bonus Velocity Points.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Qantas Points on purchases, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Velocity Frequent Flyer


1
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Velocity Points on purchases, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
St.George Amplify Platinum
50,000 bonus points
Amplify Rewards / Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn 0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
55,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1.5
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
60,000 bonus points
Westpac Altitude Rewards


1
20.24% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 60,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of card approval. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
90,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$295 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 60 days of account opening. Plus, a $295 annual fee in the first year.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
90,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.75
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and receive two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle - Qantas
120,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1.25


0.75
20.24% p.a.
$499 p.a.
Up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Pts when you meet the criteria with a Mastercard (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
American Express Explorer Credit Card
50,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards Gateway


2
20.74% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.
Westpac Altitude Black
80,000 bonus points
Westpac Altitude Rewards


1.25
20.24% p.a.
$250 p.a.
Earn 80,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases. Plus, 2 yearly Priority Pass lounge invitations.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Membership Rewards Ascent


1
20.74% p.a.
$195 p.a.
Receive a yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance, plus 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
St.George Amplify Card
Amplify Rewards / Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 3% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 36 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee and Amplify or Qantas Points per $1 spent.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
Citi Rewards Program


1
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus complimentary international travel insurance.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
30,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1.25
20.74% p.a.
$249 p.a.
Enjoy 30,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year and the protection of complimentary insurance covers.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
50,000 bonus points
Amplify Rewards / Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 50,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn 0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent.
NAB Rewards Platinum Card
60,000 bonus points
NAB Rewards


1
19.99% p.a.
$195 p.a.
Collect 60,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 within 60 days of account opening. Plus, receive complimentary travel and purchase insurances.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
50,000 bonus points
Velocity Frequent Flyer


1.5
20.74% p.a.
$375 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Velocity Points, a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year, plus, 2 lounge passes.
ANZ Rewards Platinum
65,000 bonus points
ANZ Rewards Program


1.5
18.79% p.a.
$95 p.a.
Receive 65,000 bonus Reward Points and $50 back onto your card after your first eligible purchase in 3 months, plus up to 1.5 points per $1 spent.
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle
120,000 bonus points
Westpac Altitude Rewards


3


1.25
20.24% p.a.
$449 p.a.
Up to 120,000 bonus Altitude Pts when you meet the criteria with a Mastercard (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
40,000 bonus points
ANZ Rewards Program


1.5
20.24% p.a.
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.
Citi Signature Qantas Credit Card
50,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
20.99% p.a.
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 50,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 yearly airport lounge visits and complimentary travel insurance. Plus, a discounted first year annual fee.
BankSA Amplify Signature
90,000 bonus points
Amplify Rewards / Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.75
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and earn up to 1.5 Amplify or 0.75 Qantas points per $1 spent.
American Express Gold Business Card
10,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards Ascent


1
$169 p.a.
Take advantage of 10,000 bonus points, no pre-set spending limit, data that feeds to MYOB and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
American Express Platinum Card
80,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium


1
$1,200 p.a.
Receive an annual $300 Platinum Travel Credit, 80,000 bonus Membership Rewards points and access to more than 1,100 VIP lounges worldwide.
NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
30,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.66
19.99% p.a.
$250 p.a.
Offers 30,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirements and Qantas Points for your everyday spending. Plus a 24/7 personal concierge.
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
19.99% p.a.
$95 p.a.
A Visa card that offers 0.5 Qantas points per $1 spent, complimentary purchase protection insurance and up to 44 interest-free days on purchases.
Citi Signature Credit Card
120,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program


1
20.99% p.a.
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 120,000 bonus points, two airport lounge visits per year, complimentary international travel insurance and a reduced first year annual fee.
Citi Prestige Card
150,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program


3
20.99% p.a.
$700 p.a.
Reward yourself luxuriously with 150,000 bonus Points, free hotel stays, exclusive events and unlimited airport lounge access with Priority Pass.
David Jones American Express
20,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards


1
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Not just for David Jones shoppers, receive 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points or 15,000 Qantas Points. Plus, uncapped points potential.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card - Qantas Frequent Flyer
30,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.75
20.74% p.a.
$295 p.a.
Fly faster with up to 3 Qantas Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance when travel is booked on your card.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
100,000 bonus points
Qantas Business Rewards


1.25
$450 p.a.
Earn up to 100,000 bonus points, 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and enjoy up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
100,000 bonus points
NAB Rewards


1.25
18.50% p.a.
$175 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on everyday business purchases in the first 60 days of account opening.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
Amplify Rewards / Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of a 3% p.a. for 36 months balance transfer offer, Amplify or Qantas points per $1 spent and enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA Amplify Card
Amplify Rewards / Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 3% p.a. for 36 months balance transfer and earn Qantas or Amplify Points per $1 spent. Plus, enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Westpac Low Rate Card
Westpac Low Rate Card

Interest rate

13.49

Annual fee

59
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

129
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer

Interest rate

12.74

Annual fee

99

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