5 costly credit card mistakes Aussies make over Christmas

Ben Tosi

15 Nov 2017

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With just over a month to Christmas, many Aussies are whipping out their credit card at the checkouts more and more to cover the costs of the festive season.

But according to recent Mozo data, we have a pretty precarious relationship with our plastic friends with a money wasters survey revealing that avoidable credit card interest costs us a nationwide $5.5 billion, working out to almost $700 per family, per year.

“Aussies love to use their plastic, particularly over the Christmas period. But if they’re not careful they will rack up a hefty credit card bill and no one wants to start a new year with that kind of debt,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont.

RELATED: The 5 best rewards credit cards of 2017 in Australia

While you might have already started to spend, it isn’t too late to avoid some of the more costly credit card errors. So here are five common Christmas credit card mistakes and how to avoid them this holiday season.


1. Being late on repayments

In the thick of your Christmas shopping and with a bunch of other bills to pay it can be easy to miss out on your monthly credit card payment, but this could cost you. According to the Mozo database, the largest credit card late payment fee going round is worth a whopping $35!

How to avoid it: Set up automatic payments from your transaction or savings account and avoid the late fees.


2. Only making the minimum repayment

The temptation to spend big and spread yourself thin - meaning you can only make the minimum repayment for a few months - can result in accruing a tonne of credit card interest to bring in the new year.

How to avoid it: Establish a Christmas budget that you know you can pay off in full each month - this might mean spreading out some of the bigger expenses - and no matter what stick to it!


3. Maxing out your credit card

Food, beverages, presents and holiday expenses all piled into one quarterly splurge - there is no wonder Aussies max out their credit card over Chrissy. Not to mention the overdraft fees! This common mistake also has far-reaching implications for your credit score and may affect how lenders view you as a borrower in the future.

How to avoid it: Establish a holiday budget that sits within 30% of your overall credit limit. You will be able to cover your entire balance and also keep your credit score squeaky clean.


4. Hitting the ATM for a cash advance

In the days leading up to Christmas you might find yourself in the midst of grocery shopping mayhem but hitting the ATM or making any other cash advances is going to cost you a pricey cash advance fee and you’ll also start paying interest on that money straight away.

How to avoid it: Reach for your debit card instead as these cards often come with fee-free ATM withdrawals.


5. Swearing off credit cards for good

The horrors of last year’s credit card bill might have you wanting to chop up your plastic this time around but credit cards are a great tool to help you budget as long as you’re using the right one responsibly.

How to avoid it: Keep your credit card and shop around for the one that suits you best. In saying that, it is important that you establish a workable, realistic budget and keep track of your spending throughout the summer months.

If you’ve already tallied up a bit of credit card interest and don’t want to pay the lofty interest rates associated with some cards, check out a few of the popular low rate options on the market below.

Low rate credit cards this Christmas - rates updated daily

  • Promoted

    Apply By 30 May 2019

    Qantas Money Qantas Premier Everyday

    0% p.a. for 9 months and then 21.99% p.a.

    0% p.a. for 9 months then 19.99% p.a.

    $49

    20,000 bonus points if you apply by 30 May 2019 and spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. 0% purchase rate for first 9 months (19.99% afterwards).

    • 0% p.a. for 9 months and then 21.99% p.a.

    • $49

    • 0% p.a. for 9 months then 19.99% p.a.

    • 55

    • 21.99% p.a.

    • 3%, min $3.00

    • Points are automatically credited to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Qantas Premier Everyday

    Details Close

  • Promoted

    ME frank Credit Card

    No current offer

    11.99% p.a.

    $0

    Meet Frank, a low rate credit card with up to 55 interest free days, no annual fee and no strings attached. If simple, hassle free spending is your goal, you and Frank might be a match made in heaven.

    • No current offer

    • $0

    • 11.99% p.a.

    • 55

    • 11.99% p.a.

    • 2%, Min $4.00

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the frank Credit Card

    Details Close

  • Promoted

    ANZ Low Rate

    0% p.a. for 15 months and then 21.74% p.a.

    12.49% p.a.

    $58

    With a low interest rate on your purchases and 0.0% p.a. on balance transfers for the first 15 months (T&Cs apply), this card makes for easy everyday spending. Apply online in just five minutes, and receive an answer in 60 seconds.

    • 0% p.a. for 15 months and then 21.74% p.a.

    • $58

    • 12.49% p.a.

    • 55

    • 21.74% p.a.

    • 2%

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Low Rate

    Details Close

  • Promoted

    Apply By 30 April 2019

    Virgin Money Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Purchase Rate and Balance Transfer Offer

    0% p.a. for 6 months and then 20.99% p.a.

    0% p.a. for 14 months then 20.74% p.a.

    $129 $64 in the first year

    Receive a $129 Virgin Australia gift voucher each year. 0.0% p.a. on purchases for up to 14 months.

    • 0% p.a. for 6 months and then 20.99% p.a.

    • $129 $64 in the first year

    • 0% p.a. for 14 months then 20.74% p.a.

    • 44

    • 20.99% p.a.

    • 2.7%, Min $2.70

    • Points are credited to the Velocity Frequent Flyer program.

    Details Close

  • Promoted

    Latitude Low Rate Mastercard

    No current offer

    11.99% p.a.

    $69

    Combine a low rate with features like price protection, purchase protection and extended warranty and what do you get? A budget-friendly credit card that's seriously hard to go past for savvy spenders.

    • No current offer

    • $69

    • 11.99% p.a.

    • 55

    • 20.99% p.a.

    • 3%, Min $1.95

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Low Rate Mastercard

    Details Close

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