Credit card costing you too much? APRA & RBA say shop around

Feeling iffy about your current credit card rate and not sure whether you’re getting a good deal? Might be time to shop around. 

Last week, both Both the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor, Philip Lowe, and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) chair Wayne Byres attended a Senate inquiry and expressed the need for Australian consumers to opt for more competitive financial products. 

“In the Australian financial system there are actually some very well-priced products for consumers, and one of the problems we have is that people don't take them up. So I encourage people to shop around,” Lowe said.

Byres expressed a similar sentiment. 

“Perhaps the bigger issue is that many banks that have high rate interest rates also have relatively low rate ones. As with the governor, I remain puzzled as to why more people don't take those up. They are there.” 

This came after the latest March RBA figures that showed an overall national credit card debt of $41.5 billion, with $26.9 billion accruing interest. 

What should you consider when switching credit cards? 

According to the Mozo database, the average credit card interest rate is 16.88%, with the lowest sitting at 7.49% and the highest skyrocketing all the way up to 24.99%. 

So chances are you can find a better deal. 

The Customer Owned Banking Association, chief executive Michael Lawrence says that credit card holders who regularly review their current cards, are in a good position to find something more competitive. 

“Card holders can always start the process by considering a number of key questions: ‘Has my spending behaviour changed? Do I have visibility of all costs? When was the last time I assessed payments?” he said. 

“Clear awareness of your current and future needs will help you make an informed decision when faced with a variety of products.”

And while the interest rate on your credit card is extremely important to keep in mind when making the switch, here are some other credit card features to look out for as well. 

  • Fees (annual fees, foreign exchange margins and late fees)  
  • Rewards programs (frequent flyers, card provider rewards points, bonus points offers) 
  • Balance transfer offers (0% interest for a certain period of time) 
  • Other perks (interest free days, purchase protection, concierge) 

RELATED ARTICLE: 3 reasons to switch credit cards this year

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