Credit card spending up and more Aussies are applying, finds Citi

happy couple spending on credit card

As we look back at May, credit card spending remains at pre-COVID levels for the fourth month in a row. 

This is according to Citi Australia’s May 2021 Credit Card Index which found that credit card spending last month saw a 30% growth from May last year. 

On top of that, more Aussies are signing up for credit cards. When compared to the same time last year, Citi’s numbers showed a 25.5% increase in the number of cards being acquired. 

“At the start of the pandemic, many Australians preemptively cancelled their cards as they feared that their economic circumstances would drastically decline. However, the nation weathered the pandemic better than expected, and the credit card sector has been on a path to recovery since,” head of cards and loans at Citi Australia, Choong Yu Lum said. 

“May was not only the fourth consecutive month of spend returning to pre-COVID levels, but we also saw a 25.5% increase in new card applications compared to this time last year - a testament to local consumer confidence.” 

So how are credit card users spending now? 

There are a number of places that Aussies are reaching for their plastic to make purchases. Here are the top five ways spenders are using their credit card, according to Citi: 

CategoryShare of spend
Supermarkets9.31%
Household good retailing7.37%
Business services6.64%
Insurance5.64%
Health/Medical

5.61%

This is followed by legal/tax services, restaurants, retails goods, sports and hobby stores, and hotels, resorts and spas. 

I’m not happy with my current credit card … what should I do? 

Find yourself paying too much in interest or fees? Or maybe you’re stuck with an ancient rewards program that really doesn’t give you much? It may be time to make the switch to a better credit card. 

There are plenty of options out there that might suit you, it all depends on what type of credit card user you are. And that’s where we can help! 

Here’s a rundown of a few different credit card types … 

  • Low interest rate credit card: Because these cards come with a low interest rate, if you find yourself unable to pay off your balance in full every month, this card may help reduce the amount of interest you pay on purchases. 
  • Rewards credit card: If you use your credit card to make most of your purchases, a rewards option might suit you. This way you can be rewarded with some juicy points as you spend - also keep an eye out for bonus points offers too! 
  • No annual fee credit card: Always pay down your balance in full each month but paying a hefty annual fee? A no annual fee credit card could be what you need! Because you pay off your balance, you are unlikely to pay interest on your purchases, so why not focus on reducing the amount of fees you pay. 
  • Balance transfer credit card: Having lingering credit card debt is never fun, so if you find yourself struggling to kick the debt you already have you may want to turn your attention to a 0% balance transfer offer. With these cards you can pay down the majority of your debt interest fee over a select period of time, and then focus on spending once you are debt free. 

Want to weigh up some credit card options right now? Check out these cards below or head to our credit card comparison page for more.

Compare credit cards - last updated 2 March 2024

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  • NAB Low Rate Card - Balance Transfer Offer

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  • American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card

    Enjoy $0 Annual Card Fee (usually $195) in the first year when you apply online and are approved. T&Cs apply. New Card Members only. Offer subject to change without notice.

    Purchase rate
    23.99% p.a.
    Balance transfer rate
    No current offer
    Annual fee
    $195 $0 in the first year
    Rewards program
    Membership Rewards
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    American Express Qantas Ultimate Card

    Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online by 2 April 2024 , are approved, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new Qantas American Express Ultimate Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Available to new American Express Card Members only.

    Purchase rate
    23.99% p.a.
    Balance transfer rate
    No current offer
    Annual fee
    $450
    Rewards program
    Qantas Frequent Flyer
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  • American Express Explorer® Credit Card

    Receive 50,000 bonus membership rewards points when you apply online, are approved, and spend $4,000 on eligible purchases on your new card within the first 3 months (T&Cs apply). New Card Members only. Complimentary domestic & international Travel Insurance (T&Cs apply). Up to 55 days interest free on purchases. $395 annual fee.

    Purchase rate
    23.99% p.a.
    Balance transfer rate
    No current offer
    Annual fee
    $395
    Rewards program
    Membership Rewards
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  • Apply By 6 Feb 2024
    American Express Velocity Platinum Card

    Earn 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you apply online by 15 May 2024, are approved, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new American Express Velocity Platinum Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Available to new American Express Card Members only.

    Purchase rate
    23.99% p.a.
    Balance transfer rate
    No current offer
    Annual fee
    $375
    Rewards program
    Velocity Frequent Flyer
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  • American Express Qantas Discovery Card

    Earn 1.75 Qantas Points on eligible Qantas products and services per $1 spent (T&Cs apply). Enjoy $0 Annual Card Fee. Get the security of Card Refund and Purchase Cover. Up to four additional Cards at no extra fee. Redeem your points for Classic Flight Rewards (T&Cs apply).

    Purchase rate
    23.99% p.a.
    Balance transfer rate
    No current offer
    Annual fee
    $0
    Rewards program
    Qantas Frequent Flyer
    Compare
    Details

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