Your credit card under the microscope: 3 ways to test if you’re getting a good deal

Polly Fleeting

Thursday 19 March 2020

With many Aussies starting to feel the financial pinch of the spreading novel coronavirus, people are having to rely on their plastic to get them through. 

Woman in lab coat testing her credit card under the microscope

If you are one of them, it might be a good time to review your credit card so that pinch doesn’t turn into a full blown punch. 

Whether it’s to save on fees, switch to a lower interest rate or have the ability to extend your credit limit, there are a bunch of ways to improve what you are getting, and saving, on your credit card. 

Need a place to start? Here are three ways to test it. 

1. Analyse your annual fee

Some credit cards come with annual fees and some don’t. These fees range anywhere from $0 to $700+, so if this is something you want to save on,weigh up this fee with other features like the interest rate or rewards program on your current credit card. 

What you might consider switching to… 

  • No annual fee credit card: As the name suggests, these credit cards don’t charge an annual fee, meaning you could save hundreds of dollars each year. But just because a card has no annual fee, it doesn't always guarantee you with a lower purchase rate, which brings us to the next test. 

2. Inquire about interest rates 

Not sure if your credit card interest rate is a good one? Inquire about others! Currently in the Mozo database, interest rates start as low as 7.49%, but jump to as high as 24.99%. So when it comes to considering whether to switch from your current credit card to a new one, choosing the right rate could end up saving you money not only once a year, but for as long as you use the card.  

What you might consider switching to… 

  • Low interest credit card: If you forget to pay down your credit card balance in full from time to time (naughty), opting for a low interest credit card could be a good alternative. But like a no annual fee credit card, low interest options don’t tend to come with all the bells and whistles of a higher rate card, so you may have to bid farewell to rewards programs or complimentary insurances. 

3. Consider your credit limit

While generally speaking it’s not a great idea to bump up your credit limit, in turbulent times like these it might be worth speaking to your provider about how flexible adjusting it is. Some banks, like ANZ, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank are allowing customers to apply for emergency credit limit increases, however that’s not the case for all credit card providers so you may need to speak to your provider directly. 

Bear in mind, a credit card is not a solution to financial stress, so avoid relying on one and increasing your credit limit unless absolutely necessary. And if you do need to reach for your plastic, ensure you are economically equipped to pay it down later. 

What are other banks doing to help during the coronavirus outbreak?

  • For CommBank customers, the bank may provide credit card repayment assistance (case-by-case). 
  • Both NAB and Westpac are offering business credit card deferred repayments 
  • Macquarie Bank customers may receive a credit card interest rate reduction

RELATED ARTICLE: Guide to Australian banks’ emergency Coronavirus relief packages 

Want to compare low rate credit cards? Check out the table below or jump over to our low interest credit card comparison tool.

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