Compare credit cards

Compare credit card rewards, rates, and balance transfers from the top banks.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 14 Jun 2024

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Comparing credit cards

Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard

On website

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$69.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months (2% BT fee, 12.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
  • Up to 55 interest-free days.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons

  • There is no rewards program on this card.
  • There is a 2% BT fee.
American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

23.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points. Acquire 70,000 bonus Qantas Points by applying before 28 May 2024, getting approved, and spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, an additional 20,000 bonus Qantas Points in your second year upon fee renewal. T&Cs apply. Exclusive to New Card Members.
  • Receive 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations annually.
  • Access a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year (conditions apply).

Pros

  • Earn up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Excellent earn rates on everyday spending. Earns points on payments to the ATO.
  • Access to The Centurion® Lounge. after your first card spend on the card for Qantas products and services each anniversary year.
  • 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations each year.
  • Add cards for up to four family and friends at no cost.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $450.
  • There is no concierge service, even though it's a high end card.
  • Balance transfers are not possible.
  • Transactions in a foreign currency attract a fee.
Bankwest Zero Mastercard

On website

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

14.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Pay no annual fee as long as you hold the card.
  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balances transferred (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to 14.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • There is no annual fee for as long as you keep the card.
  • The current balance transfer offer is extremely competitive.
  • Interest on purchases is comparatively low.

Cons

  • Balance transfers incur a one-off fee.
  • You cannot earn credit card points.
American Express Essential® Rewards Credit Card

Apply by 23 July 2024

American Express Essential® Rewards Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

18.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$108.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to 80,000 Membership Rewards points. Within your initial 120 days upon applying by 23 July 2024, and getting approved for American Express Essential® Rewards Credit Card, you can accumulate 20,000 Membership Rewards points for every 30 days when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases using your Card during the first 120 days. T&Cs apply. New American Express Card Members only.
  • You can earn up to 5 points on your first 10,000 points per month.
  • A modest $9 monthly fee is applicable.

Pros

  • Earn 5 points on eligible restaurants and food delivery, 3 points on streaming services, 2 points at select retailers, and 1 point everywhere else.
  • Enjoy up to 15% back through MyAmexShop
  • Get up to 4 Additional Cards at no extra charge.
  • Comes with Smartphone screen insurance, retail insurance, and Fraud Protection.

Cons

  • Accelerated earn rate is capped.
  • The monthly fee adds up to $108 annually.
  • Doesn't come with travel insurance.
The Low Rate Credit Card from American Express

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

10.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a low 10.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 annual fee for as long as you have the card.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free.

Pros

  • Low 10.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases and $0 annual fee.
  • Comes with Card Purchase Cover and Card Refund Cover.
  • Up to 55 days interest free.

Cons

  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Bankwest Breeze Mastercard

On website

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$49.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months (2% BT fee, 12.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
  • Up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
  • Up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

Cons

  • There are no rewards on this card.
  • There is a 2% BT fee.
American Express Platinum Card

Apply by 25 June 2024

American Express Platinum Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$1,450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 150,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply by 25 June 2024, are approved, and spend $5,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Amex Card Members only.
  • Receive a $450 Platinum Travel Credit each year, which can be redeemed for flights, hotels, or car hire.
  • Enjoy up to $400 per calendar year when you dine from a curated collection of over 1,400 hand-selected restaurants both locally and abroad. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Receive 150,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Receive a $450 Platinum Travel Credit each year.
  • Enjoy up to $400 Global Dining Credit per calendar year.
  • Access to more than 1,400 lounges globally, including The Centurion® Lounge.
  • Get the Amex Experiences App to access information on Platinum benefits, travel offers, events and recommended merchants.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $1,450.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

On website

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

14.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • No annual fee.
  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balances transferred (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to 14.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee to pay — ever.
  • Very long interest-free balance transfer offer.
  • No fees on purchases in a foreign currency.

Cons

  • There is a 3% fee on balance transfers.
  • You can't earn rewards points.
American Express Explorer Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

23.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$395.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 50,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply, are approved, and spend $4,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Amex Card Members only.
  • Receive a $400 Travel Credit each year towards any flights, hotels, and car hire when you book online with this card.
  • Includes complimentary domestic & international travel insurance.

Pros

  • The 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when approved and reach spend requirement within the first 3 months.
  • Receive a $400 travel credit every year.
  • Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases except for government bodies in Australia where you will earn 1 point per $1 spent (uncapped).
  • Get two complimentary entries per year to The Centurion® Lounge.

Cons

  • The $395 p.a. annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Visa

Apply by 30 April 2024

St.George Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$55.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Westpac Low Rate Cashback Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

13.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$59.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to $350 cashback when you apply online by 31 July 2024. Receive a $50 cashback monthly for spending over $1,000 in the first 7 statement periods.
  • Enjoy a low ongoing 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • Annual fee of $59 p.a. applies.

Pros

  • Get up to $350 cashback when you meet the criteria.
  • Low 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • $500 minimum credit limit.

Cons

  • No rewards program although there is a cashback offer.
  • No complimentary travel insurance.
Bendigo Bright Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

9.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$59.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Ongoing interest rate remains low at 9.99% p.a.
  • Benefit from its continual low annual fee of $59 p.a.
  • No charges for extra cardholders.

Pros

  • Up to 55 days interest-free.
  • No fees for additional cardholders.
  • Compatible with Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay,

Cons

  • You can't earn credit card rewards.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (Qantas)

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$99.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Receive up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points. Acquire 70,000 Qantas Points in the first year upon spending $4k+ on eligible purchases within the initial 90 days from new card approval, and an additional 10,000 points after your first eligible purchase in the second year..
  • Initial $99 p.a. annual fee followed by $175 p.a. thereafter (Plus a $75 Qantas Rewards opt-in annual fee).
  • Earn 0.5 Qantas points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.

Pros

  • Receive up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Additional savings with the $99 first-year annual fee ($175 p.a. thereafter).
  • Comes with complimentary insurance covers which include overseas medical and purchase security.

Cons

  • Only up to 45 days interest-free on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Apply by 31 July 2024

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$55.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 28 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There is no rewards program for this card.
NAB Low Rate Card

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Experience 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months with a 2% balance transfer fee. Reverting to a variable cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a. after the promotional period.
  • Initial $0 annual card fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter).
  • Receive a response within 60 seconds.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months.
  • A variable purchase rate of 13.49% p.a.
  • The waived annual fee for the first year.
  • Additional credit card is free.

Cons

  • There is a 2% balance transfer fee.
  • No rewards program for this card.
  • No insurance coverage.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard

Apply by 30 June 2024

Coles Low Rate Mastercard

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$58.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months. Reverts to cash advance rate of 19.99% p.a.
  • Low annual fee of $58 p.a.
  • Collect 1 Flybuys Point for every $2 at Coles Supermarkets.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months.
  • Complimentary access to your 24/7 local concierge.
  • Interest-free for up to 55 days.

Cons

  • There is a 1.5% balance transfer fee.
  • You can only earn Flybuys points at Coles Supermarkets.
  • No interest-free days while you have a balance transfer.
MONEYME Freestyle Virtual Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

From 18.24% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

From $0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Use virtual card instantly once approved (typically within 60 mins)
  • Tap n Pay with up to 55 days interest free
  • Use credit to transfer money to anyone
  • Exclusive features
  • Thousands of 5-star customer reviews

Bank promo

  • Get MONEYME's lowest advertised rate EVER of 18.74% p.a.
  • Annual fee of $0 to $149 p.a. based on credit limit plus a monthly fee of $5 for balances over $20.

Pros

  • Available to use immediately after approval.
  • Money can be transferred to your bank account.
  • Get cashback at participating stores with Cashrewards.

Cons

  • The maximum credit limit is comparatively low.
  • Combination of annual and monthly fees can be quite expensive for the highest credit limit.
  • There is a 1.5% withdrawal fee.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$295.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Gain up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points. Acquire 90,000 bonus points upon spending $3,000 within the initial 60 days from account approval date and an additional 30,000 bonus points upon maintaining your card open for over 12 months. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Benefit from 0% on balance transfers for 12 months with a 3% Balance Transfer Fee.
  • First-year annual fee reduced to $295 p.a. from $395 p.a. (saving you $100).

Pros

  • Complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer membership fee valued at $99.50.
  • Six complimentary insurances when you make an eligible purchase.
  • Earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases up to $5,000 per statement period then 0.05 pts per $1 spent thereafter (capped at $20,000).

Cons

  • Annual fee of $395 p.a. is quite high.
Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$349.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points. Receive 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 or more on eligible purchases within 3 months from card approval. Plus an additional 30,000 bonus points if you have not earned Qantas Points with a credit card in the last 12 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Enjoy 0% on Balance Transfer for 12 months with no Balance Transfer fee. Reverts to Cash Advance rate, thereafter. No interest-free days apply on retail purchases while you have a balance transfer.
  • Save with the reduced annual fee of $349 p.a. for the first year. An ongoing annual fee of $399 p.a. applies in the 2nd year.

Pros

  • Earn up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
  • Additional savings with the $349 first-year annual fee.
  • Comes with complimentary travel insurance.

Cons

  • The annual fee increases to $399 p.a. after the initial year.

Not sure how credit cards work or if you should get one? Read on for more details on what they are, how they work, what types of card exist, and tips to get the most out of them.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a small, rectangular piece of plastic that confers on its owner the ability to borrow money from a bank (or other lender) to use when paying for goods and services. Even if you choose to pay with your mobile device, most banks still need to send you that piece of plastic – for now.

Credit cards are useful if you don't have enough money to pay for something now because you can pay it off over time with interest. In addition, many credit cards come with additional benefits such as earning rewards, access to airport lounges, and cash back. Using your credit card responsibly can also improve your credit score over time.

How do credit cards work?

Credit cards are generally used to buy everyday items and pay bills. Rather than using your own funds, as you would with a debit card or cash, purchases made with a credit card draw on a line of credit made available to you by whatever bank issued the card.

The amount you can spend with a credit card depends on your credit limit, which is determined by the issuer during the application process (although you can request it to be raised later). If you repay the balance in full each month, you will not pay interest. If you choose to pay off part of the balance, you will be charged interest.

So-called "no interest credit cards" are the exception to the rule. These cards charge a monthly fee rather than interest and are seen as being a compromise between buy now pay later and a typical credit card.

What types of credit card are there?

There are credit cards to suit the lifestyle and spending patterns of a wide variety of cardholders. These are some of the most popular types.

  • 0% purchase credit cards: No interest is charged on purchases for an introductory period, so the carried-over balance is interest free until the introductory period is over. Often used to finance large purchases.
  • Balance transfer credit cards: Special introductory interest rate (often 0%) for a specified period, on balances transferred from other cards. Used by many to reduce interest and get out of debt.
  • Low interest credit cards: Cards whose interest rate on carried-over debt is at the lower end of the scale. More recently, no interest credit cards have come to market with a monthly fee instead of interest.
  • No annual fee credit cards: Cards with $0 annual fee. These are generally no-frills and offer no benefits or perks.
  • Rewards credit cards: Loyalty points, redeemable for rewards, are earned when purchases are made. Frequent flyer credit cards earn points into an airline's reward program, redeemable for flights or rewards.

What to look for when you compare credit cards

When you compare credit cards, there are a number of rates, fees, and charges to be aware of and compare.

  • Annual fees. Many credit cards, especially those awarding rewards points on purchases and/or conferring complimentary benefits (e.g. free travel insurance), charge an annual fee. The fee can be anywhere between $30 and $1,500 or more, depending on the points and benefits attached to the card. However, some cards have no annual fee.
  • Credit limit. All credit cards come with a credit limit, typically anywhere between $1,000 and $100,000. The card’s limit is based on the cardholder’s annual income and the bank’s assessment of their creditworthiness and ability to repay the amounts borrowed. Once the card’s credit limit is reached (that is, once the total amount owing on the card is equal to the credit limit, or when the difference between the credit limit and the amount owing is less than the amount of an attempted new purchase), no further purchases can be made with the card until some of the balance owing has been repaid. If you think your credit limit is too low, you can apply to the bank to increase your credit limit once you have had the card for a while and managed it responsibly, by making at least the minimum repayment on time every month and paying off large parts of the balance on a regular basis.
  • Introductory interest rates. Many credit cards have an introductory interest rate on balance transfers and / or purchases. Introductory rates are generally 0% and are usually reserved for new customers only. Check what the rate will revert to when the introductory rate ends.
  • Ongoing purchase interest rates. Credit card interest rates (charged on carried-over debt and also on new purchases where there is existing carried-over debt) are typically higher than the rates for other forms of borrowing, such as home loans and personal loans – in some cases very much higher. Credit card interest rates in Australia mostly fall in the range 10% p.a. to 22% p.a., although there are a few cards with rates lower and higher than this range.
  • Cash advance rates. If you use your credit card to make a cash withdrawal from your credit card account (either over-the-counter or via an ATM), check what the interest and fee will be. Interest will usually be charged from the withdrawal date until the repayment date, even if there is no carried-over debt on the account. Additionally, many cards have a cash advance interest rate that is higher — often by as much as 2% p.a. – than the interest rate charged on purchases. A one-off fee also usually applies.
  • Interest-free period. The due date for repayment usually falls between 14 and 25 days after the end of the monthly billing cycle. For this reason credit cards are often described as having ‘up to 44 days interest free’ or ‘up to 55 interest-free days’.
  • Repayments. On a due date specified by the bank, the credit card owner can choose whether to repay in full the accumulated balance of their purchases for the month, or make only a minimum repayment (typically 2% or 2.5% of the balance, or a fixed amount such as $5) and pay interest for continuing to borrow the remaining balance.
  • Sign up bonus. Many issuers offer a welcome bonus for signing up, but terms apply. Check how much you will have to spend and within what period in order to get the bonus.

Learn about credit cards

If you've got questions about credit cards, we've got all the tips you'll need to make a better choice.

  • FAQs

  • Glossary

  • Pros & cons

  • Tips

What does APR mean?

APR’ means Annual Percentage Rate. Interest on carried-over credit card balances, and on new purchases if you already have a carried-over balance, is actually calculated daily and charged monthly. The APR is the equivalent rate expressed as an annual figure.

Will the interest rate on my credit card always stay the same?

No. Credit card interest rates are variable and can change at any time. And special introductory interest rates on balance transfers and purchases always have an expiry date, at which point the revert rate (the standard rate for purchases or cash advances) comes into play.

What’s the best way to compare credit cards?

First of all, decide which type of credit card would work best in your current circumstances, based on your income, lifestyle and spending pattern. For example, if you don’t expect to regularly pay off your purchases balance in full, it wouldn’t make sense to choose an expensive rewards card with a high interest rate, because the annual fee and interest costs will be far higher than the value of any rewards you could earn. But if you travel a lot and intend to clear your balance every month, a frequent flyer points card with free travel insurance and airport lounge passes might work well for you.

So narrow your choices down by deciding on which card features are most important for you. Your ideal card may have one or more of the following features:

  • 0% purchase introductory offer period
  • Balance transfer introductory offer period
  • Rewards points
  • Frequent flyer points
  • Sign-up or first purchase bonus points
  • Ongoing low interest rate
  • No or low annual fee
  • No foregn transaction fees
  • Complimentary benefits for travellers and/or shoppers
  • Available with Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay

Once you’ve narrowed your choice by deciding which type, or types, of card will suit you best, you can compare their interest rates, annual fee, points earning rates (if any) and complimentary benefits (if any), to see which one is offering the best deal.

Can I get a credit card with a low credit score, or no credit score?

If you have a low credit score, or no score because you’re a recent arrival in Australia, or a student, or someone starting their first job, you’re not going to qualify for the best credit card deals. Your choice may be limited, and you may be offered a low credit limit and a high interest rate. But there are credit cards specially designed for beginners and low credit scores.

By using one of these ‘starter’ cards responsibly (i.e. always repaying your purchases balance in full and trying to avoid maxing out your credit limit), you will build up your credit score over time and become eligible for better deals.

How can I apply for a credit card?

You can apply in person at a branch of the credit card provider (e.g. at a bank), by mail or by telephone. But the easiest and quickest way to apply is online, which you can do right here by clicking the ‘Application’ button next to your chosen card.

Do banks accept disability pension as income?

When you apply for a credit card as someone on a carer’s pension you'll still need to meet specific eligibility requirements for that card just the same as everyone else.

However, the approval process might be a little more complicated than it is for someone with a regular salary.

You will still need to prove your income. Since you might be receiving pay slips or some other form of documentation proving your income, you may be asked to upload a copy of your Centrelink Benefit statement.

Keep in mind that the bank will consider your credit score as part of the decision process. This is something they do with any credit card application in order to verify your credit worthiness.

To improve the likelihood of being approved, your credit score should be average or higher so as to reduce your risk profile. If you have not done so already, you can easily check your credit score right here on our site using our free credit score service.

It's a good idea to monitor your credit score and be aware of it before you apply for any credit card or loan.

The following list of banks have declared that they accept carer’s pensions as a source of income for credit card applications. However, there are other things you must consider before applying, most notably the minimum taxable income required. Another thing that may work in your favour is applying for a card with a bank you already deal with, for example with your home loan or savings, since you are not entirely unknown to them.

Can I transfer money from my credit card into my bank account?

You're basically doing a cash advance.

Although common overseas, the practice of transferring the "money" or "credit limit" available on your credit card to your bank account is not as widely used here due to banking restrictions and the fees associated with it. 

While it is possible for you to transfer money from your credit card to a bank account online or over the phone, in Australia, not all banks will allow it and this type of transaction is usually treated as a cash advance. 

Here's a list of credit cards providers that allow money transfers to bank accounts:

Importantly, on cash advances or on any cash equivalent transactions you won't receive any interest-free days. This means the transaction will automatically attract the cash advance interest rate (usually 20% p.a.) and a one-off cash advance fee (usually around 3%). 

Most credit cards, especially those issued by the Big Four banks, also charge a very high interest rate for cash advances. Typically this rate will be even higher than the rate charged for unpaid purchase balances, and it will often fall in the range 21%-22%p.a.

Since this is a cash advance transaction, most banks will only allow you to transfer a portion of your available credit limit.

Availability

If you transfer the money to the same bank, the funds should be available within a day. If you transfer to a different bank, the transfer will usually take about 2-3 business days to be completed.

Another option for faster access to funds is to withdraw cash from the credit card, then deposit it into your bank account.

Cards

You might consider cards that offer low rates on cash advances:

ME frank Credit Card

  • No annual fee.
  • Low 11.99% p.a. rate on cash advances & purchases
  • Cash advance fee $4 or 2% (whichever is greater)

ING Direct Orange One Credit Card

  • No annual fee.
  • Low 11.99% p.a. rate on cash advances & purchases
  • Cash advance fee $3 or 3% (whichever is greater)

NAB Low Rate Business Card

  • No annual fee first year
  • Low 13.25% p.a. rate on cash advances & purchases
  • Cash advance fee $2.50 or 2% (whichever is greater)


Disclaimer:The products, banks and companies mentioned in this question and answer section was correct at the time of publishing. The information published is general advice only and should not be taken as specific personal finance advice.

Annual fee

The amount charged once every 12 months, on the card anniversary, as an account-keeping fee.

APR

Annual Percentage Rate. The interest rate applied to carried-over credit card balances, or to new purchases where there is an existing balance, or to cash advances, expressed as an annual rate (although it is calculated daily and charged monthly).

Balance transfer

An amount of debt transferred from an existing credit card or store card to another card held by the same cardholder.

Balance transfer fee

A fee charged by a card provider when transferring a balance from a card issued by another card provider onto a card it has itself issued. This fee is sometimes waived.

Cash advance

Withdrawal of cash from a credit card account, either over-the-counter or at an ATM. Buying foreign currency or traveller’s cheques, and in some cases gambling transactions, will be considered a cash advance.

Charge card

A payment card that works like a credit card in many ways, except that there is no fixed credit limit and no option to carry a balance from month to month – it must be repaid in full every month.

Credit score

A numerical expression of a person’s credit history, based on the information in a credit report collected by a credit bureau. The higher the number, the better the score.

First purchase bonus points

A large number of rewards points or frequent flyer points granted as an incentive to a new cardholder in return for meeting a spending target within a specified period (e.g. $5,000 in the first 90 days of holding the card).

Frequent flyer points

Air miles or points earned on credit card purchases if the card is eligible for the airline loyalty program. Points can be exchanged principally for flights and seat upgrades, but also for, for example, merchandise from an online catalogue, gift cards, cashback, travel and accommodation, movie tickets and other entertainment experiences.

Interest-free days

The days that elapse between the date of a purchase transaction and the date on which repayment must be made before interest charges are levied, where the card account is not carrying an unpaid balance from the previous month.

Introductory interest rate

A low or zero interest rate on balance transfers or purchases, offered for a specified number of months as an incentive to new cardholders.

Minimum payment or Minimum repayment

The lowest amount accepted by the card provider each month as a repayment, usually expressed as a percentage of the balance (e.g. 2%) or a fixed amount (e.g. $5), or both (i.e. whichever is greater).

Penalty fee

An amount charged by the credit card provider in the case of a missed payment, or a late payment, or a transaction which causes the cardholder to exceed their credit limit.

Rewards points

Loyalty points earned on credit card purchases if the card is eligible for the rewards program. Points can be exchanged for, for example, merchandise from an online catalogue, gift cards, cashback, frequent flyer points, travel and accommodation, movie tickets and other entertainment experiences. Some rewards points come directly in the form of frequent flyer points.

Sign-up bonus points

A large number of rewards points or frequent flyer points granted as an incentive to a new cardholder in return for making an approved card application.

Pros

Easy to use

A credit card is a fast and convenient way of making payments.

Borrow money for free

A credit card is a way of using the bank’s money for free, potentially for up to eight weeks, provided you repay your balance in full by the payment due date.

Rewards for using your card

Many credit cards come with valuable extra benefits, like rewards points, frequent flyer points, free insurance, airport lounge access, free flights, cashback and more.

Safer to carry than cash

Paying with a credit card is more secure than carrying cash, provided you take normal precautions.

Build your credit score

Using a credit card responsibly is a way of building up your credit score so that you can get a better deal for other financial products, such as a home loan. Alternatively, if you don’t use your credit card responsibly you risk damaging your credit score.

Convenient way to track your spending

If you use your credit card for every possible purchase and bill payment, your credit card statements become a great way to track your expenditure for budgeting purposes.

Cons

It may be more eniticing to to spend

For some people, having a credit card in their pocket is a temptation to spend money they don’t actually have on things they don’t really need.

Improper use can lead to deeper debt

If you don’t pay off your purchases balance every month, you risk becoming trapped in a debt spiral, especially if you make only the minimum repayments and the card has a high interest rate.

How to make the best use of a credit card

Plan to pay off your purchases balance in full every month, on or before the due date, and avoid taking cash advances. This means that you’ll never pay any interest charges. Setting up a direct debit from your bank transaction account, so that you never miss a payment, is a good idea.

If you can’t pay off all of your balance, always pay off as much as you can afford.

Choose a credit card to suit your spending pattern, income and lifestyle

Compare card features to get the best deal to suit the way you spend your money. E.g.

  • You travel interstate or overseas regularly? Choose a frequent flyer or rewards card.
  • You won’t be paying off your purchases balance in full every month? Choose a low interest card.
  • You have a large balance on your existing card and/or need to consolidate your debts? Choose a balance transfer card.
  • You’re planning a major purchase? Spread out the cost over several months with a 0% purchase card.
  • You’re on a tight budget? Choose a low annual fee card.

Take note of all the benefits attached to your premium card

To make the most of a premium card, make sure you’re aware of all its complimentary benefits, such free travel insurance, free flights, travel booking credits, free airport lounge access, extended warranty cover, purchase and price protection, rental vehicle excess waiver, reserved or early access seating for sports and entertainment, smartphone screen replacement and personal concierge service. Being aware of your card’s benefits, and using them, can save you heaps of money. But don’t forget to read the small print (available in online Product Disclosure Statements) to make sure that you know how to qualify for the benefits and what the limitations are.

Things to be aware of when using your card overseas

  • Some cards have high foreign currency transaction fees – a surcharge of as much as 3.5% of the transaction amount in some cases – so if you travel overseas frequently you might want to consider a ‘No Foreign Transaction Fee’ credit card.
  • If you don’t travel overseas regularly but then take an overseas trip, you might trigger a suspicious transaction alert and card suspension when your bank spots a rash of overseas purchases. Tell your bank about your travel plans in advance.
  • If your card comes with complimentary overseas travel insurance, plan to use it to save money, but read the small print first to make sure that it’s suitable for your needs and that you meet the activation conditions.
  • Avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion. That is, if an overseas merchant offers to let you pay with your credit card in Australian dollars, politely decline the offer and ask for the credit card charge to be made in local currency instead. That’s because the exchange rates used for Dynamic Currency Conversion are highly unfavourable for the cardholder.
  • Make a note of the emergency contact details – by phone or online – for your credit card provider (in case your card is lost or stolen) and any complimentary insurance cover.

Don’t apply for multiple cards at once

Every time you make an application for a new credit card, a note is made in your credit history file, and your credit score will go down slightly. So if you make a lot of applications at the same time, you not only risk losing quite a few credit score points, you may also trigger some suspicion among card issuers: ‘Is this person in a difficult financial situation, and therefore a risk?’.

So do your homework before you apply (comparing cards online has absolutely no impact on your credit score) and only apply for one card at a time.

Take precautions against fraud

Credit card providers have robust systems for preventing fraud, and monitor transactions to look for anything suspicious. They also offer varying levels of ‘no liability’ fraud protection to cardholders. This means that your liability is either zero or very low (e.g. $50) if you do become a victim of credit card fraud, provided that you have not contributed to the fraud in any way. In practice this means that you should:

  • Keep your card in a safe place.
  • Notify the bank immediately if it is lost or stolen. (Some online banking systems and mobile apps have an option to put a temporary hold on the card if you misplace it, but don’t wait too long before alerting the bank if it doesn’t turn up.)
  • Never give your card’s PIN to anyone else.
  • Memorise your PIN, or, if you must record it, don’t keep the record in a place that could be lost or stolen along with the card.
  • Check your statements regularly to make sure that there are no transactions you didn’t authorise.