Charge cards

With no preset spending limit, attractive sign up bonuses, and solid earn rates for rewards points, compare what a charge card can offer you.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 16 Feb 2024

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Comparing charge cards

American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card

On website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

23.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 150,000 bonus Qantas Points with the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card when you apply 2 April 2024, get approved, and spend at least $3,000 within 2 months of your approval date. Available to new American Express Card Members only.
  • Earn 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and services, up to 1.25 points per $1 spent on everyday spend and 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on government spend, utilities and insurance.
  • After a total of 500,000 Qantas Points is earned in a calendar year, the everyday business earn rate will change from 1.25 to 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent.*For Card Members who applied for the Card between 1 July 2023 – 9 January 2024, this change will come into effect from 10 July 2024.

Pros

  • Earn 150,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Two complimentary passes for the Qantas Club lounge every year.
  • A flexible Payment Option is available to spread costs over time for a portion of your balance.
  • Spend with Dell Technologies, and get up to $100 credit twice a year.

Cons

  • The $450 p.a. annual fee.
  • Balance must be repaid in full each month.
  • No concierge service.
  • Lounge passes are valid for Qantas Club and not the international business lounges.
American Express Platinum Card

On website

Apply by 9 April 2024

American Express Platinum Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$1,450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 200,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply by 9 April 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 200,000 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.
American Express Platinum Business Card

On website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$1,750.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 250,000 bonus Membership Rewards points plus a $500 Credit when you apply by 9 April 2024, are approved, and spend $12,000 on your card within the first 3 months. New American Express Card Members only.
  • Earn up to 2.25 pts per $1 spent.
  • Get exclusive Platinum travel, experience, and dining privileges.

Pros

  • The offer of 250,000 bonus Membership Rewards points plus a $500 Credit when you meet the criteria.
  • Earn up to 2.25 pts per $1 spent and 1 point per $1 spent at the ATO.
  • Access to more than 1,400 lounges globally, including The Centurion® Lounge.
  • Gold status match at Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and Premium status at Radisson Hotel Group.
  • Get the Amex Experiences App to access information on Platinum benefits, travel offers, events and recommended merchants.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $1,750 p.a.
  • Since this is a charge card, the balance must be cleared every statement.
  • No balance transfer facility.
American Express Velocity Escape Card

On website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

23.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn Velocity Points and enjoy a $0 Annual Fee.
  • Velocity Points earned on your card are transferred directly to your Velocity account each month and can be redeemed for a range of rewards including flights, accommodation, car hire, gift cards, and much more.
  • Earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent, except for government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent.

Pros

  • $0 Annual Fee, but still earn points.
  • Earn 1.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on purchases with Virgin Australia.
  • Get 0.5 points per $1 when paying tax to the ATO using the card.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases when the previous balance has been cleared in full.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with complimentary travel insurance.
  • No complimentary lounge access.
  • No access to the concierge service.
  • There is no balance transfer offer for this card.
American Express Gold Business Card

On website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$169.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 75,000 bonus Membership Reward points when you apply, are approved, and spend $1,000 on your card within the first 2 months. New American Express Card Members only.
  • Earn up to 1.5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent.
  • No pre-set spending limit means more flexibility.
  • Travel Insurance that includes up to $2.5 million in medical emergency expenses cover.

Pros

  • Receive 75,000 bonus Membership Reward points when you meet the criteria.
  • Earn up to 1.5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent.
  • No cap on how many points you can earn.
  • No pre-set spending limit means more flexibility.
  • Spend with Dell Technologies to receive up to $75 credit twice a year until 31 December 2024.
  • Membership Rewards points can be transferred to a number of airlines, giving you options when booking travel.

Cons

  • The $119 fee for every additional card added.
  • Doesn't offer airport lounge access.
  • No access to concierge services.
American Express Velocity Business Charge Card

On website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$249.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 200,000 Bonus Velocity Points when you apply by 15 May 2024, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria of $5,000 within 2 months of approval. New American Express Card Members only.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Virgin Australia services and up to 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases. Earn 0.5 points per $1 on ATO and government spending.
  • Enjoy 2 complimentary single-entry passes to the Virgin Australia Lounge at selected domestic airports every year.

Pros

  • Receive 200,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Join the Virgin Australia Business Flyer program to jump direct to Tier 2 and receive a complimentary 12-month Velocity Frequent Flyer Gold if you meet the criteria.
  • Earn up to 2 Velocity Points per $1 spent.
  • No pre-set spending limit and up to 51 days to pay for purchases.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $249 p.a.
  • Each employee card costs $99.

They have become known as buy now pay later for adults and experienced a surge in popularity. If you're considering applying for a charge card, here's more detail on how they work and what they offer.

What is a charge card?

Charge cards look like credit cards. You can use a charge card for purchases in stores and online, plus for paying bills. However, unlike credit cards, your balance must be paid off every month and cannot be carried over.

Charge cards do not have a preset spending limit, although that does not mean you have infinite credit.

Who offers charge cards?

There are two main charge card issuers in Australia.

American Express

By far the most popular issuer of charge cards, American Express charge cards offer a combination of rewards, perks, and benefits. Their best-known charge card is the American Express Platinum Card, which is actually made of metal.

Diners Club

Lesser known and not widely accepted, Diners Club have a range of charge cards with high-end perks and rewards. Since most businesses in Australia do not accept Diners Club, they are issued with a Mastercard that's linked to the same account, giving cardholders a way to use their account more regularly and earn points.

What is the best charge card?

There are many types of charge card, but there is no overall best offer that will suit everyone's needs. Here's what to look for when you are comparing charge cards.

  • Sign up bonus. Most charge cards come with a solid welcome bonus of points. You'll generally need to spend a certain amount on the card within a certain period of time in order for the bonus points to be deposited into your account. This is to discourage churning.
  • Earn rate. The typical earn rate on a charge card is higher than on a rewards credit card. For example, you may be able to earn 2 points per $1 spent on a charge card versus 1 point per $1 spent on a similar credit card.
  • Rewards program. Earning into Membership Rewards or Diners Club Rewards provides greater flexibility when booking travel since those points can be transferred to a number of airline partners. Some charge cards are limited to earning either Qantas or Velocity points.
  • Perks. Since charge cards are available at different levels — gold, platinum, and above — the perks and benefits on offer can vary considerably. Higher end cards, which cost more and are more difficult to get approved for, generally have airport lounge access, travel insurance, access to a concierge service, the ability to add more additional cardholders, etc.
  • Annual fee. The cost to hold a charge card varies considerably. It can be a couple of hundred dollars each year on the low end and more than a thousand on the upper end.
  • Statement period. This typically ranges between 44 - 51 days.
  • Eligibility requirements. Charge cards usually require a higher minimum income than credit cards do. Make sure you check what's required before applying.

Charge cards for businesses

Many business credit cards are actually charge cards. One of the main benefits of charge cards for businesses is the lack of a preset spending limit and statement periods of up to 51 days. Key features designed with the business user in mind include:

  • Accounting software integration (Xero, Quickbooks, MYOB, and similar);
  • Additional cardholders (often free of charge);
  • Airport lounge access, including entry passes into the exclusive American Express lounge network;
  • Complimentary insurance, including domestic and overseas travel insurance;
  • Data exports, itemised statements, and summaries for GST and FBT;
  • Earning rewards points on eligible purchases, including on tax payments to the ATO.

Most corporate cards are actually charge cards, but with even better accounting and management reports.

Pros and cons

If you aren't sure about whether to apply for a charge card, here are a few things to weigh up before making your decision.

Pros

  • No preset spending limit. However, checks and balances are in place to stop you from spending more than you can afford to repay.
  • Avoid debt. A charge card must be repaid in full, which means you are much less likely to get into unmanageable debt. This is also why charge cards do not charge interest on purchases.
  • Earn points. Even the most basic charge card has a competitive earn rate for rewards points. Most charge cards also have significant welcome bonuses.

Cons

  • Annual fees can be high. While there are some affordable charge cards, they usually have an annual fee of several hundred dollars.
  • You have to repay in full. Unlike a credit card, you cannot spread out repayments over a few months. For some though, this is a major benefit.
  • No balance transfers. Charge cards have no balance transfer facility for new or existing customers.

Learn more about charge cards

Concise answers to commonly asked questions about how charge cards work.

  • FAQs

What happens if you miss a charge card repayment?

Failing to repay your charge card on time will likely result in a late fee being charged. The late payment will be reported to credit reporting bureaus, which may hurt your credit score. The amount you can spend in a given statement period may be reduced after paying late.

Do charge cards build credit?

Charge cards can help build your credit score when used responsibly — even though they are not a credit card — because your repayments are reported to the credit bureaus.

Do charge cards have limits?

Charge cards do not generally have preset spending limits. However, that does not mean you can spend an unlimited amount of money on a charge card. Issuers use a matrix of checks based on your credit report, spending record, repayment history, etc. to keep you from spending more than you can afford.

Are charge cards worth it?

If you like the idea of being able to use a card to pay for everyday purchases and bill payments, earn reward points, and avoid getting into long-term debt, then a charge card may well be worth it.

However, signing up for a charge card will not be worth it if you need a way to finance a large purchase over multiple months, want to make a balance transfer, or be able to withdraw cash.