Credit card introductory offers, providing purchases and balance transfers at zero interest for a short while, are great for getting your relationship with your card off to a good start. But what happens when the initial gloss wears off and you need to settle down to a long-term commitment at much higher interest rates? That’s when a card like the ME Frank Credit Card comes into its own.
It may lack those introductory offers, but instead of luring you with temporary flash and sizzle, its $0 annual fee and low ongoing interest rates promise lasting savings.
A card like this — which costs you absolutely nothing to keep in your wallet — is good for both regular users of credit and for those who like to have a card in reserve for emergencies.
You can have up to 8 Additional cardholders on your account with no extra fees. Additional cardholders must be at least 16.
Whether you’re expecting to pay interest on purchases, cash advances, or a balance transfer, there’s only one low rate of 11.99% p.a. That's one of the lowest credit card interest rates currently available in Australia.
Unlike some cards, the low rate also applies to other types of transactions.
If you need a quick cash advance from an ATM, the low rate will apply. Just be aware that there is a separate cash advance fee of the greater of $4 or 2%. So, for example, if you take a $100 cash advance you’ll need to repay $104. Interest at 11.99% p.a. will be charged from the day you take the cash advance, but 11.99% p.a. is far less painful than the 20% p.a. or more charged by many other credit cards.
If you need to consolidate credit card debt at a low rate, then the ME Frank Credit Card may not be your best option. It has no 0% interest balance transfer as an introductory offer.
However, all interest-free balance transfer offers expire eventually. If you cannot pay off the balance before the offer expires, on another card you may find yourself paying interest at the revert rate (often the higher cash advance interest rate), which could be over 20% p.a.
Contrast this with the ME Frank Credit Card, which charges interest at a much lower ongoing rate.
Consider your options carefully if you think you may need to carry a balance for much longer than any of the interest-free balance transfer offers allow for.
Some low-rate, low-fee cards recoup a portion of their costs by skimping on the interest-free days on purchases, but this one doesn’t. If you pay off your balance in full every month, on or before the due date, you’ll get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, courtesy of the 30-day billing cycle plus the 25 extra days before payment is due.
Even if overseas travel is not part of your lifestyle, you may still find yourself making online purchases from overseas suppliers at some time or another. If you think you’ve scored a bargain online, it can come as a nasty surprise to discover that your credit card charges you a foreign currency exchange or transaction fee on top of the direct conversion into Australian dollars. Some cards charge more than 3% of the face value of the transaction for this. But the ME Frank charges an international transaction fee of 1.5% and a further 0.8% as the Mastercard cross-border fee when a merchant is located outside Australia. These add up to a combined foreign exchange and overseas transaction fee of just 2.3%.
While you’re doing your online shopping, secure in the knowledge that your foreign currency conversion fees will be low, it’s always good to be able to rely on another type of security.
With this card, you are protected by the MasterCard Zero Liability policy for unauthorised transactions, whether online, by phone, or in-store. You have a duty to protect your card from loss or theft, and you must advise ME immediately if the card is lost or stolen, but as long as you do this, you are 100% covered against fraud.
Another handy feature is the ability to temporarily lock the card from the app should you ever misplace it.
The ME Frank Credit Card is equipped with MasterCard PayPass Tap & Go technology, allowing you to make quick, easy contactless, PIN-free purchases for under $100. Purchases over $100 are also contactless, but you will need to authorise them with your PIN. And you’re still covered by the MasterCard Zero Liability policy for all PayPass Tap & Go transactions.
If you take your ME card with you when travelling overseas, do your best not to lose it. An emergency replacement card while overseas costs $100 versus $20 to replace a lost card in Australia.
While the $25,000 minimum income requirement is fairly high for a basic, low-rate card like this, the minimum credit limit is a low $1,000. This means that if necessary, you can choose a limit that is high enough to suit your spending pattern but still low enough to let you stay in control. You can apply for a higher limit later if you need it.
The ME Frank Credit Card appears to be aimed at someone who wants an uncomplicated card that will cost them nothing if they plan to pay on time, and as little as possible if they need extended credit. If you don’t need balance transfers, rewards points, insurance and other convoluted benefits, there’s no point in paying for perks that someone else is going to profit from.The low rate will apply if you need a quick cash advance from an ATM.
Reviewed by Yvonne Taylor
Lead Product Analyst