It's become a plastic world as we rely more and more heavily on cards to make our purchases. Shopping has moved online, overseas holidays booked through travel websites and meals purchased on our debit cards. So when each of us carry at least two cards it's never been more important to find the right credit cards.
Although most Australians rely on their cards daily most don't understand the fees, charges and options so they aren't getting the most out of their cards and are acquiring credit card debt.
Low rate credit cards or rewards
Low interest credit cards are a great basic item, usually providing 55 interest free days for a low annual fee but most don't realise that the downside to this is the limited budget and lack of reward programs.
Big spenders who like to bulk all of their expenses on to their credit cards for convenience and pay them off each month can gain a lot from a Gold or Platinum credit card. These heavy weight cards provide prestigious rewards and frequent flyer points for every dollar spent, with the downside of a much higher interest rate and fees.
Credit card debt
Consider applying for a balance transfer credit card, which will switch all of your debt on to a new card with a much lower interest rate so that you can get on top of your debt faster. Just be sure to pay off your balance by the time your introductory rate runs out and the rate reverts to a higher rate.
Introductory rates also benefit card holders who only want their card for a short period, such as to use during travelling. Afterwards, they may wish to revert back to EFTPOS or paying with a debit card.
To get the most out of your credit card think of it as a card of convenience rather than a tool to live beyond your means. Try to pay off the total balance every month so that you don't pay interest on your purchases. If you can do this, you can then get the convenience of a credit card and gain rewards without incurring interest.
Card holders have hundreds of options to choose from when selecting their credit card. Whether you are looking for your first credit card or simply one with a low rate, a great way to find the perfect card for you is to compare them at RateCity.
Look for some of the cheapest rates and fees, as well as the best features and perks. After all, it's better to know now that a card isn't for you, instead of finding out on your bill.
The table to the right displays some of today's best low rate credit cards.