First up though, identify exactly what you are not happy with. Is it poor service from your credit card provider or are you failing to get any benefits out of your rewards program? Are you handing over $100’s each year in annual fees or is it simply that you’re not getting the best interest rate?
Whatever the reason, there are over 200 different credit cards available in Australia so there’s no need to stick with one that’s not right.
Things to consider when switching credit cards
1. Shop around
Use online comparison websites like RateCity.com.au to compare credit cards and find the best deals on interest rates, rewards programs, annual fees and more. With so many cards on the market, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed with the marketing hype, but when you compare them side by side its much easier to see how they stack up in real life.
2. Zero percent balance transfer cards
Zero per cent balance transfer offers can make debt consolidation easy but if you can’t pay it back in the interest free period you’ll end up getting stung with excessively high interest rates. Also be careful of high annual fees and handling fees, which can be up to 2.5 per cent of the debt you transfer.
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If you pay off your balance each month, interest rates won’t concern you but rewards will. Decide what rewards you’re really interested in and look for a card that offers those rewards. There’s no point selecting a frequent flyer card if you never redeem the flights. If you travel, you may want low or no foreign currency conversion fees or travel insurance. If you are a shopaholic, you may want vouchers for your favourite shops. The variety of rewards offered is endless but if you’re just after bang for your buck, RateCity’s unique rewards tool will show you which are the best deals.
4. Low cost cards
If you have ongoing credit card debt and pay interest, look for a card with a low interest rate and low or no annual fees. Now is not the time for rewards cards and special offers that attract high interest charges once the honeymoon deals are over. If you do struggle clearing your credit card, it’s also a good idea to develop a plan to pay off the card entirely. One option is to take out a personal loan, which has structured repayments that will ensure you pay off your debt in full in a set amount of time. You could also talk to a financial counsellor about the best ways to clear long term debt.
5. Break up with your old card provider
One of the biggest traps people fall into is not bothering to close the old credit card account. It’s the sure fire way to lose track of your accounts and your debt. Plus, you could be up for two sets of annual fees. While its relatively easy to open a credit card account with most providers offering this facility online, banks are notorious for making it hard to close your account, so be prepared to walk into a branch if you need to.
Use our easy search tools to compare credit cards