Credit cards vary wildly, and depending on what you want a credit card for, you may find one suits you better than others. Whether you’re a traveller, rewards points chaser, or big spender, it pays to do your research around which credit card could be right for you. 

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Purchase Rate

19.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $149

$12.5

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Purchase Rate

11.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$49

$25

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Purchase Rate

16.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$125

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$80

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$95

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$375

$20

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Purchase Rate

19.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$30

$15

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Purchase Rate

16.99%

Interest Free Days

45

Annual Fee

$149

$20

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Purchase Rate

0.90%

for 15 months then 14.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

$30

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Purchase Rate

16.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$55

$20

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Purchase Rate

12.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

$30

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Purchase Rate

23.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$79

$30

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Purchase Rate

14.95%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$30

$20

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Purchase Rate

14.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$395

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$99

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$450

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$249

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$0

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$295

$30

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Purchase Rate

8.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

$30

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Purchase Rate

21.49%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

for 12 months then $199

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$195

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$99

$30

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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$295

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

11.95%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

for 12 months then $129

$10

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Purchase Rate

12.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$49

$10

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$295

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$95

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$425

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$30

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $30

$20

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Purchase Rate

9.99%

Interest Free Days

57

Annual Fee

$39

$20

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Purchase Rate

18.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$189

$15

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Purchase Rate

15.95%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$69

$35

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Purchase Rate

19.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$79

$15

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Purchase Rate

19.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

$15

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Purchase Rate

19.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$279

$15

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Purchase Rate

19.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$79

$15

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Purchase Rate

19.99%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$250

$15

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Purchase Rate

19.99%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$295

$15

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Purchase Rate

19.99%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$295

for 12 months then $395

$15

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Which credit card will suit me?

There's no shortage of cards to include in your credit card comparison. Your credit card choice will ultimately depend on what you want to use your card for, your financial situation, and the perks you may receive whenever you do. Whether you're a first-time cardholder or just shopping around for a new credit card, there are a range of credit card types available in Australia. Some of the most popular include:

Low rate credit cards

As the name implies, low rate credit cards are credit cards that come with competitive, low interest rates. They are able to keep rates down by not offering perks like rewards programs or high credit limits. If you’re looking for a no-frills option that’s theoretically easier to manage, consider a low rate credit card.

Keep an eye out for what rate the ‘low’ label applies for. A low rate credit card may have a low purchase rate, for example, but a higher than average cash advance rate. Make sure you read the key fact sheets for any credit card you may be interested in.

Low fee credit cards

Similar to low rate cards in that they’re designed to keep costs down, low fee cards often do not charge cardholders an annual fee, or may charge very few fees. Annual fees can range between $25 - $1,200, depending on the type of card. If you’re the type of cardholder who always pays their balance in full by the due date and never accrues interest, an annual fee may be the biggest cost you face. This is why it may be helpful to avoid paying an annual fee altogether.

Platinum credit cards

Unlike low rate credit cards, platinum cards are aimed towards Australians looking for high credit limits and extensive rewards programs. These premium cards can come with higher interest rates and annual fees. However, the idea is that those taking out a platinum credit card can afford these costs as they’re marketed towards those with higher incomes.

Balance transfer cards

If you have existing credit card debt, balance transfer cards can be a helpful debt management tool. This is where you transfer your existing credit card debt to a new credit provider, and your balance will be charged a balance transfer rate of zero per cent interest for a set period of time. This time frame is usually referred to as the balance transfer offer. This means you can concentrate on clearing your debt without being charged more interest on top of it.

The new card provider may charge a balance transfer fee. This is typically a percentage of the total balance you are transferring. Balance transfer fees can be a common occurrence, and worth factoring into your budget before applying.

Just remember that you’ll still be charged interest on new purchases, often straight away, without the benefit of interest-free days. If you get a balance transfer card, it’s advised that you put it in the freezer and focus on paying off your debt.

Rewards credit cards

Rewards credit cards are those that are attached to rewards programs. The dollars you spend on eligible purchases could earn you rewards points. Credit card providers may allow you to exchange these points earned on eligible purchases through the rewards programs for things like gift cards, home goods and electronics. They can also carry perks such as concierge services, VIP seating for events, airport lounge access and more.

You may also be able to earn bonus points upon signing up to a credit card. This is done to entice new customers to join with a card provider. A bonus points offering may be thousands, even hundreds of thousands of rewards points with your card provider's rewards program. To learn more about the rewards program spend criteria and eligibility, it's worth reading the card provider's product disclosure statement.

If you plan on using your credit card regularly, they can be a competitive choice. Consider how you plan to use your card and how closely this matches with the card’s rewards program. For example, if you regularly use your credit card at a local supermarket, you may want to consider a credit card that lets you earn points that can be redeemed at these shops.

Frequent flyer cards

One of the most popular types of rewards credit cards are those that offer frequent flyer points. It works similarly to rewards points, but you earn frequent flyer points instead based on the amount you spend on eligible purchases. They can be spent on flights or upgrade with major airlines. If you make regular plane trips for work or to visit family, or if you love to travel, this card type may suit you. They can also carry perks such as concierge services and airport lounge passes, as well as complimentary insurance, like travel insurance and car rental insurance.

Similar to rewards credit cards, you may also be able to earn up to hundreds of thousands of bonus reward points when signing up to a frequent flyer credit card. The type of points will depend on the frequent flyer program attached to the card. For example, Qantas rewards will offer bonus Qantas frequent flyer points.

Travel cards

For avid adventurers, there are credit cards designed with overseas travel and overseas spending in mind. Travel credit cards may carry some of the same perks as frequent flyer cards, such as complimentary insurance. They also typically come with no or low foreign transaction fees, such as foreign ATM withdrawal fees and currency conversion fees. They may also allow you to hold multiple currencies on your credit card.

What to look for in a credit card

Here are a few things to consider when shopping around for a credit card:

  • Credit card purpose: how do you plan on using your credit card? For everyday shopping or major purchases only? For buying overseas or travel? To transfer an existing balance? Narrow down your purpose so you can compare apples with apples.
  • Interest rates: credit cards can charge different rates for purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. Also, keep an eye out for introductory, promotional, or “honeymoon” rates that revert to a higher one after a period of time. Knowing what rates you may be charged before applying can keep you from growing debt.
  • Interest-free periods: the number of days you have to pay back your purchases before you’re charged credit card interest. The higher number of days, the more breathing room to make repayments. A typical interest-free period is around 44 days.
  • Rewards programs and extras: rewards card programs let you earn points on your everyday spending that can be exchanged for goods, transferred into frequent flyer points or may come in the form of cashback deals. Some credit cards also offer extras such as international travel insurance and purchase protection insurance. However, some extras may be as simple as not charging a fee for supplementary cards for additional cardholders. These programs and extras typically incur higher annual fees.
  • Card fees and charges: are there any extra costs, such as annual fees, foreign transaction fees, cash advance fees or charges for overseas purchases? Consider whether the credit card’s benefits would likely be worth these costs.
  • Credit card type: There are three main credit card types- Visa, MasterCard and American Express (AMEX). Visa and MasterCard are quite similar in that they are just payment processing systems, so they cannot issue cards directly to customers. Whereas AMEX is both a payment processing system and can issue its own cards. When making payments, Visa and MasterCard typically carry lower card fees than AMEX.

Can anyone get a credit card?

No, not everyone will be approved for every credit card. It is easier to be approved for a credit card than some other forms of finance, like a home loan, as you don’t need to offer up a deposit to be approved. But you will need to meet credit card eligibility criteria, such as:

  • Being an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • 18 years old or over
  • No history of bankruptcy
  • Meet minimum income requirements (can range from $10,000 to $1000,000 and higher for platinum and above cards)
  • Good credit rating

Credit card providers will assess your eligibility at different scales, depending on the type of card you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a Titanium credit card and you don’t meet the minimum income required, your application is more likely to be rejected.

When applying for a credit card, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • Proof of income: salaries or wages
  • Proof of employment: two or more recent payslips
  • Photo ID (driver’s license, proof of age card or passport)
  • Additional assets and income (such as a savings account or managed investments)
  • Credit history
  • Tax file number
  • Details of any existing loans, such as personal loans, a lease or other credit cards
  • Recent tax returns, particularly if you’re self-employed

How much do I have to pay on my credit card?

All credit cards have minimum repayment requirements. These are usually a percentage of your total balance (2 - 3.5 per cent) due each statement period, but can be a dollar figure - usually around $20. It’s highly encouraged that you make more than the minimum repayment requirements, however, or it can take you years to pay off an outstanding balance.

For example, Mark has an outstanding credit card balance of $10,000 at an interest rate of 18 per cent. His card has a minimum repayment amount of $20 or 2 per cent (whichever is higher). If he only made minimum repayments to this debt, it would take him 43 years and 11 months to pay off his balance. However, if he made higher monthly repayments of $400, it would only take 2 years and 7 months to pay off his balance.

How do you compare credit cards?

Now you know the type of card you want, and the extras to keep an eye out for, it’s time to narrow down your options. The best way to compare credit cards is to do your research and use comparison tables.

Comparison tables are a helpful way to compare things equally, side by side. You can view a range of credit card options in a table that outlines some of the more significant costs and features. These include the purchase rate, annual fees, maximum interest free days and late payment fees. Filter down your options to create a short list of credit cards.

Once you’ve made a short list, it’s worth checking out the product disclosure statement for those cards. These are kept on the credit card provider's website. They offer more detail on the cards you’re interested in, such as a break down of all card fees and interest rates.

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Frequently asked questions

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rathe