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Product Name Card

St.George Bank No Annual Fee Visa

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

0.00

% p.a

for up to 12 months, then 20.74%

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$0

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$15

Go to site

Purchase Offers

0% for 12 months on APR
Product Name Card

Westpac Low Rate Card (Cashback offer)

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

13.74

% p.a

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$59

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$15

Go to site

Cashback

up to $400 Cashback when you take out a new Low Rate credit card. New cards only. T&Cs and exclusions apply.Get
Product Name Card

St.George Bank Vertigo Visa (Balance Transfer Offer)

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

13.99

% p.a

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $55

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$15

Go to site

Balance Transfer

0% for 32m BT (0% fee) + $0 First Year annual Fee
Product Name Card

ANZ First

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

0.00

% p.a

for up to 20 months, then 20.24%

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$30

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$20

Go to site

Purchase Offers

0% p.a. for 20 months on purchases and $30 back to your new ANZ First credit card. New card. T&Cs, eligibility criteria, fees and charges apply (including annual fee, currently $30). Access exclusive cashback offers with Cashrewards Max.
Product Name Card

ANZ Platinum

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

0.00

% p.a

for up to 25 months, then 20.24%

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $87

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$20

Go to site

Purchase Offers

0% p.a. for 25 months on purchases and $0 Annual Fee in First Year with an ANZ Platinum credit card.* Access exclusive cashback offers with Cashrewards Max.
Product Name Card

ANZ Rewards Black

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24

% p.a

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $375

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$20

Go to site

Bonus Points

Earn 80,000 extra Reward Points* and $0 annual fee in the first year with your new ANZ Rewards Black credit card. *Extra Reward Points earned when you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from approval. New card. T&Cs, eligibility criteria, fees and charges apply (including an annual fee, currently $375 after the first year). Access exclusive cashback offers with Cashrewards Max.
Product Name Card

ANZ Frequent Flyer Black

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24

% p.a

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$425

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$20

Go to site

Bonus Points

Earn 130,000 bonus Qantas Points and $255 back to your new ANZ Frequent Flyer Black credit card when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from approval. New card. T&Cs, eligibility criteria, fees & charges apply (including annual fee, currently $425).
Product Name Card

ANZ Rewards Platinum

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24

% p.a

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $95

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$20

Go to site

Bonus Points

Earn 50,000 extra Reward Points* and $0 annual fee in the first year with your new ANZ Rewards Platinum. *Extra Reward Points earned when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from approval. New card. T&Cs, eligibility criteria, fees and charges apply (including an annual fee, currently $95 after the first year). Access exclusive cashback offers with Cashrewards Max.
Product Name Card

ANZ Frequent Flyer

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24

% p.a

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$95

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$20

Go to site

Bonus Points

Earn uncapped Qantas Points on your everyday purchases with an ANZ Frequent Flyer card.*Access exclusive cashback offers with Cashrewards Max.
Product Name Card

ANZ Rewards

Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24

% p.a

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$80

Max Free Days

Max Free Days

55

Late Payment Fee

$20

Go to site

Bonus Points

Earn Rewards Points on your everyday purchases with an ANZ Rewards card.T&Cs, eligibility criteria, fees and charges (including current annual fee $80) apply. Access exclusive cashback offers with Cashrewards Max.

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Credit card providers we compare at RateCity

Learn more about credit cards

A credit card’s interest rate is one of the most common financial features to research and compare, and for good reason. There can be significant variations between interest rates on different cards, as well as the number of interest-free days attached to a card, and that can end up costing the cardholder money.

What is credit card interest?

The premise of a credit card is that the purchases you make on the card are actually funds borrowed from the bank or financial institution, until the amount is paid off in full. The institution then applies an interest rate percentage figure to any dollar amount that is not paid off in full by the agreed amount of time set out by the card provider.

The interest amount on top of the amount owed is known as credit card interest.

Interest-free periods - how they work

You will regularly see attached to a credit card a number of interest-free days you have to pay off the amount you have spent in a statement issued to you each billing cycle. For example, if you have a 55-day interest-free period, that means you have 55 days from the day the statement was issued to pay the purchase amount due to the card provider.

Failure to pay

If you fail to pay the full amount off during that time, the card’s interest rate will be applied to the amount due as an extra payment.

Interest-free periods and billing cycles

The interest-free period you have may not correspond to your billing cycle.

Many card providers issue statements each month, while offering 55-day interest-free periods. This means your interest free period may end during the next billing cycle. You need to be aware of when the interest-free period finishes in your next billing cycle.

Being smart about your interest-free days

Interest-free days provide flexibility with purchases so that you can purchase something early in your billing cycle and then have the remainder of your 55-day period to pay back the purchase amount.

There are several ways to maximise the benefit of having interest-free days

  • Purchase as early as you can in the billing cycle. This allows you more time to pay the amount off within the interest free period. If, for example, you purchase something on day 40 of a 55-day billing cycle, it means you have only 15 days left to make the full payment. Whereas if you made the purchase on day one, you would have the full 55 days to pay the amount off before interest was applied.
  • Understand interest-free days apply only to eligible purchases. The definition of the term ‘eligible purchases’ varies slightly between different banks and financial institutions, but usually refers to everyday spending. This means other transactions will not necessarily be covered, so check with your card provider about their policy.
  • You can lose your interest-free period. If you don’t pay the full amount due by your interest-free period, or only pay the minimum amount, you will lose your interest-free period until the full amount is paid in the next billing cycle. Your interest-free period will then be reinstated.

Looking beyond interest-free days

When you’re looking at the interest-free period, you also need to look at the card’s interest rate, annual fee and other features.  You need to take into consideration:

  1. Some interest rates can exceed 20 per cent, so compare what different card providers are offering as this can make a substantial difference if you don’t meet your interest-free period obligations.
  2. There may be a $0 annual fee for the first year with the card, but you also need to look at what the annual fee reverts to after that year.
  3. Examine what the charges are on any balance transfers made when you first get the card as well as after any special introductory periods.
  4. Investigate whether cards with similar interest free-periods also have a rewards program attached to them that may suit your needs.
  5. Finally, you need to realistically appraise your spending habits and determine whether the credit card has everything you require.

If you’re disciplined with money and are working towards clearly defined financial goals, a credit card can be a valuable tool in assisting you to achieve those goals. But if you’re looking at credit cards as a quick fix solution to a problem situation, you need to look at other more effective options.

Frequently asked questions

How does credit card interest work?

Generally, when we talk about credit card interest, we mean the purchase interest rate, which is the interest charged on purchases you make with your credit card.

If you don’t pay your full balance each month (or even if you pay the minimum amount), you are charged interest on all the outstanding transactions and the remaining balance. However, interest is also charged on cash advances, balance transfers, special rate offers and, in some cases, even the fees charged by the company.

The interest rate can vary, depending on the credit card. Some have an interest-free period, otherwise you start paying interest from the day you make a purchase or from the day your monthly statement is issued. So avoid interest by paying the full amount promptly.

How is credit card interest charged?

Your credit card will be charged interest when you don’t pay off the balance on your credit card. Your card provider or bank charges you the individual interest rate that is associated with your card, which is usually between 10 and 20 per cent. 

The interest will be added onto your bill each month or billing period if you don’t pay off the balance, unless you are in an interest-free period.

You will be charged interest on anything that hasn’t been paid for inside the interest-free period. Usually you will receive a notice on your bill or statement saying you will be charged interest so you have some form of notice before you’re charged.

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.

How to calculate credit card interest

Credit card interest can quickly turn a manageable balance into unmovable debt. So being able to understand how interest rates translate into dollars is an important skill to acquire.

The common mistake people make is focusing on the credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR), which often sits between 15 and 20 per cent. While the APR does provide a rough idea of how much interest you’ll pay, it’s not entirely accurate.

This is because you actually accrue interest on your balance daily, not annually. So, you need to work out your daily periodic rate (DPR). To do this, divide your card’s APR by the number of days in a year (e.g. 16.9 per cent divided by 365, or 0.05 per cent). You can then apply this figure to the daily balance on your credit card.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How to apply for an HSBC credit card instalment plan?

HSBC provides a host of different features and benefits to its customers, including interest-free finance options for purchases made at select retailers.

Using this feature, you can make a purchase in-store or online through your credit card, and spread your repayments for up to 60 months. Opting for a credit card instalment plan may be an ideal option as you can make big purchases without worrying about making immediate payments. 

The interest-free instalment plan is valid for all HSBC credit cards, so you shouldn't need to fill out separate forms or apply for a particular plan. Rather, all you should need to do is use your HSBC credit card at any of the participating retailers and inform the vendor that you want to pay using HSBC interest-free. 

As HSBC has partnered with over 1,000 retailers for its interest-free credit card instalment plan, you get the flexibility to purchase a host of different products. Some of the popular retailers that HSBC allows instalments for are: 

  • Webjet 
  • King Furniture 
  • Betta Home Living
  • Stratco 
  • Video Pro 
  • Bing Lee

Once you have provided approval to the vendor, HSBC will send you an SMS asking you to confirm the purchase, following which the payment will go through, and you can select your preferred instalment plan. 

While you may be inclined to choose the most prolonged duration for repayment considering there are no interest charges, it’s important to know that minimum monthly repayments will still apply (3%, or $30, whichever is higher), making it important to choose the right HSBC credit card instalment plan that suits your requirements. 

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. 

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How to pay a credit card from another bank

Paying or transferring debt from one lender to the other is called a balance transfer. This involves transferring part or all of the debt from a credit card with one lender to a credit card with another. As part of the process, your new lender will pay out the old lender, so that you now owe the same amount of money but to a new institution.

Many credit card providers offer an interest-free period on balance transfers to help new applicants better handle their debt. During this period, cardholders are not required to pay interest on the debt they brought over from the other card. This can be a great opportunity for consumers to pay off credit card debt with no interest. There are often fees associated with balance transfers; normally, these are a percentage of the amount transferred.

So make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card before transferring any debt across.

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.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How do I transfer money from my Commonwealth bank credit card to my bank account?

Your Commonwealth bank credit card may include a cash advance benefit, but you won't be able to transfer money to your bank account. 

You can, however, withdraw cash from your credit card at an ATM. You should remember that you have to pay a fee for such transactions, and you’ll be charged interest from the day you withdraw the cash. 

Unlike other credit card transactions, you don’t get an interest-free repayment period for cash advances. Also, you may not be able to access your full credit card limit for a cash advance.

Increase your credit card limit with Westpac

You can apply to increase your Westpac credit card credit limit at any time, and most credit card providers have made it really easy to do so. You can use your online banking portal, the credit card provider’s mobile app, or even the telephone. 

Applying online to increase your credit limit with Westpac is the easiest option if you’ve already activated Westpac Live Online Banking. All you need to do is fill in the required information and then hit ‘submit’ to apply for an increase in your credit card limit.

Most banks will ask for details of your financial situation at the time of applying for a credit increase. This is done to ensure your new limit meets the lender’s criteria. 

You can apply for increasing your credit limit in any of the following ways:

  1. Visiting your nearest Westpac branch
  2. Calling Westpac on 1300 651 089
  3. Logging in on Westpac Live Online Banking

How to increase the NAB credit card limit?

If you use your NAB credit card regularly, you could consider requesting a higher credit limit. The good news is that it's fairly easy to do so using either the NAB app or NAB internet banking. 

NAB app: 

  • Step 1: Download the latest version of the NAB app.
  • Step 2: Select the ‘My Cards’ menu. 
  • Step 3: Select the card you want to increase the credit limit for. 
  • Step 4: Select ‘Usage Controls’ and then click on ‘Change Credit Limit’.

NAB internet banking: 

  • Step 1: Log into your account. 
  • Step 2: Choose the ‘My Cards’ menu. 
  • Step 3: Choose the card for which you want to increase the limit. 
  • Step 4: Choose ‘Change My Credit Card Limit’.  

If you don’t have the NAB app or cannot access NAB internet banking, you can even visit your local branch or call their contact center. 

Once you’ve applied to increase your NAB credit card limit, you’re likely to be asked for your

  • current employment details  
  • total income, before and after-tax deductions  
  • assets, liabilities, and expenses information

NAB will then assess this information to determine if your current financial situation suits the increased credit limit request, and your application will either be accepted or denied.

However, this process will only work if you’re attempting to increase your personal NAB credit card limit. For a business credit card, you can contact the NAB Corporate & Business Servicing team or speak to your NAB relationship manager. 

How can I increase my Bankwest credit card limit?

When you apply for a Bankwest credit card, you get assigned a pre-set credit limit, which will end up being the most that you can spend on your credit card before having to pay it off. Your credit limit is chosen for you and your current financial situation, and you should remember not to overspend, irrespective of the limit, in order to avoid racking up a massive bill.

However, banks and lenders understand that your needs will change, and have made it possible for you to increase your credit card limit, allowing you to get extra cash when you need it most. Moreover, with a higher spending limit, you may be able to get access to certain perks and benefits with your Bankwest credit card.

To increase your Bankwest credit card limit, you can visit any of the bank’s branches or call 13 17 19 and follow the steps outlined.

How do I apply for a BOQ credit card limit increase?

If you’re an existing BOQ customer, you can request a BOQ credit card limit increase over a phone call. However, you should remember that owning and using a credit card is a matter of financial responsibility, so it might be worth thinking this decision through. 

When requesting a credit card limit increase, you’ll need to be just as responsible in terms of how much you earn and can set aside to repay the outstanding card balance. A credit card company may approve a credit limit increase only if you can show that you have either the income or the disposable income, which is the amount you have left after all expenses have been paid out.

For this purpose, you may need to submit your latest income documents and bank statements for an increase. You may want to estimate how much you usually have left after deducting your expenses, and then use this amount to try and convince the credit card company. Also, you may prefer to pay off the card balance in full each month and thus avoid paying interest on the card, helping you back up any claims of financial responsibility, as well. 

Remember that you may not be able to apply for a credit card limit increase beyond any limitations on the type of card you own. For instance, if you own a card whose ceiling is $10,000, and your current limit is $5,000, you won't likely be able to apply for a $10,000 credit card limit increase.

Is instant approval possible for credit cards?

Instant approval may be possible – but please note that the term may be misleading. “Instant” approval tends to mean that when you apply online the lender will let you know the likeliness of your eligibility for a credit card within 60 seconds of receiving your application.

Are credit checks mandatory?

In Australia it is impossible to get a credit card without the provider performing a credit check first. This is for your benefit, as it helps to prevent you from falling into avoidable debt.

What is the lowest monthly repayment on my credit card?

As a rule of thumb, this tends to be around 2-3 per cent of the outstanding balance. You can choose how much you want to repay each billing period as long as it is higher than this minimum required amount.