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In a report released by the Reserve Bank of Australia (July 2007), Australians withdrew a massive AU$1 billion in cash advances on their credit cards. According to these figures the average Australian would have clocked up approximately AU$3,000 in credit card debt alone. With the many credit cards charging interest rates of around 20%, it’s no suprise that credit card debt is a major problem for a lot of people.
In an attempt to stay in such a competitive market, credit card providers are now offering special incentives to customers. These include 0% balance transfers, rewards programs and attractive ongoing interest rates.
Credit cards are all about tradeoff. They offer great convienience and flexibility, but this comes at the cost of higher average interest rates than most other forms of borrowing. By offering a lower rate on some credit cards, financial institutions aiming to stay competitive in a tough market. When doing so, they sacrifice revenue or features in a bid to gain marketshare. Many of the cards represent great deals, but compare thoroughly to make sure this lost revenue is not being recouped in other ways. Most cards will charge fees for low rate cards, but look out for excessive levels of:
- Annual fees: higher annual fees than standard-rate cards
- Cash advance rate: can be up to 10% higher than the rate for purchases
- Late payment fees
- Other fees and charges: ATM transaction fees
The lower rates are available to people who are willing to go without some of the additional features many of the flashy, high rate credit cards offer. For example, most low rate cards will have no insurance or emergency assistance.
When it comes to low rates and borrowing money, it’s hard not to walk past a rate of 0%. You should remember that while these loans are technically temporarily interest-free, they do have to be repaid and for it to be truly interest-free, the debt needs to be repaid before the introductory period expires. If you don’t pay it off wihting the timeframe, the revert interest rate is generally much higher.
Paying by credit should always be used wisely which is why it pays to be familiar with the different characteristics of the various types of low interest credit cards. Choosing the right mix of interest rate, fees and features for you and work to your benefit.
Some of the lowest credit card rates are displayed in the table to the right. This table shows low rate credit card with with some of the lowest credit card rates on the market.
Want to compare more low rate cards? Visit our credit card comparison