Can I use my credit card to pay for a house deposit?

Can I use my credit card to pay for a house deposit?

Buying a property is arguably one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, with the initial deposit costing a fair chunk of anyone’s savings. However, you may be wondering if a credit card is an accepted form of payment for a deposit?

Here is everything you need to know about using a credit card to pay for a house deposit.

Is it possible to pay for a house deposit with a credit card?

Short answer, no. Even if your credit card provider approved this purchase, your home loan lender would see this as a high-risk transaction. This would give them cause to cancel your loan approval. Further, the property sale would likely fall through as, in the settlement period, the real estate agent and seller would have cause to cancel the sale.

Considering that paying for anything with a credit card can lead to defaults on payments and high amounts of debt for the cardholder, this is in the would-be buyers’ best interest.

In fact, here are the most commonly accepted payment methods for house deposits:

  • Personal cheque – one of the modern instances of cheques still being the most favourable payment method is for a house deposit.
  • Counter cheque – If you don’t have a cheque book, you may be able to get a counter cheque from a branch prior to private sale/auction.
  • Electronic funds transfer – Paying your deposit directly to the real estate agent/seller.
  • Deposit bond – typically used when a buyer is awaiting funds from an existing sale, a deposit bond is used instead of cash until settlement - where the deposit is paid in full.

Before you attend an auction or make an offer to a real estate agent, consider asking them what the preferred payment method is.

Credit limits and house deposits

In past years, home loan lenders have been more accepting of new borrowers with smaller deposits – 5 per cent and lower in some cases. However, following the Royal Commission into the Banking Sector and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority crackdown on irresponsible lending practices, the days of tiny deposits for million-dollar mortgages are gone.

Nowadays lenders encourage borrowers to have a deposit of 20 per cent or more. Not only does this showcase a level of financial responsibility on the borrower’s behalf but helps them to avoid paying costly lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). Home loans of 10 per cent are still available, but lenders may be more likely to reward borrowers with higher deposit sizes with lower interest rates too. So, there can be financial incentives to saving a bigger deposit.

Hypothetically speaking, putting a house deposit on a credit card may mean you’re putting $110,537 on your plastic, based on national house prices from CoreLogic in August 2020. Not only would this debt be astronomical for any credit card holder, but the potential interest you might pay could balloon over $400,000, if you only made minimum repayments.

Cost of putting a house deposit on your credit card in Australia

National median house price $552,689

 

20% deposit amount $110,537
First monthly repayment

(16% purchase rate)

$2,244
Total paid in minimum credit card repayments $421,408
Time taken to pay off balance 81 years 7 months

Source: CoreLogic Index Results, August 2020. ASIC credit card calculator.

Note: Figures based on 16 per cent interest rate and cardholder making minimum repayments.

Even if your home loan lender or the real estate agent approved this payment method, and even if you had these funds in your savings, you’d need to consider whether your credit limit would allow this purchase to be approved in the first place.

In fact, most credit cards have maximum credit limits around $100,000. If you’re the type of high-earning Australian who qualifies for a credit card like this, it begs the question: would you need to put a house deposit on a credit card in the first place?

For example, the AMEX Platinum is a charge card with no specific credit limit, but if you don’t pay the balance in full by the end of the month, you’ll be hit with a fee. It also carries an annual fee of $1,450 and requires an income of $100,000 or more.

If you can afford this kind of card, then realistically, you can afford to save for a house deposit.

How can I afford a house deposit then?

It’s no secret that property prices have grown sky-high in the last few decades, with young Aussies struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.

If you’re looking for a means to get a house deposit, you’ll unfortunately have to consider doing so the old-fashioned way. However, here are some helpful tips to boost your savings and get yourself that much closer to nabbing your first property.

RateCity tips for first home buyers:

  1. Dream smaller – you’re not going to be able to afford your dream home the first time around. It’s called a property ladder for a reason, so consider making a smaller step with a more affordable apartment in an up-and-coming suburb first.
  2. Sell your belongings - it’s never been easier to make some extra cash thanks to buy/swap/sell platforms like GumTree or Facebook Marketplace.
  3. Bridesmaid suburbs – similar to shopping smaller, consider looking for property in a bridesmaid suburb, aka a suburb near your ideal suburb that is more affordable.
  4. Choose a better savings account – if your savings account is paying you next to nothing in interest repayments, it may be time to compare your options to see what could give you a better return on your savings.

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Learn more about credit cards

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

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, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

How to increase your Bendigo Bank credit card limit?

As a Bendigo Bank credit cardholder, you can avail a minimum limit of $500, but if you use your card regularly, you may want to consider increasing it. To increase your Bendigo Bank credit card limit, you can contact the bank’s credit card team on 1300 236 344 and talk to the bank directly.

You can also apply for a credit card limit increase through online banking, by logging into Bendigo Bank web portal or through the app on your phone or tablet. Once you’ve successfully logged in, you'll want  to send a secure message to Bendigo Bank asking them to increase your credit card limit. 

If you cannot access the online portal or the app, you can also apply to increase your credit card limit through the online enquiry form. Simply add relevant information in the required fields and click ‘Submit’. Once you have completed the application, Bendigo Bank should verify your details and analyse your current financial standing. Based on this assessment, the bank will either accept your application to increase your credit card limit or deny it. 

How to increase your HSBC credit card limit

You can opt to increase your HSBC credit card limit in multiple ways. 

The easiest way to change your HSBC credit card limit is through online banking. Log on to your account and click on ‘Manage your account’. Then, click on ‘My Cards’ and choose to change your credit card limit. Simply complete the HSBC credit card limit increase form and click on ‘Submit’. 

You can also request to increase your credit card limit by calling HSBC’s customer service hotline on 1300 303 168. 

Lastly, you can visit any HSBC branch to apply to lift your card limit. 

If you are facing challenges while trying to complete an HSBC credit card credit limit increase online, you can chat with a representative using internet banking. Click on the ‘Need Help’ button on the right of the dashboard and open the chat window to speak with the customer service officer. 

Do I get HSBC credit card insurance on purchases I make?

As an HSBC credit card (HSBC Platinum, HSBC Platinum Qantas and HSBC Premier World) cardholder, you may be entitled to complimentary international and domestic travel insurance. This HSBC credit card insurance covers you for hospital stays and medical expenses, flight cancellations or delays, as well as lost luggage or personal items.

To be eligible for the insurance, you should have paid for at least 90 per cent of your overseas return travel ticket with your HSBC credit card. The cover is automatically activated without a need to contact HSBC. However, it’s always best to let your card issuer know when you travel overseas. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you’ll need to contact Allianz directly to organise cover for these as they aren’t covered by the insurance. You can call Allianz on 1800 648 093.

The complimentary international travel insurance that comes with your HSBC Platinum credit card is valid for up to four months from the date of your departure from Australia. Your HSBC credit card insurance cover also covers your spouse and dependent children if 90 per cent of their travel ticket is purchased using your HSBC card.

 

How to increase my Commonwealth credit card limit?

Commonwealth Bank credit cards are extremely popular in Australia for everyday purchases and big ticket items alikers. A number of the card’s functions can be customised, depending on your needs and desires. If you wish to increase your Commonwealth credit card limit using the CommBank, you can usually do so on the app or via NetBank.

In the CommBank app, tap on the ‘Cards’ icon and choose your credit card. Then, click on ‘Credit Limit’ and select the ‘Increasing your limit’ option. If you don’t have the CommBank app, you can also increase your Commonwealth Bank credit card limit through NetBank. Simply log on and go to Settings, then click on ‘Product Requests’ and then choose ‘Credit Card Limit Changes’. 

Once the bank has received your application, they will review your account and payment history. Based on this assessment, your application will either be approved or denied. If approved, your new limit will be applied to your card instantly. 

While increasing your credit card limit may be an easy process, it’s important to remember that you should only request limits that you can manage. A high limit increases the risk of having a larger debt, even with cards that provide low-interest rate options. So, it’s important to think carefully and seek advice from people you trust before increasing your Commonwealth Bank credit card limit.

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

Does St. George Bank offer any credit card insurance?

Depending on the type of card they hold St. George Bank credit cardholders can benefit from a host of various credit card insurance offerings including:

Complimentary overseas travel insurance, covering:

  • Medical and hospital expenses incurred while travelling overseas, with the exclusion of pre-existing conditions
  • Loss or damage to personal property
  • Legal liabilities
  • Loss or damage to rental vehicles
  • Unexpected cancellation of travel arrangements or any other unforeseen expenses

Complimentary purchase security insurance may be available to level 1 cardholders for four months and three months of complimentary insurance accessed by level 2 cardholders. This type of insurance covers loss, theft, and damage costs to eligible products purchased anywhere around the world, provided that the product was purchased using the St. George Bank credit card. 

Extended warranty insurance may be available to St. George Bank credit cardholders, which extends the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products purchased. For example, if you purchase a pair of headphones that comes with 11 months of warranty, St. George Bank will provide an extended warranty of 11 months, provided the entire purchase is charged to the St. George Bank credit card. 

Select cardholders may be able to take advantage of St. George Bank’s rental vehicle excess insurance, which covers up to $5,500 for any excess or deductible which the cardholder is legally liable to pay during the rental period. 

How does the ANZ credit card instalment plan work?

While you usually need to settle all or part of your credit card dues at the end of your statement period, some credit cards afford you the option of setting up instalment plans. This allows you to settle your credit card debt at a pace that's more convenient for you, paying a fixed amount over a fixed period, thus making it easier to budget your repayments every month.

With the ANZ credit card instalment plan, you can set up a structured repayment schedule for part or all of your balance, or even for specific purchases over a certain value.

Some of the benefits of instalment repayment include: 

  • Structured repayments: You’ll have a fixed sum to pay each month.
  • Easier to budget: A fixed repayment sum makes it easier to make your monthly budget.
  • Account benefits: You might also get benefits such as discounted interest rates or debt-tracking tools.

There are disadvantages of opting for instalment repayment, however, and they include:

  • Less flexibility: You will not be able to pay a smaller amount once you set an instalment plan.
  • Different interest charges: In case the instalment plan only covers part of the balance, different interest charges could apply, making it challenging to budget.
  • Additional fees: You might have to pay fees or penalty charges in case of missed payments.

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 pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

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 should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

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.