Shopping online is a fun and convenient way to purchase big ticket items like furniture to smaller gifts for family all without ever leaving your home.

However, compared to tapping that plastic in-store, there are a few things you’ve probably never had to consider when shopping online, such as fraud or overseas currency conversion.

When it comes to shopping online no two credit cards are created equal. There are a few crucial things you should consider when shopping online with a credit card.

Find and compare online shopping credit cards

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Purchase Rate

12.49%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $58

$20

More details

Purchase Rate

0.00%

for 17 months then 20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $87

$20

More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$64

for 12 months then $129

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$80

$20

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$375

$20

More details

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

$30

$20

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Purchase Rate

16.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$125

$20

More details

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

$0

for 12 months then $30

$20

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Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$425

$20

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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

8.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$40

$25

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Purchase Rate

19.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $29

More details

Purchase Rate

21.49%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

for 12 months then $199

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$99

$30

More details

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

$295

$30

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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

More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$99

$30

More details

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

More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$0

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

44

Annual Fee

$295

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$375

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

for 12 months then $129

$10

More details

Purchase Rate

12.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$49

$10

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Purchase Rate

11.99%

Interest Free Days

45

Annual Fee

$0

$20

More details

Purchase Rate

16.99%

Interest Free Days

45

Annual Fee

$149

$20

More details

Purchase Rate

22.74%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

21.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

24.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

$30

More details

Purchase Rate

20.70%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

$35

More details

Purchase Rate

20.70%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$149

$35

More details

Purchase Rate

20.70%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$99

$35

More details

Purchase Rate

20.70%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$149

$35

More details

Purchase Rate

15.95%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$69

$35

More details

Purchase Rate

8.99%

Interest Free Days

55

Annual Fee

$0

$30

More details

Learn more about credit cards

Tricks and traps when shopping online with a credit card

Your everyday credit card may work for you in a pinch, but that doesn’t mean it’s best suited for shopping online.

The key things to consider when using a credit card for online shopping are:

1. Currency conversion fees

Potentially the biggest trap Australians in particular fall into when shopping online is paying currency conversion fees on overseas websites. This is because any purchases made in foreign currency need to be converted into Australian dollars. Credit card providers on average charge 3 per cent of the purchase price for the convenience of doing so.

For example, if you purchased a GBP£200 jumper on a UK website, you could be charged an additional £6 in fees. Considering how high some exchange rates are, it’s easy to see how currency conversion fees can see your spending get out of control.

However, these can be avoided by choosing a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign currency conversion fees.  

2. Low interest rates

If you’re an avid shopper who often has issues paying their bills on time, and you’ve never considered your interest rate, you may find yourself spiralling out of control into debt. Credit card interest rates can climb as high as 26 per cent, however there are a range of options available with rates as low as under 9 per cent.

If you know you have bad habits with your credit card, consider switching to a low rate option while you work on getting your budget and spending under control. 

3. Rewards cards

Some rewards credit cards actually gift you with bonus points when you spend in affiliated online stores.

If you have a rewards credit card, before you start your next online shop, it is worth hopping onto your rewards program website and taking a look at what affiliated stores could earn you bonus points.

And it’s not just standard rewards points that you can earn. Spending in affiliated stores may also earn you frequent flyer points. 

4. Store cards

Similar to rewards cards with affiliation programs, store cards are credit cards designed to offer you rewards for shopping with a particular store or band.

In Australia, these are generally linked to some of the biggest names in retail/food, such as:

  • David Jones
  • Myer
  • Coles
  • Woolworths

When you use a David Jones store card, for example, while shopping online at David Jones, you can earn additional rewards points that may be exchanged for, or earn you, VIP offers, discounts on shopping, complimentary delivery and more.  

Credit cards or store cards?

When considering which credit card is best for shopping online, you may be wondering if you should just stick to your tried and true plastic, or switch to a store card. The answer will be up to your personal shopping preferences and needs.

Store cards do operate as regular credit cards, in that they are generally with Mastercard, Visa or American Express. You are able to use them anywhere that credit cards are accepted, so you aren’t limited to just the one store.

If there is a store that you shop with every single week, like a grocery store for example, it may be worthwhile considering switching to a store card that rewards your loyalty. However, if you’re not a fussy shopper, or only shop online once in a blue moon, you’re potentially better off prioritising low rates and no currency conversion fees in your credit card choices.

Protecting your finances against fraud

Another serious thing to consider when shopping in mind is reducing your risk of credit card fraud.

You can’t predict when the worst can happen, and that includes your credit card details being stolen. Thankfully, credit card providers account for this by offering you fraud guarantees that protect you from being liable for any unauthorised transactions made on your card.

Visa, Mastercard and American Express also have fraud monitoring systems in place to pick up on any suspicious activity on your account. This means that your account can be shut down and you’ll be notified in case of suspicious transactions, such as your card being used to book a hotel overseas when you’re in Australia.

However, if you want to try and avoid your account being locked down altogether, another popular fraud prevention method is by using online payment platforms, like PayPal or a digital wallet.  

Digital wallets are apps that store your credit card or debit card details and conveniently and securely allow you to make purchases in-store or online. Typically used via your mobile phone through Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, digital wallets can be used for online shopping through Visa’s Visa Checkout and Mastercard’s MasterPass. They will autofill in your credit card details at checkout, saving you the trouble of having to type them in yourself.

PayPal is a popular way people can securely store payment details and make fast payments. Instead of plugging your credit card details into a potentially unsecure website, you can choose to pay via your PayPal account, which is linked to your credit card or debit account. PayPal offers consumer protection, such as transaction encryption, giving you peace of mind that your finances are safe.

Frequently asked questions

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 to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

How do I apply for a credit card online?

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 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.

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.

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

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 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.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

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.

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.

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward. 

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

How many numbers are on a credit card?

The numbers on your credit card actually follow a universal standard which is used to identify specific functions. Each credit card has a different amount of numbers. Visa and Mastercard have 16, American Express has 15 and Diner’s Club has 14. 

The first number on a credit card always identifies what type of credit card it is. Visa cards start with a 4, whereas Mastercard starts with a 5 and American Express with a 3. The remainder of the digits represent the account number, including the last number which is used to verify that your credit card is actually valid. 

Credit cards also have additional verification numbers, which are mainly used when the card isn’t present for phone and online purchases. These are the three-digit numbers on the back of Visa and MasterCard or the four-digit numbers on the front of an American Express card.

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. 

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

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 get a new credit card

To get a new credit card, generally you need to be at least 18 years old and have a good credit rating. You don’t need to be an Australian citizen. Usually you can apply online or in person at a branch of the card issuer. You’ll typically have to supply information like:

  • Your income and living costs (e.g. rent/mortgage, loan repayments, living expenses)
  • Your employer’s contact details
  • Details of your assets and any debts you are paying off