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What is a cashback credit card?
A cashback credit card is a type of rewards card that gives customers cash on regular purchases, eligible purchases or even as an introductory offer. The cash you’re given may be earned either directly (via eligible spending) or indirectly (via rewards points), depending on the issuer’s terms and conditions.
Some credit card issuers may have caps on the dollar amount a cardholder may earn. You may also need to meet certain conditions to acquire your cash back offer, including minimum spending limits each month.
Can you get cash back from credit cards?
Yes, some credit card providers will offer cardholders rewards and perks, such as cash back offers. This is done as an incentive to bring on new customers and as a helpful tool for cardholders to get a little back on their spending. You may be offered cashback in the form of funds into your account, gift cards or even vouchers for spending.
What is a cash back credit card offer?
There are three main types of cashback offers:
- Cashback on purchases: When you make an eligible purchase with your credit card, your provider may offer a percentage of that purchase back, typically capped at a set dollar figure each month.
- Sign up cashback: Much like a reward points sign up bonus, a credit card provider may also have a promotional cashback offer for new customers upon sign up. You may need to meet some criteria to be eligible for the cashback offer, such as meeting spending minimums within the first few months.
- Reward points: If your credit card is connected to a rewards program, you generally will have the ability to redeem your points for cashback offers, such as gift cards for affiliated retail stores or even funds credit to your account.
How do cash back credit cards work?
How a cashback credit card works depends on one of four ways you may be eligible to earn the cashback deal.
The standard ways you may be able to get cash back on a credit card include:
- On regular purchases every month – you may get back a percentage amount of your spending, generally capped at a set dollar figure each month.
- On eligible purchases – typically through retailers affiliated with the card provider, such as Woolworths, Kmart or even Qantas.
- As an introductory offer – a card provider may only offer cash back on purchases over a set period of time, such as the first few months.
- Through rewards points – you may be able to exchange your rewards points for cash from your card provider.
What is the difference between a rewards credit card and a cashback credit card?
There are a few ways that a card issuer can ‘reward’ customers with handy perks and benefits, including rewards programs and cashback offers. The main difference between these two types of rewards is that a cashback offer is typically just that - a percentage of your purchase credit back to your account or funds/gift cards on sign up.
However, a rewards program can offer both cashback perks, as well as allow cardholders to exchange points for other rewards, like electronics, appliances and even flight upgrades and hotel accommodation. These types of credit cards encourage cardholder spending and typically come with higher ongoing costs, allowing the provider to justify offering generous rewards.
Case study: Alison the everyday spender
Alison loves using her credit card to earn frequent flyer points. However, due to recent Covid-19 restrictions around travel, she’s looking for a new way to earn points. As Alison is saving for a property, she decides that earning cash back on her regular spending may actually be the best way to use a rewards credit card.
Alison hops online and searches for cashback credit cards. After finding RateCity, she uses the filters in the above comparison table to enter in her details and narrow down her preferences.
Alison always pays her card balance on time, so she opts to sort her results via annual fee as this is generally her biggest ongoing cost with her credit card. She is then able to make a handy shortlist of cashback credit cards.
The benefits of cashback credit cards
Credit card cash back rewards give you the ability to earn cash on your everyday purchases, as well as cash-in your reward points for vouchers or credit.
The most obvious perk to this type of credit card is that you’re earning money back on your spending. This can help to pay for not only your credit card bill, but ongoing fees and costs as well. It can also just be as simple as a nice way to pocket a little extra cash each month.
One of the major advantages of these type of credit cards is flexibility. If you’re earning cashback via rewards points, you’re cashing-in your rewards points for cash. This allows you to essentially spend your rewards points on anything you like at any retailer you choose.
Traditional rewards programs generally let cardholders choose products or services from a set catalogue of items. Cards that let you redeem rewards points for cash back generally allow you to use the points for everyday spending
What are the limitations of cashback credit cards?
While cashback credit cards do offer generous perks and rewards to customers, there may be some limitations worth keeping in mind, including:
- Cashback caps. Cardholders may be limited to a certain amount of cashback that may be earned on an ongoing basis. This may be a dollar value, such as $200 a month, or capped as a percentage of your spending.
- Interest. As a type of reward card, cashback credit cards may charge average to high annual fees. And as this type of card encourages spending, it’s recommended cardholders prioritise paying their balance in full each statement period to avoid interest charges.
- Fees. Just like with any other rewards card, cashback credit cards may come with average to high annual fees. Ensure that you’re earning enough back from your spending through cashback rewards to justify the ongoing fees.
Which spending profile may suit a cashback credit card
Cashback credit cards aren’t for everyone, especially as they typically come with strict criteria around how to earn your cashback.
Of the different Credit Card Spending Profiles, a cashback credit card may suit the way Big Spenders and Everyday Spenders use their credit cards. If you plan on using your cashback credit card regularly, such as for your weekly grocery trip, you may be able to meet the potential conditions involved.
If you’re an Impulse/Occasional Spender and only use your credit card for one off, big purchases, or even just for travel, then a cashback credit card may not suit you.
This card type may suit Habitual Spenders, but as it is considered a type of rewards credit card, cashback credit cards may come with higher purchase rates and annual fees. The added cost this may create could outweigh the benefits of earning cash back, as Habitual Spenders are less likely to pay their full credit card balance on time.
How to compare cash back credit cards?
Cash back is just one feature attached to a credit card. When you’re comparing credit cards, it’s important that you take all the other factors into consideration.
Look for a credit card that ideally gives you a good balance between features and value. As appealing as cash back offers are, it always pays to do your research to make sure you come out on top.
Another factor to consider is the interest rate. Rewards cards tend to have higher rates than standard cards, which is something to consider if you don’t manage to pay your card balance off monthly. Pay attention to any annual card fees. In some cases, the annual card fee can be more than the cash back, so do your sums to make sure it’s worth it. If you’re a big spender, check to see whether there are any caps on the number of points you can earn or redeem.
If managed properly, credit cards with rewards programs can be a good way to cash in on your spending. As these cards tend to have higher fees and interest rates than other standard credit cards, they can potentially cost you more if you don’t manage your money properly. If you tend to only pay off the minimum amount each month, you might be better off considering a low-rate credit card or opting for a card that offers interest-free days.
Before making a decision, make sure you compare your options to find a cash back credit card that suits your spending habits.
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Personal Finance Editor
Alex is a personal finance writer and editor at RateCity, and has been writing about finance for over five years. She is passionate about closing the gender pay and superannuation gap, and aims to help young Aussies to overcome their financial apathy and better manage their finances. Alex has been published in numerous print and online outlets, including Money Magazine, Lifehacker Australia, and Business Insider.
Frequently asked questions
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Does ING increase credit card limits?
You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so.
ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000.
Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.
What should I do if my ANZ credit card has expired?
Your ANZ credit card is considered expired only after the last day of the month and year marked on your card. For instance, if your card’s expiry date reads 03/22, it is valid until 31 March 2022 and expires on 1 April 2022. Typically, you should have received a new credit card by that date, and you won’t have to request a new card.
Once you get the new card, you should remember to switch any automatic payments you have - such as a utility or mobile phone bill - from your expired credit card to your new credit card. Equally, if you are using CardPay Direct to repay your ANZ credit card debt, you may need to update the credit card account details for that service as well.
In case the new card doesn’t arrive by the expiry date of your current credit card, you can call ANZ on 13 22 73 to find out the reason and if you need to request an expedited card. Please note that if you were planning to close your credit card account or request a credit card upgrade, you may need to call ANZ at least before the 25th of the month your current credit card expires in, as that’s when they may send you the new credit card.
How to get money from a credit card
You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.
Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.
In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
What does ANZ credit card insurance cover?
ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.
Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.