Compare cards with no excess insurance
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Find and compare credit cards with free excess insurance for rental cars
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Afterpay versus credit cards: which is better for your finances
A younger generation of Australians are turning to Buy Now, Pay Later services to fund their spending. But two of the big four banks are stepping up to the plate, offering a no-interest credit card alternative to Afterpay and its competitors.
Are you planning on renting a car soon for a holiday or road trip? Don’t get stung paying the car rental excess insurance - at least not before you check your credit card policy.
Many credit card providers offer complimentary excess insurance on rental cars as an added perk.
What is car rental excess?
Excess is the agreed amount of money that you would be liable for if there was any damage to your rental car during the rental period. The amount of excess can put consumers in a tricky position, tacking on hidden fees and rates to what may have appeared from the outset to be an affordable rental car.
For example, you may find a rental car rate that you are happy with, only to discover that it includes insurance with a $4,000 excess. This means that you would need to pay $4,000 out of your own pocket to cover the cost of any damage to the rental car.
Here’s the kicker - you can reduce your car rental excess, for a price. This means paying more to hire the car in the first place, turning your affordable rate not-so-affordable in a very short space of time.
How can my credit card reduce my car rental excess?
Many credit cards offer free car rental excess insurance as an added benefit.
This benefit usually comes bundled with other travel insurance perks, such as lost or stolen personal property, medical and hospital and travel cancellations.
What should I look out for in a credit card with rental car excess insurance?
It’s important to remember that your credit card doesn’t automatically cover you for rental car excess. Rather, your credit card provider may offer a complimentary insurance policy that could partially or entirely cover the cost of your car rental excess (should you need it).
Like all insurance policies, it’s important to find out the policy name, and read the product disclosure statement (PDS) before you rely on it. Many of these insurance policies will not cover your car rental excess in certain situations, such as if you violate the terms of the car rental agreement or if the cardholder is not driving the car at the time of the damage or accident.
How do I find a credit card with free car rental insurance?
When comparing credit cards, look out for phrases such as “rental vehicle excess insurance”. You should also look out for cards that are marketed as a travel credit card, or advertise travel insurance perks or benefits. Rental car insurance can usually be found bundled into a more comprehensive travel insurance policy, and less often as a standalone perk.
As with all credit cards, make sure to weigh up the cost of the annual fee and interest rate compared to the perks or benefits before committing. If everything else adds up, you may have found a way to reduce your car rental excess without paying through the nose for it.
^The best credit card for you may not be the best option for somebody else in different financial circumstances. As well as looking at the excess insurance options, it's important to consider the other features and benefits from a variety of credit card providers to ensure you're receiving value. If you're not sure which credit card could be the best option for you, consider contacting a qualified financial adviser.
Property Personal Finance Writer
A property and personal finance writer, Nick Bendel covers property, loans, credit cards, superannuation, and other bank products. Nick has previously written for The Adviser, Mortgage Business, Lifehacker, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and InvestorDaily, and loves getting elbow-deep in the latest ABS, APRA and RBA data.
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Frequently asked questions
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 get a credit card on part-time/casual work?
Yes, as credit card providers look at your annual income amount as well as your occupation. Minimum income requirements tend to be between $30,000 – $40,000 for standard and rewards credit cards, however low income credit cards can have minimum income requirements as low as $15,000 per year.
What happens if I have a bad credit score?
If you have a bad credit score, you might encounter two main problems. First, the lower your credit score, the more likely you are to be rejected when you apply for a loan or any other credit product. Second, if your application is accepted, the less likely you are to qualify for the lowest interest rates.
Why should I check my credit rating?
There are two reasons you should check your credit rating: so you have a better understanding of your financial position, and so you can take action (if necessary) to improve your credit rating.
Lenders use credit ratings or credit scores to assess loan applications. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged lower interest rates and lower fees. Conversely, the lower your credit score, the less likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged higher interest rates and higher fees.
Why do different credit reporting bureaus use different scores?
The reason Equifax, Experian and Illion use different scores is because they are independent companies with their own different methodologies. As a result, a score of, say, 700 would mean different things at different credit reporting bureaus.
However, the one thing they have in common is that they divide their scores into five tiers. So if you receive a tier-two credit score from one bureau, you will probably receive a tier-two score from the others, as well.
How do credit cards work?
Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.
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.
How long does it take to get a credit card?
There are a few stages you need to go through to get a credit card; each one takes a different length of time.
Applying for the card online, over the phone or in person is the fastest step. This usually takes around 15 minutes, provided you have all of your documents handy.
After submitting your application, it usually takes between one to 10 business days for the lender to assess your eligibility. Some lenders offer instant approval, although you will need to send supporting documents before it is official.
Once your application has been approved, expect to wait between one to 14 days to receive your card in the mail. Keep in mind that delays can happen during busy periods, such as if the lender has launched a special deal.
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 I apply for a credit card online?
How to get cash with just a credit card number
Banks and merchants usually will not allow you to access cash without a physical card, because doing so would open up opportunities for fraudulent activities. Even most non-cash credit card transactions (such as shopping online) require you to know the expiry date and CVV on your credit card in addition to the card number.
However, some banks offer cardless cash for transaction accounts. Using a secure app installed on your mobile phone, you can log onto an ATM and withdraw the money you need. This could be a practical and secure solution if you don’t have a card and need cash.
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 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 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.