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Learn more about credit cards
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 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 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 do I increase my Virgin credit card limit?
If you’re a Virgin Money cardholder and you’re looking at increasing your credit card limit, the first step is to get in touch with Virgin’s credit team on 13 37 39.
Once you request a Virgin Money credit card limit increase, the lender will do an assessment of your current financial position to make sure you can repay the credit. Virgin Money will typically take 7 to 10 working days to complete this process.
Virgin Money has strict terms around credit increases. To be eligible, you must have opened your account no less than nine months before making the application. Also, at least six months must have passed since your last credit limit increase. The maximum increase you can expect will be 50 per cent of your existing credit limit.
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.
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.
Are there credit cards for students?
Yes, there are credit cards available with students in mind. These can help young Australians to build their credit report and learn crucial life skills around budgeting and managing personal finances.
Can I get a credit card with bad credit?
Yes, some lenders will provide credit cards to Australians with bad credit scores. It depends on the provider's individual lending criteria and whether you’ve presented your personal finances to show you’re an ‘ideal’ applicant.
Are credit checks mandatory?
In Australia it is impossible to get a credit card without the provider performing a credit check first. This is for your benefit, as it helps to prevent you from falling into avoidable debt.
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.
How can I increase my credit card limit on my American Express card?
If you want to increase the credit limit on your American Express (AMEX) credit card, you will need to apply through the AMEX Online Services, or by calling the number on the back of your card. You may need to share personal information that the bank can use to assess whether the requested limit is suitable for you and your current financial status. Once your application is approved, your new limit will be ready for use within an hour.
Who is eligible for Bankwest credit card insurance
Bankwest offers complimentary overseas travel insurance to its Gold MasterCard, Platinum MasterCard and World MasterCard cardholders. Eligible Gold and Platinum MasterCard customers are covered for up to 31 consecutive days of travel, while the World MasterCard holders are covered for six successive months.
To receive the complimentary Bankwest credit card insurance, cardholders need to:
- Be under 80 years old
- Be travelling to a foreign destination
- Not have a cancelled or suspended card.
The complimentary insurance is also available to spouses and children if they travel with you for the entire period. The level of cover depends on the type of card and its credit limit. Some of the standard types of cover include:
- Overseas emergency medical assistance
- Personal liability
- Accidental demise
- Baggage and personal goods.
It’s important to remember that pre-existing conditions are not covered by the complimentary Bankwest credit card insurance. Other terms and conditions also apply.
If you are an eligible cardholder and need to make a claim, it can either be done online or by calling +612 8907 5615.
How do I increase my Suncorp credit card limit?
You can ask Suncorp to increase your credit card limit by contacting 131 155 or by visiting your nearest branch. You’ll have to meet Suncorp’s credit criteria and general terms. For example, you may not receive an increase in your limit if you have successfully applied for one or in the past nine months. Similarly, the bank will look at whether you’ve applied for other credit products recently.
When assessing your application for a credit increase, banks look at a range of criteria, such as your income and your spending and repayment history. Usually you’ll hear back within a couple of weeks.
Can I transfer money from a credit card to a bank account with HSBC?
With HSBC’s cash transfer function, you can transfer money from a credit card to a bank account. Customers who wish to make cash transfers have to apply through HSBC and are charged interest on the transactions, but no other fees. Under the program, customers can:
- Borrow between $500 and $15,000, so long at least 20 per cent of the credit limit is still available after the transfer
- Transfer to any nominated bank account quickly.
Registered HSBC online banking users can log in to their accounts and select credit cards online from the My Banking tab. They can then complete the form from the Cash Transfer option. On approval, the requested amount is transferred to the nominated bank account within three days.
Customers can also register for the cash transfer program via the Mobile Banking app. Don’t forget to check the interest rate you’ll be charged, both before and after any promotional period.
How can I increase my Coles credit card limit?
You can apply to increase the credit limit on your Coles Mastercard at any time after you have received and started using it. You may need to provide details of your financial situation at the time of applying for a credit increase. This is done to give the lender confidence you have the capacity to pay off your credit card.
To find out more about how to increase your Coles credit card limit, simply call 1300 306 397 and make the request to change your spending limit.