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Big bank rewards cards offering rates under 20% disappear as Westpac the last to hike

Eden Radford avatar
Eden Radford
- 5 min read
Big bank rewards cards offering rates under 20% disappear as Westpac the last to hike

Westpac, Australia’s third largest credit card provider, has today increased interest rates across its rewards and low fee credit cards by up to 1.25 percentage points.

The rates on the bank’s Altitude Black and Platinum rewards cards have risen from 19.99 per cent to 20.99 per cent.

The rate on the Low Fee card has risen from 19.74 per cent to 20.99 per cent.

Additionally, the cash advance interest rate on its Altitude Black, Altitude Platinum, Low Fee and Low Rate cards have all increased from 21.49 per cent to 21.99 per cent.

Westpac Lite and Flex cards remain unchanged.

Westpac subsidiaries St George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA will also be increasing the purchase rates on select credit cards by up to 1.50 percentage points to 20.99 per cent on 4 July 2024.

The change also comes on the back of an announcement from the bank that its Altitude rewards customers could now use their points to pay for everyday items.

Today’s purchase rate changes to Westpac credit cards

CardOld rateNew rateChange %-ptsOngoing annual fee
Low Fee19.74%20.99%+1.25$30 or $0 with $5K annual spend
Altitude Platinum19.99%20.99%+1.00$175 + $75 for frequent flyer cards
Altitude Black19.99%20.99%+1.00$295 + $75 for frequent flyer cards

Source: RateCity.com.au.

Westpac rounds out a year of big bank credit card rate hikes

Today’s hike from Westpac comes on the back of a run of interest rate hikes from the big four banks since August of last year:

  • 25 August 23: CBA hikes the rate on its Low Fee card by 0.75% pts.
  • 7 September 23: ANZ increases the rate on all credit cards, in one case by up to 1.25% pts.
  • 1 November 23: CBA raises the rates on select credit cards by up to 1.25% pts.
  • 13 February 24: NAB hikes select credit card interest rates by 1.00% pts.
  • 22 February 24: ANZ hikes the rates on select cards again, this time by 0.50% pts.

The RateCity.com.au database shows:

  • 17.59% is the average credit card rate recorded in the database (excludes 0% cards).
  • 7.49% is the lowest credit card purchase rate from G&C Mutual while 27.49% is the highest credit card purchase rate from Latitude Finance.
  • 12 lenders offer credit card options under 10% (excludes 0% interest cards which are fee-based instead).

Big four bank credit card purchase rates: how they stack up – contact us for a full comparison of cards fees and rewards

Frequent flyer cards20.99%20.99%20.99%20.99%
Rewards cards20.99%20.99%20.99%20.99%
Lowest rate card13.99%9.90%13.49%13.74%
Interest-free card (fees instead)0%0%0%N/A

Source: RateCity.com.au

RateCity.com.au research director, Sally Tindall, said: “Westpac might be catching up with rate hikes its competitors made ages ago, but four wrongs don’t make a right.”

“As of today, it’s impossible to get a big bank credit card with a rate under 20 per cent that also offers rewards points,” she said.

“This will hopefully serve as a wake-up call for any Westpac credit card customers who are carrying around debt to do a health check on their card.

“If the numbers don’t add up, make the switch to an option that’s going to help your finances, rather than hinder them.

“The latest RBA data shows credit card debt has climbed for the fifth month in a row, with debt attracting interest charges now totalling $17.69 billion.

“Many of these rewards cards have sign-up bonuses that present themselves as money for jam, but with an estimated $8.9 million going into the pockets of the card providers every single day, it begs the question, who’s playing who?

“That’s money that’s far better spent on the groceries or the bills, instead of the banks,” she said.

Credit cards offering ongoing purchase rates under 10%

(excludes 0% interest cards which are fee-based instead)

LenderCardPurchase rateAnnual fee
G&C Mutual Bank LimitedLow Rate Visa7.49%$50
Community First BankLow Rate Blue8.99%$40
Defence BankFoundation Visa8.99%#$45
Easy StreetEasy Low Rate Visa8.99%$40
Move BankLow Rate8.99%$59 ($0 in yr 1)
Bank FirstVisa Platinum9.59%$99
Australian UnityLow Rate Visa9.90%$59
Greater BankVisa Credit Card9.95%$49*
Bank of usVisa Credit Card9.99%$39^
Bendigo BankBright9.99%$59
Coastline Credit UnionVisa9.99%$0

Source: RateCity.com.au * waived from year 2 if you spend $12K/year ^waived if you spend $8K/year # Purchase rate is 3.99% for 6 months.

How to do a health check on your card

  1. Check your annual fee. The average fee is $162 a year. Is yours above or below average?
  2. Check your credit card rate and how much interest you’ve been charged in the last 12 months.
  3. Log on to your rewards program and work out the value of the points you’ve redeemed in the past 12 months. (Note redeemed is very different to accrued).
  4. Estimate how much you’ve paid in surcharges (domestic or international), that you otherwise wouldn’t have paid by paying with a debit card.

Compare credit cards

Product database updated 14 Jul, 2024

This article was reviewed by Research Director Sally Tindall before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.