Credit card lenders are offering attractive ‘zero per cent’ introductory deals this summer in a bid to get new customers on to their books.
Research from RateCity.com.au shows there are 13 credit card providers including big name banks such as CBA, NAB, St George and Bendigo who are offering an initial interest free period of up to 15 months interest free when you sign up to a new credit card.
RateCity.com.au analysis shows Australians are expected to spend nearly $24 billion on their credit cards in December. Offers like this means people can finish last minute Christmas shopping and pay for the holiday season and still have time to pay it back before the interest bill hits.
Sally Tindall, research director at RateCity.com.au, said while these cards can serve as a short-term financial solution, those thinking about signing up to these cards should do so with caution.
“There is no such thing as a catch-free credit card and these cards are no exception,” she said.
“One of the biggest traps you can fall into with these cards is not being able to clear the debt within the interest free period.
“If you don’t pay it back before the honeymoon is over you could find yourself in all sorts of strife, with rates as high as 21.49 per cent. Rates that high on a sizeable debt can be financially crippling.
“Banks rely on the fact that some people will slip up and not pay their bill in full. Don’t let that be you,” she said.
The longest zero per cent purchase credit cards
|Company||Product name||Interest rates||Annual fee|
|CBA||Low Fee Gold Mastercard||0% for the first 15 mths, then 19.74%||$0 for 12 months, then $0 if you spend over $10K annually|
|CBA||Low Rate Gold Mastercard||0% for the first 15 mths, then 13.24%||$89 annual fee|
|Bendigo Bank||Low Rate Mastercard||0% for the first 15 mths, then 11.99%||$45|
|St. George, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA||Vertigo Platinum||0% for 15 mths, then 12.99%||$49 for 12 months, then $99|
|NAB||Low Rate Platinum||0% for 15 mths, then 13.99%||$100|
Things to consider before taking out an interest-free credit card offer:
- Don’t use your credit card as a licence to overspend at the shops this Christmas.
- Don’t rely on your bank to tell you how much you can afford to spend. Set your own limit on your credit card and make sure it’s one you can afford to pay back.
- Before you start using the card, work out a foolproof plan to pay it off in full before the interest free period ends.
- Remember to cancel your old credit card, if you have one. The last thing you want is not one but two credit cards burning a hole in your wallet.
- If you know you have trouble managing your money, you’re likely to be better off steering clear of them altogether.