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Credit cards are more than just a means to make payments. The perks and rewards that can come with credit cards are part of what separates them from your standard debit card.

Whether it’s complimentary travel insurance or a hefty rewards program, credit card perks can be one of the advantages of using a credit card.

Which credit cards come with the best perks?

There are a range of credit card perks available and they will depend on the credit card type and card provider you choose.

Most credit cards come with perks and extras, but they are typically found with:

You may find credit card perks with the more “no frills” cards, such as low rate credit cards. However, perks are typically reserved for the above listed cards, which come with higher ongoing costs and higher income eligibility levels.

It’s important to keep in mind that while these perks are generous, they don’t come for free. Perks are used as incentives to get customers to join with that card provider. Meaning, you will typically pay a little (or a lot) more in ongoing fees and/or interest charges for a credit card with perks.

What credit card perks are there?

There are a number of extras that a card provider may offer you. Here is what you can expect when searching for a credit card with perks:

Perk About
Airport Lounge Access to airport lounges, such as Business Class lounges etc.
Concierge Accessible by phone or online, a concierge service can organise travel arrangements, dining, entertainment and much more.
Discounted Annual Fee Pay a lower annual fee for a set period of time.
Free Supplementary Cards Additional cards available for no extra charge.
Partner Discounts You may be eligible for discounts from partnered brands, such as fashion, dining, movies and more.
Special Events Cardholders may gain exclusive access to special events, as well as access to lounges.
VIP Seating Eligibility for VIP seating or packages for special events.
Reward Points Dollars spent typically earn you rewards points that can be exchanged in rewards programs for things like home goods, electronics and gift cards.

Keep in mind to check the terms and conditions of a credit card to see what is offered before you apply for anything.

What other extras can I get with my credit card?

Apart from perks and rewards, your credit card may also offer you generous protections as a means of getting you to sign up.

Protection About
Fraud Protection Protects you from losing money in the event of fraudulent transactions on your credit card.
Free Domestic Travel Insurance Entitles you to a level of insurance over when travelling domestically in Australia. Can include anything from luggage cover to cancellation fees and personal liability cover.
Free International Travel Insurance Entitles you to a level of insurance over when travelling internationally. Can include anything from luggage cover to cancellation fees and personal liability cover.
Extended Warranty An additional insurance that extends the manufacturer or retailer’s warranty on your purchases.
Purchase Protection Insurance Protects you against loss, theft or accidental damage
Rental Car Excess Insurance Covers rental car excess costs in the event of accidents or other issues.
Transit Accident Insurance Covers yourself or your family in the event of an accident or death while in transit (buses, trains, planes etc.), or while boarding or alighting.
Guaranteed Pricing Scheme If you find a cheaper price for something you’ve already purchased using your credit card, Guaranteed Pricing Scheme works by paying the difference.

Do credit card perks cost more?

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that’s also true of credit cards. Perks, protections and rewards on a credit card can cost you more. However, by doing your own credit card comparison you can work to keep these costs as low as possible.

Credit card perks typically cost cardholders in the form of higher annual fees but may also be reflected in higher than average purchase rates and cash advance rates. Annual fees are generally accepted as a cost that keeps card provider rewards programs, perks and protections running. As a rule of thumb, if you want perks, an annual fee is generally par for the course.

Cardholders looking at these types of credit cards will need to meet the card providers eligibility criteria to be approved, and, depending on the level of rewards or platinum status of the card, typically come with higher income thresholds. Meaning, the type of cardholder getting a card with perks is expected to be able to afford the higher fees and interest rates.

The good news is that these costs can be kept low or even avoided altogether if you’re careful with your card comparison. Using a comparison table, like the one on this page, you can filter and compare credit cards with perks, and then sort the cards by purchase rate. Then you can click on the ‘more details’ button for a breakdown of potential fees. This can help you to shortlist credit cards with perks that will help you to keep costs down. 

You can also read the Product Disclosure Statement for a card if a card provider’s website isn’t giving you enough information. 

What alternatives are there to using credit card with perks?

If you’re less interested in having a credit card with an extensive rewards program just to get a few perks, there are some alternatives you may want to consider:

  • Buy-now-pay-later

If you’re just looking for a means to make purchases and repay them back in instalments, you may want to consider using buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) like Afterpay or ZipPay instead. Much like a credit card, you will be able to make a purchase and pay it offer later, without those pesky interest rates.

  • Store Rewards

If the type of perks you’re after are in the form of store rewards, such as cashback or gift cards, you may want to consider a classic rewards card with said store. For example, the Woolworths Everyday Rewards program is easy to join and rewards you with 1 point per dollar spent in Woolworths and partners. You can choose to get $10 off a future shop or convert to 1,000 Qantas Points every time you reach 2,000 Everyday Rewards points.

  • Pre-paid money cards

If you’re embarking on an overseas holiday and wanted the ability to store multiple currencies on one card, or lock in a sum at a set currency rate, you may have been considering a credit card that offers these perks. However, there are non-credit card alternatives that do just this, such as pre-paid travel cards. These can be found at your local Australia Post Office, but are also offered by TransferWise, Revoult, Travelex and more.

  • Transaction accounts with no overseas fees

Another alternative to using a credit card for those looking to keep overseas costs down is to choose a transaction account that does just this. For example, ING’s Orange Everyday account does not charge any international transaction fees online or overseas. You’ll just need to meet its terms and conditions, much like a credit card but simpler, to be eligible for this perk.

Frequently asked questions

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

What does Westpac credit card insurance cover?

If you own a Westpac credit card, one of the perks may be  free travel insurance. If you’re eligible, you may be covered if you get sick while travelling, have lost your luggage, have to cancel a trip or have an accident while you’re on the move.

Besides these standard inclusions, the Westpac credit card insurance policy may also cover you for hospital essentials, emergency dental treatment and alternative transport if your original plans go awry. It may also cover loss of income when you get back home after being sick  overseas and your pets’ boarding costs too.

If you have any queries, the Westpac credit card insurance contact number is 1800 091 710. You can submit a claim online.

 

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.

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.

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.

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 types of NAB credit card insurance are available?

If you hold a NAB Premium, Platinum or Signature credit card or a NAB Platinum Visa Debit card, you could be eligible for the bank’s free travel insurance. You may be covered for overseas travel and interstate flight changes, along with transport accidents, domestic hotel burglary, purchase protection, extended warranty and price protection. 

It’s important to note that the NAB credit card insurance only kicks in after you’ve made an eligible purchase, so you won’t get the credit card insurance benefits if you haven’t used the card.

To make a NAB credit card insurance claim, you can send an email to cardclaims@allianz-assistance.com.au. You can check the eligibility of your claim or make a claim online as well.

If you have a travel incident and need to speak to someone regarding your NAB credit card insurance, contact 24x7 Emergency Assistance on +61 7 3305 7499 (reverse charges may apply). You can also send an email to medical@allianz-assistance.com.au.