Compare the Best Credit Cards in Australia

  • See our pick of the best credit cards in different categories.
  • Learn how to compare credit cards so you get the best deal for you.
Credit cards with Money Matchmaker
Credit cards with Money Matchmaker
Australia's Money Matchmaker matching you with your best loans across multiple lenders
Some credit card comparisons filter out cards that haven't paid to be featured. We don't. Cards displayed are selected based on the product attributes described. But remember, our view of a card is just one factor you may wish to consider when deciding if it is right for you. We may receive a commission if you are issued with a featured credit card.

Top 10 best credit cards & offers in Australia (our picks for February 2024)

1

Low interest rate

G&C Mutual Bank Low Rate Visa Credit Card: 7.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases, with $50 annual card fee.

See more cardsSee more cards

2

No annual fee credit card

Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card: $0 annual fee, with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (reverts to 18.99% p.a. on purchases and 20.99% p.a. on remaining balance transfer).

See more cardsSee more cards

3

Longest 0% balance balance transfer offer

Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and St.George Vertigo Visa: 0% on balance transfers for 32 months, then reverts to 21.49% p.a. Balance transfer fee of 1%, plus $55 annual fee applies.

See more cardsSee more cards

4

Biggest rewards sign up bonus

Citi Prestige Credit Card: 275,000 bonus points when you spend $10k in first 90 days. 21.49% p.a on purchases, with $700 annual card fee.

See more cardsSee more cards

5

Highest rewards card earn rate

Bankwest More World Mastercard: Earn 2.5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. 19.99% p.a. on purchases, with $270 annual fee.

See more cardsSee more cards

6

Top Qantas frequent flyer card

Qantas American Express Ultimate Card: Up to 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases (uncapped earning potential*). Plus, 100,000 points for new Amex members who apply online by 2 April 2024, are approved and spend $3k on eligible purchases with their new card within 3 months of approval. T&Cs apply. Annual fee: $450.

See offerSee offer

7

Top Velocity frequent flyer card

American Express Velocity Platinum: Earn 1.25 points per $1 spent on eligible everyday purchases. Plus, get 100,000 bonus Velocity points when you apply online through this page by 15 May 2024, are approved, and spend $3k on eligible purchases on your new card in the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Card Members only. Annual fee: $375.

See offerSee offer

8

Interest free credit card

Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard: 0% p.a. on purchases for 12 months (then 12.99% p.a.), with $69 annual fee. Comes with complimentary overseas travel insurance.

See more cardsSee more cards

9

Travel credit card

Bankwest Breeze Zero Platinum Mastercard: 0% international transaction fees with travel insurance included. Purchase rate of 14.99% p.a. with up to 55 interest free days and $0 annual card fee.

See more cardsSee more cards

10

Business rewards credit card

American Express Gold Business Card: Earn up to 1.5 points per $1 on everyday spend. Plus, earn 75,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you spend $1k on eligible purchases within 2 months of approval. New Amex card members only. Purchase rate 23.99% p.a, $149 annual fee, plus Membership Rewards fee of $80 to earn points.

See offerSee offer

Compare balance transfer credit cards

BankSA Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer offer

0% for 32 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) 1% BT fee applies.

Annual card fee

$55

Visit provider

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer offer

0% for 32 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) 1% BT fee applies.

Annual card fee

$55

Visit provider

St.George Bank Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer offer

0% for 32 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) 1% BT fee applies.

Annual card fee

$55

Visit provider

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

Balance transfer offer

0% for 28 months (reverts to 14.99% p.a.) 3% BT fee applies.

Annual card fee

$0

Visit provider

Westpac Low Rate Card

Balance transfer offer

0% for 28 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) No BT fee.

Annual card fee

$59 ($0 in first year for existing Westpac customers)

Visit provider
Balance transfer offerAnnual card feeVisit provider

BankSA Vertigo Visa

0% for 32 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) 1% BT fee applies.

$55

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

0% for 32 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) 1% BT fee applies.

$55

St.George Bank Vertigo Visa

0% for 32 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) 1% BT fee applies.

$55

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

0% for 28 months (reverts to 14.99% p.a.) 3% BT fee applies.

$0

Westpac Low Rate Card

0% for 28 months (reverts to 21.49% p.a.) No BT fee.

$59 ($0 in first year for existing Westpac customers)

Info correct as at 2 February 2024. Check with the provider for full card details, including fees, limits, terms and conditions to make sure the card is right for you. The table is sorted by longest balance transfer offer among cards on our database, then lowest revert rate, then alphabetically by provider name.

Compare rewards credit cards

Bankwest More World Mastercard

Points earned per $1 spent

Up to 2.5 (uncapped)

Interest rate

19.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$270

Visit provider

American Express Platinum Card (charge card)

Points earned per $1 spent

Up to 2.25 (uncapped). Plus 200,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply online by 9 April 2024, are approved, and spend $5k on your new card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Card Members only.

Interest rate

n/a

Annual fee

$1,450

Visit provider

ANZ Rewards Black credit card

Points earned per $1 spent

Up to 2 (capped). Plus 180,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first 3 months.

Interest rate

20.49% p.a.

Annual fee

$375

Visit provider

BOQ Platinum Visa Credit Card

Points earned per $1 spent

Up to 2 (uncapped). Plus 100,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first 3 months.

Interest rate

20.74% p.a.

Annual fee

$129 ($65 in the first year)

Visit provider

Coles Rewards Mastercard

Points earned per $1 spent

Up to 2 (capped). Plus 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first 90 days. Apply by 29 Feb 2024.

Interest rate

19.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$99

Visit provider
Points earned per $1 spentInterest rateAnnual feeVisit provider

Bankwest More World Mastercard

Up to 2.5 (uncapped)

19.99% p.a.

$270

American Express Platinum Card (charge card)

Up to 2.25 (uncapped). Plus 200,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply online by 9 April 2024, are approved, and spend $5k on your new card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Card Members only.

n/a

$1,450

ANZ Rewards Black credit card

Up to 2 (capped). Plus 180,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first 3 months.

20.49% p.a.

$375

BOQ Platinum Visa Credit Card

Up to 2 (uncapped). Plus 100,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first 3 months.

20.74% p.a.

$129 ($65 in the first year)

Coles Rewards Mastercard

Up to 2 (capped). Plus 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first 90 days. Apply by 29 Feb 2024.

19.99% p.a.

$99

Info correct as at 2 February 2024. Check with the provider for full card details, including fees, limits, terms and conditions to make sure the card is right for you. Table is ordered by highest point per $ spent among cards on our database, then highest number of bonus sign up points available.

Compare no annual fee credit cards

American Express Low Rate Credit Card

Purchase rate

10.99% p.a.

Key feature

Offers card purchase and refund cover

Visit provider

Firefighters Mutual Bank

Purchase rate

11.50% p.a.

Key feature

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

Visit provider

Healthcare Professionals Bank

Purchase rate

11.50% p.a.

Key feature

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

Visit provider

Teachers Mutual Bank Credit Card

Purchase rate

11.50% p.a.

Key feature

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

Visit provider

UniBank Credit Card

Purchase rate

11.50% p.a.

Key feature

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

Visit provider
Purchase rateKey featureVisit provider

American Express Low Rate Credit Card

10.99% p.a.

Offers card purchase and refund cover

Firefighters Mutual Bank

11.50% p.a.

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

Healthcare Professionals Bank

11.50% p.a.

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

Teachers Mutual Bank Credit Card

11.50% p.a.

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

UniBank Credit Card

11.50% p.a.

7.90% p.a. intro rate offer for 6 months

Info correct as at 2 February 2024. Check with the provider for full card details, including fees, limits, terms and conditions to make sure the card is right for you. Table is sorted by lowest purchase rate among cards on our database.

Compare low rate credit cards

G&C Mutual Bank Low Rate Visa

Purchase rate

$7.49% p.a.

Annual fee

$50

Key feature

Up to 50 days interest free

Visit provider

Community First Low Rate credit card

Purchase rate

8.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$40

Key feature

0% on balance transfers for 6 months

Visit provider

Easy Street Bank Low Rate Visa

Purchase rate

8.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$40

Key feature

0% on balance transfers for 6 months

Visit provider

Defence Bank Foundation Credit Card

Purchase rate

8.99% p.a. (3.99% p.a. for the first six months)

Annual fee

$45

Key feature

50% of annual fee donated to Defence Bank Foundation

Visit provider

Illawarra Credit Union Low Rate Credit Card

Purchase rate

8.99% p.a.

Annual fee

$50 ($0 in first year)

Key feature

​​Up to 45 days interest free on purchases

Visit provider
Purchase rateAnnual feeKey featureVisit provider

G&C Mutual Bank Low Rate Visa

$7.49% p.a.

$50

Up to 50 days interest free

Community First Low Rate credit card

8.99% p.a.

$40

0% on balance transfers for 6 months

Easy Street Bank Low Rate Visa

8.99% p.a.

$40

0% on balance transfers for 6 months

Defence Bank Foundation Credit Card

8.99% p.a. (3.99% p.a. for the first six months)

$45

50% of annual fee donated to Defence Bank Foundation

Illawarra Credit Union Low Rate Credit Card

8.99% p.a.

$50 ($0 in first year)

​​Up to 45 days interest free on purchases

Info correct as at 2 February 2024. Check with the provider for full card details, including fees, limits, terms and conditions to make sure the card is right for you. Table is sorted by lowest interest rate among cards on our database, then lowest annual fee, then provider name alphabetically.

Compare interest-free credit cards

Transport Mutual Credit Union Interest Free Clement Card

Regular fee

$0

Max credit limit

$3,000

Visit provider

Community First n0w Credit Card (0% interest)

Regular fee

$9 - $19/month depending on card limit, or $0 if you don’t use the card in a month and have no outstanding balance.

Max credit limit

$3,000

Visit provider

Westpac Flex Card (0% interest)

Regular fee

$10/month, or $0 if you don’t use the card that month and have no outstanding balance.

Max credit limit

$1,000

Visit provider

NAB StraightUp Card (0% interest)

Regular fee

$10 - $20/month depending on card limit, or $0 if you don’t use the card in a month and have no outstanding balance.

Max credit limit

$3,000

Visit provider

CommBank Neo Card (0% interest)

Regular fee

$12 - $22/month depending on card limit, or $0 if you don’t use the card in a month and have no outstanding balance.

Max credit limit

$3,000

Visit provider
Regular feeMax credit limitVisit provider

Transport Mutual Credit Union Interest Free Clement Card

$0

$3,000

Community First n0w Credit Card (0% interest)

$9 - $19/month depending on card limit, or $0 if you don’t use the card in a month and have no outstanding balance.

$3,000

Westpac Flex Card (0% interest)

$10/month, or $0 if you don’t use the card that month and have no outstanding balance.

$1,000

NAB StraightUp Card (0% interest)

$10 - $20/month depending on card limit, or $0 if you don’t use the card in a month and have no outstanding balance.

$3,000

CommBank Neo Card (0% interest)

$12 - $22/month depending on card limit, or $0 if you don’t use the card in a month and have no outstanding balance.

$3,000

Info correct as at 2 February 2024. Check with the provider for full card details, including fees, limits, terms and conditions to make sure the card is right for you. The table is sorted by monthly fee, lowest to highest.

Credit card news - February 2024

Brad Kelly

Once the summer holidays are over, February is when financial reality really hits. For those of us who built up credit card debt, a balance transfer is often the go-to ‘Christmas hangover cure’. Shifting your balance to another card offering a 0% rate for an intro period can be a good option. BUT watch the fine print. There can be fees and once the offer period is over, you’re usually hit with a very high rate on any leftover balance. Interest will still apply to new purchases, with no interest-free period. So focus on paying off the balance first. Currently you can get 0% for up to 32 months with the top balance transfer offers.

Brad Kelly, Money.com.au's credit card expert

More in our credit cards guide:

1

3

5

2

4

1

2

3

4

5

What is the best credit card type for you?

  • How it works: Low rate credit cards are designed to be a relatively cheap credit card option based on the interest rate. They are usually fairly basic in terms of the features, perks and rewards on offer.
  • Purpose: Often used by people who will occasionally have an outstanding balance that interest is charged on. Offers payment flexibility while keeping costs lower than some other credit cards.
  • Interest rates: 7.49% - 13.99% p.a.
  • What's good: Access credit at a relatively low rate (rates may even be lower than a personal loan in certain situations.)
  • What to watch for: Cards where the low interest rate is based on a special introductory offer that will revert to a higher rate later on.
  • How it works: Interest-free credit cards charge no interest, but usually come with a monthly fee for using the card instead. Some standard credit cards offer a 0% introductory rate for a limited period.
  • Purpose: These are basic cards designed for light usage, as the credit limit is generally capped at $1,000 - $3,000. They may be handy as an emergency/backup source of funds. If you don't use the card, it likely won't cost you anything.
  • Interest rates: 0% either ongoing or for an introductory period.
  • What's good: No interest and low credit limits mean there is a cap on the cost and how much debt you can build up.
  • What to watch for: Monthly fees can be relatively expensive. If you actually use the card, it may not be any cheaper than a standard credit card. These cards also typically do not offer rewards.
  • How it works: A type of no-frills credit card with no annual fee. It can help keep costs as low as possible, particularly for people who only use their card for emergencies, and/or repay their balance in full each month. Note, credit cards with no annual fee won’t necessarily have a low interest rate.
  • Purpose: An option for people who rarely use their credit card and don’t want the kinds of perks that come with more expensive cards.
  • Interest rates: 8.99% - 23.99% p.a.
  • What's good: Depending on how you use it, the card might cost you absolutely nothing, ever.
  • What to watch for: No annual fee offers that are only for the first year, or conditional on you sending a minimum amount in a set period.
  • How it works: Rewards credit cards are linked to a rewards program that allows you to earn points when you spend, and redeem those points for rewards like cashback, gift cards, hotel stays, and shopping across a wide range of products.
  • Purpose: Rewards credit cards are all about earning points and getting access to more premium card features, like complimentary insurance.
  • Interest rates: 12.49% - 23.99% p.a.
  • What's good: Allows you to earn points for spending you would be doing anyway.
  • What to watch for: Cards that lure you in with rewards sign-up offers and perks, but have very high fees, interest rates or restrictive caps on the number of points you can earn.
  • How it works: Frequent flyer credit cards are rewards cards, tailored to customers who travel a lot. The rewards and benefits of the card are geared towards frequent travellers (e.g. points earning and redemption on flights and accommodation, airport lounge access, travel vouchers and travel insurance). Most commonly these cards are Velocity or Qantas credit cards.
  • Purpose: Earn and redeem points and other perks on travel related spending.
  • Interest rates: 12.49% - 23.99% p.a.
  • What's good: More targeted and valuable rewards for the right cardholder.
  • What to watch for: Cards that offer very niche travel perks that are only worthwhile if you fly often and spend a decent amount of time overseas.
  • How it works: Balance transfer credit cards allow you to transfer the balance of an existing credit card, and pay 0% interest on that balance for a period of time. Balance transfers can be available with low rate or reward cards.
  • Purpose: Consolidated credit card debt and pay it off during the limited-time 0% interest period.
  • Interest rates: 0% during the balance transfer period but reverting to higher rates from 8.99% - 23.99% p.a.
  • What's good: The 0% interest periods available can be quite generous – up to 24 months, depending on the card.
  • What to watch for: Balance transfer fees that sometimes apply, either as a flat fee or a percentage of the balance being transferred.
  • How it works: Premium credit cards generally have the highest annual fees, credit limits and offer the most rewards. Gold, platinum, and black credit cards are all premium versions of standard credit cards, and often require the cardholder to spend a certain amount of money to access benefits.
  • Purpose: Designed to maximise rewards and perks for high income, high spenders.
  • Interest rates: 19.99% - 23.99% p.a.
  • What's good: High-end perks, some of which may be exclusive to cardholders.
  • What to watch for: The temptation to spend more than you can afford in an effort to chase premium card rewards.

Student credit cards

Student credit cards are targeted specifically towards students who have little to no credit history. These are usually a fairly basic credit card, with low costs and few significant perks.

Travel credit cards

A travel credit card allows you to earn frequent flyer points that can be used towards flights, accommodation, and other travel perks.

Cashback credit cards

Cashback credit cards reward a percentage of your spending as credit. Alternatively, you can get your cash back in other forms such as gift cards.

Business credit cards

Business credit cards are designed to offer a line of credit for business customers. All of the perks of personal credit cards also apply to business cards such as rewards schemes, interest-free days, and balance transfers. Corporate credit cards are designed for larger businesses.

Charge cards

Charge cards are very similar to credit cards, but there is no set credit limit and the cardholder must pay off the full balance each month. There are no interest charges on charge cards.

Store credit cards

Store credit cards are offered by specific retailers to earn points as part of their rewards program. A purchase rate will still apply to your transactions and there may be interest-free days available.

Find the best credit card for you in 4 steps

Bank Statement Health

Compare credit card interest rates

Rewards

Check if the card rewards will be useful to you

dollar icon

Look for a low annual credit card fee

Debt consolidation loans

Check the interest-free days so you pay less interest

How to compare credit cards

How to compare credit cards

To compare credit cards, start by figuring out how you plan to use the card. It’s important to get a credit card that’s a suitable match for your spending habits.

Whichever type of card you need, there are some key aspects of how credit cards work that are important to consider across the board:

  • Credit limit
  • Interest rates
  • Interest-free days
  • Fees and penalties
  • Rewards and insurance
Credit limits on credit cards

Credit Limits

The credit limit of your credit card is the total amount of funds the lender makes available for your to borrow any given time (i.e. the maximum outstanding balance).

According to the RBA, the average credit card limit in Australia is around $9,500. The limit offered to you by a lender will depend on your:

The minimum and maximum credit limit will also depend on the type of credit card. For example, a premium credit card may have a minimum limit of $15,000 and a maximum of $100,000, while a student credit card may have a minimum limit of $500 and a maximum of $10,000.

Choosing a suitable credit limit is important as the available limit on your credit card (not the balance) will be considered by lenders if you make a loan application in future.

Credit card interest rates

Credit card purchase rates and cash advance rates will vary between cards and lenders.

Interest is generally calculated daily on the balance owing and is charged once per month. Interest for Australian credit cards is often charged on top of an annual fee, as well as other charges that you may be liable for.

  • Interest rates on credit card purchases range from 7.49% to 23.99%
  • The average purchase rate ranges from between 12% and 19.99%

The cash advance rate for credit cards will often be significantly higher than the purchase rate.

You may also see introductory low-rate offers on certain cards. This rate will apply for a specific amount of time before reverting to a standard purchase rate after the introductory period has concluded.

Australia's Money Matchmaker matching you with your best loans across multiple lenders
If there is a balance left on your credit card account after the statement due date (e.g. you only make the minimum repayment), you will be charged interest on the remaining balance.
Interest free days on credit cards

Interest-free days

The vast majority of credit cards include interest-free days, where the card issuer will only charge interest on a purchase after a set period of time. If you pay off your card’s balance within this period you generally won’t need to pay any interest.

Interest-free days vary, but it’s common for credit cards to include an interest-free period of 55 days.

With most cards, your interest-free days start on the first day of your statement period, and not on the day you make a purchase. Here’s an example:

  • Your credit card offers 55 days interest-free purchases
  • Your interest-free days will begin on the first day of your statement period
  • Your statement period begins on 1 November
  • Your statement period ends on 30 November
  • Any purchases made between that period will not accrue interest until 25 December
Australia's Money Matchmaker matching you with your best loans across multiple lenders
There are usually no interest-free days on cash advances. You’ll be charged interest on those straight away.
Credit card rewards

Credit card rewards

Credit cards linked to a rewards program often come with higher annual fees in return for the ability to earn points on eligible spending and redeem them on the likes of.

  • Gift cards
  • Cashback rewards
  • Fuel vouchers
  • Shopping discounts
  • Fashion items
  • Electronics
  • Tickets for theme parks or movies

Make sure you understand the criteria for earning rewards and how you can redeem them to make sure you'll get value from the program.

If you are looking for a basic, cheap credit card, avoiding rewards altogether could help you save.

Low interest credit card

Credit card fees

Credit card annual fees can range from $0 up to $1,750, depending on the type of card. Cards with the most features and benefits generally have the highest annual fee. But the annual fee is just one of many fees you could potentially be charged.

When comparing credit cards, consider how you plan to use the card and which fees will apply.

For example, if you plan to use the card mostly for overseas online purchases, you may decide a credit card with no foreign currency conversion fee is most suitable.

If the card is only for emergencies, a card with no annual fee could be more suitable.

Annual fee

Most credit cards have a yearly fee. Fees can range from $0 to $700+ with platinum and black cards charging the highest fees.

Extra card fee

Some lenders will charge you an additional yearly fee for each other card that’s part of your account.

Foreign currency conversion fee

An additional charge for transactions made outside of Australia. The most common foreign currency conversion fee is around 3%. This fee is charged independently from the exchange rat

Over limit fee

The most common fee to be charged if your balance exceeds its limit is $40.

Late payment fee

If you cannot make minimum payments, you could be charged a late payment fee between $10 to $35.

Cash advance fee

Using your credit card to withdraw cash can cost you up to 5% of the withdrawn amount plus interest.

Foreign currency cash advance

If you are in a foreign country and withdraw cash from your credit card, then you could be charged a foreign currency cash advance fee as well as the standard ATM fees.

Dishonour of direct credit fee

If you are paying off your credit card balance by direct credit and you dishonour that payment, then you may be charged a dishonour fee of up to $2.50.

Replacement card fee

It can cost you up to $25 to have a replacement issued if you lose your card or make it unusable.

Credit card insurance

Your credit card may include various types of complimentary insurance and protection. This is especially common on more premium cards. Depending on the card you apply for, you may receive:

  • Travel insurance: covering emergency medical expenses, loss or theft of personal belongings, and flight cancellation. Credit card travel insurance may cover international and/or domestic travel.
  • Rental car insurance: Covering theft, damage, towing and other charges related to your rental vehicle.
  • Price protection: Covers the cardholder for changes to product prices and allowing you to claim the difference as a refund.
  • Purchase protection: Covers accidental damage, loss or theft of items you have paid for using your card.

Credit card insurance generally only applies to purchases made using the credit card. Be sure to check the policy documents carefully so you are aware of what is covered and any exclusions and limits that apply.

How to qualify for a loan in Australia

How to qualify for a credit card in Australia

Qualifying criteria for credit cards will vary between cards and issuers. To qualify for the majority of credit cards in Australia, you will need to meet some basic requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or hold an eligible visa
  • Have a reliable source of income
  • Have good credit score

If you are a temporary resident, or have bad credit, you could still get approved for a credit card. The number of cards to choose from will be limited, however, and you may need to supply additional supporting documentation with your application.

apply for car loan pre approval

How to apply for a credit card

You can apply for a credit card online over the phone, at a bank, and even at the checkout at certain stores. A typical credit card application process can take between 15 and 20 minutes.

As part of the application, you’ll need to provide the card issuer with supporting documentation.

This is so they can assess your ability to comfortably meet repayments, and to determine your credit limit. You’ll be asked for:

  • Personal details
  • Valid ID, such as a driver licence or passport
  • Employment details - including your employment status, salary information, and payslips to verify your income.
  • Details of your assets - such as your home and motor vehicle
  • Details of your current expenses and other loans you may have
Australia's Money Matchmaker matching you with your best loans across multiple lenders
A declined application could affect your credit score, and make it difficult to gain approval for a loan or credit card in the future.

Is a credit card worth it for me? (Expert tips)

If used responsibly, in line with your existing spending habits, a credit card can be a handy tool for your day-to-day finances. But they're not for everyone.

“When considering whether to apply for a credit card, think about what kind of person you are” says David Rankin, financial coach at Sort My Money and former bank manager at ANZ and Westpac.

“If you are a spender by nature, for example, a credit card is not for you.”

“If you are a saver and discipline comes easily, ask yourself what you want from a credit card. Is it purchase insurance, travel insurance, rewards points or convenience, for example?"

David says it's important to factor in all costs, including annual fees, before applying. But you also need to be proactive about minimising costs when you have the card.

“The aim should always be to pay off the balance in full each month [to avoid interest]”.

“Cash advances come with punitive fees and interest and are not looked upon favourably by lenders when it comes to mortgage applications and so are best avoided,” David says.

For some people who need access to funds for a large expense, but prefer to have a fixed amount of debt and a fixed time frame for paying it off, a personal loan may be more suitable.

Credit card pros and cons

Pros

  • Financial back up if you need it
  • Offers payment and cash-flow flexibility
  • Some cards come with no annual fees and 0% interest introductory periods
  • Insurance and fraud protection often included
  • A lot of cards are linked to a rewards scheme
  • Consistently repaying your credit card on time and in full can contribute towards building your credit score

Cons

  • High interest rates and fees on some cards
  • It’s not always obvious whether you’ll actually be benefiting from the rewards and perks offered
  • Your credit card limit could work against you in future loan applications
  • Can encourage overspending
  • Cash advances and unpaid balances can be very expensive
  • Can damage your credit score if you miss repayments

Credit cards FAQ

Most lenders require you to have good credit before they issue you a credit card. You can request a copy of your credit history from any of the main credit agencies in Australia before applying for a card.

It is generally more difficult to be approved for a credit card if you have a bad credit score. That said, a bad credit score does not automatically disqualify you from getting a credit card. It will come down to your individual circumstances and the lender.

But you should think carefully about whether it will be suitable for you if you have bad credit. It may be worth spending some time improving your credit score before applying.

Remember, having a credit card application declined could damage your credit score further.

You can still get a credit card with no credit, provided you have a stable source of income and are in a good overall financial position. You may only be able to get approval based on a low credit limit if you have a limited credit history.

Cards that have a low credit limit are easier to get approved for than those that have high limits. Standard credit cards that don’t have a lot of extras or additional fees may also be easier to get approved for than gold, platinum, or black credit cards.

In most cases, the card’s annual fee is the main cost of your credit card. But the cost of a credit card will depend on the type of card you apply for, and how you use it. You can often reduce the cost of your credit card by qualifying for interest-free days, and always repaying your balance in full each statement period.

If you let interest build up, credit cards can be very expensive.

The credit limit you can get largely depends on your income, assets, and credit score. A high income, valuable assets, and a clean credit report all increase the amount of credit you can access.

You can increase the credit limit on your credit card by calling your card issuer. The amount that you can increase your credit card limit to will be determined by the issuer and will often be subject to a credit check before additional funds will be made available.

Approval of an initial credit card application can be very quick – within minutes if you apply online. However, it’s common to be asked to provide documents, like payslips and bank statements, in order for your application to be assessed in full.

Overall, a lot of people can get approved with a day or two and have their credit card ready to use within 1-2 weeks.

If you have applied for a credit card and wish to cancel your application, you will need to call the card issuer and ask them to process your request. If you were issued with an application number or reference when submitting your application, you can provide this to help speed up the process.

You can save on interest and fees by consolidating debt from multiple cards into one. This is called a balance transfer. You may find balance transfer cards with a 0% interest introductory offer to help you repay your debt without accruing further interest.

You can avoid paying interest on your credit card by repaying the full amount at the end of your statement period. You can also consider changing to a low-interest or interest-free credit card if you will carry the balance over from month to month.

Another option is a charge card which works similarly to a credit card but with no interest applying. However, you need to clear the balance in full each month. Only American Express offers charge cards to consumers in Australia.

The number of credit cards you can have is determined by the card issuer(s). There is no hard limit, and many people use multiple cards with different rewards structures to take advantage of various promotions.

Each application will be assessed separately by the lender, based on your ability to repay the balance comfortably.

Be aware, however, that multiple cards with a high combined credit limit can negatively impact your credit score.

Additional credit cards are offered to people who are approved for a card and want to pass on a secondary card to a spouse or other family member.

The person who uses the card must be over 18 years of age. You remain responsible for paying the balance, interest, and fees on the supplementary credit card.

You can usually activate a credit card through the provider’s mobile app or online banking. Once the card is activated, it’s ready to use and add to your device’s mobile wallet for mobile payments.

You can cancel your credit card by calling your card issuer. A representative will inform you of the next steps and how you can pay off your remaining balance if necessary.

It’s recommended to dispose of old credit cards to prevent anyone from accessing your financial information. To properly dispose of your card, you will need to cut it up with scissors and disable the card’s chip.

AS FEATURED IN

Written by

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Editor

Sean Callery

Reviewed by

Brad Kelly, Payment Services

Credit Cards Expert

Brad Kelly

*After a total of 100,000 Qantas Points is earned in a calendar year, the everyday earn rate will change from 1.25 to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent. For Card Members who applied for the Card between 1 July 2023 – 9 January 2024, this change will come into effect from 10 July 2024.