Things you didn't know about credit cards [Infographic]

Although credit card interest rates are generally higher, a credit card debt can be short term and doesn't necessarily mean interest charges1 - if you pay the balance you owe in full each month.

However some of us don't use them like that. Here are some good reasons to rethink how you use them - or whether you use them at all.

Credit card interest is costing Australians a lot of money.

an icon of australian map with a dollar signa christmas present icon with a gift tag of 29 billiona calendar icon with 55 days written on it

Many of us are not as good at managing credit card debt as we think we are.

a chart representing increase in paying interest as it takes longer to payan image of people illustrating one third of australiansan image of a hand holding a credit card

Reward programs are not always rewarding for all of us.

a chart illustrating decrease in credit card valuean image illustrating zero rewards when you spend below $5000 a month on credit cardan image illustrating higher fees with reward programs


View the accessible text version of the infographic below or download the PDF version.

Credit card interest is costing Australians a lot of money.

If you don’t pay your credit card bill in full each month, a credit card can quickly become one of the most expensive forms of credit available. It’s usually a good idea to try and pay off your balance each month and only use a credit card to assist with short-term cashflow.

  • We use credit a lot. Australia has a national credit card debt accruing interest of $31,627,035,870. That's 31 billion.1
  • Aussies borrowed a collective $29 billion on credit cards over Christmas alone in 2017.1
  • On an average 55-day interest-free period, December 2017 cost Aussies $230 million in interest.2

Many of us are not as good at managing credit card debt as we think we are.

While some credit cards offer enticing ‘minimum payment’ options, if you opt for these, they can quickly end up costing you a lot of money through high interest payments.

  • 19% of card holders take longer than three months to service their debt, which means their interest costs likely to pile up. 5% of this group takes a year or more!2
  • One-third of Australians pay interest without realising it but the real figure is actually about double that.3
  • 70.19% of Aussies have a credit card. 20.69% of adults 35-54 have 3 or more!4

Reward programs are not always rewarding for all of us.

If you’ve chosen a Frequent Flyer or rewards credit card, it’s important to make sure you really are getting rewarded by your credit card. Always do a thorough evaluation of the fees and charges that you pay in order to access credit card ‘benefits’ and ask yourself if they are really worthwhile, or if you could get a better deal elsewhere.

  • Decreases in credit cards rewards value in the last 12 months in Australia are at around 63%.5
  • After fees, reward programs deliver little or nothing unless you spend well over $5,000 on your card monthly.5
  • Cards with reward programs are enticing, but often come with higher fees and above average interest rates.5

With these credit card secrets revealed, be sure to rethink how you’re using them. Remember to always try and pay the balance in full to avoid paying interest on your purchases and check if these annual fees and points gained provide real value.

If you're good at managing your money, and can easily pay the balance off each month - then a credit card can really work for you. But if you struggle to manage multiple credit card debts, a personal loan for debt consolidation loan may be an option. Learn the pros and cons of consolidating your debts here.

To get you started, find out how much your repayments might be here, or get your individual rate before applying, in just a few minutes (it won't affect your credit score). 

Got a question? Call on 1300 108 794. We're here to help.

Sources:

1. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0main+features402014#credit
2. https://www.finder.com.au/australians-have-racked-up-29-billion-in-christmas-credit-card-debt
3. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-16/credit-card-debt-australia/6928326
4. https://www.finder.com.au/credit-cards/credit-card-statistics
5. http://www.smh.com.au/money/borrowing/credit-card-reward-value-falls-63-per-cent-over-past-year-20170831-gy7zun.html

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