In a second comprehensive survey on credit card choice and use conducted by Credit Card Finder, 2,351 respondents offered their views from how many cards they carry to what makes them choose the card they have.
The big four banks still dominate the credit card business with nearly a third (31.8%) of respondents choosing the Commonwealth Bank for their credit card, 22.1% choosing the ANZ, and 19.4% choosing Westpac, with the National Australia Bank bringing up the rear of the big banks with 14.9% of respondents holding NAB cards. The Commonwealth increased its commanding lead from Credit Card Finder’s 2009 Survey, where 22.4% of respondents chose a CBA credit card.
Bank credit card providers have lifted their game with 79.3% saying they were happy with the service received from their bank 79.3% in 2011 compared to 72.7% who were ‘very happy’ or ‘somewhat happy’ in 2009.
Perhaps the Global Financial Crisis has had an impact on our wariness of debt, as 24.1% of respondents say they have no credit card at all. However, the changing face of retail and the lure of internet shopping have prompted 37.5% of respondents to say they applied for a credit card in order to buy things online. And the increasing availability of EFTPOS machines in retail stores probably accounts for the nearly one quarter of respondents who have a credit card because they don’t want to carry cash.
Impulse buying was admitted to by 50.2% who said “Yes occasionally,” when asked ‘Do you ever get carried away and impulse spend on your credit card?’
The survey found respondents average monthly credit cards spend was still significant with 31.1% spending between $1000 and $3000 a month on their card.
Rewards credit cards are a popular choice for almost half the respondents but the survey showed a surprising 30% would be tempted to sign up to a particular card for free sign up products such as an Apple iPad.
This outstrips those who were looking for no annual fee in the first year (15%) or a free domestic flight in Australia (15.5%).
Once we ‘sign up’ for a credit card we are unlikely to switch, with 42% of respondents to this survey say they have always had the same credit cards and never change their card for a better offer.
The survey also found that 62.6% of respondents have had their cards for 4 years or more – including nearly a quarter holding the same credit card for an astonishing 11 years or more. However, this is an improvement on the 2009 survey, with 44.5% having not switched their credit card for 11 years or more.
“Despite several interest rate rises in the last two years, we are still not yet in the habit of shopping around for the best deal,” said Cabral. “The majority of respondents say they stick with the major banks and 52% of our respondents did not use financial comparison websites to research their credit card choice.”
Respondents believed that the most important features of their card were in order: the number of interest free days, annual fee charges, purchase rate, balance transfer rate and rewards program. High interest rates were what respondents most hated about their card.
Credit cards with low interest or zero balance transfers had been taken out by 23.7% of respondents but a third had no interest in them. This is possibly because balance transfer deals can be confusing, with 38.7% of respondents saying they are not sure which would be the best deal. However, as knowledge about balance transfer cards increases indifference to them had reduced from the 2009 Survey when 38.3% said it ‘didn’t even interest them’.
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