Enhance your online shopping experience with a credit card and make additional savings by using a card that doesn’t charge extra fees and rewards you as you spend.
Whether you love shopping or just looking for a bargain, the convenience and speed of the internet makes it a much better place to shop. Many exclusive deals on the internet don’t last that long, so using a credit card could mean that you never have to miss out on any sales. Although finding the right credit card for online shopping can be a challenge for some, we can help simplify the process.
In an emerging market of online shoppers using their credit card, with one in ten cardholders now applying for cards specifically for this purpose, this is certainly the space to watch. Credit card providers are likely to introduce new products to keep up with the competition, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing $520 million was spent online by Aussies in April 2014. According to creditcardfinder.com.au’s Insights Report, women were more likely to apply for a credit card for online shopping, compared to men.
Compare credit cards for online shopping
Comparing travel money cards for shopping online and overseas
What if I shop and transact online and I’m going to be travelling?
Consider a prepaid travel money card that allows online shopping in multiple currencies when you’re on the move. Not only is it safe but it’s prepaid too, so you can save on currency conversion fees and have control over your budget.
How to compare credit cards for online shopping
- No currency conversion fees
Consider a credit card that doesn’t charge a currency conversion fee. This means that you are free to shop as much as you want with overseas retailers without worrying about any extra dollars being added to your purchase.
- High points earning
Optimise your rewards on spending by earning as many points as you possibly can. Instead of the standard one point per dollar spent, aim to double your points with two points per dollar. There are even cards on the market that award up to three points per dollar spent.
- Fraud protection
Today it’s standard for credit cards to have protection in place to guard you against scammers and fraudsters, but you can do your part too by opting for a card that is linked to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Protection. It’s important to note that most insurances, such as Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty, don’t apply to items bought online.
Using a credit card for overseas purchases
The right credit card is important because if you want to purchase items overseas, a currency conversion fee is usually charged. Usually, it’s around 3% of the purchase price, so if you buy an item for USD $500, the foreign transaction fee would be around USD $15 or approximately AUS $16.10.
Consider the stats:
- Statistics in 2013 showed that on average, Aussies spend about $2,000 per year online. Of that $2,000, let’s assume the average Aussie spends $1.500 a year on international purchases, because let’s face it – retail isn’t Australia’s strength. In total, that’s about AUD $45 in foreign currency fees.
- The stats also show that Aussies are unlikely to shift their spending patterns any time soon and, despite Australian e-commerce efforts, is likely to increase. Half of the online department store retailers that Aussies visit are based overseas and 31 out of the topmost 100 websites for online shopping are based overseas.
eBay still remains one of the biggest names in online retail though many are working hard to strengthen their brands, such as the likes of ASOS. Save on your everyday purchases Foreign fees aren’t the only cons here – if you have a credit card linked to a rewards system, potentially, you could be earning more points. For example, the Qantas American Express Ultimate credit card awards two Qantas points per dollar spent for purchases made in Australia but one point per dollar spent for purchases made overseas.
Queenie is deciding whether to buy a Kindle Fire HD for $214 from Amazon (overseas) or eBay Australia for $219 (within Australia). She wonders if the difference in fees and rewards are worth buying from overseas or internationally.
|Qantas American Express Ultimate Credit Card||HSBC Qantas Platinum Credit Card||Bankwest Qantas Platinum Credit Card||Citibank Select credit card|
|Foreign transaction fee||$6.42 (3% foreign transaction fee)||$6.42 (3% foreign transaction fee)||$0 (0% foreign transaction fee)||$7.17 (3.35% foreign transaction fee, average between AMEX and MC)|
|Rewards points earned if purchased overseas||428||428||214||1070|
|Monetary value of points if purchased overseas||$3.17||$2.18||$0.88||%$5.35|
|Rewards points earned if purchased in Australia||219||219||219||428|
|Monetary value of points if purchased in Australia||$1.62||$1.11||$0.90||$2.14|
From the table you can see that if Queenie used the Qantas American Express Ultimate, Citibank Select or HSBC Qantas Platinum credit card, it may have been cheaper to buy the product within Australia as the foreign transaction fee is more than the price difference. However, the Citibank Select credit card would have returned more value in rewards, in comparison to the $5 difference. In the end, if Queenie bought her Kindle Fire HD from Amazon the Bankwest Qantas Platinum credit card may have provided the most value for her purchase. As well as no foreign transaction fee, it also returned reward points. This example is based on the fact that shipping prices would be similar. Even if you are getting cheaper deals online, you may be paying the price in currency conversion fees and reward points. If you regularly shop online, then you may want to consider switching credit cards to one that offers you the most benefits.
Compare credit cards for online shopping
Pros and Cons
- Avoid currency conversion fees
If you get a credit card with no or low currency conversion fees, you can make significant savings while making purchases with overseas retailers.
- Earn while you spend
If your credit card comes with a rewards system, you can earn points as you spend. These points can either be redeemed for cash back on your credit card or for various goods and services.
- Wide acceptance and protection
If your credit card is linked to one of the larger providers, such as Visa or MasterCard, you can make purchases internationally. These larger providers often come with additional security, such as Verified by Visa or MasterCard Protection, providing you with additional protection in the online environment.
- Accumulating debt
Unlike a debit card or a prepaid travel card, a credit card is not linked to your own funds. So if you’re an impulsive or frequenter spender, using your credit card for online purchases could quickly build up debt on your card.
- Security risks
While credit card security measures are in place to protect your finances against fraud or theft, no online purchase is entirely risk-free. Always research the site the legitimacy and security of the site before making a purchase.
- Foreign fees.
If your card doesn’t offer either a low or no currency conversion fee, your spending can increase significantly when making a purchase in a foreign currency.
What is the difference between a travel card and a credit card?
Travel cards are generally prepaid cards that allow you to load funds from directly from your account to use to make purchases in multiple currencies. On the other hand, a credit card is not loaded with prepaid funds and comes with a credit limit instead. The credit limit will usually vary depending on your credit card, provider and your ability to pay it back.
What are the most widely accepted credit cards?
The most widely accepted credit cards are MasterCard and Visa. Most websites will provide a list of acceptable payment options, so make sure to read over this before committing to a purchase.
Can I use my credit card with PayPal?
Paypal can offer additional security when making online purchases and some sites only accepted payments through PayPal. You can link your credit card to your PayPal account through your online PayPal account portal.