Whether you want rewards, low rates, no annual fee or lots of complimentary extras, comparing credit cards will help you find the right card.
A credit card comparison takes the guesswork out of this process by letting you see all of your options side-by-side before making a decision. Here, you can compare credit cards from hundreds of providers based on the features you want. We also walk you through the different types of credit cards available and key issues to remember when comparing your options so that you can apply for one that meets your needs.
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|Credit Card||Purchase Rate||Annual Fee|
|19.74% p.a.||$30 p.a.|
|11.49% p.a.||$49 p.a.|
|13.49% p.a.||$59 p.a.|
|19.99% p.a.||$89 p.a.|
What types of credit cards can I compare?
Different types of credit cards offer specific features and benefits that are designed to suit particular customers. When you know what you want from a credit card, you can narrow down your comparison to a few cards by using these categories. To help you do this, we’ve outlined the major credit card categories below:
Balance transfer cards
Balance transfer credit cards let you move debt from an existing credit card to a new card with a low or 0% promotional interest rate. These cards are designed to help you save money on interest charges so that you can pay down your balance faster. When comparing balance transfer credit cards, make sure you look at the length of the introductory period and the rate of interest applied to any remaining debt after that time, so that you can budget accordingly.
Rewards credit cards
These credit cards offer you points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, including most everyday transactions. When comparing rewards credit cards, make sure you consider the type of rewards programs and the rewards you can redeem and the rate at which you earn points (points per $1 spent). It’s also important to look at the card’s standard rates and annual fee, as well as any complimentary extras such as travel insurance. Consider your average credit card spending so you can estimate how many rewards you’ll get to decide if the value will outweigh the costs of the card. The goal with a rewards credit card should always be to get more value from the program than what you pay in fees.
Frequent flyer credit cards
Some rewards credit cards are linked to popular frequent flyer programs such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Virgin’s Velocity program. These cards earn frequent flyer points per $1 spent on the card and may also offer other travel benefits such as complimentary insurance, flights or airport lounge access. As with other rewards credit cards, when you compare frequent flyer cards you need to look at the rewards program and earn rate, complimentary extras and card fees to make sure it’s worth it for you.
No annual fee credit cards
These credit cards don’t charge you an annual fee for the account, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars. Some of these cards charge no annual fee for the first year you have a card, while others have no annual fee for life. Make sure you consider both of these options when comparing no annual fee cards, so that you can choose an option that offers the most convenient features and greatest savings for your circumstances.
Low interest credit cards
Low interest credit cards are designed to save you money on your balance by offering a competitive rate of interest. Some of these cards may offer a promotional low or 0% interest rate for purchases, while others offer a low ongoing rate. If you regularly carry a balance on a credit card, a low rate option could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.
To put this in perspective, let’s compare a $1,000 debt on a credit card with an interest rate of 18% p.a. and a card with a lower rate of 12% p.a. If you only paid the minimum, it would take 7 years and 9 months to pay off the 17% p.a. card and would cost $861 in interest. With the low rate card, it would take 5 years and 10 months and cost $393 – that’s a saving of 1 year and 11 months and $468.
Student credit cards
Credit cards for students are designed to help you manage your finances while you’re studying. As most students don’t earn a lot of money, these cards typically have lower minimum income requirements and lower credit limits. They offer basic features that can help you with cash flow and can be a good way to learn how credit cards work. If you’re interested in getting a student credit card, make sure you consider the income requirements, credit limit and annual fees to find an option that is both flexible and affordable.
Business credit cards
There is a range of credit cards available for businesses of all sizes. These cards offer specific features designed to make financial management easier across the company, such as additional credit cards for employees, individual pre-set spending limits and itemised statements. If you’re comparing business credit cards, make sure you consider which extra features you want (including rewards programs) as well as the interest rates and fees so that you can get an option that’s affordable and integrates well with your accounting system.
Travel credit cards
You can use almost any credit card when travelling, but some cards come with specialised features and benefits that can save you money on every trip you take. The perks available on a travel credit card can include complimentary overseas insurance, domestic flight inconvenience insurance, car hire coverage, frequent flyer points, hotel offers, airport lounge access and no foreign transaction fees for purchases when you pay with plastic. To compare travel credit cards, make sure you consider how often you’ll use these features, as well as the costs associated with the card, so that you can find one that offers value for money and covers all your travel needs.
Gold, platinum and black credit cards
Gold, platinum and black credit cards are premium options designed for bigger spenders. They have higher credit limits and more additional benefits such as complimentary insurance, higher reward point earn rates and shopping and travel perks. It’s important to check the minimum income requirements when comparing gold, platinum and black credit cards, as they are often higher than standard cards. Also make sure you consider whether the benefits available will outweigh the cost of interest charges and annual fees – both of which may be higher on a premium card.
Other credit cards
Most credit cards fall into one or more of the categories above. But if you’re looking for a specific feature, you may also want to consider comparing credit cards listed in the following niche categories:
- 0% foreign fees. These credit cards don’t charge a fee for transactions made in an international currency or with an overseas retailer, potentially saving you 2% to 3.5% per purchase.
- 0% purchase and balance transfer cards. Some credit cards offer 0% interest for both purchases and balance transfers. These cards allow you to save money on both old and new credit card debt for a limited amount of time before standard interest rates kick in.
- Credit cards with introductory offers. Many credit cards come with introductory offers, such as 0% interest, reduced or $0 annual fees and bonus points. These deals are designed to give you more value when you choose a particular card, but only for the short-term.
- Credit union credit cards. The credit cards provided by credit unions offer competitive value through lower rates, fees and other features.
- Debt consolidation credit cards. These balance transfer cards can provide you with an affordable option when you have several debts that you would like to combine and pay off on one account.
You can also check out our exclusive credit card deals for the latest introductory and signup offers that aren’t available anywhere else.
How to compare credit cards
Regardless of the type of credit card you’re looking for, it’s important to consider a range of factors to find a card that’s right for you. Here, we’ve outlined the key features you should include in a credit card comparison.
- Purchase rate
The purchase rate is the interest rate that’s charged for most of the transactions you make using your credit card. Standard purchase rates range from around 10% p.a. to 22% p.a. (variable) depending on the card you choose. You can also get a credit card with a low introductory purchase rate – such as 0% for 6 months – before the ongoing rate of interest applies.
When comparing credit cards, it’s important to consider the purchase rate (both ongoing and introductory) so that you know the potential cost of carrying a balance. If you regularly pay your balance in full, the purchase rate may not be a major concern, but if think you’ll carry a balance, then choosing a card with a lower interest rate will help keep the cost down.
- Cash advance rate
This interest rate is applied to “cash advance transactions” including ATM withdrawals, foreign currency exchange, bets and other gambling charges. It is usually around 19% p.a. to 22% p.a. (variable) and always applies from the time you make a cash advance transaction.
Note that cash advances are not eligible for any interest free periods and may also attract other fees. While it’s a good idea to avoid making cash advances with a credit card, it’s important to consider this factor in your comparison so that you know what the potential costs will be for these types of transactions.
- Cash advance fee
As well as applying interest to cash advance transactions, credit cards charge a one-off fee. This is usually around 2% to 3.5% of the total transaction cost, and should be checked before you get a card or use it for a cash advance. As with the cash advance interest rate, it’s good to check this fee when comparing cards so you’re aware of the cost of cash advances for any option you choose.
- Balance transfer rate
The balance transfer interest rate applies to debts you have moved from old accounts onto your new card. Usually, a low or 0% promotional rate is offered for a balance transfer onto a new cards. When the promotional period ends, a higher, standard balance transfer rate applies. It’s important to check both the introductory rate and the standard rate when you’re comparing balance transfer credit cards so that you can budget accordingly.
- Balance transfer fee
Some credit cards charge a one-off processing fee for balance transfers. This fee could be between 1% and 3% of the total debt you want to move to a new card. As not all cards apply this charge, it’s important to consider it when comparing balance transfer offers to make sure you find an option that’s affordable for you.
- Introductory offers
Credit cards often come with promotional features for new customers, including 0% interest rates, reduced or $0 annual fees for the first year, and signup bonus points. These offers can be a great way to get value out of a new credit card, but they are only temporary.
If you’re comparing credit cards with introductory offers, make sure you look at the ongoing features to get a true sense of the value it will provide in the long run. Also be sure to check the length of the introductory period and any other conditions you need to meet to claim the offer available. For example, a reward card offering bonus points might require you to spend a certain amount of money in the first few months you have it, while a balance transfer offer might only be available if you include your transfer request when you apply.
- Annual fees
Most credit cards charge an annual fee, which can range from $25 up to $700 or more. The annual fee is usually charged when the account is activated, and then once a year on that anniversary.
When you’re comparing cards, make sure you consider what features will offset the cost of the annual fee to find one that is affordable for you. Remember some cards offer a $0 or lower annual fee in the first year, so check the ongoing features of each option you’re comparing to avoid any nasty surprises after the first year.
- Interest free days
If you pay your balance in full each month, you can get up to a certain number of days interest free on your statement cycle. Usually cards will offer somewhere between 25 and 62 days interest free, and can help you avoid interest charges.
If you plan to pay off the balance in full for every statement cycle, the number of interest free days available could be an important factor for your credit card comparison. But remember that this feature won’t be much use if you think you might carry a balance.
- Complimentary extras
Credit cards offer a wide range of complimentary extras. Some of the most popular options include travel insurance, purchase protection insurance, extended warranty coverage, best price guarantees, concierge services, dining programs, ticket and event offers, airfares and airport lounge passes.
These perks can add up to hundreds of dollars of extra value, but only if you use them. When you’re looking at the complimentary extras during your credit card comparison, be realistic about whether or not you will be able to get value from these features so that they offset the cost of any fees.
- Rewards programs
Some credit cards have their own rewards programs, such as ANZ Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. Others are linked to existing programs, such as Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer or the Coles flybuys program. Consider the amount of points you will need to redeem rewards how often you will use your credit card to decide if a credit card with a rewards program is right for you.
- International transaction fee
Most credit cards apply a fee for transactions made in a foreign currency or with an overseas merchant. This fee usually adds 2% to 3.5% to international transactions. If you plan to travel with a credit card or want to use one to shop online with overseas retailers, it’s a good idea to look at cards that waive this cost or at least have a lower fee than other options you’re considering.
- Late payment fee
Some credit card companies charge you a fee if you don’t make a payment by the due date on your statement. This charge ranges from $5 to $30 and will be added to your account balance if your payment is late. While you should always aim to pay your credit card off by the due date, checking this fee when you’re comparing credit cards can give you an idea of how each option treats late payments and may want to factor this into your final decision.
- Overlimit fee
If you max out your credit card, you could be charged a fee of around $10 to $30. It’s important to consider this cost when comparing different cards so that you know what penalties could apply for different options. It may also help you decide on a sensible credit limit when you apply.
- Other fees and charges
Credit cards may charge a range of other fees for different features and services, including:
- Additional cardholder fees
- Printed statement fees
- Optional rewards program enrolment (i.e. for Qantas rewards)
- Emergency card replacement
Make sure you consider these charges and when they could apply so that you know what other potential costs you may have to pay for any card you choose.
From low rate and balance transfer options to rewards credit cards, super-premium platinum and black cards or those with no fees, there are credit cards available to suit almost anyone’s needs. Now that you understand more about the different factors that need to be considered, you can start comparing credit cards and apply for one that really works for you.Back to top