How Does the Gem Visa Credit Card Work?
The Gem Visa credit card is nothing like other credit cards on the market. This card offers customers plenty of ways to save money and reduce interest costs. Not only does Gem Visa allow you to benefit from buying items worth more than $250 on 6 month interest free terms, but also the opportunity to take advantage of up to 55 days interest free on smaller purchases too. Add to this the ability to select various promotions where you could potentially receive up to 2 years interest free on big-ticket purchases, and it’s easy to see why this card is gaining in popularity.
With so many options available to avoid paying interest on the things you buy, it’s important to understand exactly how this credit card works and how you can take advantage of it for yourself.
Low Purchase Rate Credit Cards Comparison
Gem Visa Credit Card
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
St.George Platinum Card
Bankwest Breeze MasterCard
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card – 0% Interest Offer
|Purchase Rate (p.a.)||6 months interest free on any Visa purchase over $250 (reverts to 22.99% p.a.)||0% p.a. until 1 July 2014 (thereafter 13.99% p.a.)||0% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 15.99% p.a.)||0% p.a. for up to 10 months (reverts to 11.99% p.a.)||0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)|
|Balance transfer rate (p.a.)||4.99% p.a. for 6 months||0% p.a. for 9 months||2.99% p.a. for 9 months||0% p.a. for 6 months|
|Offer end date||14 January 2014||31 December 2013|
|Cash advance rate (p.a.)||22.99% p.a.||21.74% p.a.||21.49% p.a.||21.99% p.a.||20.99% p.a.|
|Interest Free Days||55 days||55 days||55 days||55 days||44 days|
|Fees & Charges|
|Annual Fee||$99 p.a.||$59 p.a.||$89 p.a.||$59 p.a.||$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)|
|Late Payment Fee||$25||$5||$9||$25||$10|
|Over Limit Fee||$5||$0||$9||$30||$40|
|Overseas Emergency Replacement||$100||$52.50||$0|
|Overseas ATM Balance check||$0||$0||$5|
|Overseas ATM Withdrawal||$4||$0||$5|
|Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (VISA)||3% of transaction value||2.5% of transaction value||3% of transaction value||3.3% of transaction value|
|Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (MC)||2.95% of transaction value|
|Gambling Transactions Allowed||No||No||No||No||No|
|Additional Cardholder Fee||$0||$0||$0||$39|
|Number of Additional Cardholders||3||3||4|
|Minimum Age||18 years of age||18 years of age||18 years of age||18 years of age||18 years of age|
|Available to Temporary Residents||No||No||No||No||No|
|Credit Rating Requirement||Good||Good||Good||Good||Good|
|Min Credit Limit
This is the lowest credit card limit that you can request. It is possible to apply for a higher credit card limit but not a lower one than this figure.
|Max Credit Limit||$80,000||$25,000||$100,000|
Are you eligible?
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You have a minimum income after tax of $15,000 p.a.
- You must be an Australian resident or intend to stay in Australia for the next 12 months with Visa permission
- You have a good credit history. If you are unsure it is advisable to check your credit history prior to applying.
How the Interest Free Deals Work
There are several ways you can take advantage of the interest free deals available with Gem Visa credit cards. No matter what amount you intend to spend, you’re sure to find ways to get out of paying interest to a credit card company.
Each offer is slightly different, but if you take the time to understand how the terms and conditions of this card work and how you can use them in your favour, it is very possible to never pay credit card interest again on the purchases you make with your card. The key is to understand how your card works and how to maximise the time you have where your account is free of any interest charges.
Here is an overview of various ways you can use your Gem Visa credit card to receive free interest on purchases:
Six Months Interest Free On Purchases Over $250
Every time you make a purchase that adds up to a value of more than $250 in a single transaction, you will receive six months where interest won’t be charged to the amount you just spent.
This allows you to pay for larger purchases that are higher than $250 without fear of having hefty interest charges added to the amounts you spent. You then have six months to repay those amounts before interest will be charged to your account.
This offer will remain in effect for items you purchase that total more than $250 in a single transaction. So you don’t necessarily have to purchase one large item. You could buy Christmas gifts for everyone in your family all at the same store so that the total value of the transaction you make at the register still comes to more than $250.
With most other credit card 0% interest offers, the deal begins when you activate your card and only lasts for the first six months. Once that special deal expires, your card reverts to become just the same as any regular credit card, and you’re left paying high interest charges for the remainder of your time with that lender.
By comparison, the generous Gem Visa credit card allows every purchase you make that adds up to more than $250 to attract the zero interest offer for six months. This begins from the date you make that purchase, so it makes no difference if you make your purchase when you activate your card or if you want to buy something in a year’s time.
This will happen every time you use your Gem credit card to pay for a bill or a purchase. The interest free period will begin from the date of the transaction, so you could end up with multiple overlapping interest free amounts on your statement.
This ability to reduce the amount of interest you are charged can be extremely helpful for those on a budget. It gives you the ability to pay larger bills now or pay for larger purchases and then spend six months paying them off without fear of hefty interest costs adding to your debt levels.
Until you can repay the amount you spent, you will be required to make at least the minimum monthly repayment every month before the due date. This is generally calculated at approximately 3% of the amount you owe or $25 whichever is greater.
In order to avoid paying interest on those amounts, you should calculate how much you need to pay each month in order to be sure you’ve repaid the full amount you spent before the six month free interest offer expires.
Long Term Interest Free Offers
Gem has made arrangements with more than 9,000 stores and outlets across Australia where you may be eligible to receive longer term interest free offers. Depending on the store you shop at, or what you buy, you could find that using your Gem Visa credit card to pay for that purchase could mean receiving up to 1 year or 2 years interest free. There are also cases where even longer 0% interest terms are offered.
Keep an eye open for advertised deals with participating stores, and you could find that it’s possible to replace that old fridge, or finally buy that new TV or washing machine, without the worry of paying any interest on that amount for 1 or 2 years, or even longer with some promotional offers.
Gem has also made arrangements with a number of health care providers, who will also offer extended periods where no interest will be charged on the amounts you spend. This could allow you to finally afford that dental work you need, or that non-surgical cosmetic work you want done. You then have up to a couple of years to repay it without worrying about having steep interest charges added to the total.
Most of the larger nationwide stores and chains will usually offer some of the longer term interest free deals on more expensive purchases. These stores include:
- Harvey Norman
- Rebel Sports
- The Good Guys
- Freedom Home Furnishings
- Angus & Coote
- Zamels Jewellers
- Shiels Jewellers
- Bridgestone Tyres
- Bob Jane T-Mart
- Dental care providers
- Veterinary clinics
- Super A-mart
- Michael Hill
The full list of stores and retail outlets offering extended free interest periods on larger purchases for Gem cardholders is available from the following link: Gem Visa List of Stores
You’re able to search for deals available within your local postcode area, so you’re sure to find plenty of outlets willing to offer great interest free deals on most things you want to purchase.
Interest Free for Smaller Purchases
The Gem Visa credit card might be very handy for avoiding paying any interest on those larger expenses, but what happens if you need to pay a bill or pay for groceries and you spend less than $250?
The people at Gem understand that smaller purchases will happen with most cardholders, and they’ve even arranged a way to pay no interest even on the smaller purchases you make. This is done by offering cardholders up to 55 days interest free for those things you buy that are under $250.
If you buy products and services worth less than $250 you can enjoy up to $55 days interest free with Gem Visa. Keep in mind that like all credit cards your account needs to be in good standing to receive the benefits of up to 55 days interest free.
Remember, the amounts you spent over $250 that are sitting on your account are still benefiting from the original 6 months interest free period, so those amounts are still subjected to just minimum payments only.
Using Your Gem Credit Card for Cash Withdrawals
You are able to use your Gem Visa card to withdraw cash from ATMs around Australia. However, if you’re not careful about which bank’s ATM you use, you could be charged ATM operator fees.
You can easily avoid this by being sure you only ever use Westpac ATMs. Westpac has an extensive ATM network around the country, so you should find it easy to locate one near you.
Always keep in mind that any cash transactions on your card will not be a part of the interest free offers. You will incur interest on the amount of the cash transaction at a rate of 22.99% from the date the transaction occurred. You may also be charged a cash advance fee of 3% of the amount withdrawn.
If you’re truly serious about avoiding paying any interest on your credit card, it may be wise to avoid using cash transactions. Consider using other alternatives if you need to access cash.
Using payWave Technology with Your Gem Visa
payWave technology allows you to take advantage of a very convenient way of making smaller payments quickly and easily. For purchase amounts under $100, you can make payments without the need to queue in lines, sign your signature on a non-secure receipt, or to enter your secure and private PIN in front of other people.
payWave works by way of a wireless transmitted signal. Your Gem Visa card contains a very small embedded antenna that is capable of sending a payment instruction to an authorised payWave payment terminal.
As you make your purchase, the cashier still needs to enter the transaction amount for the payWave payment terminal to read. It then looks for your card to authorise this amount as the approved payment value. You won’t be charged for any other amounts that weren’t already authorised by you.
payWave and Security
You may have already seen the advertisements for payWave on TV, showing how easy and convenient it can be to simply wave your card before the card reader in order to authorise your payment. The objective of this technology is to speed up payment processes, but also to improve security of your credit card.
Yet if you’re the person holding your credit card throughout the entire transaction, you have the security of knowing no one else has had access to your card at any time. You also know your card information can’t be skimmed or otherwise copied by fraudulent machines, as the payWave scanner is simply reading the information on your own card’s chip.
Plenty of people worry about the security of waving a credit card in front of a card reader. They fear that any store will be able to read their card while it’s still in a wallet or purse and charge them for items they never purchased.
This is simply impossible. In order for payWave to work, you need to hold your credit card up to the scanner. In just a second or two, you should see a display of green lights appear on the scanner. This will indicate that your card has been debited for the transaction you have authorised.
Making Your Repayments
Gem has tried hard to make it easy for you to make repayments on your account. You have the option of setting up an automated direct debit payment system quickly and easily. This will mean an allocated amount will be debited from your regular transaction account once a month and paid to your credit card balance.
You can also make payments electronically from your regular account. You can also use BPAY to make your repayments. Your BPAY details can be found on your statement. If you do choose to use BPAY, always be sure you make your repayment a couple of days before the due date on your statement, as it can take up to 2 working days for your payment to arrive on your account balance.
You are also able to make payments using Australia Post outlets, however you will be charged a $1.50 processing fee for this payment option. You can keep your fees and costs down by using electronic payment options.
There are no penalties for making early repayments, even though you are only obliged to make the minimum repayment each month. In fact, you are encouraged to make extra repayments whenever you can afford to put extra money towards repaying your outstanding balances. As you repay your interest free amounts, this leaves your account available for you to make further purchases and benefit further from other free interest opportunities.
Keeping Track of Your Repayments
With most other credit cards, your statement will show you one minimum payment amount that is due by the due date. If you choose to pay a little more than the amount shown, it comes off your balance.
Understanding Your Gem Visa Statement
In essence, Gem will work out which of your purchases are still under the interest free terms. They’ll add up which purchases are accruing under the 55 days interest free offer. They’ll also look at any cash transactions that may have taken place throughout the month.
In the end, you’ll see one minimum repayment that is due. This will be listed on your statement, but you need to look more closely at your entire statement. You’ll see every purchase and transaction you’ve made listed there.
How to Avoid Paying Any Interest On Your Credit Card
The easiest possible way to avoid ever paying any interest on your Gem Visa card is to always keep track of your unexpired interest free transactions. The expiry date will be listed clearly on your statements, so you’ll always know when those amounts need to be paid down.
In order to avoid paying any interest, it’s also wise to avoid making any cash transactions. These will attract interest charges from the date of the transaction, so avoiding these will also mean avoiding paying any interest on those amounts.
Reducing Fees and Charges As Much As Possible
You’ll reduce your fees further by always making sure that you never make your monthly repayments late. You should also ensure that you don’t allow your credit balance to get so high that it goes over your approved credit limit. These things will attract fees and penalties.
Rather than wait until the date your monthly repayment is due, work out a way to make frequent payments from your budget. This could mean making voluntary repayments weekly or fortnightly. As long as those payments add up to at least the monthly amount due on your statement, you won’t incur excess fees and you’ll be constantly reducing your balances at the same time.
Managing Your Account
All Gem Visa cardholders are able to access and manage their accounts using the secure online platform. Safety is important and the online service uses the best possible security available.
You can create an online account by logging into the Gem website and applying for online access. You will need access to your Gem account number and your approved credit limit in order to complete your online registration successfully.
Once you have access to your online account, you’re able to log in at any time of the day or night. You can view your statements, check your balances, monitor your unexpired interest free transactions, or make BPAY payments to pay your bills from your account.
Gem Visa Fees and Charges
While it might be very possible to never pay any interest on the money you spend on a credit card, there may still be other fees and charges that could apply to your account.
The interest rate that may apply to your Gem Visa credit card is 22.99% p.a. on purchases over $250.
Interest will only be charged on balances where the interest free period has expired, smaller purchase amounts that have not been repaid by the due date, or cash transaction amounts. Always check your statement to verify which balance amounts you should focus on repaying to avoid interest charges.
Your Gem Visa card does have an annual fee of $99 . This will be charged for the first time on the same day you make your first purchase using your card. It will then be charged every year on the anniversary of that first purchase.
Cash Advance Fee
Not all transactions will be eligible for the interest free offer. In fact, any cash transactions may attract interest from the date of the transaction at a rate of 22.99%. You will also attract a cash advance fee of 3% of the transaction amount, up to a maximum of $30.
Cash transactions include withdrawing cash from ATMs, sending money via Western Union from your credit card, or paying bills to billers who do not usually accept credit card payments via BPAY.
Paper Statement Fee
Gem Visa allows you to view your statements online at any time at no charge. Every month you will receive a notification email to let you know your online statement is ready to view. However, if you want to receive a paper statement in the mail each month so you can use the payment slip at the bottom to make your payment, you will be charged 50 cents per statement for this.
Australia Post Handling Fee
Not everyone is comfortable paying bills online, or may not have access to the Internet in order to log in and make BPAY payments. If you prefer to make your credit card payments in person, you’re able to do this at any Australia Post outlet.
Be advised that a $1.50 Australia Post handling fee will apply to any transactions assisted by an Australia Post outlet.
Over Limit Fee
An over-limit fee of $5 may apply if you allow your balance to exceed the approved credit limit on your card. This means you’ll need to keep an eye on your balances to be sure you don’t spend more than your approved amount. If your account has started attracting interest charges, you will also need to be certain that the interest amount that will accrue to your account won’t push your balance over the limit when it arrives. You can do this by making a payment to reduce your balance a little before the interest amount is added to your account.
Late Payment Fee
Always keep a close eye on when your payment due date is. If your payment is received by Gem after the due date, you may be charged a $25 late fee. Keep in mind that any payments you make off your credit card using BPAY can sometimes take up to 3 working days to appear on your account. If you do choose to use BPAY to make your repayments, try to make them a couple of days before the actual due date. This will help you to avoid any excess fees on your account.
Foreign Transaction Fee
If you’re travelling overseas, you can still use your Gem Visa card to pay for purchases. You’re also able to use your card to withdraw cash from foreign ATMs.
The withdrawal amount you see on a foreign ATM will show you the currency exchange rate and how much you’ll receive in that foreign currency for that transaction. However, your account will be debited for the equivalent Australian dollar amount.
There is an international transaction fee that will apply for any purchases or cash transactions made while overseas at any merchant outside of Australia. This fee is calculated at 3% of the amount spent during that transaction.
Gem Visa Credit Card Security Features
Every Gem Visa Credit Card offers extremely high levels of safety and anti-fraud security designed to protect cardholders in every way possible. Your account is protected using multiple security features to help reduce the incidence of fraud and unauthorised transactions wherever possible.
Micro Chip Protected
Every Gem credit card contains a built-in micro chip designed specifically to protect against fraudulent transactions occurring on your card. The chip also helps to reduce the risk of your card details or personal details being skimmed or copied in the event of losing your card.
The chip embedded in your card offers a high level of encryption that keeps your personal information and your account details protected. This is because the chip is created and coded using technology designed to keep that information safe in a very secure format.
In recent times, there have been plenty of reports of shop assistants simply not checking signatures on the back of credit cards. This means your credit card may not be safe if it’s lost or stolen, as a thief could simply sign anything on a purchase docket and get away with your hard-earned cash.
Yet a Gem Visa credit card is PIN protected. This means you may be asked to insert your credit card into the POS machine so the chip can be read. In order to authorise a transaction, you will need to enter your PIN. As long as you keep your PIN a secret and never share it with anyone, your account remains much safer.
Your Gem Visa credit card is monitored by the Falcon security system. This is a fraud monitoring system that is designed to watch for any suspicious activity that occurs on your card.
Your regular account usage is noted, but anything that occurs outside of regular locations associated with you may be flagged as being suspicious. For example, if a transaction is noticed somewhere overseas, this could alert the Falcon system that a potentially fraudulent transaction may have occurred.
If you know you’re going overseas, always let Gem Visa know where you’re going and when beforehand so they’re able to take into account any spending you do while you’re overseas. This way you’ll still be able to use your card without flagging the security systems.
Shopper’s Protection Insurance
Shopper’s Protection insurance allows you the advantage of never feeling ripped off by retailers ever again. Almost everyone has had occasions where they’ve bought an item and taken it home, only to find that the very same item is on sale at a much cheaper price just a couple of weeks later.
If you’ve bought an item using your Gem Visa and you see the precise same item on sale at the same store up to 6 months later, Gem Visa will pay you the difference in price.
For example, if you purchase a new TV for $1,200 today and the same store advertises that exact same TV just a couple of months later as being on sale for $800, Gem Visa will deposit the $400 difference into your credit card account for you.
- Merchandise Protection Insurance
- Price Protection
- Stolen Card Protection
- Balance Protection
- Life Cover Protection
Your Gem Visa credit card offers a way to protect the eligible items you purchase using your card. Merchandise protection insurance allows you to regain the cost of an item you purchased and paid for using your Gem Visa in the event that it is lost, damaged or stolen.
You will need to fill in a claim form, which is available online. Once your claim is approved, your account will be credited with the exact amount of money you paid for that item originally.
Price Protection insurance allows you to take advantage of never feeling ripped off by retailers ever again. Almost everyone has had occasions where they’ve bought an item and taken it home, only to find that the very same item is on sale at a much cheaper price just a couple of weeks later.
If you’ve bought an item using your Gem Visa and you see the precise same item on sale at the same store (even if it’s at a different location) up to 6 months later, Shopper’s Protection will pay you the different in price.
For example if you purchase a new TV for $1,200 today and the same store advertises that exact same TV just a couple of months later as being on sale for $800, Shopper’s Protection will deposit the $400 difference into your credit card account for you.
While there are plenty of security measures in place to help reduce the risk of fraudulent activity on your account, your Gem Visa card also offer an extra level of protection in the event that your card is ever stolen.
Stolen Card Protection will pay you $200 just for the inconvenience of having your card taken by a thief.
Balance protection allows you the security of knowing that your account balance may be reduced due to injury, illness or unemployment. This can be ideal for those customers who are made redundant from a job, or can’t work for a period of time due to illness or injury. In these events, your Gem Visa outstanding balance could be reduced by up to $5,000 to help you out in your time of need.
Unforeseen events occur to all of us, but in the event of you passing away there is a Life Cover Protection policy that can be applied to your Gem Visa credit card. In the event of your death, your policy will pay out your entire credit card balance up to a limit of $20,000.
Money Back Guarantee
If you ever notice an unauthorised or fraudulent transaction on your Gem Visa account, you’ll be covered by a Money Back Guarantee. As long as you didn’t contribute to the fraudulent activity, you won’t be held liable for any loss. It’s important to contact Gem Visa immediately if you recognise any suspicious account activity or if your card is stolen or lost.
Applying for your Gem Visa Credit Card
Applying for your Gem Visa credit card is quick and easy using the online application form. The online application form is hosted on a secure server, so your information is completely safe and your personal details remain confidential at all times.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to be older than 18 at the time of submitting your application and you will need to be an Australian permanent resident. You should also be relatively sure that your credit history is satisfactory.
Before you begin your application, be sure you have some information close at hand. This will help you to complete the information you need more easily without needing to stop or pause your application process.
Some of the information you may require include the following:
- ID, such as your driver’s licence
- Your email address
- Your accurate income amounts
- Income verification, including pay slips or group certificate
- Your employer’s name and contact details
- Details of any liabilities or repayments you make to other lenders
If you have this information handy before you begin filling out your application, it should only take you around 5 minutes to complete. Once you’ve filled out all the fields, go ahead .submit your application
You should receive a response in less than 60 seconds using the online application platform. Once you have provided your income verification and your ID to Gem Visa, your credit card will be mailed to you in the post within 5 working days.
How Much Can You Borrow?
The credit limit you receive is up to the discretion of the Gem Visa credit card assessors. Your credit limit will be decided based on several factors. These include:
- Your verifiable income amount
- Your current liabilities and repayments
- Your disposable income amount
- Your credit history
There may also be other approval assessment criteria that is left to the discretion of Gem Visa credit assessors and will be taken into account for each individual application. This decision also rests solely with the Gem Visa credit assessors and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
If the original credit limit you receive is a little lower than you anticipated, you can easily apply to increase this limit the moment your financial situation changes. For example: if you receive a pay rise, or if you repay another debt elsewhere and reduce your current liabilities, you may be able to increase your credit limit with a very easy online application to increase it.
You also have the option to download and print out a credit limit application form. Fill in the credit application form, sign it where indicated and mail it to Gem Visa directly. This alternative is ideal for those who want a limit increase assessed, but may be uncomfortable applying for a credit limit increase over the Internet.
If your application for a credit limit increase is approved, the new limit amount will be available immediately for you to use. You will be able to see how much you have available by checking your account online or by reading your statement before you head out to go shopping.
Reducing the Chances of Having Your Application Declined
There are some customers who may not receive an approval, but receive a declined notification instead. You can reduce the chances of being declined by keeping a few things in mind.
Complete Application: When you’re filling out your application, you will need to take care to fill in all the fields shown with correct information. If you leave any sections empty or unanswered, this could affect your application. Do your best to supply the information required to process your application quickly and efficiently. The same is true if you misspell any of your personal information. Double check your entries before you submit your application to be sure everything is correct.
Credit Check: Gem Visa will conduct a credit check on you. This is done to verify that you really are who you say you are, but also to check what your previous credit history has been like. As long as you have a good credit history, with no adverse listings on your credit report, you’re likely to stand a very good chance of being approved.
Affordability: Gem Visa will ask to verify your income details and the amount of money you already pay in repayments to other lenders or other liabilities. This is done to check whether you’re likely to be able to afford the repayments on your new credit card bill. If it appears that your income is currently insufficient to cover the existing repayments you’re obliged to pay, you could find your application is declined. However, the lender’s assessor may also decide to offer you a lower credit limit instead.
Activating Your Gem Visa Card
Even though you may have received your pre-approval almost instantly, you will still need to activate your card before you can use it. This can be done in just a couple of minutes by calling 1300 630 977. This is an automated activation service, so simply follow the prompts and your card could be activated immediately after receiving it.
Once your card is activated, you can begin using it to pay for purchases any anywhere the Visa symbol is shown and accepted.
Always remember to sign your card the moment you receive it. You will be given a PIN identification with your card, so ensure this is kept in a safe place and never shared with anyone. Alternatively you can call Gem and request to change your PIN to something you can remember more easily.
Never keep your PIN in your wallet or purse or anywhere near your credit card, as this will increase the risk of fraud in the event that your card is lost or stolen.
Can I add an additional card holder?
It is possible to add up to 9 additional card holder to your Gem Visa card. The additional card holder can use the credit card just like the primary card holder and pay for transactions on credit. This included cash advances and purchases made at a Visa terminal. Keep in mind you are liable for any transactions the additional card holder makes
Increasing Your Approved Credit Limit
If the original credit limit you were approved for is a little lower than you anticipated and you require more to cover a larger purchase, it is possible to apply for a credit limit increase very easily.
You can see your available credit limit displayed at the top of your statement, or you can view your credit limit inside your online account at any time. Once you have logged into your online account, you should see an application to increase the amount of credit you have.
Be aware that your credit increase may require re-verification of your income to prove that you can afford the repayments on an increased amount. You may also be subject to a credit check to verify your credit history if your original application was more than 3 months prior to the date of your credit limit increase request.