The comparison table on this page features some of Australia’s top credit cards
Balance Transfer Credit Card Offer
The St.George Vertigo Credit Card offers a low balance transfer rate and a competitive interest rate on purchases. Plus a low annual fee.
- $55 p.a. annual fee
- 13.24% p.a. on purchases
- 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers
- Cash Advance Rate of 21.49% p.a.
- 55 days interest free
Top 10 Credit Card Comparison*
What is the difference between the ‘Top’ and ‘Best’ Credit Cards?
This page is titled the ‘top credit cards’. Credit Card Finder® also features a ‘best credit cards’ page.
The difference is, this page sorts some of the top offers in Australia for easy and quick comparison. The best credit card page analyses the primary and most popular credit card types on the market, and a winner or ‘best’ card in each card type is given.
If you’re after the best card in each category, view our best credit card comparison.
What is a top credit card?
A top credit card is a leading credit card which caters to your personal needs. Whatever these cards do, they do well. This means a top credit card might have the following ingredients: a lengthy 0% or low purchase rate promotions or balance transfer offers, excellent rewards programs, complimentary insurance policies, low or non-existent fees or a combination of these.
Finding a top credit card is easier said than done. As always, what a card is worth is offset by the annual fee you’ll pay for it. Finding a top credit card for you will mean you’ll have to work out just how much the annual fee decreases the value of what you receive for the card.
What are the top 10 credit cards?
The top 10 credit cards on the page tend to have a common theme – a special offer. Part of the reason behind this is that card providers want your business, and aren’t afraid to throw around special offers to get your business. A special offer isn’t always the way to choose a credit card – some cards do indeed have their best offer as a standard ongoing feature, but it’s human nature to want the latest offers, and that’s what you get on this page.
What are the types of top credit cards?
The cards on this page are from a variety of providers, and fit under a variety of categories:
- Discounted annual fee for the first year or no annual fee. A credit card with a low or zero dollar annual fee will save you plenty of money if you plan to keep it for the long term.
- Special balance transfer offers. Balance transfers are a great way to pay off your credit card debts. They simply involve you moving your credit card balance from one card to a new one with a promotional interest rate.
- Low introductory interest rate. These cards give you a low or 0% interest rate for a few months. This can be used to make larger purchases to minimise interest due.
- Competitive rewards programs. Many Australians like to earn rewards points for their credit card spending. These cards do just that, but might have better points earning rates and reward options combined with competitive fees.
How do I choose which features I need?
Choose the most important of these three;
- I want a low annual fee. One of the biggest costs of a credit card is in the annual fee. Most of the time, a card with a higher annual fee isn’t worth the extra features and benefits associated with it. Sometimes, features like complimentary insurance and rewards earning might outweigh the annual fee. Your own research will tell you if this is the case.
- I want to transfer my balance to save money on interest. Balance transfers, as explained above, give you breathing room to pay off your credit debts with no or reduced interest. Balance transfer promotions can be compared by the length of the offer, the interest rate you’ll pay and the annual fee. Find out what rate the offer will revert to after the promotion ends, as this is what any remaining balances will be calculated using.
- I want to save interest on purchases. These types of cards can come in two flavours: ongoing low rates, or introductory offers. Low introductory purchase rate offers grant you a lower interest rate on purchases. The offer lasts a number of months, and allows you to make important purchases and pay minimal or no interest on them until the offer finishes. This gives you the ability to make important purchases and gradually pay them off.
An ongoing rate simply means the credit card has a relatively low interest rate for purchases, although this ongoing rate is generally higher than introductory rates.
- I want to be rewarded for my credit card spending. As mentioned in the section above, a credit card with a rewards program will earn rewards points for every eligible dollar spent. The payoff from a rewards card might be great if the amount you spend each year will see your rewards worth more than the annual fee.
These decisions will guide which top credit card may suit your financial needs.
How to compare the top 10 credit cards?
Factors to consider with low annual fee credit cards
A credit card with a low or no annual fee can be compared by asking the following questions.
- Are you paying for the lower fee in some other way? Some cards with no annual fee may not offer the full range of features and services a regular credit card does, making the lack of an annual fee less valuable. Pay attention to features like interest-free days and find out if the lower annual fee has meant you also have less days to pay off your balance in.
- Is the low or no annual fee ongoing? Many cards discount the annual fee if you have another account with the provider, or for the first year of having the card. This means if you close your other account, or keep the card for more than one year, you’ll pay regular annual fees.
- What interest rate will I pay? The importance of the interest rate will depend on how you use your card. If you pay your card in full each month then it may be less of a concern. If you regularly pay interest ensure the absence of an annual fee isn’t at the cost of a higher interest rate.
Factors to consider with a balance transfer comparison
A balance transfer can be a powerful tool. Here’s what you should ask when considering a balance transfer card:
- Are there transfer exclusions? Your new card provider may not accept a balance transfer from your old card provider, so check out our guide here to find out who you’re eligible to transfer to.
- What’s the interest rate? The balance transfer will move your debt from one or more of your existing cards to a new card. Interest rates can fall as low as 0% for a balance transfer offer, and can last from as little as six months to as many as 48.
- What will the rate revert to? Once the transfer promotion ends any remaining balances will be calculated at one of two rates – the purchase rate or the cash advance rate. The cash advance rate is higher than the purchase rate, so be sure to find out which one you stand to pay once the promotion ends.
- What fees will I pay? A large annual fee has the potential to reduce the savings made with a balance transfer offer, so this should factor in your comparison.
- How long do you have to complete your balance transfer? Find out when you have to complete your balance transfer. Some cards will require you to complete the process at the time of application. Know when you need to lodge your transfer application so you don’t miss out.
Factors to consider with a low interest credit card comparison
Low interest credit cards can be useful to those who carry a balance each month. Here are the key questions you need to ask when comparing them.
- How much is the annual fee? Interest rates will only get so low with a low interest credit card. One of the main ways to differentiate these cards from one another therefore is to compare the annual fees.
- What’s the rate? A low interest rate card’s strength is obviously the purchase rate. This is what you’ll be paying each month on any outstanding balances, so ensure it’s a number you’re comfortable with.
- Are the rates introductory or ongoing? As alluded to above, a credit card can offer low interest rates for the initial months after you’re approved, or it can have a low ongoing rate. The rates for the latter type of card are generally higher than those offered for a few months.
- What does the fine print say? The fees and charges you may need to pay will depend on how you use your card. Those who travel overseas frequently will especially want to pay attention to foreign transaction fees.
Factors to consider with a rewards credit card comparison
A rewards credit card is only one function of a credit card. There’s still the interest, annual fee and more to compare. In saying that, here are some of the questions to ask when it comes to comparing rewards credit cards.
- What’s the points earn rate? Each card earns rewards points at a different rate. Some programs will come with two linked credit cards, a Visa or MasterCard and an American Express or Diners Club. The latter of the two will typically earn more points than the first two, but may attract greater surcharges at merchants, or not be as easily accepted.
- What’s the annual fee? The fees you pay for your rewards credit card in conjunction with your annual spend will dictate how much value your points will have. Some cards will have great earn rates and rewards opportunities but expensive annual fees. If you earn enough points this annual fee might be worth it.
- What are the value of your points? You can find out what the value of a rewards point is in dollars with a simple equation. First, look through the rewards catalogue and find a reward you’d be happy to swap your points for. If this is a $100 gift card which costs 15,000 points, and you earn a point for every $1 spent, you’ve spent 150 points for every $1 of value from the gift card. Using this method across a number of cards helps you work out just how a provider’s rewards scheme will reward you.
- Points expiry and capping? Most credit cards bar the platinum and above range will cap the amount of points you can earn in a month or year. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless you plan to earn a large number of points. In addition, rewards points can expire after a number of years. This will depend on the program or card, so check this out if you plan to gradually build your points balance up over several years.
- What can you get for your points? Compare the potential rewards on offer with each card. If you enjoy travel rewards such as free flights, ensure the program offers partnerships with your favourite airlines. If you regularly redeem your points for gift cards, then similarly find out if the reward program offers gift cards from your favourite stores.
Pros and cons of the top 10 credit cards
Each of the different card types represented in the top 10 credit cards have their own advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to research the card type to find out more information.
- These offers are some of the most competitive offers on the market, meaning some of these cards can offer great features
- Many have low or discounted annual fees
- Some of the offers are still quite strong after the offer period ends
- There’s a great variety in the types of cards available.
- Many of the features which make them top cards are only short-term offers, while customers will usually retain the card for a long time after the offer expires
- The premium and platinum credit cards featured require high incomes in order to be eligible.
The biggest mistakes you can make and things to avoid
As mentioned, the top 10 credit cards include a cross section of cards from many different categories: rewards cards, low interest cards, no annual fee cards and balance transfer cards. This means each card has a distinct set of mistakes to avoid, but generally speaking avoid the following:
- Choosing a credit card that doesn’t benefit you most financially
- Overextending yourself with credit card debt
- Carrying a balance from one month to the next. When you carry a balance, not only do you get hit with interest (unless your balance applies to one of the 0% interest offers), you also lose your usual 55 days interest-free days on purchases.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I know these are the top credit cards for me?
As always, selecting a credit card should involve a comparison of all of the important features to you. Only once you do this can you be sure a credit card will fulfill your needs.
What are the top balance transfer cards?
Like the question before this, the top balance transfer card will depend on you. You’ll need to be comfortable with the fees, interest rate and length of the offer.
How can I ask a question about these cards?
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this page, or ask us a question on our live chat service.
How do I apply for a credit card?
If you’re interested in any of these credit cards, you can apply for them by clicking the ‘apply’ button in the table above. If you want to find out more information before you apply, simply click the ‘more’ button.
When will I receive my new credit card?
This depends on the provider, but usually 5 – 10 business days after you’re approved your credit card will arrive.
* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from. ‘˜Best and ‘˜Top’ are ratings which are subject to our consideration and is not rated against all Australian credit cards. We recommend you take this information into account when comparing credit cards. Find out more about factors and influences are taken into account when rating credit cards here.