Find the best credit card to ease the pressure of shopping for Christmas presents and preparing for the holiday season.
As most Australians juggle the cost of Christmas shopping with ongoing financial commitments.
So making careful choices when it comes to credit card purchases can mean avoiding debt in the new year as well as the added bonus of paying off purchases at a later date.
Good credit card habits at Christmas also free up your cash flow for other holiday spending. From introductory purchase rate offers, to the longest interest-free periods and credit card rewards programs that actually pay off, better credit card management can be your own gift to yourself as well as your family.
And for those underwhelmed with the performance of their current credit cards, Christmas can also be an excuse to look for more features from your plastic.
Here's what to look for in a new credit card and how to ensure you can pay back your holiday spending in the new year;
0% Purchase credit card introductory offers
If you anticipate a high rate of Christmas spending, a low interest credit card may suit your patterns. And if you cannot pay off your balance in full or carry additional spending into the next month, you will only be accumulating minimal interest or no interest for introductory offers.
You can use your upcoming Christmas spending as a chance to treat yourself to one of the current deals on low rate credit cards. Some perks can include little to no interest introductory periods and or zero percent on any new purchases during the silly season.
Good examples include:
- NAB Low Rate Visa - 0% on purchases for 15mths (ends 18/01/15)
- Westpac Low Rate Visa - 0% on purchases for 12mnths (ends 5/01/15)
- St.George, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA - 0% on purchases for 12mths (ends 5/01/15)
See these offers and more at Moneyhound today.
If you know you have to juggle upcoming bills alongside your Christmas necessities, your credit card could offer you a grace period to get ahead of your debt.
0% Balance Transfers credit card offers
If you do have existing debts then lowering your interest rate on that debt is the most basic way to save some money. Balance transfer credit card offers are effective for consolidating credit card debt and reducing credit card interest repayments. If you have existing credit card debt and it’s been a while since you paid attention to your credit card housekeeping, these are some great balance transfer offers currently in market
Good examples include:
- ANZ Low Rate - 0% debt balance transfer for 16mths (ends 13/01/15)
- Citibank Simplicity - 0% debt balance transfer for 12mths (ends 31/07/17)
- Virgin Money Low Rate - 0% debt balance transfer for 6mths
Compare all these and more balance transfer offers at Moneyhound to ensure you take into account other card features including annual fees, interest rates on purchases and the balance transfer revert rate after the end of the term.
Smart credit card repayments
If you have taken advantage of a balance transfer card to lower interest or a credit card with a low interest introductory offer, set an automatic repayment schedule that ensures you pay off all or most of the debt during your lowest interest period. Don’t rely on paying the required minimum that may not pay down your principal balance. Do your own calculations and set your own targets.
Credit card rewards that count
Christmas is the perfect time to choose a credit card with the best rewards program for your own habits. If you need kickbacks that pay off immediately, look for rewards in fuel, food and other necessities. Avoid rewards that are out of reach and realise the benefits sooner.
If you are interested in frequent flyer credit card programs, ensure you choose the right card that suits your spending so you can achieve your target number of points.
Good examples include:
- ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer - 25,000 bonus points + no annual fee 1st year (ends 13/01/15)
- NAB Qantas Rewards - 20,000 bonus points (ends 18/01/15)
- HSBC Platinum Qantas - 20,000 points + 0% balance transfer 6 months (ends 21/12/14)
- Qantas AMEX Discovery - 7,500 points + 0.99% balance transfer 6 months (ends 31/01/15)
Compare all these and more at Moneyhound today to get the best frequent flyer program value.
Avoid the most common credit card interest traps
Make sure your 30, 45 or 55-day interest free applies before purchasing. If you haven’t paid off last month’s balance, these offers can be void and you may have bill shock coming.
Be sure to check if payments made on the first day of your credit card statement period have the same interest-free period as those made a few weeks in. Take note of when your periods start and finish rather than the date you make purchases.
Holiday spending is inevitable and often brings a lot of joy to families. Monitoring your credit card habits will ensure that joy continues into the new year.
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