5 tips to make the most of your credit card

There are over 16 million credit cards* in Australia, which means for many of us, managing debt through credit cards is an everyday banking habit. Whilst they are a very useful financial tool, have you ever asked yourself “am I getting the most out of mine?” 

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How to make the most of your credit card:

  • 1. Know which card to use and when
    • Odds are you have more than one credit card in your wallet or loaded on your phone. In fact, many Australians have two plus credit cards. So be flexible to avoid surcharges and maximise your rewards point earnings by using the best credit card for the place you’re shopping at. For example, if you have an AMEX and a Visa issued credit card then opt for the Visa when businesses try to add a surcharge for AMEX.
  • 2. Maximise your reward points
    • Introductory offers for new cardholders are a fantastic way to rapidly boost your reward point total. Google current credit card offers to see what promotions are out there but remember, these specials only last for a limited time and usually come with terms and conditions. If you’ve got more than one reward card and you’re not happy with the points you earn then consider discarding the less worthwhile card and running all your spending through the other card. Also, think about using a reward management service like awardwallet.com, which helps you manage all your reward balances in one place.


Did you know? A BOQ Specialist credit card allows medical professionals to purchase big-ticket items like equipment or cars and then make their loan repayments too— all whilst being rewarded.#
 

  • 3. Be smart with your reward points spending
    • It’s a happy problem to have – a heap of Qantas or Velocity points, but now how to use them? You might have options to convert points into cash, transfer them into other loyalty programs, buy gift cards, book a vacation, or buy an actual item. This is where a lot of people waste their points on low value items. For example, using your rewards for a ticket upgrade can be better value than redeeming a ticket outright or buying a toaster from your airline’s catalogue. Try visiting pointhacks.com.au to calculate the value of your reward points and comparing the cost and benefit of different redemptions.
  • 4. Get to know the fine print
    • Using a credit card is basically borrowing money, so every provider will have terms and conditions that come with the card. Remember, banks have had years to perfect the science of charging credit card fees. The most common being an annual fee, the average for this sits at $110^ in Australia. However, most people see it as a trade off as annual fees usually increase with features and benefits, so high-end premium credit cards will charge anywhere up to $1200 per year. Having a good idea of how you’ll use your credit card can help you decide whether the rates, fees, terms and conditions are right for you.
  • 5. Know your features and benefits
    • Most of the attention when is comes to credit cards perks centres around cash back, miles or points – but there are other benefits that can be just as valuable, especially if you use them often. These can include insurance for rental cars and travel; purchase protection, price guarantees and extended warranties; access to exclusive airport lounges; and even roadside assistance! Make sure you’re familiar with your benefits so that you can take full advantage of all they have to offer.

Ultimately credit cards are about flexibility and convenience. With types to suit almost everyone in the market, it's important to know the ins and outs of yours to make sure the benefits outweigh the costs. It may take extra time, but it can be worth it to know that you are maximising your cards’ potential and getting a little something extra back each time you pay on plastic.

 

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BOQ Specialist - a division of Bank of Queensland Limited ABN 32 009 656 740 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence no. 244616 (BOQ Specialist). Use of the information contained on this page is governed by Australian law and is subject to the Terms and Conditions which can be read by clicking here. View the BOQ Specialist Privacy Policy by clicking here.

The credit provider is BOQ Specialist - a division of Bank of Queensland Limited ABN 32 009 656 740 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence no. 244616 (BOQ Specialist). Terms and conditions, fees and charges and lending and eligibility criteria apply. We reserve the right to cease offering these products at any time without notice. BOQ Specialist is not offering financial, tax or legal advice. You should obtain independent financial, tax and legal advice as appropriate.

The information contained in this article ("Information") is general in nature and has been provided in good faith, without taking into account your personal circumstances. While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information is accurate and opinions fair and reasonable, no warranties in this regard are provided. We recommend that you obtain independent financial and tax advice before making any decisions.

* www.finder.com.au June 2016 survey, the number of credit cards in circulation was 16,735,686.

^ www.news.com.au March 30, 2016: “Escape bank fees that can add up to thousands if you don’t keep a check on them”

# A 1.5% processing fee applies on the purchase price. Points are earned on eligible purchases only. Fixed term finance contract is to be approved prior to purchase. If you elect to make loan repayments on your BOQ Specialist Credit Card a 1.5% processing fee applies on the amount of each repayment. Repayments on overdrafts and lines of credit are not available to be made via BOQ Specialist Credit Card.