How can I be smarter with my credit card?

Answer

Choosing a new credit card

If you’re looking for a new credit card, it’s important to shop around for the best deal and to know exactly what you want from a credit card. Interest rates and annual fees can vary widely between providers, so it’s important you do your research.

Being disciplined with your payments should be your first priority. If you can’t pay back what you owe on time, you’ll accrue interest that could dramatically increase what you owe. And remember not to be too tempted by rewards programs. While these can be attractive, high interest can far outweigh the benefits of a great rewards program.

Managing credit card debt

If you have existing debt on your credit card, make sure you manage it in a smart way.

  1. Know how many cards you have and what you’re paying for them. If you’re not sure how much you’re paying in interest, check out MoneySmart’s credit card interest calculator.
  2. Cut back to one card – you’ll save on fees and make your finances easier to manage. Many providers offer great rates to consolidate, but make sure you pick the right card for you in the long term. And make sure you pay the card off during any honeymoon period with the new provider so that you don’t start accruing interest.
  3. Start paying your credit card on time to avoid extra interest or late payment fees. If you can’t pay in full, pay more than the minimum repayment each month to pay off your balance more quickly and save on interest, set up a direct debit to pay a fixed amount off the balance owing each pay day and, if you can only make the minimum monthly repayment, switch to a card with a low interest rate and pay off more when you can.
  4. Keep track of your spending with MoneySmart's mobile app TrackMySpend so you stay within your limit.
  5. Avoid cash advances because they usually attract higher interest rates.
  6. Use store cards wisely and be aware of what fees you'll pay – they are just another form of credit card.

 

Important information

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It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions before deciding what’s right for you. This information hasn’t taken your circumstances into account.

This information is provided by AMP Life Limited. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you. All information on this website is subject to change without notice.