CREDIT CARDS

Because Credit Cards usually incur very high Interest Rates, it is best to pay the balance off each month. In that way you do not have to incur the high Interest Rates, but still enjoy the benefits of easy purchases. If you are able to pay the balance off each month you should select the lowest fee card with acceptable Interest Free Days, and don't worry about the actual Interest Rate.

Choose your Credit Card based on whether you will pay off the balance each month.

Selecting a Credit card requires a clear understanding of how you intend to use the Card, and the relative cost of each card. Most Credit Cards come in two types - with or without "Interest Free Days" and how long a period.

Beware paying just the 'Minimum Payment'

If you pay only the Minimum Payment it may take decades to pay off the amount due. Credit Card Companies are now required to print a warning about the cost of just paying the Minimum Payment on monthly statement.

Consider whether you want a Reward Program.

Generally Credit Cards with a Rewards Program cost more than the equivalent standard card. You will also have to consider whether the additional cost of a Rewards Program is worth the extra money. Refer to the Menu Topic "Rewards & Loyalty" for discussion on this issue.

Gold and Platinum Cards

Many banks offer "Gold Cards", or "Platinum Cards". Originally these cards were only available to 'big spending', 'high value' business customers. Banks now offer these to many regular customers to make them feel important. These Cards traditionally offer higher credit limits, various levels of insurance, or Reward Schemes with higher points per dollar. Quite often they incur a significantly higher annual fee. Be careful about offers with $0 for the first year.

If you are paying high Interest on a large balance - consider a Balance Transfer.

Many providers offer a number of months Interest Free when transferring existing Credit Card balance to a new Credit Card. Where a balance transfer is chosen it is important to ensure that there is no delay between starting the new card and paying out the old one.


From Balance Transfer Credit Cards. "Transferring balances is not without its pitfalls. A high annual fee on a new card, for instance, could cancel potential savings if your debt is relatively minor." "Applying for several credit cards in a short amount of time, particularly if you have a large outstanding balance, will lower your credit score, especially if some of the applications are denied."
"The cards listed in this section are specifically geared toward balance transfers, and let you initiate a transfer during the application process. If the application is successful, you can usually expect the balance to transfer from the old card within two weeks. Normally, the bank will also give you a window of up to three months after opening an account to take advantage of the promotional interest rate."


PIN versus signature

The credit card providers in Australia have decided to phase out signatures for Credit Card authorisation by August 2014. Overseas studies have shown this results in a lower level of fraud. I believe this is just due to the sales staff not checking signatures, which should in reality be harder to fake.

To quote FRAUD THE FACTS 2013 by Financial Fraud Action UK,

"Total fraud losses on UK cards increased by 14 per cent between 2011 and 2012 to £388 million. Card fraud losses against total turnover increased to 0.07 per cent, up 16 per cent on 2011. This follows three years of significant decreases since fraud was £610 million at its peak in 2008, representing an overall decrease of 36 per cent."

   ATM Keypad Num Alph
 1 QZ
 2 ABC
 3 DEF
 4 GHI
 5 JKL
 6 MNO
 7 PRS
 8 TUV
 9 WXY
    REMEMBERING YOUR PIN

You can Use the Alphabetic labels to remember a pin number.

Every number that is usually allocated for PINs have several alphabetic equivalents.
If you cannot determine a word that corresponds to the PIN number, then just work out four alphabetic characters, that you can remember as the first letters of words in a short phrase, or song lyrics.

Security when using Automated Teller Machines.

Commonwealth Bank Leaflet on ATM Card Skimming and PIN Capturing.


If you pay the balance due on the last Statement by the "Due Date" you should not pay any Interest whatever. Check that your Bank does it that way.

CREDIT CARD ISSUERS

A Personal Experience regarding Balance Transfers
One company I was involved with several years ago took over two and a half months to pay off a $15,000 balance on the old card(s), but started charging me Interest on their new card straight away. When I complained, they blamed the delay on Australia Post, and insisted that both the cheques had been posted the same day the card was initiated. The payments were to one other Credit Card, and a Credit Union Loan. Both Payments occurred at the same time two and a half months later, so I was not convinced that it was an accident. When I said that "I thought they were running some sort of scam", they said "well what was I going to do about it ?!. Shortly after that, I registered the name "BuyerBeware". However after cooling down over several weeks I decided not to name the Company because they were a well known international Credit Card Company, and it may have actually just been an unintentional mistake by a team member. Also they probably had access to near infinite legal resources."
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