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Credit cards

Credit cards are an easy way to pay for things but they can be expensive. High interest rates apply if you don't pay off your card in full each month. The longer you leave credit card debt unpaid, the bigger it gets. Use our calculator to see how fast you could pay off your credit card.

Top tips for managing credit cards

  1. Shop around for the best deal: Credit cards come with a range of interest rates, fees, and rewards programmes. Look for a card that best suits your circumstances.
  2. Know the interest rate: Many credit cards charge around 20% interest. Do you know your card's current interest rate?
  3. Review your credit card limit: Base your limit on how much you can afford, not how much you might spend. If you think you will have trouble paying it back, ask for your limit to be lowered.
  4. Pay off your card each month: You can only take advantage of interest-free days if you pay the balance in full at the end of each month. If you can't afford to pay it in full, try to pay more than the minimum repayment to save on interest costs.
  5. Don't use your credit card to withdraw cash: Don't withdraw cash with your credit card - banks charge high fees for this. Any cash you withdraw attracts a high interest rate from day one.
  6. Be wary of accepting a higher limit or another card: If you let your bank raise your credit limit, or give you another credit card, you increase the risk that you'll end up paying lots of interest. Plus credit cards usually have an annual fee, so the more cards you have, the more fees you pay.
  7. Avoid temptation: If you can't help spending more than you can afford, leave your card at home. Give yourself time to weigh up whether a purchase is essential or just nice to have.
  8. If you're in trouble, talk to your bank: If your credit card is getting out of control, talk to your bank about your options. You may be able to take out a lower interest loan to clear your credit card debt.

Find the best interest rate

Credit card interest rates can range from 12% to more than 20%. Choose a card that suits how much you spend and your ability to repay. If you don’t usually pay off your card every month, look for a card with a lower interest rate.

Sometimes you can take advantage of special offers to transfer your balance from your current card to a new one with a different lender – at a much lower interest rate.

This can be worth looking into if you are expecting to have an outstanding balance for some time. If you do take up a balance transfer offer, make sure you cut up and cancel your current card.

Check the fees and interest-free days

Tip: Pay your credit card balance in full every month.

Most credit cards offer interest-free days and charge an annual fee. Fees can be up to several hundred dollars a year and the number of interest-free days can range from 0 to 180.

If you think you're paying more than you should, call your bank and ask for a better deal. If your bank can't offer the best deal consider changing cards.

For more information about current interest rates, interest-free days and fees visit the website.