Smart ways to use your credit card
How to make your credit card work
better for you
Here are tips to avoid costly fees and interest, and make the
most of your credit card.
Save money on your credit
Try these tips to save money on your credit card.
Before you get a credit card
Once you have a credit card
- Always pay your credit card on time to avoid extra interest or
late payment fees
- Keep track of spending on your credit card so you stay within
your limit. Use our TrackMySPEND app to help manage your
- Pay more than the minimum repayment each month, to pay off your
balance more quickly and save on interest.
- If you can only make the minimum monthly repayment, switch to a
card with a low interest rate and pay off more when you
- Consider setting up a direct debit to pay a fixed amount off
the balance owing each payday
- Don't take cash advances because they usually attract higher
- Use store cards wisely and be aware what fees you'll pay
- Use the credit card calculator to work
out the fastest way you can pay off your credit card
Don't rely on your credit card to make ends meet if you run low
on cash before payday. We have lots of guidance if you're having
problems paying these sorts of debts or bills:
See our financial counselling webpage to
find a free, confidential financial counsellor near you.
Increasing your card's credit
If you can't afford to pay off your balance each month, don't
increase your credit limit. A higher credit limit makes it very
easy to get into more debt.
Your credit limit is not a licence to
spend money. It should be an amount you know you can repay, and one
that won't tempt you to spend more than you can afford.
Credit card issuers are not allowed to send you invitations to
increase your credit limit without first getting your agreement.
This applies to both new and existing credit cards. You can
change your mind at any time by contacting your card issuer and
asking them to stop.
Whether you decide to opt in or out of receiving offers of more
credit, you can ask your card issuer for an increase to your
credit limit at any time.
If you need extra money to make a special purchase, aim to pay
the debt down quickly. Then lower your limit back to a more
manageable amount. Use our credit card calculator to help you work
out how much to pay off.
Credit card calculator
Think carefully before getting a credit limit increase and don't
live beyond your means. If you only make the minimum
repayments on your card each month, you will pay more in interest
and it will take longer to pay off your balance. See making
repayments for more information.
Unless you really need the second card, close the account.
Otherwise you may be paying fees on a card you aren't even
A secondary card allows someone
else to use your credit account, and can be a convenient way of
managing joint expenses. But if you are the primary account
holder you will be responsible for any debts the other person runs
up, even if they misuse the card without your knowledge.
If you want to cancel a secondary card, be aware that some
credit providers will not cancel the card until it is returned to
them. Check the conditions of use in your credit
If you can't return a card because your personal relationship
with the other cardholder has broken down, your credit provider may
still hold you liable for any transactions the other cardholder
makes and that it cannot stop through electronic or telephone
So think twice before getting a secondary card for someone else.
See loans involving family
and friends and relationships and money.
How to check your credit card
The best way to check your monthly statement is to keep all of
your credit card receipts each month, then tick them off
against the charges on your statement. This will help you check
that you have been charged
the right amount for the things you bought, and that you have not
been charged for anything you did not buy.
Even if you don't keep your receipts, here are some things you
should look for when checking your credit card statement:
- Charges by companies you do not recognise
- Large or unusual charges
- Changes in direct debit amounts
- Duplicate charges
Contact your credit card provider immediately if you find any
transactions you didn't make. You may be able to reverse the
transaction. See unauthorised and
mistaken transactions for more
Ask for a chargeback as soon as you realise something has gone
wrong as there are time limits.
You may have chargeback rights when you make a purchase using a
credit card and something goes wrong, such as you don't receive the
goods or what you get is not what was described.
You can make a request to your provider to get your money back
from the merchant or shop where you bought the goods. To find out
when and how to request a chargeback, see the terms and conditions
of your credit card or ask your bank or card issuer.
There are some circumstances when chargebacks may not be
available, such as when you make a BPAY payment.
Here is more information on unauthorised and
Closing your credit
There is more to closing a credit card account than just
cutting up the card. Visit our how to cancel a credit
card webpage to find out how to close your credit card
Take charge of your credit card and make
sure you only pay for expenses you have
Last updated: 28 Jul 2016