Australians are losing billions of dollars by staying loyal to their credit card providers.
The average credit card holder could save $222 over about two-and-a-half years by switching cards, according to new research released by Finder.
With more than 13 million credit cards circulating in Australia, this would amount to about $1.3 billion nationwide.
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Many people are missing out on a better deal, Finder’s credit card expert Amy Bradney-George said.
“Australians are feeling the pinch with the cost of almost everything on the rise,” she said.
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“Credit cards are often one of those things we ‘set and forget’ — and it’s costing us.
“Credit card interest rates range from around 8 per cent to 27 per cent, which means some people could be charged a lot more for a very small balance.
“On the flip side, if you always pay off your card and want to be rewarded, there are introductory offers that can give you hundreds of dollars of value when you get a new card — but the cost of annual fees can add up if you’re not careful.”
Credit cards can offer a range of advantages as long as they are used responsibly, Bradney-George said.
“Credit cards can be a great tool for earning rewards such as frequent flyer points and for building your credit history,” she said.
“But if you rely too heavily on credit, you could find yourself in a debt spiral that takes months or even years to get out of.
“Make sure you’re only spending what you can comfortably afford to pay off in full each month.”
Finder’s best card picks
Finder’s experts have analysed the rates, fees, rewards and offer details for every credit card in its database — totalling 270 cards from 82 banks and brands.
They found the Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card was the best balance transfer credit card, as it had a consistently competitive offer during the period of analysis.
This included a 0 per cent balance transfer interest rate for 24 months, with no balance transfer fee and no annual fee in the first year (then $129 per year).
The experts then found ANZ’s Frequent Flyer Black card was the best frequent flyer credit card for Qantas, while Virgin Australia’s Velocity High Flyer Card was best for Velocity points.
They found the Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard was the best travel credit card, while the ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card was the best rewards credit card.