How To Stay In Control Of Your Credit Card

Here at The Cusp we’re often banging on about budgeting. So you already know the basics: spend less than you earn, save up for big purchases, and track your spending to identify any areas where you could rein it in.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, there often comes a time when you’re ready to explore the world of credit cards: perhaps you’re planning a trip overseas and want the peace of mind that a credit card could give you, or maybe you’re looking to build a good credit rating.

If you’re thinking about getting a credit card, here are some things you should keep in mind.

#1 Choose a competitive purchase interest rate

There are lots of options out there, and with words like “rewards” and “points” and “introductory rates”, it can be hard to figure out what’s the best fit for you.

But if you’re looking for a smart, simple option, the selling point is usually the purchase interest rate.

Westpac has launched its new Westpac Lite Card, making it the only major bank in Australia to currently offer a credit card with a variable purchase interest rate under 10% p.a.

With a variable 9.90% p.a. purchase interest rate, the card offers credit and brings flexibility to customers looking for a straightforward credit card.

Even better, the card offers up to 45 days interest free on purchases when you pay the closing balance in full by the statement due date each month.

#2 Set a realistic limit

Again, the aim is to keep it simple. A reasonable credit limit should allow you to help keep your spending in control – ideally it’s an amount that you know you can repay quickly, and the limit shouldn’t tempt you to spend more than you really should.

That Westpac Lite Card we mentioned before? It offers limits between $500 and up to $4000. Boom.

#3 Pay it off

Staying on top of your repayments will help you earn a good credit rating. Paying the balance off in full every month will also give you piece of mind, and a rare smidgen of pride about what a responsible grown up you’ve become.

Westpac Lite Card comes with SmartPlan, a new online self-service tool which can help you plan and break down repayments into more manageable instalments. Talk about simple.

You can have up to eight different SmartPlan on your credit card at any time and there are two types available.

For any individual purchases of $500 or more a ‘Large Purchase Smart Plan’ allows you to choose a repayment option that suits you at a lower interest rate.

For outstanding purchase of $200 or more, a ‘Balance Smart Plan’ can help you pay off your credit card and stay in control.

A card designed for control

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty impressed by the Westpac Lite Card. With a great interest rate for purchases and reasonable limits, it could be perfect for the person who wants to stay in control of their credit.

What are the other benefits? We’re glad you asked.

Monthly card fee

The Westpac Lite Card’s fee is charged monthly instead of in one upfront annual fee. That means you’re chipping away at the fee incrementally, paying only $9 a month.

No cash advances

The Westpac Lite Card is a purchase-only card. It does not include cash advances, helping to minimise and control the fees and charges associated with cash advances.

Limited fees

With the Westpac Lite Card, you won’t be paying a fee for foreign transactions: no nasty surprises! And there are no late repayment fees.

Looking for a simple, no frills credit card? The Westpac Lite Card offers a variable 9.90% p.a. interest on purchases, and fewer fees compared to most credit cards. Find out more here.