An interest free period is the amount of time (usually in days) that you won’t be charged interest on a new purchase (or related fees), provided you pay the closing balance by the due date on your statement. Westpac credit cards usually offer either “45 interest-free days” or “55 interest-free days”, depending on your choice of card. This means you can make purchases without using your own money and at the same time enjoy the freedom of not having to pay it back for up to 45 (or 55) days.
However, an interest free period depends on your statement cycle, not the purchase date. Not every purchase you make will have the full 45 (or 55) interest-free days – it’ll depend on when the purchase appears on your statement during the statement period.
For example, take a statement cycle that runs from the 1st of January to the 31st of January with an interest free period of 45 days. If you bought a laptop on the 1st of January with your credit card, you won’t have to pay for it until the 15th February – i.e. an interest-free period of 45 days.
Let’s say on the 31st of January, you purchase a new phone. Again, as it falls into the same statement cycle, you won’t have to pay anything until the 15th of February –an interest-free period of 15 days. The number of interest-free days for each purchase varies depending on when during the statement cycle the actual purchase is listed on the statement.
What happens at the end of the interest free period?
The only way you will be able to take full advantage of interest-free days is if there is no unpaid balance on your card account by the due date for payment. For you to do so, you must pay off your “closing balance” in full and on time, every month.
If you haven’t paid the full closing balance on the statement by the due date for payment, interest will be charged on the purchases listed on the statement. Interest is calculated based on the purchase date, and will rollover to the next statement cycle if the interest is not repaid.
Making the most from interest free periods
- Any purchase you make will receive between up to 15-45 interest-free days for 45 day cards and between 25-55 for 55 day cards. This is provided you pay the closing balance on the statement by the due date each time.
- Purchases made earlier on in the statement cycle will receive more interest-free days than ones made later.
Tips for minimising paying interest
- Select an interest free period card and always pay your outstanding balance on your statement in full by the due date
- Use cash advances only in emergencies
- Find out how promotional offers work before you accept them
- Set up reminders to make payments on time
- Set up to automatically pay off your account every month.