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Understanding credit cards

What is a credit card?

Credit cards are a way to pay for goods and services and can be a convenient way of borrowing money. Many financial institutions, such as Westpac, issue credit cards by partnering with companies such as Mastercard ®, Visa or American Express®. These companies all provide a global payment network which makes credit cards a convenient option to pay for things at participating merchants in most places around the world.


Credit cards can be used to help you manage short term cash flow by allowing you to make purchases without using your own money.

 

How do credit cards work?

Credit limit

When you apply for a credit card, you have the option of nominating your preferred credit limit, or the maximum credit limit available to you based on our assessment of the information you provide in your application. Minimum card limits apply, so you will need to nominate your preferred credit limit with this in mind.

How an application is assessed

When you apply for a credit card we take into consideration your employment type and history, minimum income thresholds for each card, your credit report, any credit history you have with us and your ability to service the credit card based on your overall financial position.

Purchases

A credit card may be used for purchases in person, over the phone or online. For a fast and convenient payment option for purchases under $100 - simply hold your contactless card against the terminal wherever you see the contactless symbol or your card logo - no need to enter a PIN or sign (where available).

Contactless technology is also a faster way to pay using a Samsung Galaxy S5, S4 or Note 3 (N9005) smartphone to tap and pay for everyday purchases. Simply download the Westpac Mobile Banking app and choose which debit or credit cards you wish to use for mobile payments. To make a payment simply hold the back of your Samsung Galaxy S5, S4 or Note 3 (N9005) smartphone against the contactless terminal.

Cash advances

Generally speaking, a cash advance transaction provides you with the flexibility to use your credit card to withdraw cash from your credit card account.

Interest is charged on balance transfers from the date they’re made until the amount of the transaction is paid in full.

Balance transfers

A balance transfer is an optional feature of a credit card that allows you to request to transfer non-Westpac credit card balances to a Westpac credit card.

 

Rewards

Many credit cards offer rewards points on eligible purchases. These points can be redeemed for different things including lifestyle products, gift vouchers and frequent flyer points in a range of airline programs.

In addition, most rewards credit cards offer customers the ability to earn bonus points and redeem points online.

 

Credit card repayments

If you do not wish to pay the full amount of the closing balance shown on your statement every month, you need to pay at least the minimum payment shown on your statement by the due date.

Your monthly statement will let you know how much your minimum monthly payment will be and when it’s due.

Your minimum payment will be 2% of the closing balance (rounded to the nearest dollar) or $10, whichever is greater; plus the greater of any unpaid past due amounts from previous statements or any amount that exceeds your credit limit.*

If your closing balance is less than $10, then you must pay the full amount.

If you don't pay off your full outstanding balance, you will incur interest charges.

We recommend that you aim to pay off more than your minimum repayment. If you rely on paying only your minimum repayment, it may take years to pay off your outstanding balance and you will have incurred extra costs in interest charges.

 

Interest

Interest is charged by banks for borrowing money or providing credit. Credit cards incur interest on daily outstanding balances on purchases, cash advance transactions, balance transfers, promotions, interest from previous months and related fees and charges. Each interest rate that applies to the account during a statement cycle is set out on the relevant statement.

Interest is charged at the end of the statement period and is calculated on the  sum of the interest charges on the daily outstanding cash advance balance, purchase balance and balance transfer amounts.

Some credit cards have different variable annual percentage rates for cash advances and for purchases. View the current credit card interest rates or more about how interest is calculated.

 

Things you should know

American Express® is a registered trademark of American Express. The Westpac American Express Card is issued by Westpac Banking Corporation pursuant to a license from American Express.

World Mastercard®, Mastercard® and the Mastercard brand mark are registered trademarks, and PayPass is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Samsung is a trademark of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.