Keeping on track
If your credit card repayments become tricky to manage, it’s good to know a few strategies to get back in control.
Below, you’ll find tips to reduce your balance faster, and tools to help make that happen. We’ll also point you to a few other resources if you want to learn more.
Tips to reduce your balance
Keeping in control of your credit card means reducing your balance as fast as you can and paying less interest. Here are four things to keep in mind:
1. Pay on time
Not only does it help keep your balance down, paying at least the Minimum Payment on time means you’ll avoid any late fees and extra interest charges. What’s more, it could help maintain your credit score. If you’re unsure what the next due date and Minimum Payment amount are, you can find them on your latest credit card statement. Access your statement via Online Banking or call us on 1300 651 089 for more information.
2. Pay as much as you can
The higher your repayments, the quicker you’ll reduce your balance and the more you may be able to save on interest. So if you can, repay as much as possible above the Minimum Payment listed on your statement each month.
Want to know how this could look for your own repayments? The Australian Government’s MoneySmart website has a handy credit card calculator.~ Try entering some details to see how different repayment amounts can play out.
3. Consider switching to a lower rate credit card
Depending on what type of credit card you have (such as a rewards credit card), there may be other credit cards with a lower purchase rate available which could better suit your current needs. As always, make sure you read the Terms and Conditions for any new card, so you understand exactly what to expect.
You can find your current purchase rate on your latest statement.
4. Use the right tools for the job
A Balance SmartPlan or Autopay could help you pay on time, structure your repayments, and even reduce interest costs. These two features are already available to set up on your credit card account – learn more below.
Tools that could help make it happen
There’s a structured way to manage your balance at a lower interest rate when you need to. It’s called a Balance SmartPlan, which breaks repayments down into regular monthly instalments.
You can set one up for all or part of any balance (minimum $200) and any type of existing balance, like purchases, cash advances, or a balance transfer. Choose your term (3, 6, or 9 months) and set a goal for how much you want to repay. Keep in mind, the applicable interest rate on your SmartPlan will be confirmed when you set it up through Online Banking.
Learn more about SmartPlan.
Want a set-and-forget way to make sure your repayments are on time each month? Autopay is a handy feature to do just that. You can choose to pay the full closing balance, the Minimum Payment, a percentage of the closing balance, or a set amount of the closing balance.
Try setting Autopay to the highest amount you can comfortably maintain above the Minimum Payment. If you set an Autopay amount but don’t think you’ll be able to manage it, call us on 1300 651 089 to change or cancel it at least 2 business days before the statement closes.
Learn more about Autopay and how to set it up.
Resources to learn more
Experiencing financial difficulty?
Chat to our Westpac Assist team. They’ll help you find options that are right for your circumstances to manage your repayments.
Alternatively, you can contact the National Debt Helpline from anywhere in Australia for free independent advice from a Financial Counsellor.
Things you should know
Conditions, credit criteria and fees and charges apply, credit provided by Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714. This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
* Balance SmartPlan: Balance SmartPlan is currently available for all Westpac consumer credit cards. Fees may apply. You need to register for Online Banking before you can set up a SmartPlan. Read the . SmartPlan requires cardholders to make regular monthly payments for the full term and at the interest rate that applies when the SmartPlan is created. All payments made to your credit card account will be applied first to any SmartPlan instalments. Therefore, debts accruing a higher interest rate may be left unpaid during the SmartPlan term. Any balance transfer amounts on a SmartPlan must have a remaining term of between 3 and 36 months to be eligible for a SmartPlan. See for more details. SmartPlan cancellation takes up to 2 business days. When a SmartPlan ends, any remaining balance will revert to the variable annual interest rate for your balance type or special offer rate as applicable. Cardholders keep interest-free days (if applicable) after a balance transfer when you pay your monthly payment (being your SmartPlan repayments plus the minimum monthly repayment on your credit card account) SmartPlan repayment.
^ Autopay: A fixed dollar or percentage of your monthly credit card statement Closing Balance will be paid. If the Closing Balance is less than your nominated amount, only the Closing Balance will be paid. If your nominated amount falls below the Minimum Payment Due, Westpac will debit the Minimum Payment Due, which may not cover your SmartPlan Repayments due. Westpac Online Banking registration required. Refer to the Online Banking Terms and Conditions.
~ MoneySmart’s Credit Card calculator: While such material is published with permission, Westpac is not responsible for its accuracy or completeness. The recommendations as a result of you using this tool is intended as a guide only. It is for illustrative purposes only and is based on the accuracy of the information provided.