Interest free credit card - fact or fiction?
Looking for an interest free credit card? The truth is that no credit card in Australia is interest free.
However, there are ways to pay little or no interest on your credit card, by taking advantage of promotional and interest free periods.
But remember, you’ll always be charged interest on cash advances with any Australian credit card.
Interest free balance transfers
The promotional interest free period on credit card balance transfers can be very effective in consolidating and paying down debt. However:
- There are no interest free days on purchases while your card is carrying a balance transfer amount
- You pay no interest on the balance transfer amount, but you do pay interest on ongoing purchases.
Introductory interest free offers on purchases
Some credit cards offer an introductory interest free period on purchases.
While purchases made during this period will be interest free, be careful not to overspend, as interest accrues on any outstanding balance once any promotional period expires. After the promotional period, the rate then switches to the variable purchase rate then applicable to your card.
Be aware that these offers don’t apply to cash advances.
Interest free period on credit cards
All Westpac credit cards feature an interest free period on purchases - up to 45 or 55 days, depending on the card.
Purchases can be considered interest free as long as the card balance is paid off in full at the end of each statement cycle.
However, if you carry a balance into the next statement cycle, you will be charged interest on that amount.
As with introductory interest free offers, the interest free period does not apply to cash advances.
Helping you understand recent changes relating to credit cards
As a Westpac customer, we want to help keep you up to date of changes that are happening.
From 1 January 2019, new legislation will come into effect that will change the way interest free days are calculated on consumer credit cards.
During December 2018, we will be moving your Westpac credit card onto our new method of offering interest free days. Depending on how you use your credit card, in some cases you may see a reduction in the amount of interest you pay.
Your new interest free period will start when you pay your closing balance in full (by the due date). To continue to enjoy interest free days, make sure you pay your closing balance in full, by the payment due date.
Things to remember to make the most of your interest free period
- Any purchase you make may receive up to 45 or 55 days interest free. This will depend on your choice of credit card and if you pay the closing balance by the payment due date.
- Because the interest free period starts when you pay your statement balance in full, and ends on your next payment due date, purchases made earlier in the statement cycle will receive more interest free days than ones made later.
Tips to help you stay on top of interest
When it comes to credit cards, there’s no better feeling than being in control. Here are a few tips that may help.
- Select an interest free period credit card and always pay the closing balance on your statement, in full, by the due date.
- Set up reminders to make payments on time.
- Set up Card Autopay to automatically pay off your account every month.
- Consider taking up a SmartPlan1, that helps you pay your balance down the smart way.
- Only use cash advances in emergencies.
- Find out how promotional offers work before you accept them.
Manage your credit card the smarter way
SmartPlan1 is an online banking tool that helps you take control of your credit card debt. Find out how adding a SmartPlan1 to your credit card could help you pay down your balance.
Minimise fuss with automatic payments
Learn how setting up Autopay can take the hassle out of remembering your monthly repayments.
Every customer is different and depending on the way you use your credit card, you may notice less interest being charged on purchases. By paying off your entire balance on time every month, you can really make the most of your interest free period in the best way possible.
No. There will be no change to the look of your statement.
Although the legislation will come into effect on 1 January 2019, Westpac customers may notice legislation to the way interest is calculated on their credit card from 1 December 2018 as we transition customers to the new interest calculation method.
No. The changes will be automatically applied. You can simply continue to enjoy the benefits of your credit card in a way that suits you best.
Things you should know
Good news! From 15 October 2019, there are exciting, new enhanced benefits being added to the Westpac Altitude Black & Altitude Platinum Mastercard. If you apply and are approved for this product, these new enhanced benefits will be available on the card account from this date.
Credit criteria, fees and charges apply. Offers are not available in conjunction with any special offers that are not listed on www.westpac.com.au. Switches, upgrades or Westpac group staff are ineligible on Westpac issued cards. Offer may be withdrawn or extended at any time.
Visit the product page for each credit card to check the terms and conditions, including any rewards terms and conditions (if relevant) that apply.
SmartPlans are currently available for all Westpac consumer credit cards.
1. SmartPlan Disclaimer: SmartPlan requires monthly payments to be made for the term calculated and at the applicable interest rate when the SmartPlan is entered into. All payments made to your account will be applied first to any SmartPlan instalments, so debts accruing a higher interest rate may be left unpaid during the SmartPlan term. Your balance transfer must have a maximum of 36 months and a remaining term of at least 3 months to be eligible for a SmartPlan. See SmartPlan for more details. SmartPlan cancellation takes up to 2 Business Days. Any SmartPlan Remaining Balance will revert to the variable interest rate for your balance type or special offer rate as applicable.
Discounted rates may not apply to cards with existing promotional rates. Discounted rates will not apply to Westpac Lite Mastercard. Establishment fees apply on a Large Purchase SmartPlan.
2. You need to register for Online Banking before you can set up a SmartPlan. Read the .