1 in 3 Australians don't know their credit card interest rate

author-avatar By on January 12, 2021
1 in 3 Australians don't know their credit card interest rate

More than a third of Aussies don't know what interest rate they're paying on their credit card, and those that do are paying too much.

Those are the findings from a poll by independent research agency fiftyfive5 commissioned by Defence Bank.

The survey of more than 1,000 people found that despite Australians planning to use their credit cards more in 2021, 57% of those surveyed don't pay much attention to their credit card interest rate, while one in two question the value of card reward programs, particularly during a pandemic. 

Over a third (35%) of Australians don't know what their credit card interest rate is while four out of five of those who do know what rate they're paying are paying more than 10% p.a, with some paying over 20% p.a.

The table below displays credit cards with some of the lowest interest rates on the market, disregarding any temporary promotional offers.

Defence Bank CEO David Marshall says Australians need to do their research and shop around.

“It’s time to break the cycle of paying unnecessarily high credit card interest rates," Mr Marshall said.

"We see from these results that Australians are frustrated by the rates they’re paying and the bells and whistles they either can’t use or don’t need.

“Australian consumers need to stop paying 20% for the convenience of a basic credit card, when genuine low-rate options exist for half the cost.”

The survey also found that one in five credit card holders find it hard to pay off their balance after the Christmas period, but the lack of use of credit cards in recent times could translate to less Christmas credit card debt. 

See also: Are credit cards recovering in time for a Christmas splurge?

Credit card debt has been plummeting over the COVID period with the latest Reserve Bank figures showing the average credit card balance was $2,728 in October - close to a 14-year low.

The figures also show the number of credit cards on issue have plummeted to 12.9 million in October, the lowest since mid-2008.

Whether the reduction in credit card usage is due to stimulus payments, more frugal pandemic spending, or more people using debit cards, it's clear that there has been a marked shift in consumer behaviour over the COVID period.

A recent survey by MyState Bank found that an overwhelming majority of Australians are responding to the economic crisis by reining in their spending habits, saving and budgeting more, and by paying down their debt.

See also: Financial resolutions to kickstart 2021

“We expect these savvy savings habits to continue, with these new behaviours among consumers outliving the recession," said MyState Bank General Manager Customer Experience Heather McGovern.

The research found 17% of those surveyed resolved to pay off their credit card and personal loan debt in 2021. 


Photo by Mark OFlynn on Unsplash

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Emma Duffy joined Savings.com.au as a Finance Journalist in 2019 after spending a year as the editor of The Real Estate Conversation. She's passionate about empowering people to make smart financial decisions and improve the financial literacy of Australians by translating complex finance topics into understandable, relatable content.

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