Rewards and travel credit cards typically come with higher interest rates and fees compared to standard credit cards, as these cards tend to offer more features, protections and rewards in the form of frequent flyer programs. 

However, consumer advocate CHOICE has called for the interest rates on these cards to be lowered in the wake of COVID-19. 

“While the banks’ response to customers affected by COVID-19 has been commendable to date, more work needs to be done to make credit cards fairer, especially frequent flyer cards,” CHOICE banking expert Patrick Veyret said. 

Virgin Velocity credit cards in particular were named and shamed by CHOICE.  

With most flights grounded and Virgin Australia itself going into voluntary administration, Virgin Velocity has placed significant restrictions on points redemption

According to Mr Veyret, the Velocity program being essentially frozen means the value of these points and cards remains in limbo. 

"It’s simply indefensible that banks continue to charge people interest rates in excess of 20% on Velocity frequent flyer cards," he said. 

"While the value of the Virgin program is in jeopardy, the interest rates on these credit cards must be capped at 10%."

CHOICE lists many Virgin Velocity-linked credit cards that are not currently available for new customers, but are still available for existing customers, that charge interest rates near or in excess of 20% p.a.

These cards, seen in the infographic above, also come with high annual fees. 

"There has been no relief for existing Virgin velocity credit card cardholders,” Mr Veyret said. 

“Banks market their rewards programs to lure people into purchasing expensive credit cards, often using the trap of 0% balance transfers. Banks justify their exorbitant interest rates and fees by pointing to perks like access to frequent flyer programs.

"However, a recent CHOICE investigation found that many frequent flyer credit cards are simply not worth it. This is even more so now with the future of the Virgin Velocity program under question."

CHOICE's invesigation is supported by previous research. 

According to a 2018 study released by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), 30% of customers actually make a net loss on their credit card, and inappropriate rewards schemes are a major factor in this. 

The current financial climate has resulted in CHOICE's decision to call for a 10% p.a cap on credit card interest rates. 

“Velocity frequent flyer credit cards are simply the tip of the iceberg," Mr Veyret said. 

"The cash rate is at an historic low of 0.25%. There is no justification for the big banks to continue charging interest rates in excess of 20%.

"Interest rates on all credit cards must be capped at 10%."

Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features introductory savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Provider

4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance

High Interest Savings Account (< $250k)

  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance
4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties

Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

  • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
  • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
No monthly fees
  • Download the App to open your account
  • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
  • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
No monthly fees

Save Account

  • Download the App to open your account
  • Get better visibility of your spending within App!
  • Deposit $200 per month to activate bonus interest
020000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

HomeME Savings Account ($0 - $100,000)

    02001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

    Growth Saver ($1 - $25k)

      010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
      For customers aged 14-35 years
      For customers aged 14-35 years

      Future Saver Account ( < $50k)

        05001$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
        • Maximum Age - 24

        Goal Saver

        • Maximum Age - 24
        010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

        Boost Saver

          00.011$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

          Reward Saver Account (31 years +) ($0-$100k)

            01000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

            Bonus Saver Account (Amounts < $100k)

              0201$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

              Reward Saver Kick Start (Amounts ≤ $1m)

                00.010$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                Life (< 30 years) (Monthly deposit)

                  5000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                  NetBank Saver

                    000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                    ANZ Save

                      010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                      Savings Maximiser (<$100k)

                        050$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                        Young Saver Account

                          0501$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                          Save up

                            010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details
                            • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
                            • No account fees
                            • Easy access to your money

                            Saver Account (<$250k)

                            • Earn up to 5.40% pa by depositing $1,000 in the previous month
                            • No account fees
                            • Easy access to your money
                            02000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                            Bonus Saver (<$1 Million)

                              000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]More details

                              Smart Saver Account (Under 25)

                                Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                                All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of May 28, 2024. View disclaimer.

                                More to come...