MY MONEY

The verdict on Citibank fixed payment option

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Citibank has introduced a fixed payment option on all its credit cards that allows you to convert part of your revolving credit card balance to a term payment arrangement at a lower interest rate. Think of it like a personal loan attached to your credit card.

You can request that payments for individual purchases over $500 or fund transfers over $1000 to be converted to a fixed payment option. You just need to notify Citibank before your next statement date to get this done. The good news is that this won't affect the interest-free days on your other credit card purchases.

You can choose between 12, 24 or 36 month terms - but you can pay the loan out earlier. Interest rates start at 12.99%pa but Citibank says it may be even lower, based on assessment of the account.

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There's no limit to the number of times you can switch your debt to a fixed loan contract but each time you do the fixed payment option will use part of your existing credit card limit. As you pay off your fixed option amount, the amount you pay off will become available for you to use again as part of your credit limit.

Repayments are included in your existing credit card statement under payment due each month. If you fail to pay the monthly instalment by the payment due date, the instalment amount will be charged at the standard annual percentage rate applicable on the credit card.

Money verdict

It's a fresh concept. While Canstar says this kind of arrangement is common with store cards, it hasn't seen one as flexible as this option from Citibank.

Expect to see more card issuers coming out with something similar. As long as the fixed rate is at a competitive rate it's a feature that could save you some cash - especially if you do have a hard core credit card debt that you can't repay and or are too lazy to refinance to a personal loan. No fees (yet) apply to the Citibank cards for this feature.

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Effie Zahos is editor-at-large at Canstar and a financial commentator. She is the author of A Real Girl's Guide to Money: From Converse to Louboutins, and a regular money commentator on TV and radio across Australia. In 1999, a background in banking Effie helped kickstart Money, which she edited until 2019. Effie holds a Bachelor's degree in economics.
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