Five big changes to Coles credit cards you need to know


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Back in November 2016 Wesfarmers announced that it had entered into an agreement with Citi for the distribution of Coles-branded credit cards.

The 10-year agreement would see Coles continue to distribute credit cards under its own brand and, following a transition period, Citi will be the credit card issuer and manage the operations of the credit card portfolio.

The deal itself was worth around $945 million with the net proceeds to be applied to repay Wesfarmers Group debt.

coles mastercard credit card bank of the year consumer finance awards canstar wesfarmers citi citibank

Back then there was little indication about what it would mean for consumers, now that the deal has been finalised, we have a much better idea of what the change means.

While Citi has reported that "the key value proposition of each of the products has not changed", Money's research partner for both our Consumer Finance Awards and Best of the Best awards notes several changes that could impact cardholders.

"The products have remained relatively similar in terms of annual fees, interest rate and points earning, with the changes being largely to the 'fine print' items, such as how the minimum repayment is calculated and the late payment fees," says Joshua Sale, research analyst at Canstar.

According to Canstar the five biggest changes, which took effect from March 5 include:

A reduction in interest-free days

Then: 62 interest-free days.

Now: 55 interest-free days, bringing these cards into line with the most common number of interest-free days in the market.

A change in minimum repayment

Then: The minimum monthly payment was calculated as the greater of $10 or 2.22% of the balance.

Now: The minimum monthly payment is the greater of $30, 2% of the card balance, or the sum of 1% of the card balance, late payment fee (if any) and any interest charged for that month.

Limited choice in direct debit arrangement

Then: Direct debits could be set up to pay the minimum payment due, the closing balance or fixed payment amount.

Now: Only minimum payment due or closing balance can be set as up as direct debit arrangements.

Note: Consumers who had previously set up direct debits that will no longer be available (for example fixed payment amounts) were changed to the minimum payment due option following March 5.

A change in late payment fees

Then: The late payment fee was $20 for each statement period.

Now: There will be a $10 fee if the payment due is not received by the payment due date, and a $10 fee every seven days after that until the due payment is made.

A new dishonour fee

Then: Coles previously didn't charge a credit card dishonour fee.

Now: A dishonour fee of $15 has been introduced for each time a payment to an account is dishonoured.

More details can be found here.

Money awards

Under Money's award guidelines the Coles No Annual Fee MasterCard, which won Best Transactor Credit Card (Non-Bank) in Money's Best of the Best Awards for 2018 will no longer be able to use the Money award logo as the number of interest-free days has reduced from 62 to 55 days.

However given no changes were made to the reward program for the Coles Reward MasterCard is entitled to use the Best Rewards Credit Card (Non-Bank) logo.

Money and Canstar are in the process of working out our 2018 winners for our Consumer Finance Awards. We will reveal the new winners in our June issue.

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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.
Alex R
April 5, 2018 2.47pm

Another thing that has changed is the billing cycle date - rather than change the payment due date by bringing it forward, they changed the statement end date by putting it back AND when queried by telephone, I was discovered that the statement end date could vary (in my case the 19th, 20th, or 21st of the month). I did manage to have the statement end date reverted to "around the 15th" after much pushing.
This may not seem much, but I am one of those card holders that time their major purchases for the start of the billing cycle to make most use of the interest free days and having a "floating" end date is a sizeable disadvantage.

Kymm Weal
April 6, 2018 8.49am

Hi Alex, I totally agree with you, I just got my statement to find out they have changed my billing cycle and I like you hold off purchases till after the 27th to ensure I can stick to my budget! time to look for another card NOT HAPPY!


June 8, 2018 6.47am

I have noticed it is taking an extremely long time to receive my Flybuy points earned on credit card transactions.
This is very annoying as it makes it very difficult to track.
Very disappointed in the changes since the transition to Citi Bank.
Points earned should come through instantly transactions are approved in account.

June 15, 2018 7.26pm

I was told by flybuys that any government-related expenses such as tax, rates etc. will not get any flybuy points from 5 Mar which upsets me. I have never received any notice about the change. Agree with Debbie- the service is very poor with Citibank and no more rewards points for a big chunk of my expenses. Have been with Coles for a number of years but now is looking for another card.

July 25, 2018 9.21pm

Is it possible to make a mortgage repayment from your credit card and collect points that way? Or would this be classed as a cash advance?

July 26, 2018 12.56pm

It will likely be treated as a cash advance. Check the terms and conditions, and tread carefully!