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Five smart credit card techniques to implement this year

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If your new year's resolution is to take charge of your finances by paying off debt and saving more money, changing your credit card habits and implementing these five smart techniques could be the perfect place to start.

1. Set plans in motion to recover from Christmas overspending

If you already have a credit card, you may have gone a little overboard during the holidays. If those purchases are hanging over your head, and stiff interest is about to start accumulating on outstanding balances, consider consolidating your debts with a balance transfer.

sponsored five tips credit cards

By moving your balance owed onto a new credit card with a promotional no-interest period, you can pay off your balance over the coming months without building up additional debt in interest. Just make sure you finish paying off the balance before the promotional period runs out.

2. Don't spend what you don't have

If you're getting a credit card for the first time and start to use credit like free money you'll be in for a shock down the road when the bill comes due. Instead, look at your credit card as a convenient way to access your money and keep a running total that you can compare to your actual bank balance.

Also, make every payment on time. Late or missing payments lead to extra fees and charges, meaning you'll end up paying a lot more for the items you purchased than if you'd simply paid cash.

3. Use the direct debit feature

One of the best ways to utilise a new credit card is for bills you have to pay anyway. This ensures they are prioritised and you'll be able to avoid a mistake that could lead to something important being shut off mid-month.

You can set up direct debits for all your bills, so they are always paid in full and on time. Then all you have to do is pay one last bill at the end of the month to settle your credit card balance. You can also use your credit card for food, beverages and home items you would have to buy anyway.

4. Take advantage of the perks

One of the most attractive things about a new credit card is the extra features that come with it, but if you don't use them you won't benefit. Look at the fine print and find out what you could be getting for free every time you use your card to book a ticket or make a purchase.

Typical perks include insurance for travel or for purchases made with the card. In many cases, you can also earn rewards points that can be redeemed for a wide range of items or experiences.

5. Investigate fees and rates before signing up

Finally, before you sign up for a credit card or look for a balance transfer option, shop around.

The best rate might not be at your current financial institution. You might be able to find a card with high incentives from another source.

Some helpful questions to ask might include:

  • Is there an annual fee?
  • What is the interest rate?
  • What are the fees for overcharges or late payments?
  • Are there rewards points?
  • What can points be redeemed for?
  • Is a cashback option offered?
  • Can I get a promotional interest-free period for a balance transfer?
  • What perks are offered with this card?

Bank of Queensland's Blue Visa credit card - recently awarded Money magazine's Best Reward Credit Card 2020 - offers a low $60 annual fee, an interest-free period for balance transfers, travel insurance, purchase protection, rewards points and $120 cashback when you spend $500 a month on retail purchases for the first three months you have the card.

This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended as professional advice, and has not been prepared with the financial circumstances of any particular person in mind. You should seek your own independent financial, legal and taxation advice before making any decision in relation to the material in this article. Terms and conditions apply to the Blue Visa credit card features and offers.

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Andrew Toone joined Bank of Queensland (BOQ) as general manager of product in 2015. He has more than 25 years' experience in banking and insurance, and has held senior leadership roles across actuarial, insurance, wealth, banking, finance, product and pricing functions. Before joining BOQ, Andrew spent 11 years with the NAB Group, where he held senior roles in wealth, corporate and consumer banking. Prior to this, he worked for AXA in the UK, Australia and Asia.
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