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Review how you plan to use a personal credit card

Before you apply for a personal credit card, it’s a great idea to have a think about how you may be likely to use the card. Would you use it to pay for essentials only, or other stuff too? Is a credit card the most appropriate option?

A credit card comes with some big responsibilities. Whenever you use your card to buy things, you’re essentially borrowing money – which you’ll have to pay back. When borrowing this money, you could be charged interest and don't forget that fees can apply to the card.

When (and if) interest is charged can depend on things like the type of transaction and whether or not you have the benefit of interest-free days.

If your goal is to avoid paying interest on your purchasesdisclaimer, then you should check if the credit card you are considering offers interest-free daysdisclaimer. If it does, there may be some requirements or conditions you need to meet to get interest-free days. For example, you may want to consider paying the Closing Balance (or if applicable, your ‘Adjusted Closing Balance’) on your credit card in full by the Due Date each monthdisclaimer, while always being mindful of your other financial commitmentsdisclaimer

To make it easier to pay your credit card off in full or reduce the balance, you may want to rein in your spending – which means you may want to sort out the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.

Needs vs wants

‘Needs’ are those essentials in life that you can’t do without. If you’ve sat down and written a budget, then these essentials should all be accounted for in your spreadsheet or list. Does your budget balance (that is, there’s enough in the income column to pay for things in the essentials column)? If so, then theoretically, if you only use your credit card to pay for essentials, you should be able to pay off the full balance at the end of the month using income from your budget.

Of course, even if you have a balanced budget, it’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to pay off your credit card. There can be surprise costs that pop up from time to time.

What happens if you buy ‘wants’ on your credit card?

What about the ‘wants’ in your life? The things that you’ve been coveting for ages? A tropical holiday, perhaps. Or a shiny new phone or designer bag. If these aren’t accounted for in your budget, then paying for such things using your credit card (or at all) – particularly if they aren’t covered by your income – could make it harder for you to pay off the card at the end of the month.

Before you use your credit card to pay for something that you don’t really need, remind yourself that if you didn’t have that credit card in your wallet then you probably would have gone without. It might help you avoid buying things that sit squarely in the ‘wants’ category.

If you’re worried about your credit card debt and your ability to make repayments, you should contact your credit card provider immediately. They may be able to assist and may have tools and resources to help relieve any financial stress.

If you're an ANZ customer having difficulty making credit card repayments, please contact us on 1800 252 845.

Check out make your credit card repayments work for you to help reduce the amount of interest you may have to pay.

Learn more about credit card interest

The truth about the credit card minimum repayment

While you can choose to simply make the minimum repayment on your personal credit card each month, doing so can come at a cost.

Read article

The interest-free period

If you pay your full Closing Balance (or if applicable, your ‘Adjusted Closing Balance’) by the due date on your statement each month, you could avoid paying interest on your purchases.

Read article

Information in this article refers to personal credit cards, is general in nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. 

By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.

The information is current as at June 2019 and may be subject to change. ANZ recommends you review your personal credit card contract for information about the terms that apply to you.

ANZ interest rates and fees and terms and conditions are subject to change. Refer to the current credit card interest rates, fees and terms for further information and current interest rates, fees and terms. 

Applications for credit at ANZ are subject to ANZ’s credit approval criteria, terms, conditions and fees and charges apply. Australian Credit Licence Number 234527

Interest-free periods are not available for all types of purchases. For example, at ANZ they do not apply to cash advances.


Credit card providers can offer Credit Card Accounts with interest-free periods on purchases and some Credit Card Accounts without. If you’re unsure whether an account has interest-free periods on purchases please refer to the credit contract for that account. 


At ANZ, if a consumer Credit Card Account has interest-free periods on purchases, the account holder can avoid paying interest on the purchases balance by always paying the full Closing Balance (or if applicable, the ‘Adjusted Closing Balance’) shown on each statement by the applicable due date. The Adjusted Closing Balance is calculated as your Closing Balance less the sum of any relevant Promotional Plan balances that relate to an Instalment Plan, a Buy Now Pay Later plan, or a Promotional Balance Transfer Plan, plus any instalments due (including instalments previously due which have not yet been paid). If the account holder doesn’t pay the full Closing Balance (or if applicable, the ‘Adjusted Closing Balance’) shown on a statement by the applicable due date, they will generally be charged interest on their purchases balance from the day after the Due Date shown on that statement. Not all transactions (e.g., cash advances) get the benefit of interest-free days. Refer to the applicable credit contract for details.


Other terms or conditions may apply to interest free days. Check your credit contract for details of the terms and conditions that apply to your Credit Card Account or the account you are considering.