New Zealand and Australia share a lot in common due to our proximity and common heritage, so we thought we would take a peek across the pond in Australia to see how our credit card offers stack up against theirs. What we found was that, as with petrol prices, New Zealanders are getting a raw deal compared to Australians and it is rather frustrating.
We looked at key segments within the credit card industry including credit card purchase rates, balance transfer offers, interest free credit cards, credit card reward offers and credit card annual fees.
The first thing that struck us when was the level of competition within the credit card industry in Australia compared to New Zealand. Australia has 3x more credit card providers than New Zealand. This is partly due to Australia having more banks than New Zealand, but also due to the number of stores, airlines and unions with credit card offerings in Australia. There is a similar trend in New Zealand with some stores offering credit cards but this trend is bigger in Australia.
Credit card balance transfer offers
Credit card balance transfer offers allow you to transfer your credit card debt from a different provider to a new provider and repay at a low rate of as low as 0% for a fixed period of usually 12 to 48 months.
When it comes to balance transfer credit card offers, Australia blows New Zealand out of the water with some providers offering 0% for 26 months whereas the best 0% balance transfer credit card you can get in New Zealand as at the time of this writing is 0% for 12 months.
Credit card purchase rates
Update: On the 1st of July 2019 the Kiwibank reduced the purchase rate for its Low Rate Visa Credit Card to 9.95% p.a. bringing New Zealand in line with Australia were purchase rates can be as low as 9.90% p.a.
The purchase rates between New Zealand and Australia are similar both on the higher end of the scale and lower end of the scale (thanks to Kiwibank), but Australia has more Low rate credit card offers compared to NZ.
Interestingly, the minimum purchase rate for Westpac in Australia is currently 9.90% while the minimum purchase rate for Westpac credit cards in New Zealand is 13.45%.
Credit card Interest free offers
An Interest free credit card is a credit card that offers 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases for the initial period of usually 6 months upwards. Interest free credit cards can be great if you want to make a big purchase and pay it back gradually over the initial interest free period.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many interest free credit cards in New Zealand. The only Interest free credit card we are currently aware of in NZ is the American Express Airpoints Card which offers 0% for 6 months. Australia, on the other hand, has several Interest free credit card offers, so once again it seems like we have been left with the short end of stick.
Credit card rewards programs
Rewards credit cards were a bit harder to compare. Australia has a lot more rewards programs due to the sheer number of credit card providers, and more Australian credit cards have signup bonus points so in this regard Australia can be considered to be slightly better than New Zealand.
Credit card annual fees
The credit card fees are very similar between New Zealand and Australia. Both New Zealand and Australia have a few No annual fee credit cards.
Without a doubt, Australians are getting a better deal when it comes to credit cards and we can only put it down to the level of competition in Australian compared to New Zealand. The good news is that with more Kiwi businesses venturing into the credit cards space we should expect to see better credit card offers introduced in New Zealand in the coming years.
Considering getting a credit card?
The best credit card for you would depend on your personal circumstance and how you intend to use your credit card. We have put together a list of some of the best credit cards in New Zealand to help you find the best credit card in NZ to suit your individual needs. Alternatively, you can narrow down your search by credit card type such as interest free credit card, low rate credit card, balance transfer, credit card reward or air nz credit card