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Want a fair go banking alternative? That’s what bcu is all about. Founded more than 40 years ago, bcu was created by a group of small business owners who had simply had enough of the limitations of traditional finance.
Back then, banana growers had a tough time with traditional banks. So, a group of them formed what is now known as bcu – or to give the organisation its full name, the Bananacoast Community Credit Union Ltd – to work together to create an alternative.
Starting out, they pooled their resources to offer business loans to colleagues. Pretty soon though, the business was expanding rapidly. After only seven years in business, bcu became a million dollar credit union.
These days, bcu is a billion dollar credit union, with a network that reaches from Port Macquarie to the Sunshine Coast. Offering everything from credit cards and home loans, to insurance and savings accounts, bcu still has the same ideal. To provide its customers with a fair go.
Credit cards can be a bit like casinos. Occasionally there are big winners on the blackjack and roulette tables, but in the end, the house always wins. What about credit cards? Yep, credit card providers are most definitely the ‘house’. Any ‘winning’ in the credit card industry is generally felt more by credit card providers than by credit cardholders.
Why? For the most part, the trouble starts with credit cardholders themselves. Perhaps they don’t know how to use credit cards correctly, and end up paying out more than they should. Cardholders can also choose the wrong card for them, paying out more than they get back in return. Who wins? The credit card provider, of course.
Credit cards can be totally awesome. They can give users access to credit. They can provide rewards and cashback. They can offer perks and bonuses. But they have to be dealt with and used correctly. Like any veteran player who knows the tricks of winning a hand, credit card users should be similarly savvy.
The first place to start has to be choosing the right card. Then it’s simply a matter knowing how to make that card work for you. Is it possible to beat the house? But of course! Let’s start with a little bit of card counting, taking a look at the types of credit cards on offer, and who they work best for.
A low rate credit card is a card that charges a low rate of interest on purchases. A great example of this type of card is the bcu Classic Credit Card. With a great low rate of interest, this card can help cardholders save on the amount of interest they pay.
If you have a large balance on your credit card and you’re not able to pay it off straight away, then a low rate credit card could be the answer. Standard credit cards can have purchase rates that range anywhere between 17% p.a. and 23% p.a. With a large balance on cards like those, interest payments can really start stacking up.
That’s exactly where some cardholders get into trouble. They have a big balance on a card with a high interest rate, and they have trouble paying back more than the interest. The balance stays high, taking years to pay off. During that time, thousands of dollars in interest can be paid to the credit card provider.
A credit card with a revolving balance is one that’s never fully paid off. The cardholder may spend a certain amount on the card, and pay off a certain amount, but there is generally always a balance owing on the card.
Again, if a revolving balance is kept on a card with a high interest rate, the cardholder could pay out loads in interest. While it’s always best to pay off the balance in full, we know that’s not always possible. The next best thing is to invest in a low rate card.
What’s the best way to learn about credit? Some say it’s to experience dealing with it first hand. Good idea? We’d say, first learn the principles of how to deal with credit, and then get a credit card.
Having your first credit card can be somewhat thrilling. With access to that much easy credit, it can be too tempting. Result? A big balance that’s going to take while to pay off. That’s one reason why a low rate credit card can be a good choice for a first credit card. If you happen to mess up and spend more than you meant to, you will pay minimal interest while you pay it back.
Okay, so low rate credit cards can be pretty low on features. You won’t see many low rate cards with big fancy features or rewards programs. Yes, there are some low rate credit cards with perks, but the market is certainly not bulging with them.
Why? Introductory offers, features and rewards are incentives offered by credit card providers to entice users to sign up. To make those incentives work, card companies need to know they are getting something back, either in interest or annual fees.
But, for some cardholders, it’s not all about the fancy features. All they want is access to credit, while paying out the minimal amount for the privilege. That’s where low rate credit cards come in. When combined with a low annual fee, these cards can be inexpensive to keep.
They also involve minimal hassle. No worrying about when intro offers end. No worrying about how to get the most out of a rewards program. No worrying about whether you are covered by credit card warranties and insurances. Want simple? You got it (but still, always read the small print!).
If any of these situations seem familiar, the bcu Classic Credit Card could be for you. Nope, it doesn’t really have any frills or features. But, it does have a very reasonable purchase rate, and a very affordable annual fee. Cardholders can enjoy up to 55 days interest free on purchases – and there are no late payment fees.
Any downsides? Only if you want a card with more features – and you perhaps don’t mind paying for them. One thing to note though, there is a one-off $40 establishment fee that’s paid in addition to the annual fee. Apart from that, it seems like a low rate winner.
A no annual fee credit card is a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, sometimes for an introductory period, sometimes for the life of the card. Similarly, a low annual fee credit card is a card that charges a low annual fee. Funnily enough, bcu has two of these little beauties.
The bcu Classic Credit Card has a low annual fee. As cards that either offer low purchase rates or rewards, it’s great that these two also offer a low annual fee – as this allows their cardholders to save some money.
Similar to low rate credit cards, no and low annual fee credit cards tend to be pretty low on features. As we said, you get what you pay for. However, no and low annual fee cards do work incredibly well for some users.
Some cardholders choose to keep a no annual fee card for emergencies only. That way, they’re not paying to use the card, but it is there if they need it. Say, if the boiler blows up or you break your leg and have no health insurance, that emergency credit card could provide that much needed cash.
Cards that charge low or no annual fee are also perfect for people who want to save money. Credit cards don’t have to be expensive – if you choose the right one. Yes, you can save money on interest and on annual fees, by choosing a card like the bcu Classic Credit Card. Yes, you can earn rewards while saving money on annual fees, by choosing a card like the bcu Rewarder Credit Card.
As a credit union, bcu could be a good choice for people who want to get more back from their banking. Big banks can be faceless – and they can often charge more for their products and services than credit unions like bcu.
Credit unions can offer lower interest rates on their loans and credit cards, and charge lower fees to use their products. Credit unions often put themselves out there, saying they give more back to their members. Unlike big banks, who have shareholders to please – and to provide profits for – credit unions are run for the benefit of their members.
As we’ve seen, bcu offers credit cards that offer low interest, low fees, and some great perks and rewards. Is that enough of a fair go for you? Check out bcu today!
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