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With a long history that spans more than a century, CommBank has seen a lot over the years. As a multinational bank, CommBank has businesses across Asia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, and as of 2018, it just so happens to now be the largest bank in the Southern Hemisphere.
Here in Australia, the bank provides a wide range of services, including retail, business and institutional banking, superannuation and insurance. Under its umbrella are brands such as Bankwest, Colonial First State Investments, Commonwealth Securities (CommSec) and Commonwealth Insurance (CommInsure).
But what about credit cards? One reason why so many people choose big banks like CommBank is their range of products. Unlike some smaller providers, CommBank has the capacity to provide an extensive selection of credit cards, including low fee and low rate cards, rewards cards and cards with features and extras.
Choosing between the various CommBank credit cards on offer means knowing what’s available and understanding what each option can offer you.
Commonwealth Bank has several low rate credit card options, ranging from basic to gold card status. Providing no frills, the Commonwealth Bank Essentials Credit Card can offer a great way for cardholders to save money on their credit card, while keeping interest costs as low as possible.
As its name suggests, this card keeps strictly to the ‘essentials’, with few features on offer. Cardholders can save on their annual fee (paid monthly), by setting up automatic repayments and cutting the amount paid in monthly fees by almost half. It also has a low maximum credit limit and CommBank’s lowest purchase rate, with no cash advance feature available.
Next up on the CommBank credit card ladder is the Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Credit Card. While this has a slightly higher purchase rate, it still has an affordable annual fee, and provides cardholder with a few handy features to play with.
For a more substantial annual fee, the Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Gold Card, provides a few more features. What this card focuses on though, is providing a low purchase rate, helping cardholders to save on interest if they happen to carry a balance.
Within its suite of credit cards, CommBank has two low fee options. The Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Credit Card is the bank’s standard low fee card, offering a nice low annual fee ongoing, with the opportunity to reduce it to $0 when cardholders spend a certain amount within each year.
As features are somewhat limited on the standard low fee option, CommBank offers a few more extras on the Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Gold Credit Card. Providing a selection of gold perks, the card still keeps its focus on its low fee, allowing cardholders to save year-to-year.
Having streamlined its selection of credit cards, CommBank no longer has a gold rewards card. However, it does have an entry-level rewards card, a platinum rewards card, and a diamond rewards card. For business customers, there is a business rewards card.
Providing entry-level rewards, the Commonwealth Bank Awards Credit Card keeps it simple, allowing cardholders to earn rewards on card spending up to a certain cap each year. The Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card offers a higher points cap, with the same points earn, throwing some platinum perks into the mix.
Moving up to diamond status, the Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards Credit Card provides a higher earn rate, a much higher points cap, and pretty much the same range of prestige perks offered on the platinum card.
Designed to offer rewards on business spending, the Commonwealth Bank Business Awards Credit Card allows cardholders to get something back on their business expenses, while offering a number of handy extras.
Prestige credit cards are generally thought of as any type of credit card that offers perks and privileges. Whether it’s a gold card, platinum card, diamond card or black card, these credit cards generally charge higher annual fees in return for providing a higher rewards points earn and exclusive features.
CommBank has several prestige cards across various categories, as we’ve already mentioned. There are the gold low fee and low rate options, and the platinum and diamond rewards cards. As you would expect, these cards provide a little extra on top of whatever the basic version of the card provides, offering features such as insurance covers and more points per dollar.
While most of CommBank’s credit cards focus on personal spending, the Commonwealth Bank Business Awards Credit Card lets business owners get something back on their business spending. Cardholders can earn rewards on their card spend, while also taking advantage of business tools, and up to 55 days interest free on purchases to help extend cashflow.
Before you apply for a CommBank credit card, you obviously need to compare the options. Having a good comprehension of what each CommBank credit card has to offer is not enough. Choosing the right option means understanding why each of those features is important and what it could offer to each individual cardholder.
If you’re looking for a basic, low cost card
Not everyone needs all-singing, all-dancing credit cards. Or perhaps, more importantly, not everyone can afford them. Credit cards that are packed with features and cards that earn rewards generally charge more in annual fees and interest.
If you don’t need these features – or you simply don’t want to pay for them – a basic, no frills card could be the way to go.
The Commonwealth Bank Essentials Credit Card could help you save on both interest and annual (monthly) fees. While it may not offer much in the way of features, it is designed to appeal to cardholders who want to keep it simple, while keeping costs as low as possible.
If you want to save money on fees
Why might you choose a low fee card? One of the main reasons for choosing a credit card with a low annual fee is, of course, to save money. These cards charge lower annual fees, and in general, offer fewer features than their cousins with higher annual fees.
A card with a low annual fee, such as the Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Credit Card or Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Gold Credit Card, could be the perfect option for someone who doesn’t want to pay out too much on their card year-to-year.
Again, this kind of card works well for those who want to keep features simple – although CommBank’s low fee gold card does offer some extras – with a focus on low fees. It should be noted that with their higher interest rates, it’s best not to carry a balance on these cards.
If you’re looking to save on interest
If you tend to carry a balance on your credit card, interest charges can really stack up. Some credit cards have interest rates topping 20% p.a., and for those who carry a balance here, it can make it difficult to pay off the total balance, as interest keeps on accruing.
By choosing a low rate card, such as the Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Credit Card or the Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Gold Credit Card, you could benefit from interest accruing at a lower rate when you don’t manage to clear your balance month-to-month.
With CommBank’s lowest purchase rate, the Commonwealth Bank Essentials Credit Card could help you save even more on interest, but be aware, it has a low maximum credit limit. If you’re new to credit cards or you want to limit your spending, this card could be worth looking in to.
If you want to earn rewards
Rewards cards work well for cardholders who want to earn something back on their credit card spending. While they tend to provide better value to big spenders, there are entry-level rewards cards, such as the Commonwealth Bank Awards Credit Card, that are designed for lower level spending.
Each of CommBank’s rewards cards earn rewards points on CommBank’s own Awards program. Offering a flexible way to earn and redeem rewards, this program could be a great alternative to cards that only earn shopping rewards, or Qantas or Velocity Points.
On the Awards program, you will earn points on your card spending, at a rate determined by the card you’re using. Points can then be redeemed within the online Awards Store for gift cards and merchandise, or converted to frequent flyer points with Awards’ partner airlines.
If you want to find out more about the Awards program, check out our reviews on the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card, CommBank Ultimate Awards Credit Card and the Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards Credit Card.
If you want to enjoy some extras
Some credit cards are simply packed with extras. These can include travel credit, airport lounge access and airport limo service, hotel stays and luxury hotel membership perks, insurance covers and personal concierge services.
While these can sound incredible, it’s worth bearing in mind that they are generally not offered without a cost. The more features on offer, the higher the annual fee and interest tend to be. So, if you want these extras, it’s a good idea to work out how much value you get from them.
If you pay less in annual fees than the value of features you get in return, they may be worthwhile. The same rule applies to rewards. Rewards cards tend to have higher annual fees, so it may be worth considering the value of rewards you receive, to weigh that against the card’s annual fee.
In terms of extras offered on CommBank’s credit cards, they focus mostly on included insurances. These can help cardholders save time and hassle on buying standalone insurance, but it’s important to read the PDS to find out what’s covered.
Credit card providers introduce introductory offers on their credit cards to entice new cardholders to sign up. While this can work to your advantage, introductory offers are always changing, so you need to know what to look out for – and why each one may work for you.
With a balance transfer offer, you will pay low or no interest on your transferred balance over an introductory period. This can help you pay off any existing credit card debt sooner, while paying less in interest. Be aware of any balance transfer fees, and what rate unpaid transferred balances attract when the intro period ends.
Crediting new cardholders with bonus rewards points, bonus points offers can provide a great boost to your points balance. To reveal the value in these offers, check whether a minimum spend is required to be eligible, and look at what the points equate to in terms of travel or gift cards.
With a 0% p.a. purchase offer, you will pay no interest on your purchases throughout the introductory period. This could offer a great way to cover large purchases such as a holiday or big ticket electronic items, allowing you to spread the cost over a number of months, interest-free. Check the card’s standard purchase rate, and work on repaying the total before interest starts accruing.
An annual fee offer will provide a reduced annual fee for an introductory period, or for the life of the card. Obviously, these offers can provide an excellent way to save money, especially on feature-packed cards with higher annual fees. Be aware of what the annual fee reverts to, and make sure the card still offers value at that cost.
As one of Australia’s largest banks, Commonwealth Bank certainly has a lot to offer. By comparing the options available, you can decide whether a CommBank credit card is right for you. If you want to find out more about each CommBank credit card, simply click on the page and read our review.
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