What does that mean exactly? According to CUA, life is all about the small joys, the little luxuries that make life more enjoyable. When times get tough though, those little luxuries have to be set aside in order to afford the Big Things. The mortgage, the bills, the groceries.
What CUA aims to do is make both the Big Things and the little luxuries more affordable, more accessible. How? As a customer-owned financial provider, CUA claims it can offer better rates and lower fees on its products. Helping customers to make the most of their money, CUA says it is committed to delivering life rich banking that has customers’ best interests at heart.
So, what kind of financial products are on offer? CUA has a whole heap of financial products and services to choose from. There are savings and bank accounts, credit cards and personal loans, home loans and insurance. In terms of credit cards, CUA currently offers a low rate card and a platinum card. Do they offer life richness? Let’s take a look.
When you use a credit card to buy stuff, you are of course, accessing credit offered to you by your credit card provider. Whether it’s $10 or $10,000, you are utilising a service to borrow money, which you will then pay back at a later date.
Why does this matter? To provide you with that service, credit card companies have to make it worth their while. That means either charging you interest on the amount you borrow, charging you annual fees – or in most cases, charging you both interest and annual fees.
What sets credit cards – and credit card providers – apart is often how much they charge for the services they provide. Some cards may have a purchase rate of 10% p.a., while other card balances attract an interest rate of 23% p.a. Some cards may charge hundreds of dollars in annual fees, while other cards charge zip.
The key to choosing the right card – one that will indeed make your life richer – is to compare all the options and work out which one is best for you. That means examining the way you spend. It also means thinking about what you want to get out of your card.
There are plenty of low rate credit cards on the market. Why should you choose a credit card with low rates? These cards offer low purchase rates, helping customers to save money on balances carried over each month. Take a look to see if this kind of card is right for you.
While it’s really not recommended, some cardholders carry a balance each month. That means they don’t pay off their balance, so it carries over to the next billing period.
There can be many reasons why you choose to carry a balance. Perhaps you cannot afford to pay off your balance in full. You may only be able to cover the minimum repayment, or just a small portion of your credit card debt each month.
Or maybe you got caught out with your credit card. Perhaps you bought something you couldn’t afford to pay back straight away, and now it’s taking a while to pay it off. Another reason to carry a balance could be that you don’t understand the importance of paying off your card in full each month. Your balance just sits there, accruing interest, without you paying attention.
Whatever the reason for carrying a balance, a low rate credit card could be the answer. Choosing a card with the lowest possible purchase rate could mean saving loads in interest on your unpaid balance.
Low rate credit cards can be beneficial to other types of cardholders as well. For cardholders who want to save money, low rate cards can be the perfect option. These cardholders don’t want to spend more than they have to when accessing credit. For them, a low rate card – preferably with a low annual rate – is the ideal choice.
Low rate cards can also come in handy for people who are new to credit. Getting a shiny new credit card can be pretty awesome. But it can also lead to some pretty awesome temptation. Until you get used to the idea that yes, you do have to pay back everything you spend, a low rate card can give you some breathing space to pay off your balance each month.
Sold on the idea of a low rate card? Well then, is the CUA Low Rate Credit Card right for you? When comparing low rate cards, you’ll probably notice that most are fairly low on features. This comes down to that idea of service we were talking about previously.
Credit card companies offer a service – and expect to make money from that service. With a low rate card, card companies would expect less money in return than if they were offering a card with a much higher rate of interest.
Cards with higher rates of interest usually offer more features designed to attract customers. But, it’s worth remembering that those card providers expect to get their money back on any features offered, either in the form of interest or annual fees.
Similar to many other low rate cards, the CUA Low Rate Credit Card is low frills. Yep, it has a nice low purchase rate. But does it offer much else? Yes, in a way. Choosing this card means you will pay a low annual fee, and you can enjoy up to 55 days interest free on purchases when you don’t carry a balance.
You can also add up to nine additional cardholders at no extra cost, plus you get online banking access and all the benefits of MasterCard and CUA service. Is it the most exciting card in the world? Nope. But it can help you save money while giving you access to credit. Win win, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Okay, so we know CUA’s low rate card doesn’t offer much in the way of features. But what about its platinum offering? Platinum cards are designed to offer cardholders more. These are cards that offer more than just access to credit – they offer frills, features and fancy extras.
The CUA Platinum Credit Card is no exception. As a rewards card, the CUA Platinum Credit Card allows cardholders to earn points on their everyday spending. Ready to spend? You can earn 1 Life Rich Rewards point for every dollar you spend on purchases using your CUA Platinum Credit Card.
The Life Rich Rewards program is actually pretty neat. It allows you to redeem your points for merchandise, gift cards, or travel – whatever suits you best. In terms of merchandise, you can choose from anything from technology and toys, to kitchen appliances and magazine subscriptions.
Love travel? Cardholders can visit Redeem4Travel – CUA’s full service travel website – to book flights, accommodation, tours, activities, car hire and more. You can book with more than 100,000 hotels worldwide, you can book on all major airlines, including Qantas, Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines, and you can earn airline frequent flyer points on eligible bookings.
As for gift cards, you could choose to swap your points for a huge range of store cards to spend as you please. From Myer and David Jones, to JB Hi-Fi and Priceline, there is a gift card for everyone. Want to donate your rewards to a good cause? Yep, you can do that too. Simply choose to gift your rewards points to charities such as Oxfam, Starlight Children’s Foundation, or Cancer Council Australia.
But of course, the CUA Platinum Credit Card is more than just a rewards card. It’s a platinum card – and that means it offers certain platinum perks. First up, complimentary insurances. This card offers cardholders complimentary travel insurance and complimentary purchase protection insurance.
Cardholders can also enjoy the many benefits of having a personal concierge service. Using the MasterCard Concierge Service, cardholders can arrange travel and transport, book tickets for entertainment and events, source gifts, send flowers, and find referrals for business services. It’s all available with one easy phone call, 24 hours a day.
Platinum and rewards cards are not for everyone. We know, all those fancy features can be enticing. But, you need to make sure the card is right for you to fully benefit from those features.
First and foremost, you have to think about how much you are paying out for the card. This could include both annual fees and interest. If you carry a balance, then it’s likely any interest you pay will negate the value of any features or rewards you receive.
Rewards cards often suit big spenders. Just think about it – the more you spend, the more rewards you receive. If you hardly use the card, you may be paying over the odds in annual fees, without getting much value back in rewards.
Weigh it up before you apply for any rewards or platinum card to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. While the CUA Platinum Credit Card does offer some nice features, it also has a relatively high purchase rate and annual fee.
Introductory offers are always changing. So, if you’re looking to apply for a new card, it pays to check out which intro offers are available. CUA often has a few intro offers on the go, so there’s a good chance you’ll find one that works in your favour.
Intro offers can include balance transfer offers. These offer a much lower rate of interest on transferred balances for an introductory period. This can allow you to pay off that balance while saving on interest. Try to choose the lowest interest rate over the longest time, and be aware of what interest rate will be applied to any unpaid balance at the end of the intro period.
Purchase rate offers work in much the same way as balance transfer offers. They offer a much lower rate of interest on purchases during the intro period. This can allow you to make a large purchase, and then pay it off while saving heaps in interest. Again, make sure you understand the standard purchase rate, and that it will work for you after the intro period ends.
Other intro offers can offer low or no annual fees for the first year. This can allow you to save money while still benefitting from the features on the card. Just be sure to find out what the annual fee reverts to, so you know you can afford it long-term.
In life, you can often save money by bundling products and services with one provider. CUA offers the chance for you to save money if you happen to have both a mortgage and a credit card with them.
If you have a CUA mortgage, you will pay no annual fee on the CUA Platinum Card. You get all the benefits of the card, without having to pay the annual fee. Simple! Check out the details by visiting the CUA Platinum Credit Card page here.
CUA has a proud history in Australia. Starting out life in 1946, CUA – like many customer-owned financial organisations – wanted to give Aussies a fairer deal. Unlike banks, a customer-owned organisation is built to benefit its customers, not to build profits for its shareholders. That can mean lower fees, better rates, and superior service.
These days, CUA still lives by these ideals – and has grown to become Australia’s largest customer-owned financial services provider. Does CUA really offer ‘life rich banking’? Well, that would depend on what you want from life and what you expect from your banking. To find out if CUA – and its credit cards – are right for you, check them out today!
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