Is your credit card working hard enough for you?
From frequent flyer rewards to travel insurance and VIP concierge services, credit cards are packed with extra incentives. But are those benefits really worth the fees?
With some banks charging more than $200 per year for a premium card, it’s worth adding up the value you get in return. When used wisely, your credit card can also help you get more out of life. So here are seven things we think your credit card should do for you.
1. Keep tabs on your budget
Does your credit card highlight just how much you spent last month on dinners out or that new pair of shoes? While no one likes a nag, those SMS alerts and spending dashboards from the Macquarie banking app can help you set some healthier spending habits. It intuitively learns your spending patterns, automatically allocating your transactions to categories such as groceries, travel, leisure, food and drink or technology.
Top tip: Worried about identity theft? Your Macquarie credit card comes with an embedded chip that makes it harder to copy – but if you have any concerns about recent transaction alerts, call 1300 150 300.
2. Earn maximum points
Not all frequent flyer reward cards are equal, so check the points earned per dollar spent. As many banks have recently introduced a tiered points system where your earn rates vary between types of spend – such as groceries, fuel or travel – it can be harder to figure out exactly what value you’re getting.
“Work out roughly how much you’ll spend per month across those different categories, then convert that into points to compare how quickly you’ll accrue enough for your next trip,” suggests Lorenzo Schirru, Head of Credit Cards for Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group.
Top tip: make sure you know how to protect your card from theft while you’re travelling.
3. Indulge in retail therapy
Macquarie gives you the option of joining the Macquarie Rewards program, which offers 2 points per $1 spent using a Macquarie Black and 1.25 points per $1 spent for a Macquarie Platinum Card on eligible purchases. You can then redeem those points for eGift cards from 25 popular retailers – from Jetstar and MYER to Woolworths.
“We worked out most people choose to redeem gift cards through their loyalty program, but they have to wait several days to get them back in the mail,” says Schirru. “So we created a fully digital rewards program.”
While you’re browsing in store, you can log into your Macquarie banking app, select the store you’re in, and convert your points to an eGift card towards your purchase on the spot.
Spending $4,000 a month with a Macquarie Black Card on eligible purchases will give you almost $500 a year in eGift cards to spend with popular Australian and global merchants. Think of it as a helping hand with the Christmas budget – or justification for that new handbag.
Top tip: Last minute gift giving just got even easier – redeem points to send your gift card via email.
4. Protect what matters most with complimentary insurance
“It can also protect your spouse and dependent children if they’re travelling with you – whether it’s interstate or overseas,” says Schirru, who says common claims include flight cancellations or delays, postponed trips due to illness, accidents and lost luggage.1
Macquarie also has complimentary Product Security and Extended Warranty insurances that can help protect your purchases from loss, theft or damage.1 So if your new laptop is stolen just a few months after you buy it, you could be reimbursed for replacement.
Top tip: Save your receipts into your Macquarie banking app to make warranty claims even easier.
5. Pay off your home loan sooner
If your Macquarie credit card is part of your home loan package, you can make it really work for you. By using your credit card for your everyday spending, you benefit from keeping money in your offset account. Just make sure you pay off the balance in full each month.2
Best of all, once you pay your annual home loan package fee the credit card annual fee is waived. Add up to four additional cardholders for your family – with no annual fee.
Top tip: Set up a direct debit from your offset account to pay your monthly statement in full – don’t undo those savings with unnecessary credit card interest.
6. Your personal assistant – on demand
It’s a little-known perk that can make all the difference when you’re busy and under pressure. If you have a Macquarie Platinum and Black credit card, call your very own concierge on +61 2 9273 2705, and ask them to book your travel arrangements – from flights to airport pick-ups. They can also help with emergency medical appointments while you’re away.
Top tip: Your Concierge can even secure discounted access to an airport lounge outside Australia – so if you’re heading overseas make sure you have something extra special to look forward to.
7. Taking control of your finances
Doesn’t everyone want to feel confident with their finances? Keep it simple and merge your credit cards into one – if you switch your current credit card balances to Macquarie, you’ll pay 0% interest for 14 months2 on any amount transferred.
It’s important to note you won’t be eligible for the interest free period on any of your new purchases until you pay off any balance transfer in full – and once that 14 month period ends your total balance will be subject to the standard variable interest rate.
Top tip: Commit to paying off your balance within the 14 month period, so you can start again with a clean slate – and start making the most of all these credit card benefits.
For more tips on how to improve your financial wellbeing, read our 30 day guide to financial wellness.