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Commonwealth Bank cuts 11 interest-free days from its rewards cards

CBA customers will only have 44 days of interest-free bliss for several cards.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has slashed the number of available interest-days from its rewards cards. Customers who have Ultimate Awards, Smart Awards, Awards, Gold Awards, Platinum Awards or Diamond Awards credit cards will have 11 fewer days of interest-free bliss from 55 down to 44.

The move brings CBA in line with NAB, whose interest-free days on rewards cards is also 44. Westpac has 45 interest-free days, while ANZ is the only bank out of the big four that still offers 55 days.

Interest-free days are the number of days customers are spared from being hit with interest after making their purchases.

Commonwealth Bank branch with CBA cards
Commonwealth Bank has brought its interest-free days on its reward days down from 55 to 44. (Source: Getty/CBA)

Do you have a story? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

It's important to note that it's usually referred to as 'up to 55 days', and customers need to be aware of what each card's exact number is and when you pay on your billing cycle to ensure you don't get hit with interest.

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Banks who offer up to 55 days interest-free, typically give customers 25 and 55 days to pay up based on a 30-day billing cycle. On cards offering up to 44 days, customers have between 14 and 44 days to pay for their purchases.

CBA, ANZ and NAB's interest rate on purchases is 20.99 per cent, while Westpac's is 19.99 per cent, but that will rise to 20.99 per cent on June 20.

Rate City research director, Sally Tindall, said CBA's move could impact a lot of customers in the way they manage their cards.

“If customers can’t clear their debts in time, or forget to, they’ll be charged interest on everything they owe, including any new purchases, until they wipe the slate clean entirely,” she said.

“While customers who pay their bill in full every month won’t skip a beat, borrowers who maximise their mortgage offset account by keeping their expenses on interest-free terms on their credit card for as long as possible won’t be thrilled about losing 11 interest-free days.

“Those who plan big purchases at the start of their billing cycle to give themselves the maximum amount of time to pay the money back are also likely to be annoyed by this change.

“Impacted CBA credit card customers should double check any automatic payments or reminders will still occur in time to avoid interest charges."

Close to 70 per cent of credit cards offer up to 55 days interest-free breathing room and Humm group's 90 Platinum Mastercard has the largest number of interest-free days at a whopping 110. However, that card's interest rate is also the second-hightest on Rate City's database 25.80%.

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