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Credit card hack to get 3.5 years interest free

As we wait for interest rates to start heading south, this tool could help you keep your head above water.

There’s suddenly a real sense – wrongly or rightly – that we just have to get through the end of this cost-of-living rough patch.

Interest rates are expected to come down, inflation is easing... Heck, Taylor Swift is here. Surely the nation’s budget, and our household bottom lines, are about to get better?

But you might need some help with expenses in the meantime. So, I asked Mozo to give me the list of Australia’s top interest-free credit cards for purchases, and for balance transfers.

Compilation image of Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon and a pile of credit cards
Nicole reveals the top credit cards on offer today, for new purchases as well as balance transfers. (Source: Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon/Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

Australia’s top interest-free credit cards

You can get up to 12 months interest-free right now, with literally no strings. These deals are available from BankWest - on its Breeze MasterCard - and Virgin Money - on its no-annual-fee Visa card.

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The so-called revert rate - the rate applied to any spend you haven’t cleared within the initial interest-free period - is a very good 12.99 per cent with BankWest, and a higher 18.99 per cent with Virgin Money. But bear in mind, there’s no fee with Virgin Money – the rate is, almost, the penalty.

There are other alternatives on offer too.

Also by Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon:

For six months, you can opt for the even-more-competitive Suncorp Clear Options standard card, with a revert rate of the lowest in the market of 12.74 per cent. There is also Commonwealth Bank’s low-rate credit card at 13.99 per cent after the 0 per cent period, and Citi’s Clear – Purchases Offer, at 14.99 per cent.

Credit card table. Supplied by Mozo/Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon
(Source: mozo/Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon)

The good thing about these cards is that you need only make the minimum monthly repayment. This might be $20 or 2 per cent of your outstanding credit card balance.

How to use these cards to ‘buy’ more time

The really powerful thing about these cards, from a personal-finance point of view, is often missed. The same is true of 0 per cent balance-transfer credit cards.

At low - or even zero - interest, just making the minimum monthly repayment can make a real difference. It can even clear your debt.

Let’s take a hypothetical $1,000 necessary purchase today, for which you get one of the 12-months-interest-free cards mentioned above. Repaying $20 a month means that $240 of your debt will be discharged by the end of that first year.

If you then switched your remaining balance to a 0 per cent balance-transfer card, for another 32 months, and kept your repayment the same, another $640 would be gone by the time that interest-free period was up.

That means, with those two carefully chosen credit cards (and no extra spending) your $1,000 debt is reduced to just $120, without a cent of interest.

Here, according to Mozo, are today’s best 0 per cent deals for balance transfers as well.

Credit card table. Supplied by Mozo/Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon
(Source: mozo/Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon)

If you are disciplined with your debt, these tools could take your finances through to the other side of interest rates and inflation - ‘swiftly’.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is the author of How to Get Mortgage-Free Like Me, available atwww.nicolessmartmoney.com. Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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