What Type Of Credit Card User Are You?

Are you a chaser, a switcher, a revolver or something completely different?

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“There are about 16 million credit cards in circulation in Australia[1] and, while every user is unique, there are some distinctive behavioural ‘types’ when it comes to how we use that precious piece of plastic,” says Steve Laidlaw, People’s Choice Credit Union Chief Executive Officer.

In a recent survey of 591 participants, People’s Choice asked its online community about how they use their credit cards and what’s important to them.

1. Rewards Chasers

“Those who chase rewards use their credit card for practically every purchase – swiping, typing, BPAY-ing, tapping and waving for every dollar that they spend to accrue as many rewards as they can,” said Mr Laidlaw.

“This kind of credit card user will spend plenty of money each month, but rarely more than they can afford. They’ll usually pay their balance off in full and on time, to avoid paying interest and to maximise the benefits of the card.

“It’s important to understand how your points system works to get the most from rewards cards. Make sure you know when points expire and whether or not you can cash them in for useful rewards,” he said

And the survey says:

  • 59% of respondents pay off the full closing balance of their credit card each month.
  • The top four rewards for respondents who like to collect reward points using their credit cards are cashback, points per dollar spent, frequent flyer and travel rewards

2. Revolvers

“Revolvers don’t pay off their card debt so the debt revolves each month, thereby costing them interest,” said Mr Laidlaw.

“By making only the minimum payment or slightly more each month, revolvers can extend the timeframe for paying off their card. For these users, the lower interest rate and scheduled repayments of a personal loan might be a better way of managing their debt,” he said.

And the survey says:

  • 25% of respondents don’t pay the full closing balance of their credit card each month, with 16% saying they do ‘sometimes.’

3. Switchers

“Switchers move their debt from one balance transfer offer to the next whenever the zero or low-interest period is about to expire,” said Mr Laidlaw.

“If you’re a switcher, have a think about the effect multiple credit card applications might be having on your credit score and make sure you’re absolutely clear on the interest rates, fees and date that it reverts back to the standard terms – the honeymoon doesn’t last forever,” he said.

And the survey says:

  • A great balance transfer credit card would entice 84% of respondents to switch to a new financial institution.

4. Periodicals

“Periodical credit card users are those who prefer to spend what they’ve got in the bank or in their pocket, but will have a credit card on hand for online purchases, occasional big-ticket spending and emergencies,” said Mr Laidlaw.

“When they do use their credit card, they’re in the habit of clearing it as quickly as possible. More interest-free days are often an advantage for the periodicals,” he said.

And the survey says:

  • More than one third of all respondents (35%) use their credit card daily, with only 13% stating that they use their credit card only when needed or for major purchases.
  • 16% of respondents said they primarily use their credit card to make purchases online.

5. Travellers

“Travellers will get a credit card before hitting the road because it can be a safer, more convenient and economical way to pay instead of continually withdrawing money at overseas ATMs or carrying around bundles of foreign cash,” said Mr Laidlaw.

“Also, some hotels and rental car companies require a credit card for security, and those that don’t may place large holds on your savings, including when using a debit card, which can take a while to clear.

“Worldwide acceptance and added card security are musts for the traveller. Most credit cards have great security, offering a solid level of protection against counterfeiting, card skimming and other fraudulent activity,” he said.

And the survey says:

  • The top three most important features respondents want to be bundled with the credit cards are fraud alerts, purchase protection and travel insurance. VIP access to events and roadside assistance were among the least important features for respondents.

 

Steve reminds people: “If you’re getting caught in a cycle of debt, get in touch with your financial institution right away. By flagging the problem early, they might be able to help you get back in control of your finances sooner.”

 

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