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Introductory credit card offers for a limited time
Look forward to rewards like bonus points, 0% interest rates or reduced annual fees when you get a credit card with an introductory offer.
Take advantage of introductory offers to save on fees, earn more points or receive cashback to your account when you sign up for a new card. Usually, credit card offers are only available for a limited time, and you need to tick a couple of boxes to get the deal. Use this guide to compare introductory offers and to learn how to choose a credit card that works for you.
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How do credit card introductory offers work?
Most introductory offers are only available to new customers who apply and are approved for a specific credit card during the promotional period.
The benefits of introductory offers only last for a limited time. For example, promotional interest rates or fee discounts may revert to standard features after the promotional period. Bonus points, on the other hand, can last until you use them or they expire.
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How to qualify for a credit card promotional offer
You usually have to meet specific requirements to be eligible for an introductory offer. These conditions vary but usually include:
- New customers. You must be a new credit card customer, with no existing credit cards issued by the company you’re applying with. For example, if you have a credit card issued by American Express, you likely won’t be eligible for another Amex introductory offer. Or, if you want to get a balance transfer to pay off existing card debt, you usually need to apply for a credit card from another issuer.
- Application dates. Some promotional offers may only be available to applicants who apply and are approved by a set date.
- Application details. With balance transfer offers, you typically need to request the balance transfer (and include details of the debt you want to transfer) when you apply for the card. With Airpoints bonus point offers, you need to include your Airpoints membership details on your application to collect the points.
- Spend requirements. When there is a bonus point offer available, you must often meet a spend requirement by a set date to receive the points. For example, you may need to spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of card approval to earn your bonus points.
Before you apply for a card with an introductory offer, make sure you fully understand these terms and conditions to ensure you can get the full value from the offer.
What types of introductory credit card offers can I get?
There are different introductory offers available depending on what you want from a credit card. For example, if you want to save on debt, you could look at balance transfer offers that give you a low or 0% introductory interest rate. If you want rewards for your spending, you can compare cards that offer introductory bonus points. With a variety of introductory credit card deals in New Zealand, we’ve summarised some of the most popular options you can compare.
0% or low balance transfer credit card offers
A 0% or low balance transfer credit card can be a useful tool to consolidate and repay debt without the cost of interest, or with a much lower interest rate. Examples of these are the ASB Visa Light, (0% interest rate for 6 months) and the Kiwibank Low Rate Visa, (1.0% interest rate for 12 months). Once the promotional offer ends, a standard revert rate applies, and any remaining debt begins to collect interest, often at the higher cash advance rate.
Interest-free balance transfers are only available for a limited time, so you are required to apply and receive approval before the offer end date to take advantage of the promotional 0% interest rate. You can usually request the balance transfer and provide the details of your existing account when you apply.
Low purchase rate promotions
Purchase rate offers help you save on your spending by giving you a low or 0% introductory interest rate during the honeymoon period. Examples include the American Express Airpoints card, (0% p.a. for 6 months then 19.95% p.a.) At the end of the introductory period, the promotional rate reverts to a standard interest rate that applies to any balance carried from these purchases.
Purchase rate offers can be useful if you have many planned expenses coming up and want a flexible and affordable way to pay them off over time. To get the most out of low or 0% purchase rate deals, you should aim to pay off the new charges before the end of the introductory period.
No annual fee offers
This introductory offer waives the credit card’s annual fee for a promotional period (usually the first 12 months). Depending on the credit card, no annual fee promotions can save you tens or hundreds of dollars. You usually need to apply before a specific date to enjoy a no annual fee introductory offer.
After the introductory period, the standard annual fee is applied to the account. So, if you plan to use your credit card beyond the promotional period, you should pay attention to the standard annual fee when comparing credit cards. Examples of no annual fee credit cards are the ANZ Low Rate Visa and the Kiwibank Zero Visa credit card.
Bonus reward points promotions
Many rewards credit cards include bonus points when you apply and are approved for the card. Bonus point offers are usually only available when you apply by a certain date and meet the spend criteria. For example, you may need to spend a set amount of money in the first few months to collect the bonus points. As long as the spend requirement fits within your budget and doesn’t outweigh the value of your bonus points, it can be an easy way to boost your points balance as soon as you apply for the card. Remember that not all points are created equal and be sure to consider the value of the points before you apply.
An example of a New Zealand credit card with rewards point promotions includes the American Express Platinum Card, which rewards you with 80,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you spend $1,500 on your card within the first 3 months of card membership. Please note, you have to be a new card member.
Bonus Airpoints promotions
Similar to bonus reward point promotions, Airpoints credit cards may offer bonus points on sign up, for example, the American Express Airpoints Platinum Card currently rewards you with 200 bonus Airpoints Dollars when you apply. Again, you’re usually required to spend a minimum amount within a set period to qualify for the bonus points offer.
Make sure you know what these terms and conditions are before you apply so that you can decide if the offer is worth it. It’s also important to look at how many points you usually earn for your spending, as well as any rates, fees and extra features that come with the card.
Cashback credit card offers
This type of introductory offer gives you cashback when you get a new credit card, for example, with the ANZ CashBack Visa, you can earn up to 1% cashback if you spend between $5,000 and $30,000 each year. Like bonus point promotions, you usually need to spend a specific amount of money on the card before you can enjoy the cashback offer. For example, an offer might give you $200 cash back if you spend $500 in the first 3 months you have the card.
Some cashback offers also require you to spend the minimum amount in a specific way, such as making contactless payments. This type of offer can give you extra value if you have planned purchases you want to make on your credit card, but may not be worth it otherwise.
Other introductory credit card offers
As well as the major introductory offers outlined above, some credit card companies may offer other more unique deals for new customers. For example, you might find:
- Gift cards. Similar to cashback deals, some credit cards might run a promotion to offer complimentary gift cards to new customers, usually for an affiliated store or brand. To be eligible, you usually have to apply during the promotional period and may need to enter a promotional code online.
- Discounted purchases. Some credit cards may offer you a discount on specific transactions. For example, an Airpoints credit card could offer 10% off flight bookings made with the affiliated airline during the promotional period.
Depending on the credit card, you may be able to take advantage of more than one of these offers at a time. For example, a card that offers a 0% balance transfer rate could also have a discounted annual fee for the first year, or a card with bonus points may also offer 0% interest on purchases during the honeymoon period.
How to compare credit card introductory offers
While introductory offers can sweeten the deal when you sign up for a credit card, you should also look at the card’s ongoing features. Thinking about the following factors helps you find an introductory offer that suits your needs in the short-term and a credit card that fits your circumstances in the long-term.
- The promotional interest rate. Depending on the card, the promotional offer may have a low or 0% interest rate. Usually, the lower the interest rate, the more savings you make. However, it would be best if you also weighed up the promotional interest rate with the annual fee and the promotional offer’s length to determine which card offers the most savings.
- The length of the introductory period. With a low purchase rate or balance transfer offer, the promotional rate applies as soon as your card is activated. It’s essential that you calculate how much you need to pay each month to repay the entire balance before the introductory period ends. Otherwise, any remaining balance attracts the standard interest rate and begins to cancel out your savings.
- The promotional offer end date. Credit card offers are only available for a limited time, so you need to apply before the end date to take advantage of them. Check the terms and conditions to make sure any offers you want are still available before you apply.
- The standard interest rates. If you have a card with a low or 0% purchase or balance transfer deal, the standard interest rates apply to any balances remaining at the end of the introductory period. These rates are generally much higher than those of the introductory offer, so considering them before you apply helps you avoid any nasty surprises when the promotion ends.
- Standard annual fees. If you get a reduced or waived annual fee offer, make sure you check the standard annual fee to know how much you have to pay after the first 12 months. If you only intend to use the card while the waived annual fee is in place, make sure you know when the standard annual fee applies and close your card before then to avoid paying extra.
- Other fees and charges. As well as the annual fee, the card may come with other rates and fees such as balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, foreign transaction fees, and late payment costs.
- Interest charges. If you have to meet a minimum spend to earn bonus points or redeem an introductory offer, remember that these purchases typically collect interest, (unless they are eligible for an interest-free period). This is why it’s important to ensure that the spend requirement fits within your budget; otherwise, the interest costs could easily outweigh the value of the points or bonus offer.
Rewards and extras
- Bonus point requirements. Most cashback and bonus point offers require you to spend a minimum amount in a set timeframe, so it’s important to check before you apply to make sure you can afford to take advantage of the offer. Some bonus point offers require you to keep the card for at least 12 months, offering bonus points to you after you pay the annual fee for a second year. If that’s the case, check how much this fee costs before deciding if the points are worth it.
- Standard rewards points. As well as the bonus points, make sure the regular rewards programme (including the earn rate and how you can redeem your rewards) suits your spending behaviour and rewards goal.
- Complimentary extras. Additional, ongoing perks such as international travel insurance, extended warranties and concierge services can bring more value to the card that you choose. However they can also contribute to higher annual fees, so make sure these are features you may take advantage of before you apply.
Introductory offers have the potential to provide you with more value when you get a new credit card. While almost anyone can benefit from these deals, the value they provide really depends on your individual circumstances.
It’s essential to remember that these benefits only last for a set amount of time before reverting to the card’s standard features. So being aware of how credit card offers work and considering both the introductory offer and the ongoing card features means you can choose a card that offers you value now and in the future.
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