Kiwi credit card holders could be facing a $247 million “loyalty tax” | Finder NZ

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Kiwi credit card holders could be facing a $247 million “loyalty tax”

        • 72% of credit card customers have been with the same provider for at least 5 years
        • Average monthly credit card spend is $1,172
        • What to look for in a balance transfer credit car

10 December 2020, New Zealand – Kiwi credit card holders could be overpaying millions of dollars in interest over the next two years unless they switch to a lower rate, according to Finder, a financial research and credit card comparison website in New Zealand.

A new nationally representative Finder survey of 1,478 New Zealand credit card holders has revealed that the majority (72%) – equivalent to almost 2 million people – have been with their credit provider for at least 5 years.

A Finder analysis of the latest RBNZ card data found that credit card holders are paying $247 million more in interest than they could be, with the average monthly credit card spend at $1,172.

According to the RBNZ, there are currently more than 2.7 million credit card holders in New Zealand, with the average credit card interest rate currently at 19.4%.

In comparison, the lowest rate available on Finder NZ is currently 9.95% (not including promotional rates).

If all of these loyal customers are on the average interest rate of 19.4% and they switched to a low rate card, they could save over $247 million in interest over the next 2 years.

Kevin McHugh, Finder’s publisher in New Zealand, said that loyalty doesn’t pay off when it comes to credit cards.

“If you’ve been with your credit card provider for a number of years and haven’t reviewed your rate, there’s a good chance you’re paying more interest than you could be elsewhere.

“By switching to a more competitive offer, you can lock in immediate savings.

“As we wrap up 2020, now is a good time to reassess your banking products and get on the financial front foot for the new year,” McHugh said.

McHugh said that for credit card holders who accrue festive debt during Christmas, a balance transfer can help them to pay it off quicker.

“They say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most expensive, with many people relying on their credit card to get by.

“A balance transfer allows you to move existing debt from one card over to a new credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate for up to six months, or a low rate for the life of the balance.

“By paying low or no interest on your balance for a set period of time, you should be able to pay your festive debt off a lot faster than you otherwise would.

“As with any type of credit card product, fees and limits may apply, so it’s important to check the terms and conditions before signing up,” McHugh said.

Methodology

  • This study was designed by Finder and conducted by Qualtrics, a SAP company.
  • The online Finder survey was conducted using a nationally representative survey sample of 1,479 New Zealand credit card holders.
  • Credit card interest was calculated using RBNZ data, and was based on the difference between the interest earned on the average purchase with the average rate over two years (19.40%), and the interest earned on the average purchase with the lowest rate over two years 9.95%).
    Average credit card interest rate (19.40%)Lowest credit card interest rate (9.95%)*Difference
    Interest accrued per customer on the average purchase over two years$251.32$125.32-$126.05
    Total interest accrued over two years$493,250,427$245,908,993-$247,341,434

    Source: Finder, RBNZ, *Lowest credit card rate available on Finder NZ as of December 2020 (excluding promotional offers)

    What to look for in a balance transfer credit card:

    • Promotional period. The longer the low or 0% interest offer is, the more time you’ll have to pay off your debt. Finder currently offers balance transfer credit cards with a term of up to six months.
    • Fees. Some cards charge a one-off transfer fee ranging from 1–3% of your total balance, which can chip away at your potential savings. You may also be charged an annual fee, yet some card issuers will wipe this for the first year.
    • Standard interest rate. If you haven’t paid off your balance by the end of the promotional period, your card will convert to the standard interest rate, which is typically much higher.

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    For further information

    Disclaimer

    The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com's review pages for the current correct values.

    About finder.com:

    finder.com is a personal finance website, which helps consumers compare financial products online so they can make better informed decisions. Consumers can visit finder.com to compare credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, life and travel insurance, shopping coupon codes, and so much more before choosing the option that best suits their needs.

    Best of all, finder.com is completely free to use. We’re not a bank or insurer, nor are we owned by one, and we are not a product issuer or a credit provider. We’re not affiliated with any one institution or outlet, so it’s genuine advice from a team of experts who care about helping you find better.

    finder.com launched in the U.S. in September 2015 and is privately owned and self-funded by two Australian entrepreneurs – Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia – who successfully grew finder.com.au to be Australia's most visited personal finance website (Source: Experian Hitwise).

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