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Credit Cards explained

What is a Credit Card?

What is a Credit Card?

A Credit Card is a convenient way to borrow money to pay for things. You don’t need to carry cash, and can use it to pay online, over the phone or in person. You can even use it to pay for goods and services in other countries. There are other advantages to having a Credit Card – most offer benefits such as rewards, travel insurance, purchase protection and a fraud protection guarantee.

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Types of Credit Cards

Types of Credit Cards

Credit Cards are not one size fits all. Different types of Credit Cards exist so that you can choose the one that best suits your individual needs and the way you spend.

  • Rewards Credit Cards – Designed for those who enjoy earning points on their spend then redeeming them for exciting rewards.
  • Frequent Flyer Credit Cards – If you’re a jet-setter, this type of Card will earn you frequent flyer points for making everyday purchases on your Card.
  • Platinum Credit Cards – Incredible rewards and luxurious extras for those who appreciate the finer things in life.
  • No Annual Fee Credit Cards – For those who’d like to experience benefits without the added expense of an annual fee.

Understanding interest rates

Understanding interest rates

When you use your Credit Card, you are effectively taking out a loan – and will be charged interest if you do not pay off your debt in full every month. This interest is applied to your closing balance at the end of every day, and then totalled up to form your current statement amount.

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What is a ‘credit limit’?

What is a ‘credit limit’?

A credit limit is a financial boundary set at the start of your Credit Card contract. All Credit Cards have a maximum and a minimum credit limit.

If you are an American Express Card Member, you can apply to increase your credit limit online or by calling the number on the back of your Card. Alternatively, if your credit limit is higher than you need it to be, you can request a credit limit decrease by calling the number on the back of your Card.

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What is a surcharge?

What is a surcharge?

A surcharge is a fee that a business charges a customer for using a Card to make a purchase. American Express strongly opposes surcharging; however, it is not illegal and is a cost that a business can choose to pass on to a customer if they wish.

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Credit Card fees and charges

Credit Card fees and charges

Some American Express® Credit Cards charge an annual fee in return for rewards, features and benefits. The amount will vary depending on the Card you apply for. Typically, the more rewards or features your Card has, the higher the annual fee. There are other standard charges and fees that may sometimes apply.

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What is a Charge Card?

What is a Charge Card?

Although not a Credit Card, Charge Cards are another type of payment method. Those who are committed to paying off their balance in full each month will enjoy the freedom of a Charge Card as they have no pre-set spending limit1.

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Repayment of a Credit Card

Repayment of a Credit Card

At the end of your statement period, you will need to pay the minimum repayment amount, all of your closing balance or something in between, as detailed on your statement. By paying off more – or all – of your balance by the due date, you will pay less interest.

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Useful terms

Useful terms

  • Statement period: The period in which the transactions reported on your statement relate to. Generally, your statement period will be every 30 days, the actual dates can vary slightly from month to month.
  • Interest: When you use your Credit Card, you are effectively taking out a loan – and will be charged interest unless you repay the full closing balance within a specified period. Interest is usually expressed as an annual percentage rate, also known as the interest rate.
  • Interest free days: Interest free days are the time from when you buy something using your Credit Card to when interest is applied to that purchase balance – usually at the beginning of your next statement period.
  • Repayments: When your statement arrives, you will have a choice of repayment options. You can pay off the entire Credit Card bill on, or before, the statement due date – in which case you’ll avoid paying more interest.
  • Closing balance: The amount you owe at the end of a particular statement period.
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What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer means taking an existing Credit Card balance and transferring it onto another Credit Card.

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How do you apply for a Credit Card?

The quickest way to apply for a Credit Card is online; simply enter the required information and we will provide you with a response in 60 seconds.

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Credit Card security

At American Express, we take your financial security very seriously. We have a series of measures in place to ensure you can shop with confidence. Visit our Security Centre to learn more.

Protection against fraud

Our Intelligent Security Systems, Secure Payment process and Fraud Protection Guarantee2 help keep you safe and secure.

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Protection on purchases

Damaged something you purchased or having trouble getting a refund? You can rely on us to put things right.

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Protection against phishing

We are constantly updating our online security features, but there are also some simple steps you can take to protect yourself.

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Why choose American Express?

Accepted at more places

With more Merchants in Australia choosing to accept American Express, including the big brand stores you spend at every day, your points will add up fast.

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Membership experiences

We believe our Card Members deserve more. Discover how we reward our Card Members.

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A great range of Cards

From Charge Cards to Credit Cards – you’re bound to find something to suit your needs.

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Terms and Conditions

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Terms and Conditions

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1. No pre-set spending limit does not mean unlimited spending. Your purchases are approved based on a variety of factors, including current spending patterns, your payment history, credit records, and financial resources known to us.

2. Provided that you do not contribute to or unreasonably delay reporting any misuse of your Account and you have complied with your Card Conditions, you will not be held liable for any unauthorised charges.