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Michael F.
Michael F.
Melbourne, VIC

Looking at getting my first credit card for fairly minor purchases. At the moment I'm thinking the best option is a no annual fee, low interest card such as Coles MasterCard. Can anyone offer tips or advice for someone new to the market ?

8 years ago


Hi Michael,
The best advice would be don't get one!
If you really need one, you are correct, the no fee - low rate cards are the best option.
The key is to maintain strong discipline and only use it for necessary bill payments as a short term option, they will end up costing you a fortune if you use them for everyday purchases.
Happy to help if you have any questions


Hi Scott, thanks for you answer. I know I'm an ideal world not getting one is the best option, however, due to circumstances I do need one. If I have one and don't use it are there any hidden fees other than the annual payment that some cards require?

Hi Michael,
That's ok, we all need a bit of help at times.
No, there are no fees to hold the card unless there are annual fees.

Hi Michael

It is a very interesting question given there are so much options in the market yet not a lot of people know how to properly use one.

At the very cheapest end I would get a debit card linked to my existing savings account. This is usually free and is also a "master card" or "Visa card". It's my own money and I can use it to purchase things from the net. Because it is my own money there is no interest or fees. Speak to your existing bank where you have a savings account.

When you talk about an actual credit card (whether it is a low rate or platinum), the one thing to bear in mind is the interest rate charged. These can range from 10-24%. All these cards have an interest free period but only if you pay the full balance of the statement every single month. Missing 1cent of that balance will forfeit your internet free period and every purchase you made will have interest charged to it.

Some cards have gimmicks like points via purchases or air points. But the real issue is that somewhere along the way you will forget to pay the full balance and end up paying interest.

So the only way to get the full benefits of a credit card is through discipline.

Hope that makes sense.

Looking forward to speaking to you further if you have any questions.

Kind regards


Hi Dien, thanks for your answer. I already have a visa debit card but am looking at a credit card to make some minor payments as my job has begun paying monthly. Do you know about the Coles MasterCard specifically? I'm always weary when companies offer things such as no interest and no annual payments, it almost seems to good to be true.

Hi Michael

The to me they are all the same.

The no fees cards like Coles are great.

Just make sure you pay the full balance every month. As they are not a bank, you will have to do a BPay / transfer to pay your card. Note these take 2 days to hit the Coles account. So make sure you pay it asap rather than wait for the due date.

Also don't apply for too many credit cards as it will hurt your credit report and affect future applications for personal loans and home loans.

Hope that helps


There are a lot of choices. Choice Magazine often publishes comparisons of different cards and benefits including reward points etc. so find the one that matches your habits and lifestyle with low (total) costs.
More importantly, do your research.. however, never do your research by applying for many different cards as this will adversely affect and damage your credit score for up to 5 years. Every time you apply, this lists on your credit report.
Many lenders (personal loan and mortgage) will automatically decline your application if you apply 6 times within any 12 month period. This is regardless of whether you accepted the credit or not.
If you want to check your credit history, you can check your own credit report each year for free and without adversely affecting your credit score.

John J Maxwell
Senior Finance Consultant
Cocalex Holistic Mortgage & Finance Consulting
0434 544 225

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