The most dangerous credit card mistake
LENDERS are keeping minimum repayments on credit cards at a low rate and it's hitting customers hard if they fail to clear their debt each month.
While the minimum monthly balance to be paid is usually just 2 per cent of a card's outstanding balance, some lenders ask for more than this.
Financial comparison website RateCity has found lenders including ING, Macquarie Credit Union and Bank First are among those who require customers to pay a minimum of 5 per cent each month.
ING earlier this year lowered the minimum amount to be paid back from 10 per cent.
For borrowers with a debt of $3000, a customer making 2 per cent minimum repayments would end up paying $4751 in interest costs and it would take 17 years to pay off the debt.
However, a borrower with the same debt who is required to make 5 per cent minimum repayments would end up paying just $1056 in interest charges. It would take 5.7 years to pay off their debt.
RateCity spokeswoman Sally Tindall said customers who could not repay their debts every month would inevitably get stung with excessive charges.
"If you're aren't paying the card out in full every month you should be looking for a low-rate card to minimise these costs," she said.
Some credit cards have interest rates above 20 per cent, so purchases not paid off in full hit hard.
Cardholders who currently hold a debt of $1000 and pay off $200 in a month are charged interest on the full $1000 at the end of the month. But under new changes from January 1 a customer in this scenario would only pay interest on the $800 owing.
BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS
Crown Money Management Scott Parry said banks wanted customers to be stuck in financial "quicksand" and be burdened with debt.
"The lenders can make 16 per cent on debt owing so it's not their interests to have customers paying back this money back anytime soon," he said.
Mr Parry warned paying just two or five per cent off each month "is just spinning the wheels".
"Very little is going off the principal and most of it is going off the interest," he said.
Mr Parry suggested anyone who failed to pay off their monthly balance in full to opt for a balance-transfer credit card. This is where debt is transferred from one card to another and a zero per cent interest rate honeymoon period is applied.