CHOICE membership

Credit cards and self-funded retirees

FWIW I have a US issued card that has no fees and a 1% rebate. It leaves the 28 degrees in its dust. :slight_smile:

Paying bills cross-border incurs currency conversion losses and attention to balancing free cash accordingly. Not sure how it would go getting the card in the US these days, but. I never saw a card offer here that was close so also have a big bank card loaded with our typical cross border/currency fees, but domestically is pretty good.

Those seem to be the oldies options.


I had one already, I’d never qualify for one now, having only a government pension. I pay 3x the minimum repayment (would that I could pay it off completely) but I keep it running for those just in case things. I’d have it paid off in 2 years if I never spent on it again. But, theres that garage door that needs replacing, and the stove thats on its last legs. etc. My estate, such as it is, will deal with it.


I have a VISA FF card with ANZ and recently asked my credit union about getting one of their low fee VISA cards, due to the excessive fees paid on the ANZ one- $360/year! I’m unemployed but able to access my super, with only a few hundred on the VISA but it was a no-goer due to not having an employer and regular income, so I’ll have to stick with my exising card for now.


This morning I got a message from Westpac about a suspicious $0 test charge on my card, and the card was locked pending my response. Sure enough by the time I rang in minutes later there were more fraudulent attempts to access the card account from a range of sources from airbnb to a company selling horse medicines.

The card was cancelled with a new one coming in ‘5-7 business days’ so full marks for Westpac’s fraud detection but those ‘5-7 business days’ not withstanding a NSW holiday would add 1 calendar day. Fortunately as a good customer Westpac agreed to make that 2 business days at no special charge.

However this makes a point that when one uses a debit/ATM card linked to one’s bank account, the disruption and aggro caused when a card has to be replaced can be severe. Auto debits will fail and getting cash for ‘5-7 business days’ means at a minimum going to a branch for cash, if you have one. No card and no cash from a Saturday afternoon? Could be a hungry weekend.

My auto debits to the credit card are all essential services. The card had not been out of sight or out of hand nor used for more than groceries and a routine accountant payment in 2 months, so it would have been skimmed a while back, or there is a shortly to be discovered data breach in one of a very few payment systems.

To topic, when one has a bank account and only a debit card, that card is your lifeline to cash and debit card payments. Have that cancelled and payments can only be done by EFT, BPay, or direct debit to the account for those 5-7 business days. It can be an onerous disruption depending on when one has payments due and how much cash is in hand.

A credit card can be locked and replaced and one can fall back on a second credit or debit card for those 5-7 business days. Without the ability to secure a credit card in retirement seniors are open to being disadvantaged by fraud no matter how well handled.

Seems obvious, but.


It hasn’t been skimmed at an ATM by any chance?


It has never been in an ATM.


Not the case for you, but a few years ago I had issues with a fraudulent purchase attempt (picked up by my bank, who phoned me) after using my VISA at a UK store I use to purchase cycling gear, and heard that others suffered the same thing after buying there, so clearly someone with access to transaction details there was very dodgy! I now use Paypal for most of my online transactions, which appears to be avoiding problems so far.


An option would be to ask a friend or good neighbour for a cash advance to be paid back as soon the new card arrives.

If a close friend, family member or trustworthy neighbour asked for such I would be happy to help out with a hundred or two…as you never know the favour may need returning at some stage.


I use Paypal online, and my Apple Watch in B&M stores. Card info never gets near anyone dodgy. I also have my CC not to allow overseas purchases …


There are often work-arounds for problems, some more palatable than others, person dependent.

I expect you know my point but since you offered asking someone for a cash advance, not everyone is fortunate to have either family or close enough neighbours to ask, and some who might cannot depend on those family or neighbours having free cash of their own in these times, and some of us would be hesitant to ask out of pride regardless of the circumstance that deprived us of cash or equivalents for a few days.


Retirees at disadvantage. I have been informed that one of the main reasons banks will not issue new credit card applicants a credit card when they only have a pension income, Government or private pension. If you default on your credit card the banks cannot make a claim for payment against your pension. So apply for your credit cards while still employed to avoid being refused and disappointment.


I wonder how they would react if you could prove you dont default. No different I suppose. I’d love to get away from CBA but am stuck with them.


Some, not all, banks reportedly will give cards to retired seniors but the burden of financial evidence can be a barrier by itself. Multiple years of tax returns and statements from your accountant; everybody worthy of a card has an accountant, right?

It pays to ask the question but the most common answer is ‘we are not their business targets’.


I attend a men’s discussion group. Yesterday we talked about this issue for a few minutes. One gent reported after retiring he realised his credit card was ‘not good value’ to be polite, and he tried to get a better one. He is self funded with a sizeable SMSF. Guess what happened (you know already). He still has his ‘not good value card’ because no other issuer he approached will even tell him why his applications are declined while forcing him to play 20 questions, with some telling him that the rejections are ‘probably’ because of his credit rating (which is excellent from all agencies).

Those of us who may be locked into a bad deal often discover our choices are keeping the bad deal or having no deal at all.


Assuming for the moment that you would pay the debt in full each month (and therefore avoid interest charges), I wonder why a credit card is necessary these days? A debit card can be used for on-line purchases, tap and go is almost universal. There may be a case for overseas travel but even then you can get pre-paid currency cards that would would ‘like plastic’ overseas but without the credit charges that go with a credit card. A debit card with visa or mastercard will allow withdrawalls direct from your bank even overseas.

On the other hand, I can see why banks are wary of giving people on a fixed low income a credit card. Do we not already blame the banks for the profligacy of the young?

Age by its self is no indicator of responsibility or even ability to repay debt.


Yes, we have found the same that it can be used in almost all circumstances. But, the reason why we have credit cards is for overseas travelling and car hire.

Many companies are reluctant to process bookings using debit cards as they place a hold on the card for the amount of the accident excess. For a debit card one needs to have that amount in cash in one’s account (+ more for spending money), which may need to be in the order of AUD4000. I am a bit reluctant to have such funds in my everyday debit card account.

Credit cards can also have better rates and lower fees when travelling overseas compared to local bank issued debit cards.

The final factor is that some credit cards offer travel insurance which can be a saving where the cover is worthwhile.


Not everyone has sufficient cash in the bank at the time it is needed to be able to use a debit card.


Without repeating what has been written, you can find some reasons by perusing this topic from the beginning as it appears you may have joined it near the end.


Probably the very reason you wouldn’t get the credit card in the first place then!

1 Like

One of the things business does these days is rely on employees credit. If you travel for business, it is rare to have a fully funded corporate card, usually if it is ‘called’ a corporate card, the employee is still the one with the credit responsibility and many companies now simply assume an employee has a card and will only reimburse an expense - not cash up front.

Until recently I had a recurring expense that was fully covered under my terms of employment - it was in the tens of thousands and happened only once a year, but I had to pay first then claim.

That is to say - there are many reasons why someone with ample income to service a credit card under normal conditions might not have the money to deal with ‘the spikes’ in use - I certainly didn’t have 5 figure sums lying around just for once a year expenses like the above.

Credit cards also have way better fraud protections than debit cards as I understand it … I believe in most cases with a debit card, your liability is limited only by your available balance - of course there are ways of ‘managing this’ to reduce the risk exposure, but to me it seems easier to use the credit …