The count down to Christmas is on, and chances are, you’ve been busy spending as you work your way through your Christmas gift list. In the lead up to Christmas it’s projected that Australians will spend $56 billion on credit cards alone. Australians are also increasingly turning to lay-by services such as After Pay and Zip Pay as they also offer the convenience of buy now, pay later. If you’re feeling the pinch this holiday season and are considering one of these options, there are 4 things to consider to help choose the right option for you.
- Where will you be shopping?
Not all stores offer lay-by services, so consider what payment options are offered at the places you know you’ll shop. Additionally, some stores only offer a lay-by service if you are shopping online so consider if you’ve left online shopping too late or not. Credit cards on the other hand can be used anywhere Visa is accepted so offer more choice.
- How soon will you need to make repayments?
To avoid interest on your credit card, you need to repay the statement closing balance in full by the due date each month. If you can’t do this each month, then you simply need to make the minimum repayment. If you don’t repay your balance in full each month, ensure you’re not paying more interest than you need to by choosing a lower rate card such as the Easy Low Rate Credit Card from Easy Street. It has one of the lowest ongoing credit card rates in Australia.
Repayment terms for lay-by services can vary from fortnightly to monthly and from minimum repayments to repaying the full amount via four equal payments over 8 weeks. With any payment option, be careful you don’t miss a payment or you’ll be charged a late fee. If you aren’t confident you can recover quickly from your Christmas spending, then you should avoid credit altogether. However if your mind is made up, then consider an option that only requires you to make a minimum repayment to give yourself more time to pay it off.
- How much do you need to spend?
Some lay-by services limit the amount you can spend which may not fit your Christmas budget. If you plan on spending more, credit cards can be easier to manage than tracking partial payments across multiple purchases. Plus, you can make extra repayments at your discretion as opposed to direct debit only repayments. You should never spend more than you can comfortably afford to pay back, so remain in control and stick only to purchases you absolutely need or reduce your gift budget to avoid your spending getting out of control.
- Do you need to access cash?
Lay-by services don’t offer the convenience of cash, and nor should they. But what if you were planning on giving family members money for Christmas, or your kids extra school holiday pocket money to keep them occupied? While accessing cash on credit isn’t usually a great idea, if you do find yourself needing to access cash on your credit card, make sure you aren’t paying more than you need to. Again, the Easy Low Rate Credit Card from Easy Street offers a good value option as you’ll only be charged the same low rate as a purchase, unlike many other cards on the market that can charge you as much as 22% p.a. The only difference is you’ll be charged interest from the day of the withdrawal.
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Easy Street Financial Services is a division of Community First Credit Union Limited ABN 80 087 649 938 | AFSL and Australian credit licence 231204 | BSB No 512 170