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CardWatch: Credit Card Ratings Update

8 February 2006

CardWatch: Credit Card Ratings Update

With both interest rates and credit card debt on the increase, choosing the right credit card has become a lot more important for the owners of the 2.36 million credit cards issued in New Zealand. CardWatch aims to help consumers make these decisions by allowing them to view the best cards for their circumstances at a glance.

The good news is that NZ credit cardholders appear to be using their credit cards more sensibly and paying their cards off in full more frequently. This is demonstrated by the fact that non-interest bearing balances grew by 10.3% between November 2004 and November 2005 (the most recent data available), while the interest-bearing balances grew at a much slower rate of 5.9%.

However, it isn’t just the people who pay interest who are affected by higher interest rates - when interest rates are higher, Transactors (cardholders who pay in full every month) are able to earn more interest on their money between the date they buy something and the date they pay their credit card bill. Interest free days, when used to their potential, are often worth more than rewards points, especially when interest rates are higher.

The latest CardWatch ratings update reflects the changes in the cards available in the market, and also how our spending and debt patterns have changed over the last year.

CardWatch rates all major credit cards issued in New Zealand by measuring their relative benefits and costs. Even the worth or otherwise of rewards programmes attached to cards are incorporated into the rankings, as are fees, interest rates, interest free periods and the card’s currency conversion rate for overseas transactions.

CardWatch calculates ratings for two different usage patterns, one for the person who pays off their card in full each month and another for those who carry forward an outstanding balance. And the results? They can be viewed for free at


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