In our monthly Ratehacker round-up, Jeremy Cabral from finance comparison site Finder.com.au highlights recent credit card offer changes, plus the best savings accounts and home loans.
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The market is busy with lots of changes including the return of some really competitive balance transfer offers and rewards changes. Here are a few offers that you should make yourself aware of if you're on the hunt for a better deal:
ANZ Low Rate MasterCard: 0 per cent per annum for 9 months balance transfer. On 4 March ANZ brought out a new 0 per cent per annum. for 9 months balance transfer offer. It's good for a number of reasons: a long term balance transfer means if you plan to switch again at the end of the 9 months you've left a good amount of time since your last credit card application, and if you decide to stick with the card the revert of 13.14 per cent per annum. is reasonably low. (For those still interested, you can still get the exclusive online offer of 2.5 per cent per annum for 15 months until 30 April, 2013).
Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard: 8,000 bonus Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) Points, no foreign exchange fees. In last month's Ratehacker column we highlighted cards that had no annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fees. The unique thing about the Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard is that you get the benefit of no foreign currency conversion fees, plus you can also earn rewards points — 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point for every $1 spent plus complimentary travel insurance for an annual fee of $99. This means you would need to spend to exceed the costs of card ownership and start getting a return, which is feasible for those looking for only one card with both rewards earning and no foreign exchange fee card for their next trip.
Changes to Westpac Rewards Credit Cards: Removal of Platinum Plus and Gold range, two new Black cards. Westpac introduced a points cap on its Altitude and Earth credit cards range, leaving quite a few people disgruntled. Westpac has also removed the Gold tier from the Earth, Altitude and Singapore Airlines cards. In their place Westpac has introduced a new range of Black cards which are worth considering - the Westpac Earth Black and Westpac Altitude Black, which both have uncapped points earning.
A good rule of thumb is to try and save 20 per cent of your income. If you have the discipline to stick to this, a high interest savings account can get you good bank for your buck. Here are a few offers to consider:
RAMS Saver Account: 5.01 per cent per annum (with $200 monthly deposit and no withdrawals). We've highlighted this account before for those wanting to keep one solid high interest savings account. With this account, as long as you maintain a deposit of $200 each month and don't make withdrawals you'll benefit from a 4.21 per cent per annum interest rate including the 0.80 per cent per annum bonus rate.
ING Direct Savings Maximiser: 5.00 per cent per annum for 4 months. At the end of the 4 month introductory interest rate period you can benefit from an additional Loyalty Bonus rate of 0.75 per cent per annum by increasing your balance by $200 a month up to a balance of $50,000.
RaboDirect Notice Saver: 4.65 per cent per annum for 90 days. It's not the highest rate in the market; however, the unique benefit is that you have to give the bank advance notice to withdraw funds stopping you from impulse buying. The advantage it has over a standard term deposit it that you can add funds at any time, withdraw at any time (with notice) and your interest is paid monthly instead of at maturity.
It's always worth reviewing your home loans as lenders are beginning to move their rates outside of the standard cash rate cycle. These three home loans have good comparison rates for those considering switching lenders:
UBank UHomeLoan (Variable Rate) Refinance Only: 5.12 per cent per annum comparison rate. If you have an existing home loan and you're looking to refinance, this offer is worth considering from UBank. The offer includes an upfront 0.25 per cent per annum discount.
eMoney Full Doc Variable 75 Home Loan: 5.35 per cent per annum comparison rate. A great online lender deal with no application fee.
HSBC Home Value Loan: 5.27 per cent per annum comparison rate. HSBC have a very competitive offer with this loan. It has the benefit of a 90% LVR and a $0 establishment fee.
See you in May for our next round-up of the latest personal finance offers.
Jeremy Cabral is the Personal Finance Publisher at Finder.com.au which includes popular comparison sites CreditCardFinder.com.au and SavingsAccountFinder.com.au, helping over 4.8 million Australians compare financial products every year. Connect with Jeremy on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.