2 credit card magic tricks to pay less


Your credit card is the only form of credit where you have more of a say in the overall cost of your credit. This ‘cost of credit’ is the total amount of interest you will pay back for the duration of the credit plus monthly charges. With a personal loan, you typically pay the same amount every month for a set amount of time. This means that you know upfront how much you’ll pay over the life of that loan. Because a credit card is a revolving credit facility, things work a little differently. 

The monthly payment fluctuates, depending on how much you still owe. Nedbank gives you the flexibility to pay the minimum amount due (5% of the outstanding balance), an amount of your own choosing, or the full amount. Here are 2 tips to reduce how much you pay on your credit card:

1. Interest-free grace period

The best way to avoid paying interest on the amount of credit you’ve used is to exploit the up-to-55 days interest-free credit offered on card transactions only. It’s important to note: cash advances and withdrawals, electronic transfers, foreign exchange, casino chip purchases and fuel purchases do not qualify for this grace period. Here’s how the interest-free part works: 

Let’s say you buy something on your credit card valued at R3,000.

  • If you repay the full amount before or when the bill is due (usually 25 days after the statement date – but every statement will include the due date too), then you won’t be charged any interest.
  • Regarding that 55 days: it’s actually ‘up to’ 55 days interest-free. This is all about the date on the statement. 
  • Statements are usually sent on the same day of the month, with payments due 25 days later. So, you can get the full 55 days if you shop on your credit card the day after that statement is issued. Doing so gives you almost a month before it shows up on your account statement, plus the 25 days before payment is due.

If you only pay the amount due every month, not the full balance on the card, the balance remaining will attract interest

Obviously, if you buy something shortly before the statement is generated, then that amount will need to be settled in full before the due date of that statement, to avoid paying interest. Using your card like this is a great way to buy what you need without putting too tight a squeeze on your cashflow. It still requires disciplined budgeting, however – if you spend more on your credit card than you can pay off before the due date, you’ll start paying interest on the amount left over.

2. If you do pay interest, lower is better

If you pay only the amount due every month and not the full balance on the card, the remaining balance will attract interest. This means that your most payments will go towards the interest charged instead of actually repaying the debt. 

You might be able to do a balance transfer, which is to move the debt on your card to a new one that has a lower interest rate

If you are in good standing with your credit provider, you might be able to do a balance transfer, which is to move the debt on your card to another one that has a lower interest rate. If you open a new credit card account at Nedbank, you’ll receive preferential interest rates for a limited period. If you qualify for the same credit limit you have on the other bank’s card, a balance transfer is a move that can save you money. This could be a solution to reducing your monthly expenses, allowing you to pay off your debts faster. 

A solid credit record and healthy relationship with your credit provider are minimum requirements. If you have an existing Nedbank credit card, you will be contacted with promotional offers to transfer your balance. Or if you apply for a credit card or limit increase we will do an automatic assessment to see if there is an offer for you.