The GO Mastercard is a credit card that provides a long-term interest-free option for purchases made at selected retailers in Australia. Similar to the GO is the interest free offer credit cards on the traditional cards and these have a shorter interest-free term on purchases that can be made at any retailer or merchant. Then launched in 2020 was the no interest credit card, which gives cardholders zero interest forever on all purchases on the card.
Choosing the right interest-free credit card can be tricky, so we've compared all three options and weighed out their pros and cons.
What does the GO Mastercard have to offer?
Latitude Financial Australia is the company behind the credit for the GO Mastercard, which gives its cardholders an interest-free term on purchases made from their retail partners. The main retailer partners are Harvey Norman, Domayne and Joyce Mayne.
GO Mastercard holders can buy items from partner stores and not pay interest from between 3 to 60 months, depending on the type of item and price tag.
What makes this card unique to others in the market is its 3 different repayment plans that the customer can pick from.
The 3 different interest-free repayment plans
Each repayment plan has is defined by the number of months at interest-free, the type of item, and minimum item cost.
Equal monthly plan: This plan sets out equal repayments for each month which eventually leads to paying off the purchase at the end of the interest-free term. Generally, the minimum purchase is $1,000 under this plan. The terms can vary within this plan and extra promotional offers too. For example, in November 2020 the equal monthly plan had a gift card promotion going which gave cardholders who purchase an item between $1,000 to $10,000 at selected retailers a store gift card between $100 and $500.
Minimum monthly plan: Most of us a familiar with this method as it's basically the standard repayment requirement for traditional credit cards. Starts from 6 months for this plan and the minimum purchase is generally $300. An agreed minimum repayment must be paid each month by the cardholder. You are also given the option to pay more than the minimum repayment.
Flexible plan: You have the flexibility to choose whether you want to or not to make payments during the interest free offer period. The plan starts from 3 months and the purchase amount usually from $300. Either you can make a payment each month or wait until the last day of the interest-free period to pay off the full balance.
Rates & fees
To get the GO Mastercard a one-off establishment fee of $25 must be paid. This fee is unique to this card as traditionally credit cards do not charge a setup fee.
This card has no annual fees, instead, there's a $5 monthly fee charged each month only when the balance on the card exceeds an amount of $10.
Late payments on plans that require a payment each month will be charged a $30 late payment fee.
For those who are unable to pay off the balance before the promotional term ends, then whatever unpaid amount remains will be subjected to an interest rate of 25.90% per annum.
You can use the card to pay for everyday purchases, such as coffee or an item not from Lattitude's retail partners. These purchases won't have a special interest-free term. Instead, it's treated as a traditional credit card with an interest rate of 22.74% p.a and up to 55 days interest-free.
Pros and cons of GO Mastercard
|Long term interest free offers (up to 60 months).||$25 setup fee.|
|Flexible repayment plan options.||$30 late payment fee.|
|Earn reward points.||High interest rate of 25.90% p.a. on remaining balances.|
|Interest-free offers available to specific retailers only.|
|Purchase rate of 22.74% p.a. for purchases at non-partner retailers.|
|$5.95 monthly fee (only when balance is above $10).|
What are interest free offer credit cards?
Interest free offer credit cards from traditional providers such as Commonwealth Bank, American Express, or Westpac can sometimes offer 0% interest on purchases for up to 17 months.
What's useful is that the interest-free offer is not limited to a minimum purchase amount or retailer, giving the cardholder a wide range of buying options.
These interest free cards tend to come with more benefits that can be very useful. Depending on what you want, choose from cards with benefits such as rewards points as you spend, frequent flyer points, travel insurance, purchase protection, or concierge service.
Keep in mind that interest free credit cards usually have a condition of which the account must be kept in good standing. In order to keep good standing, the minimum repayment must be made each month and before the due date, otherwise, the interest-free promotion can be withdrawn.
Rates & Fees
These zero interest cards do usually have an annual fee, but they can range between $0 and $100. Sometimes you can find a card that has a combined no annual fee promotion or a set minimum spend amount each year that waives the annual fee.
If you search enough, you can also cards that have low-interest rates on balances even after the zero interest period ends. These interest rates on remaining balances can range from 11% to 20% p.a.
Pros and cons of interest free offer credit cards
|Mid-term interest free offers (up to 17 months).||Must maintain minimum repayments to keep offer.|
|Interest-free at any retailer.||Late payment fees of up to $30.|
|No nnual fee options available.|
|Low purchase rates.|
|Earn rewards points.||Get more extra benefits.|
What is a no interest credit card?
No-interest credit cards are a new product in the market and were first launched in 2020. The National Australia Bank was the first to market on this card with its NAB StraightUp Card, followed by Commonwealth Bank's Neo card that's expected to launch at the end of 2020.
It's said that the no interest credit card is the banks' answer to rivalling the buy now and pay later services, like Afterpay.
No interest credit cards live up to their name as cardholders get zero interest forever on their purchases. Yep, that’s right zero interest at all times and no promotional end date like the other cards above.
There are however some slight limit restrictions on this product. It's only available on 3 different credit limits. The credit limits are $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000 which can be well suited for smaller purchases or one big-ticket item, but not so much for multiple large purchases.
Rates & Fees
On the NAB Straightup Visa card the monthly fee varies for each credit limit. For the $1,000, $2000 and $3,000 credit limits the monthly fee is $10, $15, $20 respectively. However, you don't have to pay the monthly fees if you don't use the card. This means if you carry a balance or make a transaction during a statement period then the monthly fee is reversed.
There is a minimum monthly repayment that is set for each credit limit. these are $35, $75, and $110 for credit limits $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 respectively. Again, cardholders have the option to pay more than the minimum repayment each if choose to. If there balance is less the minimum payment amount then that balance can simply only be paid.
No fees are charged for missed repayments, which is a first in the credit card world. This means that the most you will pay is the monthly fee and that’s it. A good way to control your fee costs especially if you tend to miss payments or have irregular income. But again credit cards should always be used responsibly.
Pros and cons of no interest credit cards
|No interest for ever.||Credit limit max up to $3,000.|
|No late payment fees.||Monthly fees (but only when card is being used).|
|No foreign transaction fees.||Very few extra benefits.|
Scenarios for which interest free card may be the better choice
Looking for a long-term interest-free offer from retailers Harvey Norman, Domayne or Joyce Mayne? Go Mastercard would be the winner here.
Want zero interest on purchases with low or no annual fees? Interest free offer credit card on a traditional card or a no interest credit card.
Want an interest free offer with a high limit that can be used any store? A traditional credit card interest-free offer.
Want to pay zero interest forever? No interest credit card.
Want to earn reward points or frequent flyer points? Interest-free offer credit card.
Want a card that has no foreign transaction fees? Interest-free offer on a traditional card or no-interest card.
Don’t want to pay late payment fees? No interest credit card.
Just remember that whichever interest-free card you do choose, do still use the card responsibly and not spend beyond your means, because eventually, the money has to be paid back. Go for an offer with a month term that gives you enough reasonably time to pay off the item. And set yourself a goal to pay down the balance before the zero interest period ends to avoid getting charged with higher interest rates.
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