If you have a Citibank credit card in your wallet, take it out and cut it up. Unbelievably, the bank is putting up interest rates on its credit cards.
Comparison site Finder.com.au reports that Citibank will increase purchase rates and cash advance rates on most of its cards from October 1.
The Clear Platinum card, which is Citi’s low rate card option with a 12.99 per cent interest rate, is the only card in the bank’s portfolio whose rate will not change.
On all its other cards, the purchase rate will increase from 20.99 per cent to 21.49 per cent. The cash advance rate on all cards rises from 21.74 per cent to 22.24 per cent.
Citi told Finder: “There are many factors taken into account when deciding the interest rate on a credit card. These include profitability and the cost to service the product.”
Citi also pointed to the fact that it has introduced instalment payments as a way of managing payments, allowing customers to convert their account balance to a fixed-rate instalment plan at a lower rate.
The bank has recently partnered with online retailer Kogan to offer an instalment plan. Consumers with Citi credit cards can create a Kogan.com account, enrol their Citi credit card and then select to pay with interest free instalments for selected purchases.
Under the arrangement, repayments are interest free but one-off fees apply: 0.5 per cent of the purchase price for the three-month payment option; 2 per cent for the 12-month option; 5 per cent for the 18-month option; and five per cent for the 24-month option.
The consumer must have available credit to make the purchase, which means there are no additional credit checks. It also means the consumer can pay up to their credit limit.
Repayments must be equal amounts each month for the payment period.
Interesting as these developments are, they do not justify a credit card issuer raising rates by 50 basis points in the wake of two recent cuts to the cash rate.
People who use credit cards that carry revolving balances accruing interest are entitled to some relief from high rates. A common trigger for personal insolvency is unmanageable credit card debt.
One recent trend, identified in a JD Power report last month, is that a growing number of credit card users are carrying only one card, as opposed to multiple cards. The proportion of cardholders who have only one credit card has increased from 56 per cent last year to 61 per cent.
The report says that card issuers are under greater pressure to demonstrate the value their product offers at a time when pricing regulation has constrained their ability to fund high-value reward programs.
The likelihood that a Citibank card will be the one card left in the wallet has fallen considerably after news of its rate hike.