What is a credit card?

A credit card gives you access to borrowed money up to an agreed limit, so you can buy goods or services online, in store or overseas and pay for them at a later date.

With a credit card, you’re borrowing money, so will be charged interest on the amount you borrow if you don’t pay your closing balance in full each month. There are other fees and charges that apply when you have a credit card which are outlined in the Transaction and Service Fees brochure.

If you’re looking to borrow funds for a large one-off payment that you can’t repay straight away, a credit card might not be suitable for you. We recommend that you talk through your options with someone in our team either at your local branch or by giving us a call on 0800 400 600.

If you think a credit card is right for you, the next step is to decide which type of card to get. To help you decide which credit card is best for you, compare our cards

Weighing up your options.

Let’s break it down. Ultimately there’s two types of credit cards, no fees* and rewards. Take a step back, think about your lifestyle and how you want to use your credit card. Your needs will help guide you.

What will you be using the card for?

Whether it’s everyday spending, an overseas trip or a back-up for emergencies, thinking about how you plan to use your card will influence which benefits are the most valuable.

Will you pay your balance in full each month?

A lower interest rate means a lower cost of borrowing – it’s important to know what the interest rates are for purchases and cash advances. If you plan to pay your card off in full each month, you may be prepared to accept higher interest rates for higher rewards. However, if you think you’ll roll over a balance each month, a lower interest rate means you’ll be paying less in interest.  

What is the credit limit?

Credit cards will often have minimum and maximum credit limits. Knowing how much of a credit facility you want available to you will also help determine which card is best for you.  

What is the annual fee?  

Annual fees can vary from card to card. Low interest rate cards tend to have a low or no annual fee, where rewards cards can have a higher annual fee, reflecting the rewards that can be earned and the other benefits available like travel insurance or purchase protection insurance 

Does the card offer a reward scheme programme? 

Many credit cards have a rewards programmeSpending earns points that can be redeemed for rewards. Those rewards may be redeemable for products, travel, vouchers or even spending at retailersIf you use your credit card for everyday spending, look closely at how a rewards programme, especially the earn rates, will reward your spending. If you plan to use your card only for emergencies, you will earn fewer rewards, therefore a rewards programme may be of less value to you and no fees and lower rates  may be more valuable 

Are there extra benefits on the card? 

Take a step back, consider your lifestyle and what your plans are for the next year. Will you be travelling overseas for a family reunion or getting a new kitchen fitted? Some credit cards provide you with additional features, such as travel insurance purchase protection and other perks. Look at the other costs and think about how much value you might get out of those extra features. 

Will you be using it for business purchases 

Depending on your business requirements, there are a variety of business credit card options to choose from.

What if it’s not working for you?

A credit card may not be right for you, depending on your situation and what’s important to you. If you need help talk to one of our Westpac Team in branch, or call us on 0800 888 111 between 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday or 9am – 3pm Saturdays.

If you still believe a credit card is right for you but want to change your card type, we can help you do so at any point. If you’re using your card less, you are about to travel and you want to get travel insurance, or the reward programme isn’t exactly right for you then there could be another type of card that could better suit you.

We can help.

Credit card comparison tool

Use our credit card comparison tool to take a closer look at the different features available, reward earn rates, annual fees and interest rates to find which one suits your needs best.

Compare cards

Insurance – what’s included?

Travel insurance, purchase protection insurance and extended warranty cover is included with selected Westpac credit cards1.

Learn more


With CardGuard you’re protected 24/7 from fraudulent activity2. So you can use your card anywhere, anytime and leave your worries behind2.

Learn more

Balance transfer

Find out how to consolidate outstanding balances from hire purchase, store cards or another bank’s credit card to a Westpac credit card3.

Learn more

Things you should know.

* Third party fees and Westpac charges may apply. For full details refer to the Westpac Fee Free Mastercard® Conditions of Use and the Transaction and Service Fees brochure.

1 Terms, conditions, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply (policy document can be obtained here). Travel, Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection Insurances arranged by Westpac and underwritten by AIG Insurance New Zealand Limited. Westpac does not guarantee the obligations of, or any products issued by, AIG.

Provided you notify us as soon as possible, have not acted fraudulently or negligently, and have complied with the card’s Conditions of Use.

Balance Transfer Terms and Conditions and lending criteria apply. All applications are subject to Westpac approval. You cannot transfer a balance from a Westpac card or loan. Payments made to your Westpac credit card will first be applied to charges and interest accrued, then to cash advances and purchases, followed by balance transfers. All new purchases, cash advances and any unpaid interest or fees will incur interest at the standard interest rate in accordance with the card's Conditions of Use. You can transfer up to 95% of your available credit card limit. Your card must remain within its credit limit after the balance has been transferred. Balances cannot be transferred to a Mastercard® BusinessCard/Purchasing Card. Balance transfers do not earn Airpoints Dollars™ or hotpoints®. You must close any facilities indicated in this application as being repaid by the balance transfer.

Eligibility criteria, Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Conditions of Use for the applicable card apply. Rates, transaction and services fees apply. Overseas cash advances and foreign currency fees may apply.

This material on this page is provided for information purposes only, without taking your particular financial situation or goals into account.

Mastercard is a registered trade mark and the circles design is a trade mark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

You must be a member of Air New Zealand’s Airpoints™ programme to earn Airpoints. Airpoints terms and conditions apply.

Hotpoints terms and conditions apply.