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How does the BCU Classic Credit Card justify its name? By sticking to the basics, and doing those basics extra well. It has just the features you need for everyday transactions, with nothing superfluous. Everything that needs to be low (interest rates, annual fee, minimum credit limit) is low, and everything that needs to be high (interest-free days, convenience, security) is satisfyingly high.
Who are BCU?
BCU is the acronym of the Bananacoast Community Credit Union, which began life in Macksville in 1970 and now has branches, agencies and ATMs stretching from Port Macquarie in New South Wales to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
However, you don’t need to live in the region or even have a bank account or loan with BCU in order to be eligible for one of their credit cards, and you can operate your credit card account online, wherever you are.
Low interest rates on both purchases and cash advances
The BCU Classic Credit Card modestly refrains from touting its low interest credentials in its name. Some credit cards which proclaim themselves to be 'Low Rate’ cards only extend the low interest rate to unpaid purchase balances and have a sting in the tail in the form of an extremely high cash advance interest rate. But this BCU card is not one of them.
If your income varies from month to month, meaning that you sometimes can’t pay off your purchase balance in full, you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the lowest interest rates around: 11.80% p.a. That’s a whole lot better than the 20 percent and more charged by some cards, and it makes it less likely that you’ll end up saddled with a long-term debt.
Similarly, if you find yourself in need of cash at short notice, you can take a cash advance from this card and pay only 14.80% p.a. in interest. Of course, 'only’ is a relative term in this context. Paying 14.80% p.a. from the date an advance is taken until the date it is repaid is still painful, but once again it’s much less uncomfortable than the 21 percent. often charged for a credit card cash advance.
Low annual fee, no late payment charge
Keeping this card in your wallet will cost you a very reasonable $45 p.a., so even if you keep it just for emergencies it’s not going to break the bank. Look upon it as your safety net.
There’s also no fee for missing the payment due date. Compare this with other cards who charge as much as $30 for late payments. Ouch!
High number of interest-free days
As far as many card users are concerned, the most desirable feature of a credit card is the fact that you can use the bank’s money for more than a month without paying interest, and this card is no exception. It offers Up to 55 days on purchases on interest in each statement period. So if you make a purchase on the first day of the billing cycle, you don’t have to come up with the cash to pay for it until 55 days later. And if you make a purchase on the last day, you still have another 24 or 25 days before you need to make the repayment.
What’s particularly satisfying is that this 'no frills’ card doesn’t skimp on the interest-free days, unlike many cards which offer only 44 days interest free. Those 11 extra days per month add up to 132 days per year during which your cash can remain in your savings or mortgage offset account.
High level of convenience and security
Notice the embedded microchip in the card, plus the Visa payWave vector logo? Together they add up to security plus convenience. The microchip and PIN combination reduces the possibility of fraud, while payWave promises speedy contactless and PIN-free transactions for purchases under $100.
Add to this BCU’s 24-hour fraud monitoring service to detect suspicious activity, and you have one of the safest payment methods currently available.
More smart ideas from BCU
BCU have come up with lots of ways to make it easier to manage your credit card account and repayments. There’s online banking of course, but also the opportunity to set up auto-payments so that you never miss a payment due date and end up with an unintentional interest bill. Also, if you find that your payment due date occurs at a time in the month that doesn’t fit well with your payday, you can ask for it to be changed to a more suitable date.
There are no rewards points or other benefits like complimentary insurance attached to this card. That’s not a bad state of affairs if you don’t need these features, and if they were there, the annual fee would probably be higher.
Also missing is the ability to transfer a balance from an existing card. But there’s not much point in allowing balance transfers if they are not accompanied by a 0 percent interest introductory offer, since there are so many competing balance transfer offers around. So BCU have sensibly cancelled the option of an interest-bearing balance transfer, unlikely to be taken up.
Competing low rate cards
BCU haven’t cornered the market, however. There are other low-rate, low-fee cards available, even cards with no annual fee at all. Serious competitors include the ME frank Credit Card, the American Express Essential Credit Card and the Coles Low Rate Mastercard. Take a look at them before you decide, on our 'Low interest’ page. (Click 'Features at the top of this page, and go to 'Low interest’ under 'Save money’.)
Remember that the BCU card’s interest rate is particularly low, and although it charges a small annual fee and doesn’t offer rewards points or insurance, it has no late payment fee. It’s worth considering how much you might end up paying in late fees on a competing card.
Not just a beginner’s or emergency card
The BCU Classic Credit Card would be an ideal first credit card or student credit card because it has no stipulated minimum income requirement and permits credit limits as low as $500.
Anyone needing a credit card for unforeseen emergencies could also make good use of this low-cost, low-interest card, leaving it at the back of their wallet until needed.
And if rewards points and complimentary insurance have no appeal, this card has all the attractive features and convenience you’ll ever need for your everyday purchases. A classic indeed.
I took out this card a long time ago and since I have been on a Disability Pension have found it to be one of the most useful things I have ever owned. The major reward of this card is just being a part of BCU. I have found them to be most accomadating and the best financial organisation going.
A convenient credit card, with no annual fee, low rate and great security protection. This card gives you access worldwide, can be linked to PayPal and similar payment systems, and allows for PIN entry and/or payWave at the checkout. It offers peace of mind as far as most of the current fraudulent schemes including false emails and the like and has a up to the minute fraud detection system to protect your account. All in all, this is a great card at a sensible price—just what most people want and all appreciate.
This card is great and it has a low interest rate for purchases and cash use. It also has low fees and you get great service from BCU.
I would recommend it to everyone, and BCU has other products, like personal loans and home loans, that also have great rates and low fees.
I found BCU customer service to be outstanding, fast, and to the point. The team were excellent at explaining the process and extremely quick to respond. The set up was hassle free, convenient and even fun. With interest free for up to 55 days, my BCU Classic credit card has a low annual fee and purchase rate. Thanks to the team at BCU Coffs Harbour I will never change banks again.
|Cash advances||1.23%||14.80% p.a.|