by

Homeloans credit card survey 2014

From body parts to bail, Viagra to vibrators, horses to houses
New survey reveals Australia’s quirkiest credit card purchases

A false leg for granny, sex toys, Viagra, boob jobs, gold from a vending machine, brain treatment, swimming pools, online dating, cactus soup in Mexico, a giraffe, an alpaca herd – even bail to get out of jail! Australians are using their credit cards for multifarious purchases, according to the latest research from non-bank mortgage provider Homeloans.com.au.

The online consumer survey, which looked at Australians’ credit card habits, revealed that we use our credit cards for many ‘unique’ purchases, not to mention using them for everyday items such as groceries, fuel and online shopping.

“Despite the many weird and wonderful things people buy using their credit cards, what really stood out was people use their credit cards mainly for convenience,” says Will Keall, Homeloans’ national marketing manager. “Making online purchases or paying bills online was also high on the list.

“Accumulating frequent flyer points was another reason people have credit cards. We even had one person say they bought cheeseburgers just to boost their points.”

More than a third of respondents also said they use their credit card for major purchases, borne out by the number who have used them to pay for holidays, cars, house deposits, even to purchase their home.

“My house deposit,” said one respondent when asked about the ‘quirkiest’ thing they’ve used their card to purchase. “I couldn’t EFT more than $3,000 per day. So the real estate agent let me pay the 5 per cent deposit using my credit card. Fantastic – I bought my first flat with my credit card!”

 

Seasons greetings – with credit

The lead up to Christmas is set to be a credit card spending bonanza, with 41 per cent of respondents planning to use their card to buy all their Christmas presents, while over a quarter will use it to pay for major items.

“For almost two out of three of those who use their credit card for Christmas purchases, they do so because it’s easier,” says Keall. “Almost half of them buy presents online and 38 per cent use a credit card to help manage cashflow over the holiday period, not to mention take advantage of the ‘up to 55 days interest free’ period that credit cards can provide.”

 

The first credit card

The Homeloans.com.au survey found most Aussies tend to get their first credit card when they’re aged between 18 and 24 (over 50 per cent), while more than a quarter were 25-30 before they got their first card. Under 20 per cent waited till they were aged 31 or over.

“Being averse to credit may be a mistake, because having a credit card is one of the easiest ways young consumers can build their credit histories,” Keall adds. “People who don’t have a credit history may have a harder time accessing credit later when they want to buy a car or take out a mortgage. You need credit to get credit.”

Additionally, around 38 per cent of respondents stated they have one credit card, 30 per cent have two cards, while one in seven have no credit cards.

 

Paying your dues

Over half of those surveyed pay the balance in full each month, while one in three pay more than the minimum amount, but less than the balance.

“It can be a worrying practice paying anything less than the balance for anyone who uses a credit card primarily for consumable everyday items,” says Keall. “People who do so risk accumulating debt and paying compounding interest for items with little to no long-term value. Earning monthly rewards points on these purchases will never offset interest costs.

“For anyone who has racked up credit card debt that they’re unable to repay on a monthly basis, we offer a free financial health check service. It could lead to you being able to consolidate all your debts into your home loan, thus only paying interest at a home loan rate.”

 

Other quirky items purchased by credit card:

  • New teeth
  • Tattoos
  • A Doctor Who teapot
  • Chook poo
  • Breeding house for frogs
  • Chewbacca golf club head cover
  • A trip to a Buddhist retreat to bottle feed tiger cubs
  • Treadmill lubricant
  • Salt block for cooking
  • Disposable underwear

Share this article

Lisa Llewellyn

Lisa started her working life as a property and financial journalist, working for media outlets including BRW, Radio 3AW and Australian Investment magazine. She turned her hand to PR and opened a boutique PR consultancy in 2001.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.