How to be Card Smart

Effective July 1 2012, your David Jones American Express Credit Card statement now has more detail about making only minimum repayments on your account.

Your statement already includes the minimum amount you need to repay to keep your account in good standing. The new statement includes more information about paying off your balance with this minimum each month.

David Jones American Express Credit Cards and Credit Plans are important financial management tools that allow you to purchase the things you want sooner - and pay for them later.

But, because cards are so convenient, it can be tempting to overuse them, and overspend your budget.

Being card smart includes knowing how to manage your spending and realising the importance of having a good credit history. These simple tips can help you be even more card smart:

  1. Know your credit limit and don’t exceed it.
  2. Know the due date of your payment and be disciplined about making sure your financial institution receives your payment on time.
  3. Always pay at least the minimum due on your credit card to keep your account ingood standing.
  4. Avoid interest charges by paying your credit card balance in full each month.
  5. Use online account management tools to keep track of your card spending. That way, there are no surprises when your statement arrives.
  6. Avoid taking cash advances. They often incur a fee and can add to your debt and borrowing levels.
  7. Make a budget, and stick to it. Track your spending to help you remain aware and in control of your purchasing behaviour.
  8. Regularly review your monthly statements to ensure that there are no errors or unauthorised charges on your account.

Check your credit bureau file once a year to verify that your credit information is correct. This will help to ensure that your information is accurate and up to date. You can request a copy of your credit file from the credit bureau and have it sent free of charge within 10 working days. You can choose to have a copy sent within 24 hours for a fee.

The table that appears in your statement will show two things (based on the assumption that you make no additional transactions on your Card):

Row 1. Shows the total time it would take to repay your current balance if you only pay the minimum amount each month, as well as the estimated total interest charges that would be applied. This figure takes into account the different interest rates on your balance.

Row 2. Calculates the amount you need to pay off each month to clear your balance in 2 years, the total interest you would pay, and how much you would save compared to only paying the minimum amount. This monthly payment is determined using the highest interest rate on your balance.

When estimating the total time needed to repay your current balance in full and the monthly amount needed to pay off your account in two years, we assume that your statement is issued on the same date each month and that you always make your monthly payment on the payment due date.

For more information, see the How To Read Your Statement for your Credit Card.

From time to time, David Jones may offer an interest free instalment credit option.

When an interest free instalment credit option is offered, David Jones will specify the number of months that applies to the instalment credit option (for example, a 12, 18 or 24-month instalment credit option). No interest is payable provided that you pay the minimum payment, including monthly instalments, by the due date.

For each purchase under an instalment credit option, we divide the purchase (less any amounts applied to the purchase prior to the first statement date) into a number of equal monthly instalments. The number of instalments is equal to the number of months specified for the instalment credit option. In each of the months specified for the instalment credit option, we add a credit plan instalment to your standard plan balance and minimum payment.

We include the first instalment in your statement of account for the period which includes the date of purchase.

You can reduce the amount of interest you pay by regularly repaying more than the minimum amount by the due date every month.

The more of your balance that you pay off now, the less interest you will pay.

The Minimum Repayment Warning on your statement will show you the payment you should make each month to pay off your balance in 2 years. You will also be able to see how much you save in interest by paying more than the monthly minimum amount.

To explore different repayment scenarios, visit the Australian Government Money Smart credit card calculator.