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Comparison of Gold Credit Cards offered at top South African banks

By Isabelle Coetzee

In the past, the colour of your credit card signaled your financial status because you had to fall within a certain income bracket to apply for each card.

If you had a black or diamond credit card, you usually fell within the higher income brackets. Whereas if you simply had a standard credit card, you would fall within the lower income brackets. But gold credit cards were considered the middle ground between these two.

Nowadays banks are less particular about the colour of the cards they offer. However, they still name their cards based on the original colours. This week Justmoney found out how gold credit cards compare with one another.

Is gold the new standard?

According to Israel Skosana, head of card issuing at Standard Bank, its Gold Credit Card is its entry-level product and not its middle-weight or high-end product.

“This credit card is well suited for people of all ages above 18 who are looking for good value at an affordable price,” says Skosana.

Similarly, Cilliers Kriel, CEO of credit card at FNB, points out that the most affordable credit card on offer by FNB is its Gold Credit Card. He recommends that consumers who are new to credit and want to build a positive credit score should consider taking out a gold credit card.

Out of the top five banks in South Africa, Capitec is the only bank that does not offer a gold option. Instead, they offer a single credit card to all clients.

In contrast to the remaining banks, Absa’s Gold Credit Card is not their entry-level credit card. Instead, they offer their Flexi Core Credit Card, which is marketed to people who are starting to build their credit record. It requires a monthly fee of R15.00 per month, which is less than their Gold Credit Card, and it requires a lower income bracket of R2,000 – R4,000 per month.

How do they compare?

The below table was formulated based on information shared by the banks themselves, as well as information available on their websites:

 

Cost

Requirements

Interest

Benefits

Nedbank Gold

R30.00 per month

Minimum annual income of R100,000

55-day interest free

Free travel insurance when purchasing tickets, access to exclusive Nedbank travel offers, built-in purchase protection, clients can also join its Greenbacks rewards program which comes with additional special offers, and the ability to earn Greenbacks which can be redeemed for a wide range of products.

Standard Bank Gold Credit Card

R54.00 per month

Minimum annual income of R60,000

55-day interest free

Personalised interest rates and access to partner-related benefits such as Emirates, Ster-Kinekor, and WiFi by AlwaysOn.

Capitec Credit Card

R35.00

Minimum annual income of R36,000

55-day interest free

Free basic travel insurance is a convenient credit card benefit for when you travel abroad, and no currency conversion fees for international purchases and cash withdrawals.

Absa Gold Credit Card

R23.00

Minimum annual income of R48,000

-

Bidvest Airport Lounge access at preferential rates, personalised interest rates, worldwide acceptance, automatic basic travel insurance, and contactless payments on the go.

FNB Gold Credit Card

R48.00 per month

Minimum annual income of R84,000

55-day interest free

Free automatic debt protection, free comprehensive global travel insurance, free AA Emergency Roadside Assistance with a linked Petro card, and a personalised interest rate.

 

Based on the above table, Absa offers the lowest monthly fee (R23), while Standard Bank offers the highest (R54). However, all the banks offer a 55-day interest-free period on credit purchases, and thereafter an interest rate based on your unique risk profile.

Nedbank requires the largest annual income among the banks (R100,000) and Capitec requires the lowest annual income (R36,000). The additional benefits vary from bank to bank, with travel insurance and personalised interest rates being the most popular benefits.

How to choose and manage the right credit card

If a credit card works well for one person, it does not mean that it will work well for everyone. Each person has different needs.

“When looking for a credit card it is important that customers choose a product that suits their needs to ensure they are not paying for features that will not be of value to them,” says Skosana.

“The use of credit cards is a more cost-effective and lower risk method to transact than drawing cash, but it is important that customers manage their accounts responsibly by only buying the things that they can afford and that they have budgeted for,” he explains.

If you are looking for a credit card that works for you, Kriel recommends the following:

  • Do your homework: Know what you want and then research what is available. Ask friends and family about who they have credit cards with and ask them what the weaknesses and strengths are of their credit card institution.
  • Can you afford the credit card? Understand the interest rate offered and the short-term and long-term fees and charges.
  • Additional benefits: What value-added benefits does your credit card offer you and can you utilise these? Consider whether you will be part of a loyalty scheme or rewards programme.

According to Chris Wood, executive of card issuing and payments at Nedbank, you must make sure you remember to pay off your credit card account in full every month.

“As a rule of thumb, keep your everyday expenses less than your monthly salary and set up an automatic payment order so that it’s easy to pay off in full each month,” says Wood.

“For those larger infrequent purchases, you can make use of the budget facility which is like a small loan that gives you control of your finances, and which still lets you take full advantage of the interest-free credit for your everyday expenses,” he adds.

If you'd like to compare other credit cards from the major South African banks, have a look at our free comparison tool here

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