Guide to managing credit

What this guides covers
 
 
 How do I manage credit responsibly?
 
It sounds obvious but a good first step to managing credit responsibly is to manage your money responsibly. For instance:
 
• Create a budget to manage how much you spend – and stick to it. You can visit the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission National Consumer Agency website www.ccpc.ie for some useful tools to help with budgeting.
 
• Be realistic with your spending
 
• Keep track of where you spend your money – keeping receipts will help you remember
 
• Save up over time for larger purchases rather than buying them using credit
 
• Keep credit card balances as low as possible – even better, pay them off each month
Back to top
 
 How do I borrow responsibly?
 
Borrowing responsibly means paying bills on time and not taking on more debt than you can realistically manage, so bear in mind the following:
 
• Plan purchases to fit into your monthly budget and avoid making impulse buys. Bargains rarely seem like bargains when you add in monthly interest charges
 
• It is often unwise to finance purchases longer than the lifespan of the products you’re buying. Financing a car over a longer period is understandable, but it is sensible for everyday purchases to be financed over as short a period as possible
 
• Keep well below your credit limit. Not only will you save money on monthly interest charges, you’ll also be keeping credit for when you need it most.
 
 How do I know if my borrowing is getting out of hand?
 
Here are some warning signs. If any apply to you it may be time to rethink your financial situation or seek independent help with your debts:
 
• You’re constantly paying bills late and only making the minimum payment each month
 
• You’re surprised by how many purchases there are on your monthly statement
 
• You’ve reached or exceeded the credit limit on one or more of your accounts
 
• You need to work overtime or take on a second job just to meet your monthly payments
 
• You’re struggling to make repayments or having to juggle finances to meet credit payments
 
Please note: The contents of these pages are not intended to be taken as financial advice or recommendation made by AvantCard.  You should seek independent financial advice if unsure about your financial needs.
 
 Schedule of fees and charges
 
Late fee - €15.24 - each time your minimum payment has not reached your account in cleared funds by the date that payment is due. At least your minimum payment must be cleared onto your account before this date to remain in compliance with your AvantCard agreement.
Accounts with payments received after the due date shown on your statement are subject to late fees.
 
Over Limit fee - €12.70 -  An over limit fee will be applied if your account has exceeded its credit limit at any time during that statement period. This fee will be applied once only in any statement period.
 
Returned Payment fee - €19.05 - each time a direct debit or other item for payment into your account is unpaid.
 
Cash Handling Fee - 1.5% minimum €2.50, no maximum - the charge that is applied to your account when you make a cash transaction. A cash transaction is any transaction through which you receive cash or cash substitute by using your card or card number. Examples would be when you withdraw cash from an ATM or bank, when you purchase foreign currency, or when you make gambling transactions.
 
Foreign Exchange Commission - 2.65% of the value of each foreign exchange transaction - If you make a transaction in a currency other than euro, the amount will be changed into euro using an exchange rate based on the reference exchange rate which is the exchange rate set by Mastercard or Visa, each of which are available from the websites:
 
 
(or such other web page as they may determine). We will add the foreign exchange commission charge to your account.
 
Government Stamp Duty - €30.00 - Each year the government charges a tax (stamp duty) on all cards issued by financial institutions. The duty is applicable to each unique card/account you have in your own name, the amount of tax due changes from year to year depending on the amount set in each budget.
 
Current rates and further details can be found at the Revenue Commissioners website:
 
 
Schedule of fees for personal loans
Non-Payment fee - €10.00 - each time your scheduled monthly payment has not reached your account in cleared funds by the date that payment is due. At a minimum your scheduled payment must be cleared onto your account before this date to remain in compliance with your Personal Loan agreement.
 
 
Payments at the post office
 
The processing fee for all payments to your account made over the counter at the post office will increase from €0.91 to €0.97.  This will take effect from 1 February 2016 and reflects the new charge which will be incurred by AvantCard at that time.
 
 
We continue to offer a number of free payment methods, including:
  • Direct Debit - Set up a Direct Debit to ensure your regular credit card payments, either full or minimum, are made to your account, on time. You can download a Direct Debit mandate on this website. Should you decide to start using this payment method please complete and return the completed mandate to us
  •  
  • Visa or MasterCard debit card payment over the phone - Call us 24hrs a day on 0818 409 511.
  •  
  • Visa or MasterCard debit card payment online - Make your payments on this website using your Visa or MasterCard debit card
  •  
  • Telephone or Internet Banking - Set this up through your own bank’s website or telephone banking. For more information on your payment details please click here  
 
 How to avoid fees, charges and interest
 
No-one likes paying fees if they don’t have to so here are some simple steps that will help you avoid being charged.
 
Late Payment fee
 
A Late Payment Fee is charged if you fail to pay the minimum payment on time.
 
Tips on how to avoid the Late Payment fee
 
• Your statement will tell you when the minimum payment has to reach your account each month, the different ways you can make a payment and how long it'll take your payment to reach your credit card account. Make sure you send your payment in plenty of time to reach us.
 
• If your statement date/payment date doesn't suit you, you can change it to one that works with the date you are paid and the due date of your other bills. To change your statement/payment date call 0818 409 511.
 
• Make sure you have enough money in your account when you need to make your payment to us.
 
Over Limit fee
 
An over limit fee will be applied if your account has exceeded its credit limit at the point at which your account exceeds its credit limit. This fee will only be applied once in any statement period.
 
Tips on how to avoid the Over Limit fee
 
• Keep track of your spending, your credit limit and how much you have available to spend. You can do this any time by registering for our online services at www.avantcard.ie
 
• If you've already gone over your credit limit make sure that your minimum payment is enough to bring you back within your credit limit.
 
• If you think that your credit limit is too low for your spending needs you can request to increase this by calling us on 0818 409 511 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturday, excluding Bank Holidays.   You can also request it online.  Once we receive your request a decision will be made within 1 business day, or by the end of the next business day.
 
Returned cheque or Direct Debit charge
 
How to avoid this
 
To prevent this charge, ensure we have your correct bank details, and you have sufficient funds to cover the payment.
 
Payment Processing
 
All payments to your account made over the counter at the post office or via postal cheque will incur a processing fee.
 
How to avoid this
 
You can avail of the many free payment options that AvantCard provide which are listed below:
 
Debit Card payment online - The simple, convenient and secure way to make your payments at any time on www.avantcard.ie by clicking on’ Making a payment’
 
Debit Card payment over the phone - 24 hours a day on 0818 409 511
 
Direct Debit - Ensuring you have sufficient funds in your bank account, set up a Direct Debit to ensure your regular credit card payments, either full or minimum, are made to your account, on time. Simply here to download a Direct Debit Mandate
 
Telephone or Internet Banking - Set up a payment instruction through your own bank’s website or telephone banking. You will need AvantCard’s IBAN: IE90CITI99005117683012 and BIC: CITIIE2X and your account number beginning with 245, excluding any ‘000’ if displayed at the start of the account number (found on the top right hand corner of your statement)
 
Interest
 
If you pay the full balance by the payment date, and you also paid the full balance shown on the previous month's statement by the relevant payment date, we will not charge you interest on the retail transactions shown on your statement
 
 Other resources
 
Managing your money
Consumer Help