How credit cards differ in Australia from other places like the USA.
- How do they impact your in applying for a home loan
- How common are they for daily purchases? Does the general public usually pay by a debit card?
- Any other caveats?
Credit cards in Australia are very similar to "other places" where credit cards are common.
There are credit scoring agencies in Australia, and they apply basically the same logic as the US: opening lots of cards is slightly bad, paying back on time is good, not paying is very bad.
Credit cards are ubiquitous in Australia, particularly after COVID it's rare to find merchants who don't accept them. EFTPOS (the local debit system) is common too.
One Australian quirk: it is legal and common for merchants to charge credit card surcharges, which have to be in line with what they actually pay. Large retailers like chain supermarkets typically don't impose these, but your average cafe or restaurant will, with a bit over 1% being standard for Visa/MasterCard. You can avoid these by paying cash or using EFTPOS, which is almost always free (but may have a minimum purchase, typically $10).