Q-card operator Flexi Cards hopes to double its consumer finance business in the next three years on the back of its launch into the credit card market.
The company which bought out Fisher & Paykel's finance business earlier this year and is owned by ASX-listed Flexi-Group has linked up with Mastercard to provide a Q mastercard.
The deal combines all the usual functions and protections that come with a credit card but adds in Q's hire purchase style arrangement giving users 90 days interest free to pay off their debt - a big leap on the typical up to 55 day interest free period associated with credit cards.
The Q Mastercard will also allow Flexi Cards to move away from its merchandiser-only arrangement where only stores signed up to the card could offer the product.
Instead users can now sign up for it online and use it to make purchases anywhere.
Greg Shepherd, Flexi Cards New Zealand chief executive, said it had looked at what was happening globally and decided that moving into credit cards was a natural extension.
"The introduction of mastercard is a natural evolution."
Existing Q-card holders would be offered the chance to migrate to the new card or could stick with the old one if they preferred, he said.
Shepherd said its card was designed to be complementary to bank cards rather than replacing them.
"Our product is about giving people breathing space - it is complementary to bank offering's."
While it offers a longer payment period the interest rate if a consumer does not pay off the debt within the 90 days is higher at 25.2 per cent.
Most bank credit cards interest rates range around 19.5 to 22 per cent for standard cards and 12 to 13 per cent for low interest rate cards.
Shepherd said the higher rate was because it was not a standard high street bank and its cost of funds was higher.
"We don't have the same scale."
Shepherd said Flexi Cards which also owned the Farmers Card finance business, was also looking to bring other innovation to the New Zealand market.
"It won't be the only product in this area," he said.
Flexi Cards NZ Chief Executive Greg Shepherd