You have two choices when balance transferring to a new card: fill in the details of the balance you would like to transfer on the application form or wait until the account has been opened and initiate the process.
You will typically get the same interest rate regardless. However, you should be wary about delaying because most banks insist that you start the balance transfer within a set window of time if you want to get the introductory deal.
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- You can provide the details of the balance you want to transfer during the application or wait until the account has been opened and then initiate the process.
- If you want to get the introductory offer, most banks require the balance transfer to be initiated within a specific period of time post-approval.
- Delaying your request for a balance transfer could mean missing out on the introductory rate.
- Rules on this vary between banks.
Rules for when you can balance transfer after applying
Each bank has a different rule for when you can request a balance transfer and get the introductory rate.
As the balance transfer is typically an introductory rate aimed at attracting new customers, some banks are quite strict regarding when they make it available. They don't usually make it very clear either, burying it in the small print.
To be safe, include the details of your balance transfer when applying.
- ANZ. If you do not provide details of your balance transfer as part of your application, ANZ will not make the promotional balance transfer deal for that particular card available post-application. Instead, you'll get the standard balance transfer offer made available to existing customers, which will be a lesser offer.
- Bankwest. You can get the promotional balance transfer offer after application on a pro-rata basis, i.e. if your card had a 12-month balance transfer offer and you applied for a balance transfer 3 months after approval, you would still get the promotional interest rate, but it would only last for another 9 months (12 - 3 = 9).
- Citi. You have up to 3 months to apply for a balance transfer after approval. The full promotional offer will be made available.
- NAB. Special promotion balance transfer must be applied for at the point of full card application.
- Virgin Money. The promotional balance transfer offer is available for up to 30 days after you've been approved for the card.
What happens if you don't use the introductory offer?
Most people take immediate advantage of a balance transfer offer and include the details of their debts in their application.
Failing to use the promotional offer when applying for a new credit card means your outstanding balance, which will still be on your old card, will be charged the standard interest rate. Therefore, you would unnecessarily be paying interest instead of saving money.
Does the interest rate differ if I don't initiate the balance transfer immediately?
Typically, you'll get the same promotional interest rate. But, if you delay beyond the bank's set window, you might miss out on the introductory deal. That window of time varies between banks.
Is it better to provide balance transfer details during the application?
It is better to provide details of the balance transfer during the application, since not doing so might result in missing out on the introductory offer.