The best balance transfer offers are generally reserved for new customers, but that doesn't mean you can't transfer debt from other cards to one you already have.
However, there are a few things to take into consideration, which is what this guide is here to help with.
In this guide
What you can expect
What is available to existing customers is typically a far cry from the best introductory balance transfer deals for new customers. This is what you can expect.
- The standard balance transfer interest rate. This is almost certainly not going to be as low as what's on offer for new customers. Furthermore, you won't know what your rate is until you go looking for it in your mobile or online banking.
- A short, possibly non-existent, balance transfer period. The length of time the balance transfer rate is made available is likely to be shorter than a balance transfer for new customers. It's possible that there is no introductory period whatsoever.
- A one-off fee. You may still have a balance transfer fee to pay.
These balance transfer variables — and other credit card features — will vary between banks.
How balance transfers work for existing customers
As an existing customer, you can request a balance transfer from within your bank's mobile or online banking. It's an easy process that goes like this.
- Log in to your account with your bank's mobile or online banking.
- Find the page for balance transfers.
- Fill out the form including details on the account you are transferring from and the amount you want to transfer.
It can take up to two weeks to process the balance transfer. Some banks process balance transfer requests faster than that.
You must keep up to date with payments while the balance transfer is being processed, even if you are transferring the entire amount from the card.
Banks that offer balance transfers for existing customers
New vs existing customer balance transfers
- 0% p.a. on balance transfer widely available, which is substantially lower than what most cards charge on balances accruing interest.
- Interest-free periods as long as 3 years, giving you time to get out of debt in a planned way.
- A choice of banks to transfer to, including a number of challenger banks.
- Most banks charge a balance transfer fee, which is a percentage of the amount being transferred.
- You risk creating more debt, since you're opening another credit account.
- You'll have another annual fee to pay, although many cards waive this for the first year.
- Don't make your finances any more complex, because you are transferring debt from an existing card to an existing card.
- The standard balance transfer rate could be lower than the interest rate you are paying, which could be a high purchase rate or — worse yet — the cash advance rate.
- Balance transfer offers for existing customers are not as competitive as those for new customers, meaning less available cash to repay your debt.
Can you balance transfer from another card at the same bank to your existing card?
No. You cannot balance transfer from another card at the same bank to your existing card.
Can you balance transfer a store card to your existing card?
Yes. You can balance transfer a store card like those from Coles and David Jones to your existing card.
Can you balance transfer a charge card to your existing card?
Yes. You can balance transfer a charge card like those from American Express to your existing card.
Can you balance transfer a personal loan to your existing card?
Yes. A small number of banks — Citi, and Citi-powered cards from Virgin Money, Coles, and Qantas Money — allow personal loan balance transfers. Most banks do not.
Can you balance transfer a BNPL account to your existing card?
Yes. You can balance transfer a BNPL account to your existing card, but only at a small number of banks make this possible and not for all BNPL services.
Can you balance transfer from an overseas card to your existing card?
No. You cannot balance transfer from an overseas card to your existing card.
Is it worth it?
Whether or not you should apply for a new balance transfer card or request a balance transfer for to an existing card really depends on your individual financial situation.
For example, someone with two credit cards at different banks and with poor credit could use an existing customer balance transfer to reduce — but not eliminate — their interest repayments. Importantly, they could do this without applying for a new credit card, which may result in their application being rejected and a hit to their credit score.
Another person with two credit cards who just wants to simplify their finances could use an existing customer balance transfer to consolidate their debt on one card, leaving them with the option of closing an account and paying one less annual fee.
Someone with good credit, regular income, and debt across a number of credit and store cards, who wants to save as much as possible, may save more with a new balance transfer card. However, the new card's credit limit may not be high enough to transfer all their debt.
Ultimately it's your decision to make. If in doubt, consult a financial advisor.