How long does a credit card balance transfer take?

By   |   Verified by Bill Ryan Natividad   |   Updated 29 Sep 2023

Balance transfer credit cards in Australia

The length of time it takes for a bank to process a balance transfer varies on a number of conditions.

Find out how long you can expect it to take for a number of banks with details below.

Check what the current balance transfer offers are before you apply.

Key takeaways

  • Banks can provisionally decide on balance transfer applications within 60 seconds, but often require further proof and verification.
  • After approval, some banks may require you to activate the card before initiating the transfer.
  • Processing times differ by bank, ranging from 5 to 15 business days or more.

Step-by-step through the process

The balance transfer timeline

A sequence of events must take place before a balance transfer can be processed.

The total length of time it takes to process a balance transfer depends on:

  • how long it takes to get approved;
  • whether or not the bank requires you to activate the card before processing the balance transfer.

This is how it works in more detail.

Application decision

You may have noticed some banks advertising how they can give you a decision within 60 seconds of your application being submitted.

During this time they run the details you provided them with through a scoring algorithm and give you their decision. Your application may be approved at this stage, but based on our experience comparing credit cards over the years, it's much more likely that your application will be conditionally approved than approved. If you have not met the minimum criteria, your application will be rejected at this stage.

The bank may contact you via email or phone to gather extra details if your application has been conditionally approved. The quicker you provide these, the faster your application can be processed. If possible, have the following ready to share:

  • a copy of your driver's licence or passport to verify your identity;
  • recent payslips and / or statements for the bank account where your pay has been deposited;
  • the most recent copy of your Tax Assessment Notice or PAYG summary.

If you are self-employed, they may request an accountant's letter to verify the details you provided. If you are a salaried employee, you may need a letter from your employer to confirm the you details you provided.

Balance transfer request processed

After your application has been approved, the bank will process your balance transfer. There are a couple of things to be aware of.

  1. Some banks will automatically process a balance transfer after an application has been approved.
  2. You may need to activate your new card for some banks to process a balance transfer request.

It can take several days for your new credit card to arrive after approval. If your bank requires you to activate a card before they will process the balance transfer, you should factor in the the length of time it takes for the card to arrive with you first.

How long does it take to process?

Balance transfer times per bank

BankWhen balance transfers are processedBalance transfer processing time
American ExpressAfter application approvalUp to 10 business days
ANZAfter card activationUp to 15 business days
Bank of MelbourneAfter card activationUp to 14 days
BankSAAfter card activationUp to 14 days
CitiN/AUp to 10 business days
ColesN/AUp to 10 business days
Commonwealth BankN/AUp to 5 business days
HSBCAfter application approvalUp to 7 business days
NABAfter application approvalUp to 10 business days
Qantas MoneyN/AUp to 10 business days
St.GeorgeAfter card activationUp to 14 days
Virgin MoneyAfter card activationUp to 10 business days
WestpacAfter card activationUp to 10 days

How it works

Example timeline

After realising how much interest costs each month, you compare credit card offers and decide to apply for a balance transfer card with Westpac.

You get conditionally approved within 60 seconds of applying on their website. However, Westpac requests recent payslips and a copy of her photo identification for verification. After submitting the required documents, the application is fully approved three days later.

One week later the card arrives. You activate it online and the balance transfer is initiated. After another week passes, you check your credit card statement and notice that the balance has been paid and transferred to the new credit card.

The entire process was completed in two weeks.


Need a little help?


What bank is the fastest for balance transfers?

Commonwealth Bank has the fastest balance transfer processing time.

What bank is the slowest for balance transfers?

ANZ has the slowest balance transfer processing time.