Balance transfer credit cards

Get a balance transfer card to reduce your interest payments, save money and get out of debt faster.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 11th September 2020

Comparing balance transfer credit cards

Citi Rewards Card Balance Transfer Offer

On Citi's website

Apply by 30 November 2020

Citi Rewards Card Balance Transfer Offer

Balance transfer

30 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

21.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months which could help you get on top of things. A one-off 1.5% balance transfer fee applies.
  • Earn Citi Rewards points as you spend using the card: 1 point per $1 Domestic spend (capped at $10,000 per statement period); or 1 point per $1 International spend (uncapped).
  • Feel secure with the complimentary Insurances: International Travel Insurance, Transit Accident Insurance, Purchase Cover Insurance, Extended Warranty Insurance, and Guaranteed Pricing Scheme.
  • Indulge convenience with contactless payment: Mastercard® PayPass, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.
  • Enjoy a free bottle of wine every time you dine at partner restaurants.
Westpac Low Rate Credit Card

On Westpac's website

Apply by 02 December 2020

Westpac Low Rate Credit Card

Balance transfer

20 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

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Purchase rate

13.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$59.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. for 20 months on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Plus, get $200 cashback when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days on purchases.
ANZ Low Rate

On ANZ's website

ANZ Low Rate

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

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Purchase rate

12.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers (1.5% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 20.24% p.a.
  • Low 12.49% p.a. ongoing rate on purchases.
  • No annual fee for the first year ($58 thereafter).
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

On Virgin Money's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

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Purchase rate

18.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee for the life of the card.
  • Transfer your balance at 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers (reverts to 20.99% p.a.)
  • Up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
NAB Low Rate Card

On NAB's website

NAB Low Rate Card

Balance transfer

20 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

12.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$59.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a. after the promotional period.
  • Get this card at a low $59 p.a. annual fee.
  • Get a response in 60 seconds.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer

On HSBC's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

HSBC Platinum Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$129.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. on balances transferred for 22 months, with no balance transfer fee.
  • $129 p.a. annual fee which is refundable each year when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on overseas purchases.
Citi Rewards Credit Card — $500 e-voucher Offer

On Citi's website

Apply by 30 November 2020

Citi Rewards Credit Card — $500 e-voucher Offer

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

21.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$99.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Receive $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB-Hi-Fi, Bunnings or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days from approval.
  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on Balance Transfers for 12 months (reverts to Cash Advance rate thereafter).
  • Save with the reduced annual fee of $99 p.a. for the first year (reverts to $199 p.a. on the second year).
Kogan Money Black Card

On Kogan Money's website

Apply by 31 October 2020

Kogan Money Black Card

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

20.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • No annual fees.
  • 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a.
  • Earn $50 Kogan.com Credit when you are approved and spend $1000 or more on everyday purchases in the first 60 days.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

On Bank of Melbourne's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 13.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • $0 p.a annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter).
St.George Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Amplify)

On St.George's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

St.George Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Amplify)

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 19.74% thereafter).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter).
Citi Clear Credit Card

On Citi's website

Apply by 31 October 2020

Citi Clear Credit Card

Balance transfer

15 months at 0.9% p.a.

Balance paid off in

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Purchase rate

15 months at 0.9% p.a.

Annual fee

$99.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Transfer your other banks’ credit card balances and enjoy 0.9% p.a. for 15 months with 0% balance transfer fee (reverts to cash advance rate).
  • Enjoy 0.9% p.a. on your purchases for 15 months.
  • Enjoy a free bottle of wine every time you dine at partner restaurants.
St.George Vertigo Visa

On St.George's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

St.George Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 13.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • $0 p.a annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter).
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Amplify)

On Bank of Melbourne's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Amplify)

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 19.74% p.a. thereafter).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter).
ANZ First Visa Credit Card

On ANZ's website

ANZ First Visa Credit Card

Balance transfer

18 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

20.24% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$30.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for the first 18 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred. Reverts to 20.24% p.a..
  • Low annual fee of $30 p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases when you pay your account in full each month.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (Altitude)

On Westpac's website

Apply by 11 November 2020

Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (Altitude)

Balance transfer

18 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

20.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$99.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Receive 80,000 Altitude bonus points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval. Terms and conditions apply.
  • 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers (1 % balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to purchase rate of 20.49% p.a.
  • $99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. annual fee thereafter).
BankSA Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Amplify)

On BankSA's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

BankSA Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Amplify)

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 19.74% p.a. thereafter).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter).
Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (Qantas)

On Westpac's website

Apply by 11 November 2020

Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (Qantas)

Balance transfer

18 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

20.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$99.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Receive 60,000 Qantas bonus points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Transfer your balance at 0% p.a. for 18 months (1 % balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to purchase rate of 20.49% p.a.
  • $99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. annual fee thereafter).
St.George Rainbow Vertigo Visa

On St.George's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

St.George Rainbow Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 13.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • $0 p.a annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter).
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

On BankSA's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 13.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • $0 p.a annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter).
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard

On Bendigo Bank's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard

Balance transfer

6 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

11.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • No annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter).
  • Receive a $150 Woolworths Supermarket Gift Card when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within 60 days of account opening.
  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months. Purchase rate of 11.99% p.a. applies thereafter.

Overview

A credit card balance transfer occurs when an amount of debt is transferred from an existing credit card or store card to another card held by the same cardholder. In theory, most Australian credit cards are balance transfer credit cards, although some cards specifically exclude a balance transfer option. Where balance transfers are allowed, in the absence of an introductory interest rate offer the transferred balance immediately begins to incur interest charges at the card’s purchases or cash advance interest rate.

But most references to a balance transfer credit card assume that the card receiving the transferred balance has a special introductory offer of a zero or very low interest rate on the transferred balance for a specified period, usually between six and 24 months, occasionally longer. On this page, the term ‘balance transfer credit card’ refers to cards with that type of introductory offer.

Save heaps in interest charges

The obvious attraction of a balance transfer credit card is that it allows you to save a large amount of money by avoiding high interest charges on existing credit card debt for a prolonged period. This is particularly beneficial if the debt is sitting on a card with an interest rate of 20% p.a. or more, before being transferred.

An opportunity for debt consolidation

Many people use a balance transfer credit card to consolidate their debts, particularly high-interest debt. If you choose a card which allows you to make a balance transfer from multiple credit or store cards (and most do), you can consolidate your debts into one easily manageable location and also enjoy a break from interest charges. This should allow you to make larger repayments of your debt, since the repayments are not being eaten up by interest charges.

Bear in mind that the total of your transferred balances will normally need to be no greater than 70-80% of the credit limit on your new card, and that American Express credit cards have a maximum transfer amount of $10,000.

Some cards accept personal loan balance transfers

Some credit card providers, including Citi, Coles, Qantas Money and Virgin Money, allow personal loan debt as well as credit card debt to be transferred to a balance transfer credit card. This allows you to make your debt consolidation more complete.

Watch out for the balance transfer fee

Some balance transfer offers come with a fee attached, a fee payable upfront as a credit establishment or processing fee. If a fee is charged, it is typically 1% or 2% of the amount being transferred. So if you’re transferring a balance of, say, $10,000, and the balance transfer fee is 1%, you’ll pay a $100 fee.

Minimum monthly repayments are necessary

During the balance transfer’s interest-free period you will be required to make at least the minimum repayment (typically the greater of either 2% or 2.5% of the account balance, or $5) once per month. But it’s a good idea to pay off as much of the debt as you can each month, otherwise you’ll be hit with high interest charges once the interest-free period expires.

Interest-free days on purchases forfeited

Credit cards typically come with up to 44 or 55 interest-free days on purchases each month, but this only applies if the account does not have a carried-over balance from the previous month. If you have an unpaid balance transfer on your account, you will be carrying a balance on your account and with the vast majority of cards you will forfeit your interest-free days on purchases. Interest will be charged on any purchase transaction you make, from the date of the transaction until the date it is repaid. So you may want to avoid using your card for purchases until you have paid off your balance transfer.

However, if the balance transfer credit card also has a combined offer of 0% on purchases for an introductory period, you can still use your card for interest-free purchases for as long as the 0% on purchases offer lasts.

Beware the revert interest rate

It’s a good idea to use the interest-free period on your balance transfer to pay off as much of your debt as you possibly can. That’s because you’ll start paying interest on any remaining balance, at the revert interest rate, as soon as the offer period expires. The revert interest rate will be either the card’s ongoing purchases interest rate or the even higher cash advance interest rate.

Alternatives to a balance transfer credit card

If you want to use a balance transfer to get out of debt, then there is another option worth considering: a debt consolidation loan. There are several key difference between balance transfer cards and a debt consolidation loans:

  • Interest rates: Credit card balance transfers tend to be at 0% interest whereas debt consolidation loans usually charge somewhere in the region of 5 - 12%, which is significantly higher.
  • Term: When you balance transfer to a new credit card, you get the introductory interest rate for a specified length of time. Once that period ends, whatever is left of the amount initially transferred will revert to a different rate (typically either the rate applied to purchases or cash advances). The problem is that you could make the minimum repayment throughout the entire introductory period — and use the card for new spending — meaning you don't actually use it to get out of debt. Debt consolidation loans have a fixed term, which means you know with certainty when the loan will be paid back. Assuming you don't take on new debt in the interim, once that loan has been repaid, you would be debt-free. Debt consolidation loans can be repaid over a longer period of time than the introductory rate on credit card balance transfers, which tends to be in the range of 12 - 24 months.
  • Fees: Transferring your credit card debt to a new card typically, but not always, incurs what's known as a balance transfer fee. This is a one-off charge that is typically in the region of 1 - 3%. In addition, many credit cards charge an annual fee. Debt consolidation loans usually only have an application fee. However, the application fee can vary based on your credit worthiness.

Learn about balance transfer credit cards

What is a balance transfer? Find out how you can use one to save money and get out of debt.

  • Pros & cons
  • Tips
  • FAQs

Combine your debts

You can use a balance transfer credit card as a method of debt consolidation at low or zero interest.

Earn interest on your savings account

If you have made a major purchase on your existing card and can afford to pay off the balance in full, you could earn interest by switching the balance to a new balance transfer credit card and depositing the cash in a savings account for a few months.

Freedom from interest may feel like freedom to buy more

Being temporarily free of interest charges on your debt could mean that you are tempted to spend more than you can afford, making your debt situation even worse.

Insufficient repayments can lead to big debts

If you make only the minimum monthly repayments, you’ll still be looking at a big high-interest debt when the offer expires and the revert rate kicks in.

Interest-free days may be deactivated until your balance is fully paid

You won’t be able to use your card for interest-free purchases each month, unless there’s a parallel zero-interest offer on purchases.

Loads of savings

You can save a lot of money on interest charges if you have existing debt you’re struggling to repay.

Other fees can negate a balance transfer offer

If there’s a balance transfer fee to pay, plus a high annual fee on the new card, interest savings will be eroded.

Use the interest-free period to reduce your debt as much as possible

Instead of just treating the introductory offer period as a holiday from interest charges, it’s best to make a serious attempt to pay off as much of your debt as possible during this time. Don’t make just the minimum monthly repayments. Otherwise you’ll be facing the revert interest rate on a debt that’s still very large at the end of the offer period.

Look for a card that combines introductory offers on both balance transfers and purchases

You may want to use your balance transfer credit card for purchases while you still have an unpaid balance transfer, especially if it’s a rewards points card or if it has complimentary benefits or first-purchase bonus points which require you to make purchases in order to be eligible. But most cards will charge interest on your new purchases from the transaction date, because the presence of the unpaid balance transfer means that your monthly interest-free days are forfeited.

But there is a way to have a balance transfer and still make interest-free purchases. Look for a card with combined introductory offers on both balance transfers and purchases. Take note of the offer expiry dates though – the purchases offer may expire before the balance transfer offer does, in which case you’ll start paying daily interest on purchases if you haven’t repaid the balance transfer at this point.

Consider choosing a card with a low or zero annual fee

If you really want to minimise costs, choose a balance transfer offer with no balance transfer fee and no annual fee (or a low annual fee) for the card. Cards with this low-cost combination are unlikely to have the longest promotional interest-free periods, however, and won’t have many extra trimmings like rewards points or complimentary benefits that you can use when your transferred balance has been repaid.

Make a note of the offer expiry date

Check with your credit card provider to find out exactly when the introductory period expires for your transferred balance. If the introductory interest rate lasts for nine months, for example, will that be nine months from the card account approval date, nine months from the card activation date or nine months from the date the balance is transferred? Once you have established the date, make a note of it in your diary and plan to pay off your debt on or before that date.

Close your old credit card account

Your new credit card provider will contact your existing card provider(s) and make all the necessary arrangements to transfer the balance(s). But they will not close your old card accounts. That’s your job, so first of all make sure the balance is zero, and also transfer to another account any direct debits you had set up on your old card. Then close the old card account to avoid paying an annual fee for a card you won’t be using.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer is when one bank pays off the outstanding debt at your old bank and transfers it to a new account with them. Typically, banks offer promotional deals with low interest rates for a period of time to attract new customers. The promotional offer can save a significant amount of money, which many people use to repay their debt faster.

How much money can I save?

Say you currently have a balance of $3,000 - about average for Australia, according to research by the RBA - that is charged an interest rate of 15% per annum. This means approximately 1.25% in interest per month, which works out to be $37.50. If you were to switch to a card with 0% for 6 months, you would save around $225.

Or, let's imagine you have a balance of $10,000 and paying 15% p.a., which works out to an interest bill of $125 per month. Switching to one of the long-term balance transfer deals offering 2% for the year would reduce your total interest payments on a $10,000 balance to $17 per month, saving you around $1,250 during the first year.

What is a balance transfer fee?

Like the United Kingdom and the United States, balance transfer fees are now the norm for credit cards in Australia. A balance transfer fee is a one-off fee charged to you by your new credit card provider to establish a credit plan for the amount you transfer onto your new credit card from your old card. If there is a balance transfer fee charged our comparison tables will show it and the savings calculation will factor it in. Generally, a balance transfer fee is charged straight away and will appear on your first credit card statement.

What interest rate will my transferred amount revert to after the balance transfer period ends?

When the low balance transfer rate expires, the amount that you transferred over will be subject to either the ongoing purchase rate or the cash advance rate. Our comparison tables will show which rate the balance transfer rate reverts to.

When does the debt need to be transferred?

Most people take immediate advantage of a balance transfer offer and include the details of their debts in their application. However, banks may give you up to 3 months leeway. Failing to use the promotional offer when applying for a new 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.

What types of balance transfers are there?

In addition to the comparison table above, you can compare credit cards which offer balance transfers with:

  • 0% on balance transfers & purchases- no interest on both balance transfers _and_ purchases on the new card.
  • More than 12 months low interest - secure a low interest rate on balances transferred for the long term.

I'm a loyal customer. Why doesn't my bank offer me a balance transfer rate?

Even if you have been with your bank for years, you’ll have to transfer your balance to an account with a different bank in order to take advantage of the introductory offer on interest. Most banks in Australia do not permit their customers to transfer a balance from one account held with them to another. This may sound like a lot of hassle, but in reality it isn’t, especially because most banks do not charge a fee for doing this.

How do I initiate a balance transfer?

You have two choices when switching to a new card. Either you fill in the details of the balance you would like to transfer on the application form, or you wait until the account has been opened and then initiate the process. You’ll typically get the same interest rate regardless, but 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. Failing to do so may mean that you’ll have to pay a higher rate of interest on any debt transferred across to your new account.

How closely will the banks look at my credit card application?

All banks and credit card issuers look at your personal financials in order to figure out if you should be approved or declined. The bank will want to verify your age to make sure you are over 18 years old, look at your income, check your residency status, and also check your credit rating to calculate your ability to repay your credit card on time.

How long does it take the new bank to process my application and transfer over my old balance?

Assuming that your credit card application has been successful, your balance will usually be transferred inside two weeks.

Can the outstanding debt of store cards be transferred?

Yes, you can transfer what you owe on your store card (e.g. your David Jones credit card).

Can I balance transfer from my spouse's credit card?

Yes, but you and your spouse will both need to be named as joint primary cardholders prior to filing for a balance transfer. Adding yourself as a joint primary cardholder can typically be done easily via phone or online banking.

How does a balance transfer impact my credit score?

In short, it depends. If you apply for multiple credit cards in a short period of time, and want to consolidate a large outstanding debt, your credit score will be lowered. This is further compounded if some of your applications have been declined and you continue to apply for more offers. It is best to spread out your applications for new accounts as much as you can while keeping your existing accounts in good order by not missing payments or spending too much.

Sign up here to track your credit score for free on Finty.

How does my credit limit affect the amount I can transfer?

Your credit limit, or the amount of money you are allowed to borrow, does come into play. If you intend to consolidate debt from multiple accounts onto a single card using a promotional offer, you may not be able to transfer the entire outstanding amount because your credit limit is not high enough. Should this happen to you, you can still transfer as much of your outstanding balance as possible to take advantage of the low interest rate and work towards paying it off. If you manage to pay off some of what you owe on your new card and essentially free up some space on it, you could move some of the amount still owed from your old card to your new card, but most likely at a rate that is higher than the promotional rate. As long as you space out your applications adequately, you could apply for another credit card and move the rest of your outstanding debt to it.

Should I transfer a balance to a card with an annual fee?

Assuming that you want to apply for a balance transfer credit card and use the low interest rate to pay back your debt faster, you’ll also want to avoid other fees as much as possible. An annual fee is one such charge you would rather avoid. However, if you are planning to move a very large balance at a low rate, the impact of the annual fee is diminished because of the amount of money saved per month on interest alone. Conversely, if you are moving a relatively small debt, the annual fee may practically wipe out any potential savings. Ideally, you are looking for a really cheap and prolonged balance transfer deal without an annual fee. The potential savings are calculated by our comparison tables and make it easier to see how much you could save.

Is it worth paying the balance transfer fee?

Many banks charge a one-off handling fee for doing a balance transfer. This balance transfer fee typically ranges between 1% to 3% of the amount you transfer and it is charged upfront when you are approved for the new card. If you transfer $5,000 to a card with a 1% BT fee then you'll be charged $50 for doing the balance transfer. This is additional to the Annual Fee which is a separate charge. To make it easy to see if it is worth paying the balance transfer fee Credit Card Compare's comparison tables have included the balance transfer fee (for cards that charge the fee) in the calculation of your potential savings.

Can I transfer my personal loan debt to a new balance transfer credit card?

No. With the exception of Citi it is not possible to do that. Most banks do not allow you to put your personal loan debt or line of credit onto a credit card. Other than Citi, your best bet might be to find a cheaper personal loan with lower interest rates to save on interest repayments.

Can I transfer my credit card balance from overseas to a credit card in Australia?

No. It is not possible to do that.

Can I do a balance transfer after submitting my application?

Yes, you can. However, the rules vary from bank to bank. As the balance transfer is typically a promotional rate aimed at attracting new customers, some banks are quite strict in terms of when they make it available. 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 holders of the card, 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).
  • Citibank: 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: The promotional balance transfer offer is available for up to 30 days after you've been approved for the card.

Is it OK to use a balance transfer credit card to make purchases?

This really depends on your financial situation. If you want to open a new account in order to pay less interest and use the money saved to pay off your debt, then no, it’s best not to spend with the card. If your new card has a combined promotional interest rate on balance transfers and purchases, and you can afford to pay for what you buy plus make a repayment on the debt, then you can use the card to buy with. However, in general it’s best to live within your means, pay off your debt first and only buy things with your credit card that you can pay off fully each month.

How much should I pay off each month?

Beyond the minimum, it’s totally up to what works best for your personal financial circumstances. Be aware that paying off only the minimum each month will translate into a long time paying off your balance.

Do banks charge any fees if I pay off my card before the balance transfer period ends?

No. Balance transfer cards are different to fixed schedule personal loans and home loans. There are no early payment penalties for clearing your credit card debt on time or ahead of time.

In what order are repayments allocated?

Many people don’t realise that a bank doesn’t treat the amount owed as one single account. In other words, if you have transferred a balance at a low interest rate and use your new card to spend with, the bank will allocate payments to the cheapest debt first. So if you are not disciplined in your spending, you’ll not only be adding to your outstanding debt, but you won’t even be paying off the amount of money that was transferred. If you want to get rid of your debt, then don’t use your new balance transfer card to buy stuff!

However, there is an exception to this rule. Banks are now offering cards with a combined low interest rate on both balance transfers and purchases. Therefore, you would pay the same rate of interest on any new purchases as you would on the amount of money that was transferred across. Note that the promotional interest rate offer on these tend to vary between balance transfers and purchases, i.e. you might get 9 months interest free on a balance transfer, but only 6 months on purchases. Still, the best thing to do is to avoid spending on your card until you are no longer in debt and can afford to pay off your monthly spend in full.

Can I do a 2nd balance transfer onto another card at a different bank?

Yes - you are free to do a follow up balance transfer to another card with a different bank. If you have a bigger debt, you should look for cards with longer balance transfer periods.

Will I still need to pay the minimum repayment each month on the transferred balance?

Yes - you’ll need to pay the minimum each month. Typically it’s about 2-3% of your balance. But, given the debt-busting potential of a well managed balance transfer you should try to pay back as much as you can afford each month while the interest rate is low. Once the rate reverts to the higher level, if you still have some debt, you can transfer the balance to yet another card, with a better rate. You can calculate what your minimum repayment would be paying using our minimum repayment calculator.

If I move cards, will I need to move my automatic direct debits and bills?

Yes - your credit card number and expiry dates will change so if you have set up automatic direct debits and monthly bills with companies (e.g. telco’s) then you’ll need to contact them to change these. There is automated way to do this. Just think, it’s a small inconvenience compared to the money you’ll save.

What should I do with the old cards?

That is up to you. Once you’ve been approved for your new credit card and you've had confirmation that the balance has been transferred over, unless you plan on keeping your old card to continue spending on it then you should probably cancel the old card(s). The new bank will not make you close your old card.

Do I earn rewards points on balance transfers?

Unfortunately, you can't earn points on balance transfers from one credit card to another. For example, if you transferred $4,000 of debt from one card, you will not earn any points on that $4,000. Note: this is a rule of thumb for all balance transfers.