Balance transfer credit cards

Use a credit card balance transfer to move expensive debt to a new credit card with a low or 0% interest rate and pay off your debt faster.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 17 Apr 2024

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Comparing balance transfer credit cards

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

On website

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

14.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • No annual fee.
  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balances transferred (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to 14.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • No foreign transaction fees and complimentary international credit card travel insurance.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee to pay — ever.
  • Very long interest-free balance transfer offer.
  • No fees on purchases in a foreign currency.
  • Complimentary international travel insurance.

Cons

  • There is a 3% fee on balance transfers.
  • You can't earn rewards points.
Bankwest Zero Mastercard

On website

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

14.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Pay no annual fee as long as you hold the card.
  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balances transferred (3% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to 14.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • There is no annual fee for as long as you keep the card.
  • The current balance transfer offer is extremely competitive.
  • Interest on purchases is comparatively low.

Cons

  • Balance transfers incur a one-off fee.
  • You cannot earn credit card points.
St.George Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

Apply by 30 April 2024

St.George Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

Balance transfer

24 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

19.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$199.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 150,000 Bonus Amplify Rewards Points when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases within the first 12 months from card approval.
  • $199 card fee for the first year ($295 p.a thereafter).
  • 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months

Pros

  • The 150,000 bonus Amplify Rewards Points.
  • Save $96 with the $199 card fee for the first year.
  • Enjoy 2 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits each year when you enroll in Priority Pass.
  • Comes with concierge services.

Cons

  • After the initial year, the annual fee is $295 p.a.
  • There is a 1% balance transfer fee.
St.George Vertigo Visa

Apply by 30 April 2024

St.George Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$55.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
NAB Low Rate Card

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

12.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 32 months with no balance transfer fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a. after the promotional period.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($59 p.a. thereafter).
  • Get a response in 60 seconds.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 32 months.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • The waived annual fee for the first year.
  • Additional credit card is free.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
  • No insurance coverage.
NAB Rewards Signature Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$195.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 140,000 bonus Points. Receive 100,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days from account approval date and 40,000 bonus points when you keep your card open for over 12 months. Terms and conditions apply.
  • $195 p.a reduced annual card fee for your first year (reverts to $295 p.a. thereafter).
  • Earn 2.5 points on purchases made in major department and hardware stores.
  • Earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent on everyday purchases.

Pros

  • Earn up to 140,000 bonus NAB Rewards Points when you meet the criteria.
  • The discounted $195 annual fee on the first year.
  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
  • Includes international travel insurance.

Cons

  • There is a 3% balance transfer fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Avail of the 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months with a 2% balance transfer fee.
  • Enjoy the first year with no annual fee, then it's $149 per year afterward.
  • Earn 2 Reward Plus points per $1 spent on overseas eligible purchases and 1 Reward Plus point per $1 spent for all other eligible purchases.
  • $6,000 minimum credit limit.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year.
  • Enjoy 2 airport lounge passes every year.
  • Benefit from HSBC Instant Savings with exclusive dining and shopping discounts.
  • Includes complimentary travel and purchase protection insurance.
  • Choice of points transfer partners (Asia Miles, KrisFlyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer).

Cons

  • The balance transfer rate reverts to 21.99% p.a. after 12 months.
  • 2% balance transfer fee.
  • The 10,000 points cap per statement period.
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Apply by 31 July 2024

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$55.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive up to $400 cashback on your supermarket purchase or benefit from 0% interest for 28 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to a cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Enjoy a low variable interest rate of 13.99% p.a. on purchases.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Pros

  • Get 10% cashback on your supermarket shop or 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Apply by 31 July 2024

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$55.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 28 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There is no rewards program for this card.
ANZ Low Rate Credit Card

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

12.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Choose between these 2 introductory offers: 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee (reverts to 21.24% p.a.), or get $250 cash back when you spend $1,500 in the first 3 months from approval. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • No annual fee for the first year ($58 thereafter).
  • Low 12.49% p.a. ongoing rate on purchases.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases when you pay your account in full each month.

Pros

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers up to 28 months or earn $250 cash back.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter).
  • Take advantage of the low purchase interest rate of 12.49% p.a.
  • Add up to 3 additional cardholders at no extra cost.

Cons

  • No purchase or travel insurance included.
  • No rewards program.
Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$349.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points. Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 or more on eligible purchases within 3 months from card approval. Plus an additional 20,000 bonus points if you have not earned Qantas Points with a credit card in the last 12 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Enjoy 0% on Balance Transfer for 12 months with no Balance Transfer fee. Reverts to Cash Advance rate, thereafter. No interest-free days apply on retail purchases while you have a balance transfer.
  • Save with the reduced annual fee of $349 p.a. for the first year. An ongoing annual fee of $399 p.a. applies in the 2nd year.

Pros

  • Earn up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
  • Additional savings with the $349 first-year annual fee.
  • Comes with complimentary travel insurance.

Cons

  • The annual fee increases to $399 p.a. after the initial year.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard

Apply by 30 June 2024

Coles Low Rate Mastercard

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Balance paid off in

Calculate your repayments

Purchase rate

12.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$58.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months. Reverts to cash advance rate of 19.99% p.a.
  • Low annual fee of $58 p.a.
  • Collect 1 Flybuys Point for every $2 at Coles Supermarkets.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months.
  • Complimentary access to your 24/7 local concierge.
  • Interest-free for up to 55 days.

Cons

  • There is a 1.5% balance transfer fee.
  • You can only earn Flybuys points at Coles Supermarkets.
  • No interest-free days while you have a balance transfer.

Want to know more about what a balance transfer credit card is and how it works? Here's what you need to know.

What is a credit card balance transfer?

A credit card balance transfer occurs when an amount of debt is transferred from an existing credit card, charge 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.

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.

What is a balance transfer credit card offer?

A balance transfer credit card allows cardholders to consolidate debts by moving existing balances to one card, often benefiting from a lower promotional interest rate. These are the defining features of a typical balance transfer credit card offer.

  • Introductory balance transfer rate. A promotional low or 0% interest rate offered to new cardholders for a set period.
  • Introductory balance transfer period. The duration the promotional rate applies, ranging from several months to over two years. After this, the revert rate kicks in.
  • Balance transfer fee. A one-time charge, often a percentage of the transferred amount, for executing the balance transfer.
  • Revert rate. The interest rate applied to any remaining balance post the introductory period, typically higher than the promotional rate.

What is the difference between a credit card and a balance transfer card?

In essence, all balance transfer cards are credit cards, but not all credit cards offer balance transfer features.

A credit card is a type of payment card issued by a bank that allows you to borrow money up to a certain limit to make purchases. You then pay back the borrowed amount, with interest if not paid in full by the due date.

A balance transfer card is a specific type of credit card specifically designed to help you move and consolidate debts. It lets you transfer the balance from one or more existing credit cards to this new card, often with a lower or even 0% interest rate for a set period. Used properly, this can help you save on interest and pay off debt faster.

How does a balance transfer work?

A balance transfer is nothing new — they've been around since before we started comparing credit cards — and is quite a simple process you can do yourself. If this is your first time transferring a balance, here's how it works.

The balance transfer process

  1. Compare offers and pick a card. At any given time, many of Australia's main banks will have a balance transfer offer. You can compare many of them in the table above. Note that you cannot balance transfer between cards with the same bank.
  2. Check you are eligible. Make sure you earn enough, have a good enough credit score, and meet the minimum criteria.
  3. Apply. This is when you'll provide details on the balance transfer. You'll also need your ID. The bank may also require some additional proof of income such as a bank statement or recent payslip. The fastest and most convenient way to apply is online.
  4. Activate your new card. Some banks will not carry out the balance transfer until your card has been activated.
  5. Transfer. The new credit card company pays off the amount of balance specified on your old card. This amount then appears as a debt on your new card.
  6. Repayment. You start making repayments on the new card, ideally benefiting from the lower interest rate. This means more of your payment goes towards reducing the principal amount rather than just covering interest.
  7. Decide what to do with your old card. There are pros and cons for closing or keeping it open. You don't have to close old cards, but it can save on annual fees and helps you from overspending.
  8. End of introductory offer. Once the promotional period ends, any remaining balance will start accruing interest at the card's standard rate. It's beneficial to pay off the transferred amount before this happens.

How much do credit card balance transfers cost?

The cost of a credit card balance transfer primarily depends on the balance transfer fee, if any, imposed by the card issuer.

This fee is usually a percentage of the amount being transferred. For instance, a 3% fee on a $5,000 transfer would cost $150.

Most banks offer the choice of adding the fee to the balance or paying it up front.

What debt can be consolidated with a credit card balance transfer?

Balance transfers aren't just for credit card debt, although what can be transferred to a credit card varies between issuers.

How much can you transfer to a single card?

The amount you can transfer is typically determined by the balance transfer limit of the new card, which is typically a percentage of the card's overall credit limit. For example, if your new card has a credit limit of $10,000 and a balance transfer limit of 90%, you can transfer up to $9,000.

Some banks specify a fixed dollar amount as their balance transfer limit, but this is relatively uncommon these days.

If you need to transfer a large amount and are in doubt about a card's suitability, it's important to check limits before applying. You might also want to check out these credit cards with high credit limits.

When do you find out what your maximum credit limit is?

Once your credit card application has been processed and approved, the issuer will inform you of your credit limit on the approval letter or email.

This unfortunately means it may be possible that the credit limit — and therefore the balance transfer limit — is lower than what you need.

Several factors determine what the credit limit will be, including your credit history, income, existing debts, and your overall ability to repay.

How long does a credit card balance transfer take?

How long a balance transfer takes varies between banks and can take between 5 to 15 business days to complete. Once you request a balance transfer, the new card issuer will communicate with the old card issuer to move the funds.

It's crucial to continue making payments on the old card until the transfer is confirmed to avoid late fees or damaging your credit score.

How much money can a balance transfer save?

Savings can be significant if you manage to repay the balance within the interest-free or low-interest introductory period.

However, the amount you can save using a credit card balance transfer depends on the introductory interest rate, introductory offer length, and how quickly you repay your debt.

Example: 0% balance transfer card vs paying off your current card

  • Balance transferred: $5,000
  • Current interest rate: 20% p.a.
  • Introductory balance transfer rate: 0% p.a.
  • Introductory balance transfer period: 6 months
  • Monthly minimum repayment: 2%
  • Amount saved: $495.44 (or $395.44 if you had to pay a 2% balance transfer fee)

Can anyone do a credit card balance transfer?

There are balance transfer credit card eligibility criteria and conditions to take into consideration, meaning not everyone may be eligible. As the bare minimum, you'll need a good credit score and a specified minimum income to qualify.

  • Your own credit card debt. With a solid credit score and consistent income, you can apply for a balance transfer. The key is aligning with the issuer's requirements, which is why it's so important to check before applying.
  • Between family and friends. Few issuers support balance transfers from another person's card to yours. If you choose this route, ensure both parties understand the repayment terms and credit score implications.
  • Overseas debt. None of the banks will transfer debt from a foreign card to an Australian one or vice versa. If you have overseas debts, consider alternatives like personal loans.
  • Existing customers. If you already hold multiple credit cards, you might be able to transfer a balance between them. However, balance transfers for existing customers typically aren't anywhere near as competitive as those for new customers. While the rates might be higher, the upside is you avoid the hassle and potential credit score impact of applying for a new card, which might not even get approved.
  • Business balance transfers. If a business credit card have a balance transfer offer, it's usually much less competitive or long-term as personal card offers.

What is the best balance transfer credit card?

There is no single "best" balance transfer credit card that will suit everybody's individual financial circumstances. These are the characteristics of a good balance transfer credit card, which you can compare to find the best balance transfer credit card for your needs.

  • A low interest rate on balance transfers. The obvious attraction of a balance transfer 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. Most balance transfer credit cards in Australia have a 0% p.a. introductory rate.
  • A long introductory period. The basic rule of thumb is that the longer the introductory period is, the better. When combined with a low interest rate, you can use the introductory period to save more money and get out of debt.
  • A low or no 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.
  • A low revert 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.
  • A balance transfer limit that's high enough for you. It is not possible to balance transfer any more than your new card's credit limit. Most banks also have a limit for how much of the credit limit can be used specifically for balance transfers, known as the balance transfer limit, which can range from 70 - 100%.
  • Support for your preferred transfer. Due to complexities with banking relationships, it may not be possible to transfer between the banks you prefer. Check that the card you want to apply for can balance transfer from your existing card.
  • Ability to transfer non-credit card debt. Some credit card providers, including Citi, Coles, Qantas Money and Virgin Money, allow personal loan debt as well as credit, charge, and store card debt to be transferred to a balance transfer credit card. This allows you to make your debt consolidation more complete.

How to use a credit card balance transfer

Once you get an interest-free balance transfer card, there are a few things to do in order to maximise its benefits.

Things to do

  • Get the balance transfer offer. If you did not request a balance transfer during the application, some cards allow you to request it after approval. However, if this is an option, it's usually for a limited period after approval.
  • Use the interest-free intro period to pay off debt. Unlike a loan with fixed monthly repayments, you only have to make the minimum monthly repayment. Calculate what to pay each month so that the balance has been paid off before the introductory offer ends (our comparison table includes a calculator that does this).
  • Don't spend on your new card. Do what you can to be disciplined with regards new purchases. Use the balance transfer card and it's interest-free offer to get out of debt rather than as a reprieve.

Things not to do

  • Avoid applying for more than one card around the same time. Doing this can have a negative impact on your credit score since it can appear irresponsible. If it does affect your report, it can take some time for it to recover and may make it more difficult to get approved in future.
  • Do not make minimum repayments only. This is one of the worst things you can do with your credit card since it means you'll carry a for longer and pay more interest.
  • Don't spend on your old card. If you choose to keep your old card, avoid spending on it.

What happens after the introductory balance transfer period?

Once the balance transfer period has expired, your options depend on what balance remains.

If you've repaid the balance in full

  • You're out of debt. You'll have more money left over each month, which you can use to build your wealth.
  • You can the keep the card. If you don't mind paying the annual fee and won't start spending on it again, you could keep it.
  • Or close it. If you want to avoid debt, then you can close the account and make additional savings because there'll be no annual fee to pay.

If you still have a balance

  • The revert rate begins. Any debt that was transferred and has not been repaid will incur interest at the purchase or cash advance rate.
  • You can do another balance transfer if you need to. If you still have a lot left to repay, then you could consider transferring to another card with a different bank.

Balance transfer credit card pros and cons

A balance transfer card can reduce interest, save money, and make it easier to get out of debt. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to be aware of.

Pros

  • Pay less interest and save money. You can use a credit card balance transfer to reduce or eliminate interest, which means paying less each month during the introductory period.
  • Free up money that can be used to get out of debt. With less money being spent on interest, you can increase what you repay to pay off the balance owed faster.
  • Simplify your finances. While it's often overlooked, the ability to combine debt from several cards onto a single card with a low rate not only makes it cheaper, but also easier and less stressful to manage.

Cons

  • The balance transfer fee. If charged, this one-off fee means having to pay around 2 - 3% of the amount being transferred. That may not matter much for small balance transfers, but if you are transferring a lot, it can add up.
  • High interest after the introductory period ends. When the introductory period is over, any balance left will attract interest at the purchase or cash advance rate.
  • Your new card's credit limit may not be enough to transfer everything across. Furthermore, you won't know what that credit limit is before applying.
  • 0% introductory offers are for new customers only.
  • You may use the card to spend with. Doing so means you may end up with more debt.

Balance transfer credit card alternatives

A balance transfer credit card isn't the only solution to eliminating your debt. You can also consider the following alternatives:

  • Debt consolidation loan. A debt consolidation loan transfers multiple existing loans to a different lender. These loan products may have attractive repayment terms such as a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments. However, closing old accounts can reduce your credit score by reducing your credit mix.
  • Home loan refinance. If you have substantial equity in your home (that is, its market value is higher than the amount you owe on your home loan) you can release some of that equity as cash by refinancing your home for a larger amount and possibly a lower interest rate or longer term. You could then use the surplus cash to pay off high-interest debt like credit cards. But be aware that you are converting short-term debt into long-term debt.

Learn about balance transfer credit cards

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

  • FAQs

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.

Will a balance transfer hurt 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.

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 you transfer personal loan debt to a 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.

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

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.

Is there an early repayment fee for paying off the balance before the introductory 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.

Will there be monthly payments with a 0% balance transfer card?

You’ll still need to pay the minimum repayment every month, even with an interest-free balance transfer. 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.

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.

Do balance transfers earn rewards points?

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.

What is a credit card rollover?

A credit card rollover is a credit card balance transfer. It is colloquial phrase that can be used interchangeably with balance transfer, describing the process of transferring a debt (or multiple debts) from your existing credit card to a new one.

Can I do a balance transfer within the same bank?

Introductory balance transfer offers are not typically allowed between credit cards within the same bank. When balance transfers between cards at the same bank are permitted, they are generally at rates that are much less attractive than those of introductory offers.

Do you need to switch banks to do a credit card balance transfer?

No. You do not need to switch who you bank with when transferring a credit card balance. However, you will need to open a credit card account with a new bank (the one with the introductory offer).

Can I make multiple balance transfers to the same card?

Yes, you can transfer a balance from more than one credit card, but only as long as the combined amount doesn't exceed the card's credit limit or the bank's specified balance transfer limit. Subsequent transfers might not qualify for the initial promotional rate.

Can I transfer a balance from a foreign card?

Banks do not allow balance transfers from foreign credit cards to an Australian card (or vice versa).

Are balance transfers worth doing?

Balance transfers can offer significant interest savings and help in consolidating debts. However, it's essential to consider potential fees, the revert rate after the promotional period, and your spending habits before deciding to apply.