What is the introductory balance transfer period?

By   |   Verified by Nilooka Dissanayake   |   Updated 29 Sep 2023

Balance transfer credit cards in Australia

The introductory balance transfer period refers to the initial timeframe during which a promotional interest rate (often 0%) applies to the transferred balance. This period can range from a few months to over two years, depending on the card offer.

Key takeaways

  • The introductory balance transfer period typically offers zero — or reduced — interest rates.
  • Benefits are temporary. Once the period ends, any remaining debt reverts to a higher rates.
  • Use the introductory period to reduce your balance without accumulating new charges.

Perks and pitfalls

  1. Save money on interest. Not having interest payments each month for the duration of the introductory period saves money, gives you breathing space, and can help you sort out your finances.
  2. Debt reduction. Use the introductory period to pay down your debt so that you are out of debt — or have significantly reduced the balance — by the time it ends.
  3. Beware of the revert rate. The introductory rate isn't permanent. Once over, any remaining balance will attract the card's revert rate, which can be considerably higher.

How to make the most of the introductory period

  • Don't forget when it ends. Set a calendar reminder so you don't forget when the introductory period is about to end, giving your future self the time to decide what to do next.
  • Plan your repayments. Calculate a monthly repayment that ensures the debt is cleared within the introductory window, thereby avoiding the revert rate from kicking in. It's simple. Divide the balance by the number of months in the introductory period to get the monthly payment you need to make to pay it all off.
  • Avoid new credit card spend. If you choose not to spend on a balance transfer card, more of your money can go towards paying off the debt. Avoid making new purchases on the card as much as possible, at least until you've got the debt under control.


You transfer $5,000 to a balance transfer with 0% p.a. for 24 months. You calculate that you need to pay $208.33 each month to pay off the debt by the end of the introductory period.

However, you choose to pay $150 monthly instead because it's more affordable. This means you'll still have a remaining balance of $2,200 when the introductory period ends.

If you don't transfer this balance to a different card, the remaining amount will start accruing interest at the card's revert rate of 19.99% p.a.

Can I extend the introductory balance transfer period?

Typically, the introductory period is fixed. However, some card providers might offer extensions under special circumstances or promotions.

What happens if I miss a payment during the introductory period?

Missing a payment can result in penalties, including the potential loss of the promotional rate. Always ensure timely payments.