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Combine credit cards with a balance transfer

Save on interest and repay your debt faster by using a balance transfer to consolidate your credit cards onto one account.

Updated

Man sitting in his kitchen and looking at a laptop with his credit card.

A balance transfer gives you a way to combine multiple credit card debts so that you're not juggling different interest rates and payment due dates. Depending on the card you choose, you can often take advantage of promotional 0% p.a. balance transfer rate during the introductory period. Use this guide to learn how this debt consolidation option works and what you need to consider so you can decide if it's right for you.

How to combine credit card debts with a balance transfer

You can combine your multiple credit card debts with a balance transfer by taking the following steps:

  1. Confirm the total amount of debt you owe. Call each credit card company and ask them for your total outstanding balance, including interest, fees and pending transactions. This gives you the most accurate details of your balance, as some charges may not be shown on your latest statement or even your online statement.
  2. Compare balance transfer credit cards. Look at a range of balance transfer offers based on factors including the length of the 0% interest period, balance transfer fees and annual fees and the rate of interest that will apply at the end of the introductory period. If you have a lot of debt to transfer, you may also want to consider credit cards that offer high credit limits, although keep in mind that the limit you'll get is subject to approval.
  3. Check that your card debts are eligible. You can usually transfer debts from Australian store, charge or credit cards held with a different financial institution to the one that is issuing your new balance transfer card. But it's not always obvious when card brands share the same issuer. So, when you're transferring several debts, it's a good idea to check that all of them are eligible based on the card issuer.
  4. Start the application. You can apply for a balance transfer credit card online in around 10–15 minutes. Get started by checking that you meet the eligibility requirements, then make sure you have all the required details ready to fill in the application form.
  5. Include details of your existing credit card debts. During the application, you'll need to provide details of the debts you want to consolidate onto the balance transfer card. This includes the account names, numbers, relevant BSBs and the total amount you want to transfer to the new account.
  6. Submit your application. Review the details on your application and submit it once you've confirmed that the information is correct. Most online applications will give you with an outcome in a few minutes. If your application is successful and you have provided all the required documents, you should get your new card in around two weeks.
  7. Activate the card. When you get your new credit card, activate it by following the instructions provided by your issuer. Once you've done this, the issuer will process your balance transfer. This usually takes between 5–10 business days to process, so it's important to make any required repayments on your account during this time. The introductory balance transfer rate will apply as soon as your account is activated.
  8. Confirm the transfers and close your old accounts. Once your balance transfers have been processed, you should see that your previous account balances are $0. Call your old credit card providers and close the accounts to avoid any further fees or the temptation to use them.

Compare 0% balance transfer credit cards to consolidate your debts

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate Purchase rate Annual fee Amount saved
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
12.49% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a one-time 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 25 months
23.99% p.a.
$99
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
Westpac Low Rate Card
0% p.a. for 20 months with 1% balance transfer fee
13.74% p.a.
$59
A low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 20 months and a $200 cashback offer.
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 30 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 30 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. promotional purchase and balance transfer rates and save with a first-year annual fee waiver. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 22 months
19.99% p.a.
$129
Enjoy a 22-month balance transfer offer, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
12.99% p.a.
$59
Receive an introductory 0% p.a. interest rate for 20 months on balance transfers, Visa Entertainment offers and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
Citi Clear Card
0.9% p.a. for 15 months
0.9% for 15 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
$99
Save with 0.9% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$0
Earn flybuys points for your spending and save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months
18.99% p.a.
$0
Offers 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Qantas Premier Platinum
0% p.a. for 18 months
19.99% p.a.
$199 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$99
Earn 2 flybuys points / $1 spent and save with a 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, 0% international transaction fees on purchases.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 22 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers and a reduced first-year annual fee. Plus, earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months
19.99% p.a.
$99
Receive 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and a long-term balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary travel insurance. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 7 months on purchases, 0% p.a. interest for 22 months on balance transfers and a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
BankSA Vertigo
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for up to 22 months on balance transfers and up to 7 months on purchases. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Qantas Premier Everyday
0% p.a. for 12 months
19.99% p.a.
$49
Get up to 25,000 bonus Qantas points, a 0% balance transfer offer and complimentary insurance covers. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
St.George Vertigo Classic Rainbow
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
All the great low cost features of the Vertigo Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
St.George Amplify Platinum
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. interest rates on purchases and balance transfers. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
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Video: Balance transfer credit cards explained in 60 seconds

What to consider before doing a balance transfer

Before you apply for a balance transfer credit card, here are some of the key factors to consider:

  • Low or 0% interest promotion periods. Balance transfer offers can be as short as 3 months or as long as 36 months. If you have a large debt, you may want to pick a card with a long interest-free offer so that you have enough time to repay your debt in full before interest applies.
  • Standard interest rates. Also called the “revert rate”, this refers to the interest rate that will apply to any remaining balance transfer debt once the promotional period is over. Make sure this rate is one you can live with if you think you’ll carry a balance beyond the introductory period.
  • Balance transfer limits. The amount of debt you can transfer is based on the credit limit you’re approved for with the new card. For example, some cards restrict your balance transfer amount to a percentage of your credit limit, such as 75% or 90%. This could have an impact on your transfer if you have a large existing debt.
  • Balance transfer fees. Some cards charge a one-time fee for balance transfers, which can range between 1–3% of the total approved transfer. For example, if you have two cards with a combined debt of $6,000, moving it to a card with a balance transfer fee of 2% would cost you $120.
  • Other balance transfer restrictions. Your new card provider may impose its own set of rules around balance transfers, for instance by limiting the number of accounts you can balance transfer at one time or the type of account you can move across.
  • Credit score. As with all types of credit card, most balance transfer card applications will require that you have a good to excellent credit score. You can check your credit score for free through Finder and pick up tips to improve your credit score.
  • Ongoing card features. Also consider other features of the card, such as the annual fee, purchase interest rates and any complimentary extras that may impact how you use the card.

A balance transfer can be a useful tool to combine multiple credit card debts. If you’ve decided to go ahead with this process, make sure to compare your options to find the right credit card for you.

Images: Getty

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AnthonyFebruary 24, 2019

    Would it be better under a hardship case to deal with debt management companies or directly with the credit card companies for relief.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnFebruary 25, 2019Staff

      Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Depending on who is currently handling your debt, you may need to directly work with that company for relief. Generally, debt management companies take over loans which are nearing default. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$99
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a one-time 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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