What if I have bad credit and can’t balance transfer?

Bad credit can make it hard to get approved for a balance transfer credit card but you do have other options. Here's what you need to know.

Updated

While balance transfer credit cards can help you consolidate and pay off debt, you usually need to have a good credit score and a steady income to apply and get approval. So if bad credit is stopping you from getting a balance transfer at the moment, you can use this guide to learn about your options so that you can get your credit score and your finances back on track.

Are there balance transfer credit cards for bad credit?

There are no balance transfer credit cards designed especially to suit people with bad credit. So, while you can still apply for a balance transfer credit card regardless of your credit score, you're less likely to get approved if you have a bad score.

This is because a bad credit score usually means you have negative listings on your credit history, such as late payments or defaults. These details can indicate you have trouble managing debt, which also means lenders are less likely to approve your balance transfer application. On top of that, rejected applications can have a negative impact on your credit file, so you should only apply for a balance transfer credit card when you meet the eligibility requirements and are likely to receive approval.

How to increase the chances of balance transfer approval

Four things you can do if you're unable to get a balance transfer

If your balance transfer application was declined or if you don't think you're eligible to apply yet, here are four other options you can consider to help pay down your debt and improve your credit score.

  1. Get your debts in order

    Instead of applying for a credit card or balance transfer when you have bad credit, focus on repaying your debts and repairing your credit file first. Look at exactly how much you owe on your credit cards or other accounts and list out how much interest you're charged for each debt. You can then reorder the list and prioritise paying off your high interest debts first. Once you have an idea of how much you owe and how much you need to repay, you can start looking at your debt consolidation options.

  1. Talk to your current bank

    If your debt is making it hard to pay your credit card off on time, let your bank or credit card company know. They may be able to offer you a payment plan or some other options to help you pay down the debt. Over time, this could also help you improve your credit score and increase your chances of getting approved for other credit cards.

  2. Consider a debt consolidation loan

    If you're unable to apply for a balance transfer credit card, another option is to get a personal loan to consolidate your debts. There is a wide range of debt consolidation loans available, which can help you combine your debts on a single account. This means you'll only need to make one repayment per month and deal with one set of fees. Making these repayments on time can also help improve your credit score by showing that you are managing your debt responsibly.

  3. Look at short term loans

    Also known as a "payday loan", this is another option if you have bad credit and need cash quickly. The requirements for these loan are different to those of credit cards and the funds are often available in a few days. However, payday loans usually have high fees and short repayment terms. Before applying, consider the fees and the period in which you'll need to repay your balance to calculate whether you can afford the loan. Otherwise, you could end up in more debt and hurt your credit score even more.

While a balance transfer credit card can help you save on interest during the introductory period, it's more important to focus on paying off the debt for good. So if you have bad credit, considering a range of options based on your circumstances will help you find one that works for you.

Balance transfer credit card comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount saved
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 22 months
19.99% p.a.
$129 p.a.
Save with a 22-month balance transfer offer. Plus, lounge passes, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.99% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate. Ends 2 June 2020.
Westpac Low Rate Card
2019 Winner
Westpac Low Rate Card
0% p.a. for 16 months
13.74% p.a.
$59 p.a.
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
ANZ Low Rate
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
12.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 22 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Citi Rewards Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 26 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn flybuys points for your spending and save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard
0% p.a. for 6 months
12.99% p.a.
$58 p.a.
Save with a low purchase interest rate, earn flybuys points as you spend and get up to 55 days interest-free.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.99% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for up to 18 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and competitive purchase rate. Ends 2 June 2020.
BankSA Vertigo
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.99% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 18 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase interest rate. Ends 2 June 2020.
St.George Vertigo Classic Rainbow
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.99% p.a.
$55 p.a.
All the great low cost features of the Vertigo Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community. Ends 2 June 2020.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
17.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
0% p.a. for 6 months
19.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months and complimentary insurance covers. Ends 2 June 2020.
St.George Amplify Platinum
0% p.a. for 6 months
19.74% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 100,000 bonus Amplify Points (70k in the first year & 30k in the second year) when you spend $6k/year for the first 2 years. Ends 2 June 2020.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
20.49% p.a.
$200 p.a.
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
20.49% p.a.
$150 p.a.
Earn 80,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, complimentary travel insurance covers.
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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    IanOctober 29, 2017

    I have a credit card debt with Coles and I wish to balance transfer to allow me to get on top off it and it off what institute can I approach? Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchOctober 29, 2017Staff

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      You can also have a look on this page for helpful information and compare your options.

      You may click the name of your preferred card to know more details and you may click the green “Go to site” button to submit an online application through their official site.

      Best regards,
      Rench

Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Save with a 22-month balance transfer offer. Plus, lounge passes, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$55 p.a.
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate. Ends 2 June 2020.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$425 p.a.
Earn 120,000 bonus Qantas Points & $275 back when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, airport lounge passes. Ends 9 June 2020.
Westpac Low Rate Card
2019 Winner
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$59 p.a.
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
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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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