badcredit

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.

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

Rates last updated August 15th, 2018
$
% p.a.

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Name Product Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount Saved Product Description
Westpac Low Rate Card
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
13.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a 0% for 24 month balance transfer option, first year annual fee waiver and a competitive purchase rate.
Citi Clear Platinum - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
14.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
finder Exclusive: Receive 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers and a discounted annual fee in the first year. Plus, access to Citi World Privileges.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$129 p.a.
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
0% p.a. for 25 months
12.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Get platinum perks and save with 0% p.a. interest for up to 25 months on balance transfers with no BT fee.
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.74% p.a.
$90 p.a.
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer and access to a 24/7 concierge service for a $90 p.a. annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.25% p.a.
$79 p.a.
Receive up to 20 months interest-free on balance transfers with a 2% BT fee. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Citi Simplicity Card
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Save with 5% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 90 days from approval. Plus, a 15 month balance transfer offer.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months. $64 in the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter), plus, bonus Velocity Points.
NAB Low Fee Card
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.74% p.a.
$30 p.a.
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, a 18 month balance transfer offer and special offers from Visa Entertainment.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 14 months
11.99% p.a.
$49 p.a.
Offers a $49 annual fee, 10% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months (capped at $100) and 0% p.a. for 14 months on balance transfers.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 reward Points, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer, a discounted first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance.
BankSA Amplify Card
3% p.a. for 36 months
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 3% p.a. for 36 months balance transfer and earn Qantas or Amplify Points per $1 spent. Plus, enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 16 months
13.74% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low ongoing purchase rate.
St.George Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 16 months
13.74% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a competitive annual fee.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
12.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Offers a long-term balance transfer, low ongoing purchase rate, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
St.George Amplify Card
3% p.a. for 36 months
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 3% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 36 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee and Amplify or Qantas Points per $1 spent.
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
$100 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate offer on purchases for 9 months and the protection of 7 complimentary insurances including overseas travel insurance.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Velocity Points on purchases, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.74% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.

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Amy Bradney-George

Amy is a senior writer at finder.com.au with more than 10 years experience covering credit cards, personal finance and various lifestyle topics. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on money matters, Amy spends her time as an actress.

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Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Citi Clear Platinum - Exclusive Offer

Interest rate

14.99

Annual fee

49*

*$99 p.a. after first year

Westpac Low Rate Card

Interest rate

13.49

Annual fee

0*

*$59 p.a. after first year

Westpac Altitude Platinum Card - Qantas

Interest rate

20.24

Annual fee

50*

*$150 p.a. after first year

ANZ Low Rate

Interest rate

12.49

Annual fee

58

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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

    • finder 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

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