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

Unable to do a balance transfer because of bad credit? Discover what you can do next to get your finances on track and apply for a balance transfer credit card

Balance transfer credit cards can be a great way to consolidate your debt and take control of your finances. However, you'll need to have good credit and a steady income to apply and receive approval. If you have bad credit and are unable to apply for a balance transfer, we've summarised four easy steps you can follow to improve your credit file and start consolidating your debts.

How does a balance transfer credit card work?

Balance transfer credit cards are used to move a debt that's collecting a high level of interest to a card with a low or 0% promotional interest rate. This low promotional rate will then revert to the standard interest or cash advance rate when the introductory offer ends. Before you go looking for a balance transfer credit card, take into account the amount you wish to transfer, your ability to repay and how you else you intend to use the card. Not all balance transfer credit cards work in the same way, so it's important to compare your options to find the one that'll offer you the most value.

Understanding balance transfer credit cards and bad credit

Most people decide to transfer their outstanding debts to such cards in order to enjoy reduced interest rates. However, credit card providers often don't approve balance transfer credit card applications from people who suffer from tainted credit files. Not all hope is lost though. There are other ways people with bad credit can work to consolidate their debts and improve their credit file.

Credit information can stay on your consumer credit account for up to (but not limited to) 5-7 years depending on the severity of a credit infringement. However, even if one payment has been received for overdue debts, the mark may remain on your credit report. Former overdue debts and late payments can have a negative impact on your ability to gain credit, which stresses the importance of keeping your payments and finances in order and paying your bills on time. Your chances of approval can be increased by repaying your outstanding debts and improving your credit file.

Repairing your credit file

If you're looking to apply for a credit card or balance transfer in the future, make sure you've spent the time repaying your debts and repairing your credit file before applying. Rejected applications can have a negative impact on your credit file, so you'll only want to 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

  1. Get your finances and debt in order

    The first step to consolidating your debt is understanding exactly how much you owe. Whether you use a pen, paper and calculator or an app such as the Pocketbook app, begin listing each debt you owe and include the interest it attracts to give you a full overview of how much you owe. You can then reorder the list and place priority on high-interest debts first. Now it's time to look at all of your expenses and start eliminating the ones you don't need. Examples of expenses to cut back on include magazine subscriptions, expensive internet plans, cable TV and gym memberships. 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.
    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. Learn how to use the Pocketbook app to take control of your money and expenses.

  1. Compare and enquire about debt consolidation loans

    If you're unable to apply for a balance transfer, a personal loan is probably your next best option. Most leading banks in Australia offer debt consolidation loans and these can help you combine your debts under the single account. You can then repay your entire debt with a single loan, meaning you'll only have to worry about a single payment each month. A debt consolidation loan can be a worthwhile way to repair bad credit because unlike a credit card, you won't have the temptation to spend.

  1. Payday loan

    A payday loan is another option for applicants with bad credit. The requirements payday loan are generally quite lenient and are less strict than credit cards. However, though the funds are generally quicker to access it should be noted that there are heavy fees involved and you need to pay it back in a much shorter period. 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.

  1. Consider a credit repair service

    While there is no guarantee that a credit repair service can completely fix your file, it still may help the overall status of your file. If you’ve filed for bankruptcy or something similar, these tend to stay on your file for a period of up to 5-7 years. Credit repair services can help you repair your credit file to get your finances back on track.

Credit repair services

Balance transfer credit card comparison

Rates last updated October 22nd, 2017
$
% p.a.

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Name Product Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount Saved Product Description
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months
19.74% p.a.
$90 p.a.
Exclusive to finder.com.au and available until 12 November 2017, enjoy a no BT fee, long-term balance transfer offer and complimentary insurances.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$129 p.a.
Earn 3 bonus Velocity Points per $1 for the first 3 months, a first year annual fee refund and a yearly $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
12.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
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, take advantage of a long-term balance transfer offer and receive complimentary travel insurance.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.49% p.a.
$59 p.a.
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee. Plus, use of the Westpac mobile banking app.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Exclusive to finder, receive 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months with no balance transfer fee.
St.George Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.24% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the ability to make contactless payments with Visa payWave technology.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend and receive complimentary travel and purchase protection insurances.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
12.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Get a range of complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
NAB Low Fee Card
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.74% p.a.
$30 p.a.
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, special offers from Visa Entertainment and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 15 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.25% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 14 months
11.99% p.a.
$49 p.a.
Receive a discounted annual fee, $100 cashback when you meet the spend requirement and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.24% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and be protected by a 24/7 fraud monitoring service.
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.99% p.a.
$100 p.a.
Enjoy the protection of 7 complimentary insurances including overseas travel and purchase protection insurance.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer. Earn extra points on eligible international spend, plus complimentary travel insurance.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 14 months
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a $50 eGift Card when you apply by 31 January 2018 and make an eligible purchase by 28 February 2018.
American Express Essential®  Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee
14.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Receive a $50 credit when you apply online, are approved and spend $750 on your new card within the first 3 months of card membership.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.74% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Receive a $400 Travel Credit every year and up to two entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney International Airport.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
$79 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and free worldwide emergency card replacement.
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 on eligible spend and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.

Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions from our users

Go through your credit card statement. Alternatively, you can get in touch with your credit card provider and get the required information.

Different banks have different minimum limits and you can expect to transfer as little as $500. When it comes to the maximum amount you can transfer, you normally cannot transfer more than the credit limit of the card.

Credit cards come with their share of fees and charges. When you undertake a balance transfer, the credit card provider tends to charge you a fee that is a fixed percentage of the amount you transfer.

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NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer

Interest rate

19.74

Annual fee

90
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer

Interest rate

19.74

Annual fee

87
St.George Vertigo Platinum
St.George Vertigo Platinum

Interest rate

12.74

Annual fee

99

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