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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.

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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 Annual fee Amount saved
Citi Rewards Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 30 months
21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save on interest with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee and Citi Rewards.
ANZ Low Rate
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)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
$0
Finder Exclusive. Ends 29 October 2020
Save on new and existing interest charges with 0% interest on both balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months.
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.
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.
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 - Flybuys Offer
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 75,000 bonus Flybuys points and a $100 Kmart eGift Card when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, a reduced first-year annual fee.
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.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 6 months
12.99% p.a.
$58
Finder Exclusive. Ends 29 October 2020
Receive $100 off a Coles Supermarket shop when you make an eligible purchase within the first 30 days. Plus, a 0% balance transfer offer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
12.99% p.a.
$59
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate for 20 months on balance transfers, Visa Offers + Perks and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
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.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% for 14 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months, a reduced first-year annual fee and Velocity Points per $1 spent.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
19.74% p.a.
$99
Earn 70,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months and complimentary insurance covers.
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.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.49% p.a.
$99 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a long-term balance transfer offer.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.49% p.a.
$99 annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 80,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a long-term balance transfer offer.
Bank of Melbourne 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)
Enjoy 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers along with a $0 first year annual fee waiver.
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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 Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Citi Rewards Card - Exclusive Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save on interest with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee and Citi Rewards.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0
Finder Exclusive. Ends 29 October 2020
Save on new and existing interest charges with 0% interest on both balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
$249
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 50 bonus Status Credits and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year. Ends 4 November 2020.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
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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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