Can I transfer my credit card debt to another bank?
It's usually simple to transfer your credit card balance to another bank, unless it’s the same lender – here’s what you need to know.
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Balance transfer credit cards allow you to move debt from one card to another to save money on interest and fees. But you can't do this between cards from the same bank or lender.
For example, if you had a NAB Rewards credit card, you couldn't get a balance transfer to a NAB Low Rate card. Usually, you also can't transfer debts with different credit card brands that have financial ties to one another. For example, a balance transfer from St.George to Bank of Melbourne is not allowed because both brands are part of the St.George Banking Group.
Credit card balance transfer restrictions
If you want to transfer card debt to another bank or brand, you can use this table to see when it is and isn't possible with major Australian banks and lenders.
|Credit card brand||Balance transfer brand restrictions|
|American Express||If you have an Amex, you can transfer balances from other non-American Express accounts.|
|ANZ||Balance transfers are not allowed between 2 accounts issued by ANZ. You can transfer debts from other Australian card issuers as long as the balance doesn't exceed 95% of your approved credit limit.|
|Bank of Melbourne||Balance transfer requests will not be accepted from another Bank of Melbourne, St.George or BankSA credit card. However, you can transfer balances from Westpac cards even though BankSA is a division of the Westpac Banking Corporation.|
|BOQ||You can't transfer balances between 2 BOQ accounts. You also can't transfer balances from other NAB-issued credit facilities (including Citi, IMB and Suncorp Bank).|
|BankSA||Balance transfers are not allowed from BankSA, St.George or Bank of Melbourne credit cards as all of these banks are under the Westpac Banking Corporation. However, you can transfer balances from Westpac.|
|Bankwest||Balance transfers are not allowed from an existing Bankwest account to a new Bankwest account. While Bankwest is a division of CommBank, you can still request a balance transfer from a CommBank credit card to Bankwest.|
|Citi||You can't transfer balances from other Citi accounts or balances from other Citi branded accounts. This includes cards from Coles Mastercard, Suncorp Bank, IMB and Qantas Money.|
|CommBank||You can't transfer balances from one CommBank account to another. As mentioned, balance transfers between CBA and Bankwest are permitted.|
|Coles||You can't request a balance transfer between Coles credit cards and other Citi branded credit cards.|
|IMB||Balance transfers are not allowed between IMB accounts or other Citi branded accounts. This includes cards from Citi, Suncorp Bank or Virgin Money.|
|Kogan Money||Balance transfers are not allowed between Kogan Money accounts or other Citi branded accounts. This includes cards from Citi, Suncorp Bank or Virgin Money.|
|Latitude Financial||Balance transfers will not be accepted from other Latitude Financial credit or loan accounts.|
|Macquarie Bank||Balance transfers are not allowed from any account issued by Macquarie Bank. This includes other Macquarie or Card Services accounts.|
|Myer||Balance transfers are not permitted between any Macquarie Bank or Card Services account and your Myer account.|
|NAB||You can't transfer a balance from one NAB account to another.|
|Qantas Money||Balance transfers are not allowed between Qantas Money cards or other Citi branded accounts.|
|St.George||You can only transfer balances from non-St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA Australian credit, charge or store cards. This means you can request a balance transfer from Westpac cards, even though St.George is a division of the Westpac Banking Corporation.|
|Suncorp Bank||If you have a Suncorp credit card, you can't request a balance transfer from Suncorp or other NAB accounts. This includes cards from Citi, IMB and Virgin Money.|
|Virgin Money||Virgin Money may refuse to process a balance transfer request when it is from another Virgin Money account.|
|Westpac||Balance transfers are only allowed from non-Westpac Australian issued credit, charge or store cards. While Westpac is affiliated with St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA, you can request balance transfers from any of these brands to Westpac.|
|Woolworths||You can't transfer balances from other Woolworths credit cards, Macquarie or Card Services accounts.|
What the table shows is that most major credit card issuers do not allow balance transfers between their own cards, or other credit card brands that they underwrite – including the whole portfolio of NAB cards and brands. Sometimes there are exceptions. For example, you can transfer balances between Bankwest and CommBank credit cards, even though the former is owned by the latter.
What happens if I apply for a balance transfer with the same credit card issuer?
It varies between cards and different situations, but here are some of the most common outcomes.
- Your application may be declined. In most cases, the reason that your application gets denied usually has more to do with other factors including your credit score and credit history. Even if a balance transfer isn't possible, you could still be approved for the card.
- You could get a black mark on your credit history. If your application is denied, the credit inquiry potentially leaves a black mark on your credit report. However, it's not terrible unless you repeatedly apply for credit and keep getting rejected. Learn more about good and bad credit ratings.
- You could get an offer for the new card without the balance transfer. If your credit report is in good order, you will more likely receive an offer for the card, with a side note that your balance transfer request can't be processed.
These outcomes show why it's important to check the balance transfer terms and conditions – or ask the credit card brand – before you apply.
Can I get a balance transfer to my existing card?
It's often possible to consolidate existing debts onto a card you already have – as long as the balances are held with a different issuer. Some banks, including NAB and Westpac, let you request a balance transfer through online or mobile banking apps.
Just keep in mind that balance transfer offers for existing accounts usually aren't as competitive as the 0% introductory offers available to new cardholders.
What’s the difference between a credit card issuer and a credit card brand?
A credit card issuer is legally the financial service provider for the account, while a credit card brand is the main point of contact for customers. In really simple terms, this means credit cards could have branding for a supermarket or airline (e.g. Coles, David Jones or Qantas Money), these cards are issued by larger financial institutions that have the required Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) and Australian credit licence.
Why are balance transfers not allowed between cards by the same issuer?
This comes down to the structure of a balance transfer. This process lets you shift debt from one creditor to another with the aim of refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate.
The actual transfer takes place when your new credit card issuer transfers the amount of your debt to the previous issuer, usually charging a transfer fee in the process. Since balance transfer offers are typically promotions to entice new customers, card issuers rarely allow existing customers the opportunity to refinance within their own umbrella of issued cards.
Comparison of balance transfer credit cards
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission AFS licences page accessed online 30 March 2022
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission credit licence FAQ page accessed online 30 March 2022
- NAB balance transfer information for existing or new customers accessed online 30 March 2022
- Westpac balance transfer information for existing customers accessed online 30 March 2022
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