Understand the finer rules around balance transfers, and learn which banks you can and can’t transfer your balance between.
It isn’t common knowledge, but some credit cards have restrictions around which institutions you can balance transfer your debts from. Why? This usually happens when credit card companies have financial ties to one another, or when both credit card companies are actually being financed by the same larger lending institution.
Credit cards you can and can’t transfer between based on the card issuer
This table shows which credit card issuers provide credit to other brands, and how this could impact on your ability to balance transfer your debt between them.
|Credit card issuer||Credit card brands owned by issuer||Balance transfer between brands allowed?||Conditions and other tips|
|Citibank (Citigroup)||BOQ||Yes||Balance transfers are not allowed from one BOQ account to another BOQ account.|
|IMB||Yes||Balance transfers are not allowed from one IMB account to another IMB account.|
|Suncorp Bank||Yes||Balance transfers are not allowed from one Suncorp account to another Suncorp account.|
|Virgin Money||Yes||Balance transfers are not allowed from one Virgin account to another Virgin account.|
|Citibank||Yes||Balance transfers are not allowed from one Citi account to another.|
|CommBank||Bankwest||Yes||Balance transfers are not allowed from an existing Bankwest account to a new Bankwest account, but you can transfer a CommBank balance to Bankwest.|
|CommBank||Yes||Balance transfers are not allowed from an existing CommBank account to a new CommBank account, but you can transfer a Bankwest balance to CommBank.|
|Latitude Financial Services||28 Degrees||No||Balance transfers are not allowed between Latitude accounts or its associated entities.|
|Coles credit cards*||No||You may not request a balance transfer from a credit card issued outside Australia or from a Coles MasterCard or Coles Platinum MasterCard, or any card issued by Latitude Finance Australia.|
|Myer credit cards||No||You may not request a balance transfer from a credit card issued outside Australia, from any Myer branded card or from certain credit cards issued by Latitude Finance Australia.|
|Macquarie||Jetstar||No||You are unable to transfer balances between any account issued by Macquarie or Card Services account and your Jetstar Account. Foreign currency balance transfers and balance transfers to offshore accounts or debit accounts are also excluded.|
|Woolworths||No||Balance transfers are not permitted between any Macquarie or Card Services account and your Woolworths account. Foreign currency balance transfers and balance transfers to offshore accounts or debit accounts are also excluded.|
|Macquarie||No||Balance transfers are not allowed from any account issued by Macquarie Bank. Foreign currency balance transfers and balance transfers to offshore accounts or debit accounts are also excluded.|
|Wesfarmers Finance||Coles credit cards||Balance transfer exclusions include credit cards issued outside Australia, other Coles MasterCard cards and Latitude Financial Services issued credit cards.|
|Westpac||BankSA||No||Balance transfers are not allowed from BankSA, St.George or Bank of Melbourne credit cards, or any other BankSA, Bank of Melbourne or St.George account.|
|Bank of Melbourne||No||Balance transfer requests will not be accepted from another Bank of Melbourne, St.George or BankSA credit card, or if the transfer amount is from a credit card not issued in Australia.|
|St.George||No||Balance transfers are only allowed from non-St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA Australian issued credit, charge or store cards.|
|Westpac||No||Balance transfers are only allowed from non-Westpac Australian issued credit, charge or store cards.|
As you can see, some issuers allow balance transfers within their issued card brands while some don’t. Be sure to check when you do your balance transfer between cards by the same issuer that you will receive the balance transfer offer rate.
Some credit card companies may change card issuers from time to time. This makes it important to check your current card issuer when you’re about to request a balance transfer. In some cases the previous issuer may still be affiliated to your account, which could affect your ability to balance transfer to them or their other associated credit card brands.
What’s the difference between a credit card issuer and a credit card brand?
To understand this more clearly, let’s unravel the slightly tricky distinction between a credit card issuer and the credit card brand. While credit cards are often branded by banks, stores or even supermarkets (e.g. St.George, David Jones, Woolworths, etc.), these cards are in fact issued by larger financial institutions.
For example, St.George credit cards are issued by Westpac, David Jones credit cards are issued by American Express, and Woolworths credit cards by Macquarie Bank. At the same time, these card issuers also offer their own brand of credit cards, i.e. Westpac credit cards, Amex credit cards and Macquarie credit cards.
Coles credit cards are another example, which were previously issued solely by Latitude Financial Services but are now issued by Wesfarmers (the parent company of Coles). Nevertheless, Latitude is still listed as an “authorised credit representative” of Wesfarmers, which means you still cannot balance transfer between either of these issuers (ie. from a Coles credit card to a 28 Degrees MasterCard).
Now, to shed some light on why balance transfers are not allowed between cards by the same issuer, we look at the nature of a balance transfer itself. A balance transfer essentially lets you shift a 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 bait new customers and gain new debt on their books, card issuers rarely permit existing customers the opportunity to refinance within their own umbrella of issued cards.
What happens if I apply for a balance transfer with the same credit card issuer?
If you accidentally apply for a balance transfer with the same provider, the impact will depend on the companies involved and your financial circumstances. Some possible results could include:
- 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.
Most of the time, you will be able to balance transfer between non-affiliated lending institutions, but it’s safer to check before applying just to make sure. Call your prospective card company, provide details of your current issuer and ask them if you can transfer your existing balance to them.
Balance transfer credit cards comparison
Rates last updated January 24th, 2017.
- Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Balance transfer and $100 cashback offers have been extended until 28 February 2017.
January 16th, 2017
- ANZ First Visa Credit Card
Balance transfer period has been changed from 18 to 16 months.
January 18th, 2017
- NAB Low Rate Credit Card
Balance transfer period changed from 15 to 18 months, and is valid until 31 May 2017.
January 23rd, 2017