Understand how balance transfer limits work so you can find the right credit card to consolidate your debts.
Balance transfers offer a low introductory interest rate for existing debts you move to the new card. This means you can save money on charges and pay off the balance faster. Our comparison of balance transfer credit cards includes 0% offers for periods of 12 months or more. These offers are generally available to new customers only.
When you apply for a new balance transfer credit card, you are assigned a credit limit. This limit affects your balance transfer as you can only use a certain percentage of it to move existing debts. You can view a table of maximum balance transfer limits for banks and other financial institutions further down the page.
Balance Transfer Credit Card Comparison
Rates last updated February 25th, 2017.
- NAB Premium Card
Balance transfer period changed from 15 to 24 months, and is valid until 31 May 2017.
January 23rd, 2017
- HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
Annual fee waiver was removed while BT offer was changed to 0% for 15 mos. until 30 June 2017.
February 9th, 2017
- Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
Balance transfer offer has been changed to 0% p.a. for 12 months and is valid until 1 May 2017.
February 21st, 2017
How do balance transfer limits work?
A balance transfer is a money saving credit card feature that’s typically offered to new customers. A financial institution can provide a special promotional rate of interest on any credit or store card debt you transfer to a new credit card when you apply for the product. You save money during the promotional period because your interest repayments are lower.
When the promotional period ends, the balance transfer rate will revert to a standard rate of interest, usually the cash advance rate or the purchase rate of the card. The minimum balance transfer amount is generally $200 - $500. The maximum amount you can balance transfer is usually based on a percentage of your credit limit. Each institution has different rules about maximum balance transfer limits.
How much can I balance transfer?
The table below shows balance transfer limits for different financial institutions. When you’re reading our balance transfer credit card reviews, you can also view the “up to balance transfer percentage” limit information in the relevant tables.
Balance transfer limit
|Commonwealth Bank||Commonwealth Bank can process balance transfer requests from $500 up to 100% of your available credit limit.|
|Bankwest||You can use up to 95% towards a balance transfer with Bankwest.|
|ANZ||Minimum balance transfer limit of $100 and a maximum balance transfer limit up to 95% of your credit limit.|
|NAB||NAB’s minimum balance transfer limit is $200. NAB’s maximum balance transfer limit is up to your available credit limit at the time of processing the balance transfer request.|
|Westpac||Westpac lets you to use up to 95% of your credit card limit towards a balance transfer.|
|St.George||St.George’s minimum balance transfer is limit $200 and maximum balance transfer limit is up to 95% of your credit limit.|
|Bank of Melbourne||The balance transfer minimum for Bank of Melbourne is $200. You can request a balance transfer up to the full amount of your available credit limit.|
|BankSA||Balance transfer as little as $200 and up to 95% of your credit limit with BankSA.|
|Bank of Queensland||The Bank of Queensland minimum balance transfer amount is $500 and the maximum amount is up to your available credit limit.|
|Citibank||The minimum credit limit is $500 and the maximum amount is up to your available credit limit. Citibank reserve the right to cap your balance transfer amount as a portion of your credit limit. .|
|Coles MasterCard||The Coles minimum balance transfer limit is $100 and the maximum amount is up to your credit limit.|
|Community First||Balance transfers to Community First credit cards start at $500 and are capped at your Community First credit card credit limit.|
|HSBC||Up to your HSBC credit card limit.|
|ME||ME minimum balance transfer limit is $100 and the maximum amount is up to your credit card limit|
|Suncorp Bank||Suncorp Bank minimum balance transfer limit is $500 and the maximum amount is up to your available credit limit. Note: Balance transfers are not accepted from other CIti Group credit cards.|
|Woolworths||Balance transfers are capped at up to your credit limit. Woolworths reserve the right to put a cap on your balance transfer.Note: Balance transfers to Woolworths credit cards are not accepted from HSBC credit cards.|
Credit limits and balance transfer limits
Finding the right balance transfer credit card with the right balance transfer limit is a straightforward process. Look at how much debt you want to transfer and think about whether you used the maximum credit limit available when you originally applied for the credit card. This previous decision could affect the new limit offer made to you when you apply for a balance transfer.
To put this in perspective, check out the following case studies, where Jessica and Daniel both recently transferred a balance to a new credit card so they could save money on credit card interest repayments.
Jessica, Sydney, 36
Jessica applied for ANZ Low Rate credit card so she could pay down the $5,000 she owes on her St.George Vertigo Platinum. The ANZ Low Rate has a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and cardholders use up to 95% of their credit limit towards a balance transfer.
She previously took the maximum credit limit offered to her by St.George, $6,000. As a result, ANZ could only offer her a limit of $3,000 on her new credit card. Jessica was able to transfer $2,850 from her St.George credit card on to her new ANZ credit card under the balance transfer promotion. She used the interest free period on her ANZ credit card to save her money on that debt so she could concentrate on paying down the remaining $2,150 on her Vertigo Platinum (which was still accruing interest).
Daniel, Melbourne, 29
Daniel applied for the 28 Degrees MasterCard to use on an overseas trip. GE Money offered him a $10,000 limit but he decided he only needed a credit limit of $2,000 as he was using the card mainly as a backup on his travels.
Daniel ended up maxing out the 28 Degrees MasterCard on his trip. When he got home, he applied for a balance transfer to the NAB Low Rate credit card, which offered 0% p.a. for 18 months plus a one off 2% balance transfer handling fee. NAB offered a $5,000 credit limit to Daniel but he decided to set his limit at $2,100. As NAB lets cardholders use up to their credit limit for a balance transfer, the limit on the NAB card was enough to cover the whole debt.
Remember, your borrowing power is based on your income/assets compared to your expenses/liabilities. If you take the maximum credit limit, it will be difficult to balance transfer the full amount to a new credit card if your income/asset ratio has not changed. It’s also important to compare balance transfer credit cards so you can find the right deal and save money on your credit card repayments.
Frequently asked questions
How do I do a balance transfer?
A balance transfer can be easily completed online. When you’re ready to apply for a credit card, click the “Go to site” button and you will be taken to the financial institution’s secure application page.. During the application, you will be asked whether you would like to transfer a balance from an existing credit card. Enter each card number and the amount you want to transfer from that account to your new account. The balance transfer request is processed when you activate your credit card.
How long does a balance transfer take?
A balance transfer request can take up to 14 days to process from when you activate the card. Often it can be much quicker than this.
What happens if I don’t get approved for the credit limit I want?
You will only be able to transfer some of the balance from your previous card under these circumstances. For example, if you have a $5,000 credit card debt you want to pay off using a balance transfer, and you only get approved for $4,000 on your new credit card, the balance transfer maximum limit is calculated on a credit limit of $4,000.
Can I get more credit so I can transfer all my credit card debt?
You will have to apply for a credit limit increase with the card issuing institution. This request is approved or denied based on the financial institution’s credit lending criteria. If you have already accepted the maximum credit limit available to you, and your circumstances have not changed, you may not be able to get a credit limit increase.