Can I balance transfer credit card debt from my partner?

Usually, a balance transfer needs to be from an account in your name but sometimes there are exceptions. Here's what you need to know.

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Only a few balance transfer credit cards accept debt from a joint account or one that's in another person's name – even if it's your partner. It's usually simpler if you and your partner already share a joint-account credit card, but it may also be possible in other circumstances. So, let's take a look at your options.

Different ways to balance transfer a partner's debt

If you want to transfer your partner's balance to an account that's held in your name, there are two main options you can consider.

  • Transferring a debt between two people’s names

    With this option, you would transfer the debt from your partner’s credit card to your own credit card (or a new balance transfer card that you have applied for). Their name would be removed from the debt once the balance transfer is processed, which means you would become the person legally responsible for the debt.

    single to single account transfer image

    In some cases, you may need to add your partner as an "additional cardholder" before the credit card provider will allow the debt to be transferred to your card. But not all providers allow this type of transfer, so make sure you check before requesting the balance transfer.

  • Getting a joint account for the debt

    Some credit card providers offer joint accounts, where you and your partner would share legal responsibility for the credit card account and any balance that you transfer onto it.

    singles to joint account transfer image

    If you apply for a balance transfer with a credit card provider that offers joint accounts, both you and your partner will need to provide your details when you apply. Depending on the provider, you may also be able to add your partner as a joint account holder after you have applied for the card. The option of transferring debt from one person's account to a joint account varies depending on the provider, so it's a good idea to call them before you apply for a joint credit card.

Which credit card providers let you balance transfer debt from your partner?

You can use the table below to compare credit cards and providers that offer joint balance transfers or allow you to transfer debts held in someone else's name. Keep in mind that the standard balance transfer terms and conditions will apply, which means the debt will need to be held in an eligible account (usually with a different issuer). Where possible, we've added further details for each issuer.

Bank/InstitutionBalance transfer between two people's names? Allows joint primary cardholders?
ANZ Transparent
nab
$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate Purchase rate Annual fee Amount saved
St.George Vertigo Card
0% p.a. for 30 months
13.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 30 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 22 months
20.99% p.a.
$0
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 36 months
19.99% p.a.
$29 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 32 months
12.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 32 months (with no BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% balance transfer rate for 24 months and a reduced first-year annual fee. Plus, 25,000 bonus Suncorp Credit Card Rewards Points.
Citi Clear Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 28 months
14.99% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months with no balance transfer fee and a discounted $49 first-year annual fee.
ANZ Low Rate
0% p.a. for 30 months
12.49% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months (with no BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
0% p.a. for 14 months
19.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 40,000 bonus Flybuys Points or $200 off a Coles Supermarket shop, a $0 first-year annual fee and a 14-month balance transfer.
Westpac Low Rate Card
0% p.a. for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee
13.74% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $0 annual fee for the first year, plus, a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 28 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months, a reduced 1st year annual fee & $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher yearly.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 15 months
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% p.a. for 12 months
19.99% p.a.
$0
Get $100 off a Coles Supermarket shop when you spend at least $1,500 in the first 60 days. Plus, a 0% balance transfer offer.
Great Southern Bank Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 25 months
11.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 25 months, $0 first year annual fee, and a low variable 11.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 30 months
21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
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.
Citi Rewards Card - Points & Gift Card Offer
0% p.a. for 15 months
21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 90,000 bonus Citi reward Points (worth $400 in gift cards) and a $100 Coles eGift Card when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
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How you can use, compare and apply for a balance transfer credit card

Steps to transfer a balance from your partner’s account to your credit card

  1. Compare credit cards. Compare balance transfer credit cards to find a one that offers competitive interest rate and promotional period based on your circumstances.
  2. Check the balance transfer terms and conditions. Make sure the credit card allows balance transfers between different account names, and check whether or not your partner will need to be a secondary cardholder. For cards not listed on this page, you can check the product disclosure statement or call the provider for more information.
  3. Apply for the credit card. You will need to provide details including your full name, address, driver's licence or passport number and employment.
  4. Include details of the balance transfer. You will need to provide details of the account including the name and details of the primary account holder (i.e. your partner), the account number, the financial institution’s name, the BSB (where relevant) and the amount of debt to be transferred to the new card.
  5. Include details of any secondary cardholder/s. If the issuer requires your partner to be a secondary cardholder in order to process their balance transfer, make sure your partner fills out the relevant sections of the application.
  6. Submit the application. You should get an initial response within a few minutes. If you get conditional approval, follow the steps outlined by the issuer to complete the application process and finalise the balance transfer.

Once this process is successfully completed, you should receive your new credit card within 5-10 working days, although it could take up to 21 days in some cases. After you activate the new card, the issuer will process the balance transfer.

Make sure you stay in touch with the new issuer and be ready to answer any questions or provide supporting documentation as requested to help the transfer go as smoothly as possible.

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How to apply for a joint balance transfer credit card with your partner

  1. To transfer a balance from an existing joint account
    Apply for the credit card as usual and include details of the balance transfer request, including all the names of the joint account holders, as well as the account number, financial institution and the amount of debt you want to transfer. You can go through this process with an individual credit card in your name, or apply for a credit card that offers joint account status for you and your partner.

joint to joint account transfer image

  • To transfer a balance from your partner’s account to a new joint credit card account
    Find a credit card issuer that allows "joint primary cardholders" and compare their balance transfer offers. Depending on the issuer you will either be able to apply and get joint account status immediately or apply as an individual and then have your partner request and fill out an additional application to be added as a joint primary cardholder.

Compare credit cards that offer joint applications

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What is the difference between joint-primary cardholder accounts and secondary cardholders?

It’s important to understand both of these terms when you plan on sharing a credit card account with your partner or someone else, as it can have an impact on the balance transfer options as well as your legal rights.

Joint-primary cardholder accountsPrimary cardholder accounts with secondary cardholders
Two people have applied for a credit card under cardholder's name and both have complete access to the account.One person has applied for a credit card in their name but wants to share the account with a partner (without joint account status).
Both have the ability to change credit limits, request account freezes or close the account.Primary cardholder can request to add a secondary or additional cardholder but only the primary cardholder has control over credit limit changes, account freezes or account closure.
Both partners have regular sources of income and good credit histories.Only the primary cardholder's income and credit history is assessed.
Both parties remain liable for all transactions and payments made on the card.The primary cardholder is legally responsible for all transactions and payments made on the card, even if a balance has been transferred from an account held by the secondary cardholder.
If the closure of an account is the result of a divorce or a separation, both partners might have to pay half of the debt each, no matter who made which purchase.In the event of a separation or a divorce, know that you, as the primary cardholder, would be liable to make repayments towards the entire account.

Mistakes to avoid when transferring a balance from someone else’s card

  • Applying for a card that doesn’t allow balance transfers from someone else’s account. Not all credit cards let you transfer another person’s credit card debt to a new card in your name. Make sure you check these details before you apply to avoid a declined application.
  • Not discussing payments with your partner. If you and your partner share a balance transfer credit card account (whether it's a joint account or otherwise), it’s important to be clear on how and when you will both make payments towards the balance of the credit card. Discuss this before you apply for a new card or balance transfer to help reduce the risk of confusion and other issues down the track.
  • Not checking the revert rate. The low balance transfer interest rate is only available during the introductory period on the card. When this period ends, any outstanding debt from a balance transfer will attract a higher standard interest rate until it is paid off in full.
  • Balance transfer fees. You might have to pay a balance transfer fee when the debt is moved onto the new card, which could add to the overall costs involved. Weigh up the card fees with your partner to decide if this option is worth it for both of you.

If you're having trouble getting a balance transfer for your partner's debt, or for a loved one, you could also talk to them about applying for a 0% balance transfer offer in their own name. If they're eligible, this will give them an introductory period when they can save on interest and pay off the debt faster – then cancel the card if they want.

You could also make additional repayments to their credit card account from your own bank account (or a shared account), using one of the payment options listed on their statement.

While you're usually not legally responsible for someone else's credit card debt, it can be stressful for loved ones. If you, your partner or anyone else is feeling overwhelmed, you can get free financial counselling by calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

Images: Shutterstock

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34 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    PaulAugust 18, 2016

    Hi, Just after a little clarification.

    My partner currently has a Westpac CC and I wish to transfer this to my name possibly to a new ANZ account. Some the information above (Jacob’s video) and in the tables contradicts each other.
    Jacob states that Westpac do not allow a CC debt to be transferred to another card but putting Westpac as the provider into your above table displays several options for doing this.

    Are you able to confirm which is correct?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeAugust 18, 2016Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment.

      In the video, it was mentioned that ANZ along with other banks (as also listed in the table above) let you transfer a balance from another credit card in another person’s name to a credit card in your own name.

      Jacob also mentioned that Bank of Melbourne lets you do this as well. “However, the credit card you’re transferring from cannot be in the Westpac Group. That’s Westpac and St. George.” This was also clearly reflected in our table.

      So if you are transferring your partner’s Westpac credit card balance to a new ANZ credit card in your name, you can do so.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    KevenFebruary 24, 2016

    My wife and have separated and we have a joint credit card account. I would like to transfer the outstanding balance to take advantage of 0% balance transfers. With the financial settlement I am responsible for all debt on credit cards. Can I apply for a balance transfer for the full amount owing on the credit card in joint names

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanFebruary 25, 2016Staff

      Hi Keven, thanks for your inquiry!

      You can transfer from a joint-account to a single cardholder account. It is important to note that certain joint-accounts require both signatories in order to close the account.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    rocketcatJanuary 29, 2016

    I have a joint Citibank credit card with my wife. Can I balance transfer that to a St George credit card if the new card is only under my own name?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanFebruary 1, 2016Staff

      Hi Rocketcat,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      Joint-account balance transfers must be completed to another joint account. As a result, you will have to apply for a joint account with St.George to complete this process. You can see a full list of banks which allow joint-accounts and a comparison of balance transfer credit cards to explore your options.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    SamSeptember 25, 2015

    Hi
    I have NAB credit card and I want to transfer balance to my friend’s CC (Westpac) as I owe him money.
    Is this possible?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallySeptember 28, 2015Staff

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your question.

      Just to confirm, a balance transfer refers to the process in which a cardholder transfers an existing debt to a new card at a promotional interest rate. By doing so, they can then repay their debt quicker and at a lower interest rate.

      Also, you can generally only transfer balances that will be under the same name as the existing account.

      You may need to consider using your debit card to directly transfer funds to your friend to repay the debt.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Sally

    Default Gravatar
    MarkJuly 14, 2015

    Hi

    So I want to do a balance transfer from someone else’s name into my name. I was wondering what kind of authority do they need to provide for me to do this?

    I am the additional card holder on the account however I don’t think this will be sufficient to authorize a balance transfer without their approval. A representative of heritage said that it would have to be coming from a joint account for me to do this and on the table the Virgin card says I need to just be an additional card holder of the account that the debt is being transferred from.

    Please help!

    Thanks !

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 16, 2015Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your question.

      Heritage Bank lets you transfer a balance from another credit card in another person’s name to a credit card in your own name, taking advantage of that low promotional balance transfer rate of interest while Virgin lets you do this if the primary cardholder on the credit card that you’re transferring from is a signatory on the credit card that you are transferring to. A signatory is basically just a fancy word for additional cardholder.

      For more information, you can check our guide to joint balance transfers It is helpful to make sure that you are aware of the product disclosure statement and terms and conditions to ensure that you got everything covered before you apply.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,
      Sally

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