Best 0% balance transfer credit cards January 2018
Pay off your Christmas credit card debt with no interest until 2020.
Now that the festive season is well and truly over, many Aussies have kicked off the new year with a whole lotta debt.
According to a forecast of Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) data analysed by finder, Aussies borrowed a collective $29 billion on credit cards last month. That boils down to an average of $1,727 in purchases per card over the festive period. Based on the average 55-day interest-free period, this will cost Australians $230 million in interest alone.
If you’re struggling to pay off your Christmas debt, you could use a 0% balance transfer credit card to get your debt under control without forking out for interest. Some promotional offers last for up to 30 months, meaning you could have until early 2020 to repay your debt interest free.
As there is no one best balance transfer credit card, we’ve based this month’s round-up on the cards with the longest 0% promotional periods on finder. We’ve also considered other factors including balance transfer fees, annual fees and revert rates to help you narrow down your options.
The rates, fees and features mentioned here are correct at the time of publication.
0% on balance transfers for 30 months
Until 28 February 2018, the Westpac Low Rate card also comes with 0% on balance transfers for 30 months. That's two and a half years to pay off your debt without the burden of interest! This card also has a $0 annual fee in the first year, which reverts to a competitive standard fee of $59 p.a. after that. However, it does come with a 2% balance transfer fee, which you’ll pay when you first move your debt.
At the end of the 30 months, any remaining balances will accrue interest at the 21.49% p.a. revert rate. Although you shouldn’t be using your card for purchases while you’re paying down a debt, it does come with a low purchase rate of 13.49% p.a. This is a potential perk if you’re planning to use the card beyond the introductory balance transfer period. This offer is exclusive to applicants who apply online.
0% on balance transfers for 26 months
With 0% on balance transfers for the first 26 months, the Citi Rewards Platinum credit card is currently boasting one of the longest interest-free offer on the market. That’s over two years to pay off your debts with 0% interest! Once the introductory period ends, any remaining balances will revert to 21.74% p.a., so you should aim to clear the entire debt before this applies to avoid interest.
Despite the interest-free promotion, this card doesn’t come without a cost. At 2.5%, it has the highest one-time balance transfer fee in this round-up. It also has a reduced annual fee of $49 in the first year which reverts to $149 thereafter. You can take advantage of this promotional offer until 30 June 2018.
0% on balance transfers for 25 months
The NAB Premium card is another long-term offer with 0% on balance transfers for 25 months. This promotion is exclusive to applicants who apply through finder, with the NAB Premium card regularly offering 0% for 20 months.
It's also one of the few long-term balance transfer cards that doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, which will reduce your overall card costs. Once the 25 months are up, any unpaid debt will attract the standard cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a.
This card has a $90 annual fee, so it’s important to confirm that the interest you save with the interest-free balance transfer offsets this cost to get maximum value from the card.
0% on balance transfers for 24 months
The St.George Vertigo Platinum also offers 0% on balance transfers for 24 months, which it’s exclusive to cardholders who apply online by 31 January 2018.
The card also boasts a $0 annual fee for the first year (reverting back to $99 p.a. thereafter). Because of the lower annual fee, this card offers the highest overall savings out of the products in this round-up. The Vertigo Platinum also doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, which will help minimise your upfront costs.
Once the interest-free balance transfer offer ends, any remaining balance will also collect the standard cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
How do these balance transfer credit cards compare?
You can use the table above to compare which of these cards will offer you the greatest interest savings. Just enter the amount of debt you’re transferring and your current interest rate to calculate how much interest you could save with each card. As well as the interest savings, you should also consider the following factors when weighing up which card is right for you.
Length of promotional period
Although the promotional offers only vary between 24 to 26 months, it’s still important to consider the length of the introductory period. Before you apply, you should make sure you can afford to repay your entire debt before the promotion ends.
For example, if you had a debt of $5,000 and chose the NAB Premium Card exclusive offer, you’d have to pay $200 each month to clear the entire debt before it started collecting interest, whereas you’d only have to pay approximately $193 every month to clear your debt with the Citi Rewards Platinum card. You should make sure that the card aligns with both your debt consolidation goals and your ability to repay each month.
If you’ve done the math and realised you can’t consolidate your debt within any of the promotional periods, you can still pay a big chunk off your debt with a 0% offer. However, you should consider the revert rate and make sure you know when it applies. All of the cards in this round-up revert to the higher cash advance rate, so it’s best to pay off the majority or the entire debt before this applies to avoid falling back into debt. If you don’t think you can repay the whole debt, it might be better to look for a card with a lower revert rate.
While some of these cards offer $0 annual fee in the first year, you need to consider the standard fees that come with these cards. You should always make sure that the savings you’ll get from the 0% balance transfer period outweigh the annual fee to justify getting the card. If you’ve used the balance transfer calculator above, the interest saved already takes the cost of the annual fee into account.
These are just some of the 0% balance transfer credit cards you can compare to consolidate your post-Christmas debts. If you want to look beyond the offers with the longest promotional periods and no balance transfer fees, check out our balance transfer comparison to weigh up some more options.