Best 0% balance transfer credit cards March 2018
The cards with the longest interest-free balance transfer offers without the burden of a balance transfer fee.
A balance transfer credit card with 0% interest for an introductory period can be a great way to pay down your debt faster and cheaper. But these cards can also come with extra costs that can eat into your overall savings. One common example is a balance transfer fee, which is usually a 2% or 3% fee that’s charged when you first move your balance.
If you were transferring a $5,000 debt to a card with a 2% balance transfer fee, that would add an extra $100 to your balance. If you’re also paying an annual fee, this can significantly increase your overall card costs.
To help narrow down your search, this month’s roundup of the best balance transfer credit cards is based on the products with the longest interest-free periods that do not charge a balance transfer fee.
As there is no one ideal balance transfer credit card for every Australian, you can also use our balance transfer comparison to weigh up more options.
NAB Low Fee Platinum card (finder exclusive offer)
The NAB Low Fee Platinum card boasts the longest interest-free balance transfer offer in this month’s roundup. If you apply by 31 March 2018, you can take advantage 0% on balance transfers for 25 months. That’s more than two years to pay off your debt without forking out any interest! This offer is exclusive to finder, and you'll only get 0% for 20 months if you apply for this same product anywhere else.
This offer comes at the cost of a $90 annual fee. Considering you’ll likely have the card open for more than two years, it’s important to pay attention to this yearly cost. And when the introductory balance transfer period ends, a 21.74% p.a. cash advance rate will apply to any unpaid balance.
0% for 24 months with no balance transfer fee
The St.George Vertigo Platinum is a close runner up with 0% on balance transfers for the first 24 months. This offer is also only available to new cardholders who apply and are approved by 31 March 2018.
This card has a slightly higher annual fee of $99 and a revert rate of 21.49% p.a. once the promotional balance transfer offer ends. If you do plan to use this card beyond the balance transfer period, it has a competitive purchase rate of 12.74% p.a. You should also remember that you can only balance transfer debts from a different bank. In the case of St.George, this also includes debts from other Westpac-owned cards including BankSA and Bank of Melbourne.
0% for 18 months with no balance transfer fee
The Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer card offers 0% on balance transfers for the first 18 months when you apply by 30 April 2018. This card has a reduced annual fee of $64 p.a. which reverts to $129 p.a. thereafter.
If you can’t pay your debt in full before the end of the introductory period, your remaining balance will collect the cash advance rate of 20.99% p.a.
This card is also linked to the Velocity Frequent Flyer program. It’s important to remember that your balance transfer won’t collect points and you shouldn’t be using your card to make purchases to earn points when you’re concentrating on paying down an existing debt. If you think you might be tempted to spend with a rewards credit card, you might want to consider another 0% balance transfer credit card.
0% for 14 months with no balance transfer fee
The Woolworths Everyday Platinum credit card offers 14 months interest-free on balance transfers. It may have the shortest promotional offer, but it also has the lowest annual fee.
When you apply by 31 March 2018, you’ll get a $0 annual fee for the first year. After this, the annual fee will revert to a competitive $49 per year. At the end of the balance transfer period, any remaining debt will collect the cash advance rate of 21.99% p.a.
This card is also linked with a rewards program and offers a Woolworths eGift card when you meet the spend requirement. This is another example where these extra features may be of little use to you if you’re using the card to pay down your debt rather than make purchases.
How do these balance transfer credit cards compare?
You can calculate which credit card will offer you the biggest savings with the above table. Enter the amount of debt you’re transferring and your current interest rate to see how much interest you could save with each card. As well as that, you can also consider the following factors when deciding which card is right for you.
Length of promotional period
The promotional offers in this roundup vary between 14 and 25 months, so it’s important to pay attention to the length of the introductory period. Before you apply, make sure you can afford to pay off the entire debt before the balance transfer period ends. You can do this by dividing the size of your debt by the number of months in the promotional period. If you don’t think you can afford that amount each month, you might want to consider a card with a longer introductory period.
If you’ve done the math and realised you can’t clear your debt within any of the promotional periods, you can still pay off some of your debt and save with a 0% offer. If this is the case, you need to consider the revert rate and when it applies.
Most of the cards in this roundup have high revert interest rates, so you might want to opt for another card with a lower interest rate to minimise your overall costs.
The annual fees in this roundup range between $0 in the first year and $99 p.a. Even if it does have a waived first year annual fee, you need to consider the standard fee and make sure that your overall annual fee costs don’t significantly offset your interest savings.
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 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 for more options.