Can I consolidate a zipMoney balance on a balance transfer card?
A small selection of balance transfer credit cards may let you consolidate debts from interest-free shopping services like zipMoney. Here’s what you need to know.
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If you want to get rid of your balance with an interest-free service like zipMoney or zipPay, you may be able to transfer it to a credit card that accepts balances from personal loans and lines of credit. You could also pay it off with a balance transfer card that offers a “cheque-to-self” option.
These solutions vary depending on the type of debt and the balance transfer credit card. Use this guide to learn how these options work and compare balance transfer credit cards so that you can pay off your shopping balance in a way that works for you.
Why would I want to transfer an interest-free shopping balance to a credit card?
- Fees. Depending on the service, you may have to pay a monthly account fee, a late payment fee or other account charges. zipMoney, for example, charges a monthly fee when you have a balance on your account, while interest-free finance options provided by Lombard Finance typically have an annual fee.
- Interest charges. Some of these services only offer a limited interest-free period, such as 3, 6 or 12 months. After that, you could pay an interest rate that’s much higher than the average credit card.
- Credit history. zipMoney, Afterpay, Openpay and most other interest-free shopping services reserve the right to do a credit check and add details to your credit file. So if you make a late payment or miss one, it could negatively impact on your credit score. While the same applies to a credit card, consolidating your debts can help improve your credit score by reducing the number of active accounts you have.
Transferring an interest-free shopping balance to a credit card
This option is available if your interest-free account is set up as a personal loan or line of credit, which includes balances with zipMoney and zipPay (but not Afterpay).
It’s not always clear how these interest-free accounts are set up but, as a general guide, you can usually request a balance transfer if there is a BPAY Biller Code and reference number.
If you have these details, you should be able to use them to request a balance transfer to a credit card that accepts these types of debts. This includes cards from Citi, Virgin Money and Qantas Money.
Example: Transferring a zipMoney debt to a balance transfer credit card
Say you were applying for a balance transfer to a Virgin Money credit card and had a $5,000 zipMoney balance you wanted to consolidate on the card. You could include this balance by providing zipMoney’s BPAY Biller Code (228551) and the reference number assigned to your zipMoney account. Note that your application would still be subject to Virgin Money’s lending criteria and approval.
What other interest-free shopping services could I balance transfer to a credit card?
As well as zipMoney and zipPay balances, this option is available for interest-free plans established through FlexiGroup and its subsidiaries, such as Lombard Finance. Usually, stores or brands advertise these interest-free options for their customers.
For example, Flight Centre, Escape Travel and Student Flights offer interest-free holiday finance through FlexiGroup and Lombard Finance. This is set up as a line of credit with a Visa card, which means you can use your account details to request a balance transfer to a credit card that accepts debts from lines of credit.
Similarly, IKEA offers two different interest-free finance options that are both provided through Lombard Finance. So if you had an interest-free balance with one of these retailers, you could include it on your balance transfer application to an eligible credit card. This could help you avoid the high interest rates that are typically charged when the interest-free period ends.
Paying off your interest-free shopping balance with a “cheque-to-self” balance transfer credit card
If your interest-free account balance can’t be transferred directly to a credit card, you may be able to get around this by getting a card that offers a “cheque-to-self” option.
With this option, instead of transferring a balance from an eligible card or account, you request a specific amount of money that you would like to receive as a cheque. If your application is approved, this money is taken from your new credit card’s balance and you’re sent a cheque that you can use to pay off your interest-free account.
After that, you’ll have to pay off the amount taken from your new credit card. However, usually this balance will be eligible for the promotional balance transfer rate offered for that card.
Can I use a cheque-to-self to pay off my Afterpay or Openpay balance?
Afterpay and Openpay only accept payments from valid Mastercard and Visa debit or credit cards. So you couldn’t use a cheque to pay the balance directly.
However, you could use a Mastercard or Visa card to pay off your balance and then deposit the cheque-to-self into that card’s account. Alternatively, you could use an existing credit card to pay off your Afterpay balance early and then transfer that debt to a new balance transfer card. The latter may be simpler than requesting a cheque-to-self for Afterpay or Openpay.
Key factors to consider
Make sure you weigh up these details before applying for a balance transfer credit card to pay off your interest-free shopping debt:
- Introductory period. Balance transfer credit cards typically offer you 0% p.a. interest on your debts for a set amount of time before a higher, standard interest rate is applied. So make sure the introductory period will be long enough to suit your repayments and check the standard rate that will apply.
- Balance transfer limits. Most credit cards have a minimum amount you can request to transfer, such as $500 (which is the minimum for Citi). Similarly, most cards allow you to transfer up to a set amount of your new credit limit, such as 70% or 80%. So if your existing debt does not meet the card’s balance transfer limits, it won’t be approved.
- Annual fee. Remember to consider the credit card’s annual fee and decide if it’s worth it by weighing up any monthly or annual fees you’re already paying through your interest-free finance account.
- Minimum payments. All credit cards require you to pay at least the minimum amount listed on your statement by a set due date. Usually this is around 2-3% of the total you owe. If you only pay this amount, it’s likely that you’ll still have a balance after the 0% introductory period ends and interest charges will start.
- New purchases. If you use your balance transfer card to make new purchases, the standard interest rate for purchases will apply. It will also take you longer to pay off the balance, which could make it more expensive in the long run.
- Eligibility. All balance transfer credit cards are subject to lending criteria and approval. In some cases, you could be approved for a credit card but not for your balance transfer. So do your research on individual cards, provide as much detail as possible on the application and contact the issuer with any questions you have about this process.
- Other options. If you want to close your account with a service like zipMoney or Afterpay but still have a balance, you could also consider using savings, making additional payments or getting a personal loan.
While zipMoney and other interest-free finance services can seem like a convenient option at the time, you could find the repayments and other account features tricky to manage in the long run. If that’s the case, you can consider these balance transfer credit card options as a way to consolidate your debts. Just remember to compare credit cards and look at other options – such as personal loans or extra payments off your balance – so you can deal with your balance in a way that works for you.
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