Can you transfer multiple credit cards with a balance transfer?
The answer is yes, but the process can vary between banks.
The average Australian has more than $3,000 of credit card debt, $1,891 of which is collecting interest. This debt is typically spread between 2.2 credit cards, which means most of us carry more than one card at a time. If you're looking to consolidate your debts under one account, a balance transfer credit card could be the answer.
How to consolidate multiple credit card debts with a balance transfer
When you apply for a balance transfer credit card, you can usually nominate to move debt from multiple existing credit card accounts. The exact number of debts you can transfer may vary between banks, but you can usually transfer between one to four debts to a new account. If you're approved for the balance transfer, your debts will be consolidated into a single balance on your new card in a couple of weeks.
Rather than juggling multiple accounts with different interest rates, you can then pay off your debt under one account with an introductory low or 0% interest rate for a promotional period. Not only is this easier, but you could also save hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest. You can see our guide to combining credit card debts with a balance transfer for more information.
Are there any limitations?
- Balance transfer limit. Although you can usually transfer multiple debts, the combined debt can't be more than the balance transfer limit. This amount varies between cards and banks but is usually a percentage (say 70% or 90%) of your approved credit limit. So, if you had an approved credit limit of $10,000 with a balance transfer limit of 80%, you could only move up to $8,000 to your new account. If your combined debt exceeds this amount, the remainder will stay in your old accounts, which you'll have to pay off at the standard interest rate. If your multiple debts add up to a large sum, you can compare high credit limit balance transfer credit cards to help find an option that suits your needs.
- Eligible banks. You typically can't transfer balances from cards that are issued by the same bank as the one that you're applying with. For example, you couldn't transfer a balance from one NAB card to a new NAB card with a 0% balance transfer offer. Similarly, Citi may refuse balance transfers from other Citigroup accounts, including those held with Virgin Money, Suncorp Bank and Qantas Money. Check out our guide on which banks you can and can't transfer between for more information.
- Number of accounts. The exact number of accounts you can transfer will vary between cards. For example, if you wanted to transfer balances from three accounts but the application only had space to include details for two accounts, you may not be able to consolidate all your debts. However, it could still be worth contacting the provider to see if you can transfer debt from an additional account in order to combine all your card debts.
- Eligibility requirements. As with any credit card, you need to meet a set of eligibility requirements for your application to be approved. This usually includes your residency status, annual income and credit history. You can check eligibility requirements on individual card review pages, as well as at the start of the application.
If your balance transfer request is successful, the debts should be transfer in around 5–10 business days from when you activate the new card. After that, you can cancel your old cards to avoid ongoing fees and the temptation to spend more.
Compare balance transfer credit card offers
Transferring multiple credit card debts with a balance transfer gives you a way to consolidate your debts so that you only need to deal with one monthly repayment and one interest rate. To help you decide if this option will work for you, make sure you consider the limitations listed above and compare the rates, fees and other features of a range of balance transfer credit cards to find one that fits your needs.
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