christmas debt

How should you consolidate debt after Christmas?

Balance transfer, debt consolidation loan or something else? Here's how to pay down your Christmas spending.

So you've made it through another Christmas. It seems to get more expensive every year, doesn't it? If you didn't plan ahead and relied on credit to get you through the festive season, you're not alone. But don't worry – there is a range of debt consolidation options available to help you pay down the credit you racked up, whether it be on a credit card or a loan (or both!).

This guide will take you through the options that are available, the benefits and drawbacks of each and how you can compare your options to choose the right one for you.

What options do I have to consolidate Christmas debt?

To consolidate debt after Christmas you have two main options: a debt consolidation loan or a balance transfer credit card.

  • Debt consolidation personal loan. These loans are unsecured and allow you to bring a number of debts into one account. By consolidating separate credit accounts you may be able to reduce interest and fees. Debt consolidation personal loans are available with terms of between one and seven years and come with rates of between 7% p.a. and 15% p.a. You can also find providers that will let you borrow with bad credit.
  • Balance transfer credit card. If you have debt across one or more cards, you can consolidate your debt to a balance transfer credit card. These cards offer introductory rates of 0–3% p.a. that apply to the balance you transfer and can remain for as long as 24 months. As long as you repay the debt within that period and don't use the card for additional purchases, you can pay down your total debt at the promotional rate. Just keep an eye on balance transfer fees and annual fees.

Which Christmas debt consolidation option is right for me?

  • If you have loan debt: There are only two providers that let you balance transfer personal loan debt to a credit card: Citi and Virgin Money. So, if you don't want to opt for these providers or just want a wider comparison, a debt consolidation personal loan is the way to go.
  • If you have credit card debt: You have the option of a debt consolidation personal loan or a balance transfer credit card. The balance transfer will be the better option if you have a smaller amount that you are confident you can pay off within the balance transfer promotional period – this is because you will be charged less interest than a personal loan. However, if you have a larger debt or just want more regular repayments that guarantee your debt will be paid off if you keep them up, a debt consolidation personal loan is the one to consider.
  • If you have credit card and loan debt: You can also choose between a debt consolidation personal loan and a balance transfer credit card that also accepts personal loan debts. Just like if you have credit card debt only, the amount of debt you have and how you want to repay it will affect which one you should choose.

Compare personal loans and balance transfer credit cards for debt consolidation

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Want to keep reading the Christmas debt consolidation guide? Jump past the comparison tables

Citi Personal Loan Plus

Citi Personal Loan Plus

From

8.99 % p.a.

variable rate

From

9.96 % p.a.

comparison rate

  • Loan amounts from $5,000
  • Offers a reusable credit facility
  • Repay over 5 years
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100% confidential application

Citi Personal Loan Plus

Apply for a Citi Personal Loan Plus and get a competitive interest rate offer with a reusable credit facility.

  • Interest rate from: 8.99% p.a.
  • Comparison rate: 9.96% p.a.
  • Interest rate type: Variable
  • Application fee: $199
  • Minimum loan amount: $5,000
  • Maximum loan amount: $75,000
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Promoted
Rates last updated November 17th, 2018
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Product Description
ANZ Fixed Rate Personal Loan
12.45% (fixed)
13.32%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
You'll receive a fixed rate of 12.45% p.a.
Apply for up to $50,000 to use for a variety of purposes without needing to add security. Available to self-employed applicants.
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.69%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$500 (Upfront fee)
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 26.95% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $70,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 years terms.
RateSetter Unsecured Personal Loan - 3yr Fixed
From 8.95% (fixed)
9.55%
$2,001
0.5 to 5 years
$89
You'll receive a fixed rate from 8.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 6 months. Interest and comparison rates calculated for a loan term of 3 years.
HSBC Personal Loan
From 8.5% (fixed)
9.06%
$5,000
1 to 5 years
$150
You'll receive a fixed rate between 8.5% p.a. and 16.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured personal loan with a tailored, fixed rate where you can make additional and early repayments without penalty.
Latitude Personal Loan (Unsecured)
From 13.99% (fixed)
15.19%
$3,000
2 to 7 years
$250 (Loans under $4000 - $140)
You'll receive a fixed rate between 13.99% p.a. and 29.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for what you need from $3,000 and use it for a range of purposes. Flexible repayments options.
Westpac Unsecured Personal Loan
12.99% (fixed)
14.14%
$4,000
1 to 7 years
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 12.99% p.a.
Benefit from the security of a fixed rate with the flexibility of additional repayments. Existing Westpac customers may qualify for discounts. Note: $250 establishment fee waived if you apply before 20 December 2018.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
Headline rate 13.49% (fixed)
14.36%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
You'll receive a fixed rate between 11.49% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years.
Latitude Low Rate Personal Loan (Unsecured)
10.99% (fixed)
12.21%
$20,000
2 to 7 years
$250
You'll receive a fixed rate of 10.99% p.a.
A secured or unsecured loan available to homeowners with a large minimum borrowing amount of $20,000. Benefit from flexible repayments and fast approval.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan
From 7.5% (fixed)
9.51%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
3% (of loan amount)
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.5% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
NOW FINANCE Personal Loans
From 8.95% (fixed)
10.56%
$5,000
1.5 to 7 years
$495 (Based on $10,000)
You'll receive a fixed rate between 8.95% p.a. and 16.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for loans from $5,000 and get a dedicated loan manager. No security required.
St.George Unsecured Personal Loan - Fixed Rate
From 12.99% (fixed)
14.06%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 12.99% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 to fund a range of purposes. Note: $195 establishment fee waived if you apply before 20 December 2018.
ING Personal Loan
8.99% (fixed)
9.13%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
$100
You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.99% p.a.
Benefit from no ongoing fees, no early repayment fees and flexible loan terms on amounts up to $30,000.
Australian Military Bank Fixed Rate Personal Loan
From 7.93% (fixed)
8.77%
$1,000
1 to 5 years
from $100 to $500
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.93% p.a. and 18.87% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan with a low minimum borrowing amount and flexible repayment options.
RACQ Bank Unsecured Personal Loan
12.95% (variable)
13.25%
$3,000
5 years
$200
You'll receive a variable rate of 12.95% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $3,000 that you can use for a range of purposes. Benefit from member discounts and flexible repayments. Only available to QLD residents
CUA Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
11.99% (fixed)
11.99%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 11.99% p.a.
An unsecured loan from $5,000 with no monthly or establishment fees and flexible repayments.
CUA Discount Fixed Personal Loan (Loans over $30,000)
10.99% (fixed)
10.99%
$30,000
1 to 7 years
$0
You'll receive a discounted fixed rate of 10.99% p.a.
Receive a discounted rate for borrowing over $30,000 and benefit from features such as no monthly fees and flexible repayments.
CUA Unsecured Variable Personal Loan
11.89% (variable)
11.89%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$0
You'll receive a variable rate of 11.89% p.a.
Borrow from $5,000 with the option for flexible repayments and no monthly fees.
CUA Discount Variable Personal Loan (Loans over $30,000)
10.89% (variable)
10.89%
$30,000
1 to 7 years
$0
You'll receive a discounted variable rate of 10.89% p.a.
Borrow over $30,000 and receive a discounted interest rate. No monthly fees and a redraw facility also available.
ANZ Variable Rate Personal Loan
15.99% (variable)
16.84%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
You'll receive a variable rate of 15.99% p.a.
A flexible loan with amounts starting $5,000 that offers flexible repayments and a redraw facility.
Australian Military Bank Variable Rate Personal Loan
From 7.88% (variable)
8.72%
$1,000
1 to 7 years
from $100 to $500
You'll receive a variable rate between 7.88% p.a. and 18.82% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan with flexible repayment options and a low minimum borrowing amount.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Variable Rate
Headline rate 12.69% (variable)
13.56%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
You'll receive a variable rate based on your risk profile. The headline rate is 12.69% p.a.
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes. Benefit from fee-free additional repayments and a redraw facility.
MyState Bank Unsecured Personal Loan
12.99% (variable)
16.42%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$200
You'll receive a variable rate of 12.99% p.a.
Apply for up to $50,000 and make additional repayments at any time without penalty.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated November 17th, 2018
Fox Symes Debt Solutions
Fox Symes offers a range of debt consolidation options to help you if you're struggling with multiple debts.
Enquire now More

Citi Credit Card Offer

Citi Rewards Classic Credit Card

0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers
with a one-time 1.5% balance transfer fee

Offer ends 31 December 2018

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

Citi Credit Card Offer

Pay a discounted annual fee for the first year, a low interest rate of 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers and up to 55 interest free days on purchases with the Citi Rewards Classic Credit Card.

  • $49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter).
  • 20.99% p.a. on purchases
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% BT fee on balance transfers
  • Cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum income requirement of $25,000 p.a.
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Promoted

Credit cards with balance transfers

Rates last updated November 17th, 2018
$
% p.a.

Your search criteria didn't return any products. Click to reset your filter options and search again
Name Product Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount Saved Product Description
Citi Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 13 months
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 20.99% p.a.)
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
finder Exclusive:
Save with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a discounted $49 annual fee for the first year.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $64 first year annual fee and 0% p.a. balance transfer offer. Plus, receive a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Online Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer offer, plus complimentary international travel insurance.
Citi Rewards Classic Credit Card
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases, up to $50 cashback when you meet the minimum spend and a 15 month balance transfer offer.
Citi Signature Qantas Credit Card
0% p.a. for 6 months
20.99% p.a.
$248 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($444 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 50,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 yearly airport lounge visits and complimentary travel insurance. Plus, a discounted first year annual fee.
Citi Signature Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months
20.99% p.a.
$195 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 15,000 monthly bonus reward Points for 20 months (300,000 total), enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer, plus, a $195 first year annual fee.
Emirates Citi World Mastercard
0% p.a. for 9 months
20.99% p.a.
$149 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Receive up to 60,000 bonus Skywards Miles, pay half the annual fee for the first year and indulge in curated local and global experiences.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus points in the first 3 months and save with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, a long-term balance transfer offer.
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
6.9% p.a. for 36 months
18.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers a balance transfer rate of 6.9% p.a. interest for 36 months and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
finder Exclusive: Save on credit card costs with half the annual fee for the first year and a 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases for 14 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

Unfortunately, Fox Symes won't be able to help you at this stage. For more information on improving your credit learn more here.

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Fox Symes can help you take back control of large debts by consolidating what you owe.

Fill out this form to find out if you can benefit from:

  • Reducing your repayments
  • Saving interest
  • A range of debt consolidation options

How do I compare balance transfer credit cards?

There are a number of features to look for when choosing a balance transfer credit card:

  • Balance transfer interest rate. This is the promotional rate that will be applied to the debt that you transfer. Most cards offer a 0% p.a. rate, but you can find cards offering higher introductory rates around 3% p.a.
  • Balance transfer promotional period. How long will this promotional rate apply? This is the balance transfer period and essentially how long you'll have to repay your debt before the introductory rate changes to a higher, standard interest rate. These periods can be between 3 and 24 months.
  • Fees. Check whether a balance transfer fee applies and also check whether you will need to pay an annual fee for the card.
  • Revert rate. All balance transfer cards have a revert rate, which is the rate that will apply to your balance after the promotional period ends. It's usually the cash advance rate and is usually around 20–22% p.a.
  • Standard interest rates. What is the purchase rate and is it competitive? If you're planning to keep the card after you repay your debt, this is good to check.
  • Balance transfer limits and restrictions. Confirm how much you are able to transfer. For some cards, you are unable to transfer a debt that will be more than 80% or more of your credit limit. You will also likely need to make the balance transfer at the time of application in order to take advantage of the promotional rate. Make sure you're familiar with all restrictions so you don't get any nasty surprises when you apply.

How do I compare debt consolidation personal loans?

When you compare options for debt consolidation personal loans, be sure to check the following:

  • Interest rate. First, check whether the rate is variable or fixed. Variable rates may change over your loan term while fixed rates remain, well, fixed. Once you know whether it's fixed or variable, compare that rate with other fixed or variable rate loans and ensure it is competitive. You should also compare the comparison rate as this includes the rate and fees.
  • Fees. What fees will you be charged? Check for upfront fees such as establishment or application fees as well as ongoing fees such as annual or monthly fees. These fees will add to your debt.
  • Loan limits. How much are you able to borrow and will it be sufficient to consolidate your debt?
  • Loan purpose. Not all lenders allow you to use their personal loans for debt consolidation, even if they are unsecured. Make sure you're able to use it for what you need before you apply.
  • Loan terms Check the terms of the loan and use a personal loan calculator to see if the repayments will suit your budget.
  • Repayment flexibility. Are you able to make extra repayments throughout the loan or pay off the loan early without penalty? Look for early repayment penalties or restrictions.

Christmas debt consolidation tips

  • Work out a budget beforehand. Know how much you can afford to repay before you consolidate your debt. This is especially true if you're applying for a balance transfer credit card – it can be easy to slip into making the minimum repayments and then not repaying your debt in full when the promotional period ends.
  • Check eligibility, restrictions and limits. First, find out if you meet the minimum eligibility criteria for the product you want. If you're unsure about anything, check with the provider directly. Then you should see how much you're able to transfer, and using a personal loan calculator or credit card calculator, see how much the repayments will be and if you'll be able to afford them. The lender will not approve you for a loan you can't afford so don't apply for it. Then, check the restrictions on the product – they may have a limit on how much you can balance transfer, for example.
  • Have a backup plan. What will you do if you aren't approved, or if you aren't approved for the full amount you need? Multiple credit applications in a short space of time can affect your credit file so it's important to have a plan in mind.

Balance transfer credit cards vs debt consolidation personal loans: Compare the benefits and drawbacks

What's good?What's not-so-good?
Balance transfer credit cards
  • As low as 0% p.a. interest on your debt
  • Can consolidate multiple cards and save on interest and fees
  • Some cards come with rewards and other perks which may make it worth keeping
  • You may not be approved for the full amount of credit you need to pay off your debt
  • The rate only applies for a limited time
  • If you don't pay off your entire balance within the promotional period, a revert rate will apply and it is usually 20–22% p.a.
Debt consolidation personal loans
  • Allows you to pay off your entire debt within the loan term
  • You can consolidate multiple debts, including credit cards and personal loans
  • You can also use the loan for additional purposes if you apply for a sufficient amount
  • Interest rates are higher than with balance transfer credit cards
  • Depending on the loan you apply for, you may not be able to make additional repayments or pay off the loan early without penalty
  • You will have your debt longer – debt consolidation personal loans come with minimum loan terms of one year

How do I know if I'm eligible?

It's important to check whether you are eligible for either the loan or the credit card before you apply. On every finder.com.au review page you will find a list of minimum eligibility criteria that you can check you meet before clicking "Go to Site" and submitting your application. Apart from this, you should also check the amount you're applying for will be manageable on your current budget.

Eligibility criteria will include:

  • Age. You will need to be over the age of 18 and may need to be over 21 to apply for some products.
  • Residency. Generally, you will need to be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia. However, you can find both personal loans and credit cards available for temporary residents.
  • Income. Some card providers and lenders have a minimum income which you need to earn in order to apply for the card.
  • Employment. There may be restrictions as to how you need to be employed. For example, you may need to be in full-time employment to be eligible.
  • Credit history. You generally won't be eligible for a balance transfer credit card with a bad credit history, but you may be able to find specialised bad credit debt consolidation loans.

Have more questions about consolidating your Christmas debt?

I applied for a balance transfer but wasn't approved for the credit limit I needed. What do I do?

You can either take out the balance transfer card and move as much debt as you can onto it, or decline to open the card. If you choose to open the card you will need to work out a budget to see how much you can pay off in the promotional period while still maintaining your other credit card/s. After you've paid that off you can choose to try for another balance transfer or just keep paying down your remaining debt.

Not taking out the card is also an option, but remember when you apply for another balance transfer the card provider will be able to see your recent application and it might affect your chances of approval.

What do I do if I have bad credit?

You won't be eligible for a balance transfer credit card, but you may have some personal loan options. Some lenders offer risk-based pricing based on your credit history, so while you may get a higher rate you may still be able to get a loan.

What do I do if I don't pay off the balance transfer within the promotional period?

First, work out how much debt you have left on the card and how long it will take you to pay off while you're being charged the revert rate. If it will be unmanageable or you will be in debt for an extended period of time, you may want to consider another balance transfer. Keep in mind that continually balance transferring your debt isn't an ideal strategy because every new credit application is listed on your credit file and affects your credit score. However, it depends on the current state of your credit file and how long it's been since you've last applied for credit.


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Personal Loan Offers

Important Information*
HSBC Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 8.5% p.a. and 16.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured personal loan with a tailored, fixed rate where you can make additional and early repayments without penalty.

Citi Personal Loan Plus

You'll receive a variable rate between 8.99% p.a. and 17.99% p.a. (9.96% p.a. to 18.91% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
A credit limit up to $75,000 that you can continue to draw down over terms up to 5 years.

Latitude Personal Loan (Unsecured)

You'll receive a fixed rate between 13.99% p.a. and 29.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for what you need from $3,000 and use it for a range of purposes. Flexible repayments options.

CUA Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 11.99% p.a.
An unsecured loan from $5,000 with no monthly or establishment fees and flexible repayments.

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