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Balance Transfer Credit Cards

A balance transfer credit card lets you move the money you already owe to a new credit card that offers a low or 0% introductory interest rate.

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Compare balance transfer credit cards

A balance transfer can help you save money on interest charges from existing credit cards or personal loans. It can also simplify your payments into one monthly statement and reduce what you're paying in annual fees.

$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate p.a. Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee Amount saved
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% for 36 months
19.99%
$29 for the first year ($129 thereafter)
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
St.George Vertigo Card
0% for 32 months
13.99%
$0 for the first year ($55 thereafter)
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 32 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Citi Clear Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 36 months
14.99%
$49 for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 36 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and complimentary insurance covers.
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
0% for 30 months
20.99%
$0
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $30 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points. Ends 21 August 2022.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 28 months
20.74%
$0 for the first year ($129 thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months (with no BT fee). Plus, $0 annual fee in the first year.
Citi Rewards Card - Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months, reverts to 21.49%
$0 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Save with 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months, reverts to 9.9%
$0 for the first year ($49 thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% for 12 months
19.99%
$0
Get 20,000 bonus Flybuys points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days. Plus, an ongoing $0 annual fee.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% for 32 months
12.99%
$0 for the first year ($59 thereafter)
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 32 months (with no BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months, reverts to 18.99%
$0
Save with a $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Citi Rewards Card - Velocity Points Offer
0% for 15 months
21.49%
$0 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Earn 60,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
Citi Clear Card - Cashback Offer
0% for 15 months
14.99%
$49 for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Get $250 cashback when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, free wine when you dine and purchase insurance cover.
Citi Rewards Card - Cashback Offer
0% for 15 months
21.49%
$99 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Get $400 cashback when you spend $2,000 through Apple Pay or Samsung Pay in the first 90 days. Plus, a $99 first-year annual fee.
Qantas Premier Platinum
0% for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
19.99%
$225 for the first year ($299 thereafter)
Earn 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and save with a reduced first-year annual fee.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer
6.99% for 12 months
13.74%
$59
A no-frills card offering up to $200 cashback: $50 each month you make at least $1,000 of eligible purchases for the first 4 months.
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What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card offers you a low or 0% interest rate for an introductory period when you move your existing debt to the new credit card account. This introductory period gives you breathing room from interest charges and can allow you to pay off your debts faster (and for less interest). You can also use it for debt consolidation.

According to Finder data, 11% of Australians took out their last credit card in order to do a balance transfer and pay off debt.1

How does a credit card balance transfer work?

balance transfer credit cards

Most balance transfer credit cards let you move debt from existing credit cards or store cards. A few cards also accept debt from personal loans.

The actual balance transfer process is simple: When you apply for a balance transfer credit card, you need to include details of the existing account and the amount of money you want transferred. If your application and balance transfer are approved, then your new credit card provider will move the balance to your new account.

After the balance is transferred, you can pay it off without having to pay interest (or with a very low rate of interest) for a set period of time. At the end of the introductory period, any remaining debt from your balance transfer will attract a higher, ongoing interest rate.

You can watch the video below to find out what a balance transfer is and how they work.

What is the best balance transfer credit card?

There are lots of balance transfer credit card deals available in Australia and there isn't one that is the "best", but some will offer you better savings than others. These tips will help you find a balance transfer card that suits you best:

  • Look for a long offer. The longer the offer term, the more time you'll have to pay off your debt for a low or 0% rate. Make sure the first thing you do is compare credit cards.
  • Watch out for the transfer fee. Cards that charge a balance transfer fee can affect your potential savings by adding an upfront cost worth between 1% to 3% of the amount you transfer.
  • Find a low rate. Most balance transfer credit cards in Australia offer 0% interest for the promotional period. Typically, the lower the rate, the more you'll save.
  • Note the revert rate. If you haven't paid off the balance transfer by the end of the offer period, the higher revert interest rate will be charged on your leftover debt.
  • Check the eligibility. You can usually transfer a balance from Australian-issued cards or accounts, as long as they are from a different issuer. Some cards also allow you to transfer debts from personal loans and lines of credit held with other Australian financial institutions. See our guide to the banks you can and can't transfer between for more information.
  • Know your limits. On some cards you can only transfer up to a percentage of your approved credit limit (usually 70% - 100%). If you apply to transfer more than your limit, the remaining amount will stay in your old account(s) and collect interest. You can see Finder's guide to balance transfer limits for more information.

gold medalBalance Transfer Top Pick

The Kogan Money Black Card is Finder's Top Balance Transfer Pick at the moment. When you apply through Finder by 21 August 2022, you'll save with 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 30 months. There is no balance transfer fee and the annual card fee is $0.

kogan money black card

Go to Kogan Money's site

How much can I save with a balance transfer credit card?

The amount you'll save with a balance transfer credit card depends on how much you owe, your current interest rate, the balance transfer offer and your monthly repayments (among other things). To put it in perspective, let's take a look at an example.

Example: A 0% balance transfer card vs paying off your current card

To help you figure out whether a balance transfer card could save you money (and time), we've compared a common balance transfer offer with monthly repayments on a standard credit card. The current balance and interest rates are based on Australian credit card statistics and data in 2022. We assume that the annual fee on both cards is the same and no new purchases are being made.

0% balance transfer cardStandard credit card
Current balance$2,862$2,862
Interest rate0% p.a.19.94% p.a.
Period or term12 monthsOngoing
Balance transfer fee1.5%N/A
Monthly repayment$238.50$238.50
Time to pay off12 months13.49 months
Interest paid$0$356.36

In this example, a credit card balance transfer would save you $356.36 in interest and you'd pay off your debt 1.49 months faster compared to the credit card with an average standard interest rate of 19.94% (based on RBA data).

These savings are based on making the same repayments for either card and paying a one-off balance transfer fee (which would cost $42.93 and be paid separately in this example).

Want to see how much you could save? Put your balance and interest rate into the balance transfer table's calculator, or use Finder's credit card repayment calculator to help set your repayment goals.

What is a balance transfer fee?

A balance transfer fee is a one-time charge that may apply when you move your debt to a new card. It's typically worth 1-3% of the balance transfer amount, but not all offers include a balance transfer fee.

To give you an idea of the cost, transferring $5,000 onto a card with a 2.5% balance transfer fee would add $125 to the balance.

How to do a balance transfer in 4 steps

compare balance transfer offers1. Compare balance transfer offers
Use the table above to compare offers and see how much you could save.
apply for a new balance transfer card2. Apply for a new card
Read the requirements, gather your documents and request the balance transfer during the application.
activate your new credit card3. Activate your new card
When you receive the card, activate it by phone or Internet banking (and start making repayments).
close your old credit card4. Close your old account
You are not required to close your old account, but it's usually a good idea to help you stay out of debt.

Quick tips for making the most of your balance transfer

  1. Make sure you can transfer enough of your balance. It doesn't have to be 100%, but if you have to split your balance, make sure you can manage both cards.
  2. Pay off the full balance before the end of the promotional period (auto-payments can help). This way you will avoid the higher revert interest rate.
  3. Don't spend on the new card. This way your repayments go towards your balance transfer and you won't add to your debt.

Pros and cons of balance transfer credit cards

Pros

  • Save on interest costs. You can transfer your existing balance to a new card and get a low or 0% interest rate for a while. This will almost always be lower than the interest rate you're currently paying and will save you money on interest charges.
  • Pay off debt faster. By not paying interest (or paying a much lower rate), you should be able to pay off your balance a lot faster because the amount won't be creeping up (or will be a lot less) month after month.
  • Simplify your payments. If you have a few debts, you can use a balance transfer card to combine them so you only have to keep track of one credit card bill. Not only will this help you manage your debt, it can also save you money on annual fees and other card costs.
  • Complimentary extras. If you want to use the card after you have paid off your balance, perks like credit card travel insurance or rewards could help you get more value out of the card in the long run.

Cons

  • Balance transfer fee. This one-time fee can range from 0% to 3% of your balance transfer amount, when it applies. That would mean a fee of $0 to $300 on a $10,000 debt.
  • Revert rate. If you don't pay off your whole balance transfer during the introductory period, this is the interest rate you'll pay on the remaining balance. Typically, it is higher than the purchase interest rate.
  • Balance transfer limits. Depending on the card and how much debt you want to transfer, you may not be able to move it all onto the new card. You could still be saving money, but you'll also have to manage your existing card.
  • Credit score impact. Every time you apply for a new credit card, an enquiry is recorded on your credit report. If you already have a weak credit score, this could decrease it further and you may not be approved.

How long does a balance transfer take?

The balance transfer process typically takes between 5 and 14 days from when you activate the new card, although it does depend on the credit card provider.

Once you've been approved for your credit card and balance transfer, you can contact the provider to find out exactly how long they think it will take to process your balance transfer.

Tip: Remember to factor in the time it takes to apply for a card, get approved and activate it (usually 5-10 working days).

If you want to know how long a balance transfer can take with a particular bank or credit card brand, we've also summarised how Australian card issuers manage balance transfers and the processing times you can expect in a table.

0% balance transfer and 0% purchase rate credit card offers

A 0% balance transfer and 0% purchase rate credit card allows you to save on both existing and future interest costs. You can move over balances you already owe and pay 0% interest, as well as make new purchases and not have to pay interest for an introductory period.

Higher interest rates apply to any existing debt after the promotional period ends, so it's important to pay off both of the balances in full to avoid interest.

Getting ready to apply for a new credit card or loan? You can check your chance of approval for free through the Finder app, plus get monthly updates on your credit score.

Frequently asked questions

How many times can you do a balance transfer?

There is no set maximum amount of times you can transfer a balance between credit cards. However, you should factor in any balance transfer fees, the enquiries on your credit report and your chance of being approved for new cards with different banks. Ideally, you should focus on paying it back in full and eliminating the need for multiple transfers.

How many balances can I transfer?

The number of balances you can transfer depends on the provider and the offer but typically you'll be able to move debt from 1 to 3 eligible accounts. If you want to use a balance transfer credit card to consolidate debts, check the offer details or contact the provider to find out exactly how many balances you'll be able to transfer.

Can I do a balance transfer within the same bank?

Unfortunately not. Balance transfer offers are only for new customers, meaning you'll have to open a card with a different bank or lender. This also goes for cards within the same group. For example, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA are all part of Westpac group, so you couldn't transfer a balance between any of these institutions.

What happens at the end of my balance transfer?

After the introductory period ends, the 0% interest rate ends too. If there's any debt left over that you haven't paid, it will start to be charged interest at the "revert rate". This is usually, though not always, the cash advance rate. The cash advance rate is higher than the purchase rate, so if you haven't paid off your balance in time, it could end up costing you more in interest than your old card. This is why it's so important to plan your repayments and pay off as much of your debt as possible during the introductory period

Does a balance transfer affect your credit score?

When used correctly, a balance transfer credit card can help you repay your debt and improve your credit score as a result. But when you apply for a credit card, it leaves a hard enquiry on your credit report (and may decrease your score). This means applying for a few balance transfer cards in a short amount of time could hurt your credit score. Missing repayments on the balance transfer credit card will also hurt your credit score, so be sure to weigh up what's best for keeping your credit healthy.

Does 0% interest mean no payments?

No, even if you're paying no interest on your balance transfer debt, you still have to make at least the minimum repayment for each statement period. This is usually stated as "3% of outstanding balance or $30, whichever is greater". You can check the minimum payment requirements by looking at a review page for individual cards or by looking at the key facts sheet that credit card providers must share with you before you apply.

How can I avoid a balance transfer fee?

You can get a credit card that doesn't charge a balance transfer fee to avoid this cost. Just check the offer details to see if there is a balance transfer fee.

Keep in mind that a card with a balance transfer fee can still help you save money. The length of the 0% interest offer, annual fee and other features all factor in to the potential savings and costs, so it's worth comparing your options.

What happens if I put purchases on a 0% balance transfer credit card?

Unless the card offers an interest-free period for the purchases, you'll be charged interest when you carry a balance transfer. Your repayments will also go towards the part of your balance that attracts the highest interest rate – which would be new purchases in this case. So, you'd need to make sure you could repay your purchases and the balance transfer debt. Otherwise, you'll be wasting your 0% balance transfer offer.

What happens if I keep my old card open?

When you transfer an existing balance to a new card, it's your responsibility to contact your current credit card or loan provider and close the old account. If you don't, you could end up paying account costs for a card you're not using. Before you close the card, make sure the balance is completely transferred or paid in full and move any regular payments such as (direct debits) to another account.


Balance transfer credit cards can help you save on interest costs and get your debt under control. As there are so many different balance transfer cards on the market, there is no one best option that works for everyone. Instead, look at the size of your debt, what you can afford to pay each month and the card’s features to find a balance transfer card that works for you.


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27 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    sueOctober 21, 2019

    $0 credit card no fee lowerest interest rate

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiOctober 23, 2019

      Hi Sue,

      You may refer to page about low rate credit cards. There, you will find a table that compares the key features of each credit card including purchase rate, annual fee, interest-free periods, and balance transfer rate. This is an easy place to start your comparison and find a card that suits you.

  2. Default Gravatar
    DOctober 17, 2019

    Hi,

    I’ve narrowed my choice down to either St. George Vertigo Classic, BankSA Vertigo or Bank of Melbourne BT as they are all 0% pa for 18 months, with an annual fee of $55 per year which suits me. The purchase rate is different on each, however my question is this: “As long as I don’t purchase anything on any of these cards (I don’t usually on a BT because otherwise it never gets paid!) during the time I have it and also during the promotional period, I won’t get charged any purchase rate? So basically, only if I purchase?”

    Just trying to choose which of these 3 cards is best as I have no intention of buying anything once I’ve transferred my debt.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniOctober 19, 2019Staff

      Hi D,

      That’s correct. If you don’t make any purchases, you won’t be charged the purchase interest rate on anything. You can check our guide about managing purchases on a balance transfer card if you’d like more details.

  3. Default Gravatar
    sueAugust 2, 2019

    What are the hidden costs paying off a credit card this way. I have a $4500.00 balance on my credit card. About a quarter of what I pay goes on on charges, a payment of $45.50 plus goes in charges just to make the payment. I got into this card with the whole own it now and now with no interest on purchases. And when I got it I realized it was just a credit card, with huge interest on purchases. Silly me I guess. But how many people actually read the terms, they seem like a whole lot of words nobody has heard of .. I will be reading them with a magnifying glass from now on.

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiAugust 3, 2019

      Hi Sue,

      There aren’t really any hidden costs. But when it comes to interest on new purchases, a lot of cards don’t offer interest-free days when you have a balance transfer. This should be clearly disclosed by the bank. For now, if you can, you should focus on paying back that money as quickly as you can and then avoiding any new purchases on the card until the balance transfer is paid off.

  4. Default Gravatar
    KarmaJune 5, 2019

    Do you have to have good credit rating to transfer balance?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJune 5, 2019Staff

      Hello Karma,

      Yes, you’ll usually need to have at least a good credit rating to be approved for a balance transfer credit card.

  5. Default Gravatar
    LizApril 24, 2019

    HI! I have a joint credit card with my ex husband. He is not making payments. We owe $23k on the card. Looking at doing a balance transfer. Will any banks allow a 100% balance transfer? How easy is it to transfer the balance? My credit score is not great due to missing some payments, will this be a factor in getting approved? Thanks, Liz.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiApril 25, 2019Staff

      Hi Liz,

      There are banks that will allow you to transfer the whole balance from your old card, but it may be tricky to transfer such a large amount if your credit score isn’t very good. Say the new card allows you to balance transfer 80% of the available credit limit, you’d need to be approved for a limit of at least of $28,750 to cover the full $23,000 balance from the old card.

      If you’re concerned about being approved, you should work to improve your credit score before you apply for another card. I would also suggest to get in touch with your current bank and see if there is anything they can do to help. All financial institutions have hardship policies and they may be willing to work with you.

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