Pay off your debt faster and save on interest with a credit card offering 0% on balance transfers for up to 30 months.
Use this guide to find out how balance transfers work and how you can save on credit card interest. You can also learn about the different types of balance transfer cards available in Australia; how to compare balance transfer cards to pick the best one for you; common concerns about these cards; balance transfer mistakes to avoid; and how to increase the chances of your application succeeding. You can calculate your potential savings from a wide range of Australian cards using the table below.
0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with no BT fee
$0 annual fee for the first year
Offer ends 31 January 2018
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Balance Transfer Credit Card Offer
The St.George Vertigo Platinum credit card features a no BT fee balance transfer offer, a first year annual fee waiver and a low variable interest rate on purchases.
- 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate after promotional period.
- $0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter).
- A low variable interest rate of 12.74% p.a. on purchases and a variable cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
- Wide range of premium features including complimentary overseas travel insurance and the Visa Platinum Concierge Service.
- New card applications only. Balance transfer must be requested at card application.
Balance Transfer Credit Cards Comparison
Compare finder.com.au's balance transfer credit cards
Compare the features of the balance transfer cards below:
- Exclusive to finder.com.au NAB Premium Card. A balance transfer credit card with 7 complimentary insurances.
- St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer. This online offer from St.George waives the balance transfer fee.
- Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card.This card features a competitive balance transfer offer.
- Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer. A balance transfer credit card with a bonus points offer.
- Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card. Get up to 2 years to pay back debt with 0% p.a. balance transfers
What is a balance transfer?
A balance transfer involves moving your existing card debt to a new credit card. Balance transfer credit cards usually offer a 0% interest rate for an introductory period, generally 6 to 24 months.
Which type of balance transfer card is right for me?
How does a balance transfer work?
finder's money expert Angus Kidman explains the ins and outs of a balance transfer
How can I compare credit card balance transfer offers?
There are lots of balance transfer card deals available in Australia, so how can you pick the right one? These are the key features to compare when looking for maximum savings:
- Introductory offer. You should pay attention to the length of the introductory offer and ensure you can pay off your balance transfer before the revert rate kicks in. You can do this by dividing your debt by the number of months in the promotional period to see how much you'd have to pay each statement period to clear the debt before the offer ends. If you don’t think you can, you might want to look for a card with a longer interest-free offer if possible.
- Balance transfer fee. In 2017, balance transfer fees have become increasingly popular. Typically, this fee ranges from 1% to 3% of the transfer amount and is charged when you first move your debt to the new card.
- Annual fee. Most balance transfer cards charge an annual fee, although some come with fee waivers for the first year. The annual fee is treated as a purchase and incurs the same interest rate as other purchases you make with the card. Make sure that the interest you’ll save from the 0% balance transfer promotion outweighs the cost of the annual fee to justify applying for a card.
- Revert rate. At the end of the promotional period, any remaining balances will revert to a higher standard rate. This is usually the standard cash advance or purchase rate. Although you should aim to pay off your debt before the revert rate applies, factor when comparing your options to avoid any nasty surprises.
These card features are less important when you're paying off existing debt but are still worth factoring into your comparison:
- Purchase rate. This rate applies to any new purchases made on the card and is usually 12% p.a. or more. Some credit cards also offer a promotional 0% rate on purchases as well. While it's best practice not to use your card for purchases while you're consolidating your debt, you'll want to pay attention to the purchase rate if you plan to use the card for purchases once you’ve repaid your debts.
- Other benefits. Cards may offer additional benefits, such as the ability to earn reward points or complimentary travel insurance. You may not be able to use these features when you’re paying off a debt but they could help you make a decision if you plan to use the card beyond the balance transfer.
How to do a balance transfer in five steps
Whether you want to consolidate your cards or pay off debt for good, finder.com.au makes it easy to do a balance transfer in just a few steps.
- Compare balance transfer offers. Use the comparison table to browse a range of offers and click on a column to sort by feature. You can also see how much value you could get from each offer by entering your debt details, clicking “Calculate” and then looking at the “Amount saved” column.
- Confirm how much you owe. Check your account balance or contact your existing credit card provider and ask for your balance details, including interest charges, annual fees, direct debits or any other costs that may be applied before the balance transfer is complete. This will help you fill out the balance transfer request when you apply for a card.
- Submit your application. Click the "Go to site" button to start an online application for your chosen card. Remember to include the details of your existing account and the amount of debt you want to transfer on your application.
- Activate your card. Once you’re approved, you’ll need to activate the new card before the balance transfer can be processed. You can usually do this online or over the phone with your new provider.
- Confirm the transfer and close your old account. The balance transfer may take 1-2 weeks to show up on your new credit card. After that, you can contact your old bank to close the previous card and avoid any further fees or charges.
How does the balance transfer process work?
Most credit card balance transfer offers are designed specifically for new customers who want to move debt from an existing Australian store card or credit card that’s issued by a different provider. A small selection of credit card providers also let you transfer debts from personal loans, or offer a “cheque to self” option where the balance transfer amount is provided to you as a cheque.
In most cases, you can only move debt from an account that’s in your name. But there may be some exceptions for joint accounts, so check the terms and conditions or contact the new credit card provider if you have questions about transferring a debt that is shared or in someone else’s name (e.g. debt that’s in your partner’s name).
Balance transfers and credit limits
Credit card providers usually allow you to transfer between 80% and 100% of your approved credit limit. But because you often need to request the balance transfer at the time of your application, you won’t know what that credit limit is until after the card is approved.
So in some cases, you could be approved for a card with a credit limit that is worth less than your balance transfer amount. If that happens, the credit card provider may only transfer part of the debt.
How the debt is transferred to your new card
Once you’ve been approved and activated your new account, the credit card provider will contact the bank or provider that holds your debt and arrange to transfer it to your new account. This process usually takes between 5 to 10 working days from card activation. During that time, you’ll still need to make any payments that are due for your old account. When the transfer is complete, the debt will show up as a balance on your new credit card account. You can then start paying it off at a pace that works for you.Back to top
Mistakes to avoid with balance transfers
These are the traps to look out for if you want to get the most out of your 0% balance transfer credit card:
MISTAKE: Failing to consider the balance transfer fee
As the balance transfer fee can be worth up to 3% of your debt, it can easily eat into your potential savings. Not all credit cards charge a balance transfer fee, so if you want to avoid this extra cost you can look for cards with no balance transfer fee in the comparison table above.
MISTAKE: Thinking 0% means no payments
Even if the promotional period gives you a 0% p.a. interest rate, you still have to make at least the minimum payment each month. This is usually stated as "3% of outstanding balance or $20, whichever is greater", although the percentage and dollar amounts can vary between cards. You can check the minimum payment requirements by going to the review page for individual cards. These details are also included on the key facts sheet that credit card providers must share with you before you apply.
MISTAKE: Only making the minimum repayment each month
Although you’re required to pay a minimum each month, it’s wise to make bigger payments and clear the entire debt before the 0% introductory period ends. How much you’ll have to pay each statement period will depend on the size of your debt and the length of the promotional period. As an example, we’ve outlined how much you’d have to pay each month to clear a $10,000 debt within 6 to 24 months in the table below.
|Duration||% of total to repay each month to clear debt||What that would equal per month on a $10,000 debt|
The key lesson? Budget as much as you can towards paying off your credit card debt while the promotional rate applies. If you can’t repay the entire debt in time, it's possible to apply for another balance transfer.
MISTAKE: Not checking the revert rate
Once your balance transfer promotion finishes, the revert rate will be charged for any remaining debt from the transfer. If you don’t think you can repay your debt during the introductory period, aim to choose a card with a revert rate that's lower than your current credit card’s interest rate. That way, you’ll still be saving on interest charges when compared to what you would have paid on your old card.
MISTAKE: Putting new purchases on your card
Adding new debt will slow down your ability to repay your card. You shouldn’t buy anything new on your credit card that you can't immediately pay off in full. Banks are required to allocate repayments to whichever debt is accruing the highest interest on your account. So, if your balance transfer has a 0% interest rate and your purchases collect the standard interest rate, your repayments will go towards the purchases rather than your balance transfer. Even if your card has a 0% rate on new purchases, you should concentrate on repaying your debt rather than making more purchases.
MISTAKE: Ignoring the annual fee
While you won't be charged interest with a 0% balance transfer, you may have to pay an annual fee. Make sure you consider this cost when choosing a balance transfer deal, keeping in mind that the annual fee is usually charged at the time you open your account. Don't dismiss cards purely on the basis of fees. Use our balance transfer calculator, which compares the total costs for cards, to find the right deal for you.
MISTAKE: Keeping your old card open
When you conduct a balance transfer, it’s your responsibility to contact your bank and close your old account. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck paying any maintenance costs for a card you’re not using. Before you close the card, make the balance is completely transferred or paid in full and transfer any regular payments to another account.
Frequently asked questions about balance transfers