Balance Transfer Credit Cards
Want to pay off your credit card debt? A balance transfer offer could help.
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A credit card balance transfer gives you a way to move the money you already owe to a new credit card that offers a low or 0% introductory interest rate for a set period of time. This can save you on interest charges and help you pay off your debt faster.
0% p.a. for 25 months on balance transfers
with a one-time 1.5% balance transfer fee
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
ANZ Credit Card Offer
A no-frills card offering with a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers for the first 25 months and a first year annual fee waiver.
- $0 first year annual fee ($58 p.a. thereafter)
- Interest rate of 12.49% p.a. on purchases
- 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months with 1.5% BT fee
- Balance transfer reverts to 20.24% p.a.
Compare Balance Transfer Credit Cards
There isn't one best balance transfer credit card for everyone, but if you enter your current balance and interest rate into the calculator below, you can see which card will offer you the most savings.
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). You can also use it for debt consolidation.
Most balance transfer credit cards let you move debt from existing credit cards or store cards. There are also a few that accept debt from personal loans. The actual balance transfer process is also simple: when you apply for a balance transfer credit card, you need to include details of the 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 with the low or 0% introductory rate for a set period of time. At the end of the introductory period, any remaining debt from your balance transfer will attract a higher, standard interest rate.
Types of balance transfer credit cards
Balance transfer cards with no annual fee
Save on fees with an ongoing $0 annual fee or first year waiver.
Case Study: 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 using. The current balance and interest rates are Australian averages from August 2020. We assume that the annual fee on both cards is the same and no new purchases are being made.
|0% Balance Transfer Card||Standard Credit Card|
|Interest rate||0% p.a.||17.00% p.a.|
|Period or term||12 months||Ongoing|
|Balance transfer fee||1.5%||N/A|
|Time to pay off||12 months||14 months|
In this example, a credit card balance transfer would save you over $275 in interest and you'd pay off your debt two months faster – even while making the same monthly repayments and forking out for a balance transfer fee. You can use our credit card repayment calculator to figure out how much you could save and set your repayment goals.
Pros and cons of balance transfer credit cards
Balance transfer credit cards can be a useful tool to help you pay off existing debt and clear your balance faster. However, there are some potential downsides to these offers. Make sure you consider all the pros and cons that are relevant to your situation.
- Save on interest costs. You can transfer your existing balance to a new card and get a low or 0% interest rate for an introductory period of time. 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 lower rate) on your balance, you should be able to pay it off 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 consolidate 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 travel insurance or rewards could help you get more value out of the card in the long run.
- Balance transfer fee. This is a one-time fee that you may have to pay to move your balance over to the new card. These fees can range from 0% to 3% on your balance transfer amount, which could mean a fee of $300 on a $10,000 debt.
- Revert rate. If you don't pay off your balance in full 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 eligible 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.
Do you really need a balance transfer?
A balance transfer credit card can be a handy tool to save money on existing debt, but it's not an ideal choice for everyone in every situation. Consider avoiding this type of card if:
- The interest you'll save is outweighed by the fees you'll pay.
Most cards charge fees when you transfer a balance. If you pay these costs, you might end up paying more than you would if you had just continued paying off your existing balance.
- You're using a balance transfer to cover up bad financial habits.
Even after you transfer a balance, you still have to pay it off. Think about whether a balance transfer would be a one-off action to help you pay off your debt for good, or whether you'd just be shifting debt around.
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer OfferSave with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 30 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
How do I find the best balance transfer credit card for me?
There are lots of balance transfer credit card deals available in Australia, but some will offer you greater savings than others. To help you find a balance transfer card that suits your needs, here are the key features to compare:
- Length of the introductory offer. The offers vary between cards, but 0% p.a. balance transfers generally range from 6 months to 26 months. You can also find other low rate balance transfers that last for up to 36 months. Choose a balance transfer that gives you enough time to pay off what you owe before the higher revert rate kicks in. You can do this by dividing your debt by the number of months in the introductory period. This shows you how much you have to pay each statement period to clear the debt before the offer ends.
- Balance transfer fee. While not all offers have a balance transfer fee, they are becoming more common in Australia. This fee typically ranges from 1% to 3% of the total balance transfer amount and is charged when your debt is transferred to the new card. This might not sound like a lot, but it can eat into the potential savings you'd get from the transfer.
- Balance transfer rate. Most balance transfer credit cards in Australia offer 0% interest for the promotional period, but others will offer a low rate such as 2.99% p.a. Generally the lower the interest rate, the more you'll save. You can use the calculator in the balance transfer comparison table above to compare cards based on the potential interest savings.
- Balance transfer revert rate. At the end of the low or 0% balance transfer promotional period, the standard balance transfer revert rate will be applied. This is usually the standard cash advance or purchase rate, which will be higher than an introductory rate. Although you should aim to pay off your debt before the revert rate applies, you should pay attention to this rate to avoid any nasty surprises when the introductory period ends.
- Eligible debts you can transfer. You can usually move one or more debts from Australian-issued store cards or credit card accounts, as long as they are from a different issuer to the one you're getting a balance transfer with. Some cards also allow you to transfer debts from personal loans and lines of credit. See our guide to the banks you can and can't transfer between for more information.
- Balance transfer limits. Some cards impose balance transfer limits, meaning you can only transfer up to a percentage of your approved credit limit. Depending on the card, this can range from 70% to 100% of your available credit limit. 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.
- Annual fee. You'll usually pay an annual fee on a balance transfer card, although some cards have a $0 annual fee or waive this cost for the first year. When this fee is charged, it is treated as a purchase and attracts the same interest rate as other purchases made with the card. If you pay the annual fee straight away you can avoid interest charges, which will help you make the most of the 0% p.a. balance transfer period. You can compare balance transfer cards with no annual fees on Finder to avoid this cost altogether.
How to do a balance transfer in 4 steps
Use the table above to compare offers and see how much you could save.
Read the requirements, gather your documents and request the balance transfer during the application.
When you receive the card, activate it by phone or online (and start making repayments).
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Don't spend on the new card. This way your repayments go towards your balance transfer and you won't add to your debt.
Frequently asked questions
Does 0% interest mean no payments?
No, even if you're paying 0% p.a. 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", although the percentage and dollar amounts vary between cards. You can check the minimum payment requirements by looking at review page for individual cards or by looking at the key facts sheet that credit card providers must share with you before you apply.
What if I only make the minimum repayment each month?
Although you're required to repay a minimum amount each month, and you won't be penalised for paying just that, it could take years to pay off your entire debt if you only pay this amount. Instead, 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.
Can I use my balance transfer card to make new purchases?
Yes, however, those purchases will collect the standard purchase interest rate and could make it harder to pay off your debt. Credit card issuers are also required to allocate repayments to the debt that is charged with the highest rate of interest on your account. So, if your balance transfer has a 0% interest rate and your purchases collect 19.99% p.a., your repayments will go towards the purchases first rather than your balance transfer. Even if your card has an introductory 0% rate on new purchases, you should concentrate on repaying your debt rather than making more purchases. It's also important to note that for many providers interest-free days don't apply to purchases when you're carrying debt from a balance transfer.
Do I still have to make payments on the old card?
Yes. The process of moving your existing debt to a balance transfer credit card usually starts after you've been approved and have activated the new card. If you have a payment that is due on your old account during that time, you will need to pay at least the minimum amount required. Otherwise, you could end up with late payment fees and additional interest on your existing debt. And if you keep the old card account open, you'll have to pay at least the minimum amount each month until you close the account.
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.Back to top
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Credit Cards Comparison
* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.