Save on interest and pay off your debt faster with a credit card that offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 26 months.
Use this guide to find out how balance transfers work and how they can help you 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 questions about these cards; balance transfer mistakes to avoid; and how to increase the chances of your application succeeding with five simple steps. You can calculate your potential savings from a wide range of Australian cards using the table below.
0% p.a. for 25 months
on balance transfers
Exclusive to finder.com.au
Offer ends 6 May 2018
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Exclusive to finder.com.au - 0% Balance Transfer Offer
The NAB Low Fee Platinum Card features a range of platinum benefits and a long-term balance transfer offer exclusive to finder.com.au.
- 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months on a new NAB Low Fee Platinum Card. BT reverts to cash advance rate thereafter.
- No balance transfer fee when BT requested upon application.
- Receive seven complimentary insurance covers when you make an eligible purchase. Plus, access to the 24/7 NAB Concierge Service.
- Request an additional cardholder at no extra cost.
- Must apply through finder.com.au to take advantage of this offer. Offer may be withdrawn at any time.
Compare Balance Transfer Credit Cards
Balance transfer credit cards comparison
Compare the features of these balance transfer cards to decide if one is right for you:
- NAB Low Fee Platinum Card - Exclusive Offer. A balance transfer credit card with seven complimentary insurances.
- St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer. This online offer from St.George waives the balance transfer fee.
- Virgin Australia Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer. A platinum credit card with a balance transfer offer and a discounted $50 p.a. annual fee for life.
- Westpac Low Rate. Get 24 months to pay back debt with an introductory 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers.
What is a balance transfer credit card?
A balance transfer lets you moves your existing credit card debt onto a new card. Balance transfer credit cards usually offer a 0% interest rate for an introductory period, which could be up to 26 months or more.
How does a balance transfer work?
Check out this 60-second video to learn how balance transfers work.
How can I compare credit card balance transfer offers?
There are lots of balance transfer card deals available in Australia and each one offers you some potential savings on your debt. If you want to save as much as possible through a balance transfer offer, here are the key features to include in your comparison:
- Introductory offer. Look at the length of the introductory balance transfer offer and make sure you can pay off your debt before the higher, standard interest rate kicks in. You can do this by dividing your debt by the number of months in the introductory 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 pay it all in this time, you might want to look for a card with a longer 0% balance transfer offer.
- Balance transfer fee. While not all credit cards charge a balance transfer fee, they have become increasingly popular in Australia since 2017. Typically, this fee ranges from 1% to 3% of the total balance transfer amount and is charged when your debt is transferred to the new card.
- Eligible debts. Most balance transfer credit cards only accept debts from store card or credit card accounts you hold with a different issuer. Some cards also allow you to transfer debts from personal loans and lines of credit. Usually there is a maximum balance transfer amount that's based on your approved credit limit for the card. Check out the section on how the balance transfer process works for more details on these requirements.
- Annual fee. Most balance transfer cards charge an annual fee, but some come waive this cost in the first year. When it's charged, the annual fee is treated as a purchase and is charged the same interest rate as other purchases you make with the card. If you pay this fee straight away you can avoid interest charges, which will help you make the most of the 0% p.a. balance transfer period.
- Revert rate. At the end of the promotional period, the 0% balance transfer interest rate 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 it in when comparing your options to avoid any nasty surprises.
These card features are less important when you're paying off a balance transfer debt but are still worth factoring into your credit card comparison:
- Purchase rate. This rate applies to any new purchases made on the card and usually ranges from 12% p.a. to 21% p.a. or more. Some credit cards 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. Credit cards may offer additional benefits, such as complimentary travel insurance or the ability to earn reward points. 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 credit cards or pay off a debt for good, here's how you can transfer your balance to a new credit card in just a few steps through finder.com.au.
- Compare credit card balance transfer offers. Use the credit card comparison table to browse balance transfer offers and click on a column to sort by feature (e.g. "Balance transfer rate"). 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 next to your chosen card and you'll be taken to the bank or card company's secure online application form. 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?
Understanding the following factors will help you find a balance transfer credit card that works for you.
Eligible debts for balance transfer credit cards
Most 0% balance transfer credit card 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 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 generally allow you to transfer between 80% and 100% of your approved credit limit. But because you usually need to request the balance transfer at the time of your application, you won’t know what your credit limit is until after the card is approved.
This means 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 balance 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 on 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 with 0% interest during the introductory period.
Mistakes to avoid with balance transfers
Watching out for these traps can help you make the most of a 0% balance transfer credit card offer:
MISTAKE: Not considering the balance transfer fee
The balance transfer fee can be worth up to 3% of your debt, which quickly adds up for larger balance transfers. If you want to avoid this extra cost, look for cards with no balance transfer fee in the comparison table above.
MISTAKE: Thinking 0% interest means no payments
Even if the introductory period gives you a 0% p.a. interest rate for your balance transfer debt, you still have to make at least the minimum payment for each statement period. This is usually stated as "3% of outstanding balance or $30, whichever is greater", although the percentage and dollar amounts can 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.
MISTAKE: Only making the minimum repayment each month
Although you’re required to pay a minimum amount each month, it could take years to pay off your entire debt if you only paid 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. As an example, below we’ve outlined how much you’d have to pay each month to clear a $10,000 debt within 6 to 24 months if you had a 0% p.a. interest rate.
|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 0% interest rate will revert to a higher standard interest rate. This higher rate will be charged for any remaining debt from the balance transfer. If you don’t think you can repay your debt during the introductory period, look for a card with a revert rate that's lower than your current credit card’s interest rate. That way, if you have debt left over after the 0% balance transfer period ends, you’ll still be saving on interest charges compared to what you would have paid on your old card.
MISTAKE: Making new purchases with your card
Adding new debt to the account means it will take longer for you to pay off your card. Credit card providers are required to allocate repayments to the debt that is charged the highest rate of 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 an introductory 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 for debt you move onto a 0% balance transfer credit card, you may have to pay an annual fee. Credit card annual fees are usually charged from the date your account is approved or activated, so make sure you consider this cost when choosing a balance transfer card. But don't dismiss cards purely on the basis of fees, because sometimes the introductory offer could still be worth it depending on your circumstances and the card. You can compare the total costs for different cards by entering your debt and current interest rate in the balance transfer calculator. This will then show you how much you can potentially save, so you can choose the right balance transfer card for you.
MISTAKE: Keeping your old card open
When you get a balance transfer, it’s your responsibility to contact your current credit card provider and close your old account. If you don’t, you could end up paying any maintenance 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 transfer any regular payments (such as direct debits) to another account.
Frequently asked questions about balance transfers
If you want to know more about 0% balance transfer credit card offers, here you'll find answers to some of the most common questions. You can also get in touch with us by using the comment box below if there's another question you'd like us to answer.