Balance Transfer Credit Cards
Done with debt? A balance transfer could save you over $2,000 on a $5,000 debt. See how much you could save now.
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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 money on interest charges and help you pay off your debt faster.
0% p.a. for 30 months on balance transfers
$49 first-year annual fee
Offer ends 30 June 2021
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Citi Credit Card Offer
Save with a long-term balance transfer offer and a first-year annual fee discount. Plus, Citi reward Points for your spending and complimentary insurance.
- $49 first-year annual fee ($149 p.a. thereafter)
- 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee, reverts to 22.24% p.a.
- 21.49% p.a. purchase interest rate | 22.24% p.a. cash advance rate
- Earn 1 Citi reward Point per $1 spent
- Minimum credit limit of $6,000
Compare Balance Transfer Credit Cards
When comparing offers, check which one offers the most savings. Even if it charges an annual fee or balance transfer fee, the balance transfer period might still save you more money.
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 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 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, standard interest rate.
You can watch the video below to find out what a balance transfer is and how they work.
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 using. The current balance and interest rates are Australian averages from October 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 $278.75 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.
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. To help you find a balance transfer card that suits you best, here's what you need to know:
- 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.
- Watch out for the transfer fee. Some cards charge a balance transfer fee of 1% to 3% and that can eat into your potential savings.
- 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.
- Take note of the revert rate. If you haven't paid off the balance transfer by the end of the promotional 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. 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.
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.
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.
- 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 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 whole 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 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.
Frequently asked questions
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 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 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.
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.
Can I use my balance transfer card to make new purchases?
Yes but those purchases will collect the standard purchase interest rate. 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 banks, interest-free days don't apply to purchases when you're carrying debt from a balance transfer.
Do balance transfers hurt your credit?
A balance transfer does not inherently hurt your credit score. Whenever you apply for a new credit card, it does leave a hard enquiry on your credit report (and may decrease your score) but the balance transfer itself has no effect. That said, missing repayments on your credit card will hurt your credit score, so be sure to weigh up what's best for keeping your credit healthy.
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
Read more on this topic
0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers
Pay no interest on your credit card debt and clear it faster with a 0% balance transfer credit card. Compare and apply here.
What is a cheque-to-self?
A cheque to self was a feature offered by Citibank as an alternative to a balance transfer. It is no longer available, but you can explore your other options here.
Can I consolidate a zipMoney balance on a balance transfer card?
Find out what balance transfer credit card options you can use to consolidate debts from zipMoney, zipPay and other interest-free accounts.
Can I transfer my credit card debt to another bank?
Balance transfers are not allowed between certain credit card brands. Read on for a list of lenders that do and don’t allow a balance transfers between them.
Can I balance transfer a personal loan to a credit card?
Use this guide to see which providers accept balance transfers from a personal loan to a credit card and discover how you can repay your debt faster with 0% balance transfer offers.
What if I have bad credit and can’t balance transfer?
Find out how a bad credit score could affect your balance transfer credit card application and what you can do about it.
What is a balance transfer?
Find out how you can consolidate your debts and save on interest with a 0% balance transfer credit card.
How to settle credit card debt without a debt settlement company
Is it worth paying a debt settlement company to help you deal with credit card debt, or can you do it on your own?
Balance transfer limit: How much can I move to a balance transfer card?
If you're considering a balance transfer, compare which credit cards can accept your debt based on the balance transfer limits.
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