A balance transfer credit card helps you save on interest and pay off your debt faster with 0% p.a. for up to 26 months
Balance transfers let your new provider pay for your old credit card debt with a low or 0% introductory rate on your new card. Use this guide to find out more.
0% p.a. for 24 months
on balance transfers
with a one-time 1% balance transfer fee
$0 first year annual fee
Offer ends 23 October 2018
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Balance Transfer Credit Card Offer
The Westpac Low Rate credit card features a long-term balance transfer offer, a first year annual fee waiver and a low variable interest rate on purchases.
- 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months with a one-time 1% BT fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate (19.49% p.a.)
- $0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
- A low variable interest rate of 13.49% p.a. on purchases
- Request an additional cardholder at no extra cost.
- New card applications only. Balance transfer must be requested at card application.
Compare Balance Transfer Credit Cards
Balance transfer credit cards roundup
Compare the features of these balance transfer cards to decide if one is right for you:
|Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer.||An online-only balance transfer credit card offer.|
|HSBC Platinum Credit Card.||A balance transfer credit card offer with a first year annual fee waiver.|
|Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer.||An exclusive to finder.com.au balance transfer offer featuring a discounted first year annual fee.|
What is a balance transfer credit card?
You can use a balance transfer to move your credit card debt onto a new card. When you do this, you'll usually get a 0% interest rate, which can help you save money as you pay off the debt. At the end of the introductory period you'll usually be charged a higher rate if you still have debt from the transfer.
How does a balance transfer work?
Check out this 60-second video to learn how balance transfer credit cards work.
How can I compare credit card balance transfer offers?
There are lots of balance transfer credit card deals available in Australia and each one offers you some potential savings on your debt. To help you find a balance transfer card that suits your needs, here are the key features to include in your comparison:
- Introductory offer. Look at the length of the introductory interest rate period and make sure you can pay off your balance transfer debt before the higher, standard rate kicks in. You can do this by dividing your debt by the number of months in the introductory period. This will show you 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 more common 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. You'll usually pay an annual fee on a balance transfer card, although some cards waive this cost in 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.
- 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.
The following card features are less important when you're paying off a balance transfer debt. But they 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.
What debts can I move to a balance transfer credit card?
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 balance 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 is the balance is transferred to my 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 you're paying 0% p.a. on your balance transfer debt, you will 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 must 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. This is usually charged from the date your account is approved or activated, so make sure you consider the annual fee 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. You'll then see 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 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.
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.
How much money can I save with a balance transfer credit card?
The amount you can save depends on the size of your debt, the length of balance transfer introductory offer and your ability to repay it. In some cases, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars if your clear your debt with an interest-free balance transfer offer.
You can see how much you'll save on interest charges by using the balance transfer comparison tables on this page. Simply enter the amount of debt you want to transfer and the interest rate you're paying on your existing card and click “Calculate”. You’ll then see how much you could save over the promotional period in the “Interest saved” column.
Do I have to contact my old bank and new bank to get a balance transfer?
No, you just need to provide details of the debts you want to transfer when you apply for the new card. Once the new card and balance transfer are approved, your new card issuer will manage the balance transfer process.
But if you want to cancel your old card, you will need to contacting your old bank to arrange it. If you don't close your old account, you could be stuck with annual fees and any other maintenance costs that come with your existing account.
A balance transfer means I can save money, so what's in it for my new credit card issuer?
Credit card issuers make money when you pay interest, so why would they charge 0% when they could charge 20% or more? Here's why:
- You'll eventually revert to a higher rate. If you don't pay off your entire debt during the promotional period, you'll end up collecting interest at the standard rate for your card. This is usually the purchase rate or cash advance rate, which usually ranges between 12% and 21% or more. Once that happens, your new credit card issuer can potentially make hundreds or even thousands of dollars from you through interest charges.
- Persuading you to switch is tough. Australians are reluctant to switch banks and it's often expensive for banks to acquire new customers. Offering a discounted interest rate is one of the cheapest ways for banks to attract potential customers. It's essentially a cheap form of marketing.
- You'll still have to pay interest on new purchases. While you’ll enjoy 0% interest on your balance transfer debt, the standard variable interest rate for purchases will usually apply to any new purchases you make while you're paying off that debt.
Can I get a balance transfer with my existing credit card issuer?
No, you usually can't get a balance transfer while staying with the same institution. You also can't do a balance transfer to other banks within the same group or owned by the same organisation. For instance, you can't transfer from St.George to BankSA and Bank of Melbourne as they're owned by Westpac. Check our complete list of which credit card issuers won't allow transfers between each other to discover which issuers will accept your balance transfer.
Can I get interest-free days on purchases when I have a balance transfer credit card?
Most credit cards offer a set period of interest-free days as a standard feature of the card. You can usually only take advantage of interest-free days when you've paid your balance in full. So, if you're still paying your balance transfer debt, you won't be able to get the interest-free days that usually apply to purchases.
Can I request a balance transfer after submitting my credit card application?
Yes, it is possible to transfer a balance after you've applied for the card. However, the exact terms and conditions of doing this vary between the banks and in some cases you may not get an introductory 0% balance transfer interest rate. Check out our guide on how to conduct a balance transfer after you’ve already submitted your application for more information.
Can I balance transfer a personal loan to a credit card?
While most balance transfer deals are for credit card debt, some credit card issuers will let you transfer debt from a personal loan or store card as well. You can use our guide to learn more and compare credit cards that offer personal loan balance transfers.
Can I transfer my balance to or from my partner/spouse?
This is usually possible if you and your partner/spouse are already using a joint-account credit card. Read our full guide and find out which banks will allow this type of balance transfer. However, you usually can't transfer a debt that is in someone else's name to a new account that is under your name.
Can I transfer a credit card balance from overseas to an Australian account?
No, you can only transfer balances from credit cards issued in Australia.
Can I repay my credit card before the balance transfer period ends?
Yes, you can repay your balance as early as you'd like. In fact, it's wise to clear your debt as fast as possible to avoid the revert rates and any additional interest costs. Unlike a fixed schedule personal loan or home loan, there are no penalties for clearing your credit card debt ahead of time.
How can I find the best* balance transfer credit card?
With so many different balance transfer offers and cards, there is not one single "best" option that works for everyone. But looking at the amount of debt you have, how much you can afford to pay off it each month, as well as card features such as the length of the balance transfer offer, eligible debts and any balance transfer or annual fees can help you find and compare cards that could suit your circumstances.
Does a balance transfer affect your credit rating?
There are a few different factors that could have either a positive or a negative impact on your credit history and credit rating when you apply for a balance transfer credit card. Find out if a balance transfer will affect your credit score.
I was approved for a credit card but my credit limit is less than the balance I want to transfer. What can I do?
There are three main options you can consider if your balance transfer is worth more than the credit limit you're approved for on a new card:
- You can still get a partial balance transfer to the new card, up to the approved amount offered by the new provider. The value of this will depend on your debt and the cards involved.
- If you have not accepted and activated the card, you can can cancel the application when you find out that your full balance transfer won't be approved.
- If you have accepted and activated the card, you can cancel it. Just make sure you do this before the balance transfer is complete.
Check out our guide on partial balance transfer approval for more details about when this could happen and what you can do.