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Can you do a balance transfer to someone else’s credit card?

Usually, a balance transfer needs to be from an account in your name but there are exceptions. Here's what you need to know.

Only a few balance transfer credit cards accept debt that's in another person's name or from a joint account – even if it's your partner. It's usually simpler if you and your partner already share a joint-account credit card, but it may also be possible in other circumstances. So, let's take a look at your options.

Different ways to balance transfer someone's credit card debt

If you want to transfer your partner or someone else's balance to a credit card that's held in your name, there are two main options you can consider.

  • Transferring a debt between two people’s names

    With this option, you would transfer the debt from your partner’s credit card to your own credit card (or a new balance transfer card that you have applied for). Their name would be removed from the debt once the balance transfer is processed, which means you would become the person legally responsible for the debt.

    single to single account transfer image

    Keep in mind that not all providers allow this type of transfer, so make sure you check before requesting the balance transfer.

  • Getting a joint account for the debt

    Joint account credit cards are rare in Australia but if you can get one, you and your partner would share legal responsibility for the credit card account and any balance that you transfer onto it.

    singles to joint account transfer image

    If you apply for a balance transfer with a credit card provider that offers joint accounts, both you and your partner will need to provide your details when you apply.

    Depending on the provider, you may also be able to add your partner as a joint account holder after you have applied for the card. The option of transferring debt from one person's account to a joint account varies depending on the provider, so it's a good idea to call them before you apply for a joint credit card.

Steps to transfer a balance to another person's credit card

  1. Compare credit cards. Compare balance transfer credit cards to find one that offers competitive interest rate and promotional period.
  2. Check the balance transfer terms and conditions. Make sure the credit card allows balance transfers between different account names. For cards not listed on this page, you can check the product disclosure statement or call the provider for more information.
  3. Apply for the credit card. You will need to provide details including your full name, address, driver's licence or passport number and employment.
  4. Include details of the balance transfer. You will need to provide details of the account including the name and details of the primary account holder (e.g. your partner), the account number, the financial institution’s name, the BSB (where relevant) and the amount of debt to be transferred to the new card.
  5. Include details of any secondary cardholders. If the issuer requires your partner to be a secondary cardholder in order to process their balance transfer, make sure your partner fills out the relevant sections of the application.
  6. Submit the application. You should get an initial response within a few minutes. If you get conditional approval, follow the steps outlined by the issuer to complete the application process and finalise the balance transfer.

Once this process is successfully completed, you should receive your new credit card within 5-10 working days, although it could take up to 21 days in some cases. After you activate the new card, the issuer will process the balance transfer.

Make sure you stay in touch with the new issuer and be ready to answer any questions or provide supporting documentation as requested to help the transfer go as smoothly as possible.

How to apply for a joint balance transfer credit card with your partner

  • To transfer a balance from an existing joint account
    Apply for the credit card as usual and include details of the balance transfer request, including all the names of the joint account holders, as well as the account number, financial institution and the amount of debt you want to transfer. You can go through this process with an individual credit card in your name, or apply for a credit card that offers joint account status for you and your partner.

joint to joint account transfer image

  • To transfer a balance from your partner’s account to a new joint credit card account
    Find a credit card issuer that allows "joint primary cardholders" and compare their balance transfer offers. Depending on the issuer you will either be able to apply and get joint account status immediately or apply as an individual and then have your partner request and fill out an additional application to be added as a joint primary cardholder.

Risks of taking on someone else's credit card debt

If you're transferring a credit card debt to someone else – or they're taking on your debt – it means you're also legally changing who is responsible for it. But the agreement between both of you usually won't be based on a written contract, and can have other impacts.

So before going ahead with a balance transfer from one person to another, make sure you think about the following.

  • Your credit history and credit score

If you transfer debt from someone else to an account in your name, it will be added to your credit report and have an impact on your credit score.

  • Your future borrowing power

Taking on more debt can also have an impact on how much you can borrow in the future. For example, if you decide you want a new car or are saving up to buy a home, lenders will look at all your current accounts. Any debt – regardless of where it came from – can impact your ability to borrow the money you need for your goals.

  • Your relationship with the person

Having someone take on another person's debt could have an impact on the dynamics of a relationship. In some cases, it may feel like you owe them or they owe you.

The National Debt Helpline states that you should carefully think about how you'll manage a relationship "where there's a constant awareness that you're in debt to that person. Many relationships have ended over the issue of money."

If you want more information on relationship issues and debt, you can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or visit the website and speak to a financial counsellor for free.

Mistakes to avoid when transferring a balance from someone else’s card

  • Applying for a card that doesn’t allow balance transfers from someone else’s account. Not all credit cards let you transfer another person’s credit card debt to a new card in your name. Make sure you check these details before you apply to avoid a declined application.
  • Not discussing payments. If you're sharing a balance transfer credit card account (whether it's a joint account or otherwise), it’s important to be clear on how and when you and the other person will make payments towards the balance of the credit card. Discuss this before you apply for a new card or balance transfer to help reduce the risk of confusion and other issues down the track.
  • Not checking the revert rate. The low balance transfer interest rate is only available during the introductory period on the card. When this period ends, any outstanding debt from a balance transfer will attract a higher standard interest rate until it is paid off in full.
  • Balance transfer fees. You might have to pay a balance transfer fee when the debt is moved onto the new card, which could add to the overall costs involved. Weigh up the card fees with your partner to decide if this option is worth it for both of you.

Finder survey: Do Australians of different ages know what a balance transfer is?

ResponseGen ZGen YGen XBaby Boomers
No56.18%39.95%32.24%32.67%
Yes43.82%60.05%67.76%67.33%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1113 Australians, December 2023

Current balance transfer credit card offers

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Name Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee Balance transfer rate p.a. Amount Saved
St.George Vertigo Card
Purchase rate p.a.
13.99%
Annual fee
$55
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$1,780.59 over 28 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months (with a 1% balance transfer fee).
Kogan Money Card – Exclusive Offer
Exclusive
Kogan Rewards Program
Purchase rate p.a.
20.99%
Annual fee
$0
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
$1,335.99 over 18 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months with a 1% balance transfer fee. Plus an ongoing $0 annual fee.
Citi Clear Card - Exclusive Offer
Exclusive
Purchase rate p.a.
14.99%
Annual fee
$49 first year ($99 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee, then 22.24%
$1,563.89 over 24 months
Go to siteMore Info
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with 1.5% balance transfer fee) and a $49 first-year annual fee.
Westpac Low Rate Card
Purchase rate p.a.
13.74%
Annual fee
$59
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$1,768.59 over 28 months
Go to siteMore Info
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, a low 13.74% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Qantas Premier Platinum
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Purchase rate p.a.
19.99%
Annual fee
$349 first year ($399 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 12 months, then 21.99%
$578.32 over 12 months
Go to siteMore Info
Earn up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points. Plus, save with a reduced first-year annual fee and 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers. Ends on 01 May 2024.
St.George Amplify Signature
Amplify Rewards
Purchase rate p.a.
19.49%
Annual fee
$199 first year ($295 after)
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$1,217.89 over 24 months
Go to siteMore Info
150,000 bonus Amplify Points (worth $675 in gift cards) when you spend $12,000 in the first 12 months. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer
Purchase rate p.a.
13.99%
Annual fee
$55
Balance transfer rate p.a.
6.99% for 12 months, then 21.49%
$562.66 over 12 months
Go to siteMore Info
Get up to $400 cashback at eligible supermarkets and petrol stations in the first 180 days. Plus, a low interest rate for purchases.
Citi Premier Card - Cashback Offer
Citi Rewards Program
Purchase rate p.a.
21.49%
Annual fee
$300
Balance transfer rate p.a.
0% for 6 months, then 22.24%
$183.02 over 6 months
More Info
Receive $600 cashback when you spend $2,000 through Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay in the first 3 months.
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Other ways to help pay off someone else's credit card debt

  • Debt consolidation personal loans

A debt consolidation personal loan gives you a way to pay off existing balances for yourself or anyone else. With this option, you could apply for a personal loan in your name and request an amount that covers the existing debts. You'd then repay the personal loan, which could have a lower interest rate than the original credit card.

  • Guarantor personal loans

If your partner is worried they won't get approved for a new credit card or loan, you could act as a guarantor for their personal loan application. With a guarantor personal loan, you become responsible for the loan if the person who applies doesn't make repayments.

  • Help pay off the existing account

If you want to help clear the existing credit card debt, you could make additional repayments to their credit card account from your own bank account (or a shared account), using one of the payment options listed on their statement. You can also use a repayment calculator to see how quickly you could clear the debt based on repayments and interest costs.

While you're usually not legally responsible for someone else's credit card debt, it can be stressful for loved ones. If you, your partner or anyone else is feeling overwhelmed, you can get free financial counselling by calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

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34 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    PaulAugust 18, 2016

    Hi, Just after a little clarification.

    My partner currently has a Westpac CC and I wish to transfer this to my name possibly to a new ANZ account. Some the information above (Jacob’s video) and in the tables contradicts each other.
    Jacob states that Westpac do not allow a CC debt to be transferred to another card but putting Westpac as the provider into your above table displays several options for doing this.

    Are you able to confirm which is correct?

      AvatarFinder
      DeeAugust 18, 2016Finder

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment.

      In the video, it was mentioned that ANZ along with other banks (as also listed in the table above) let you transfer a balance from another credit card in another person’s name to a credit card in your own name.

      Jacob also mentioned that Bank of Melbourne lets you do this as well. “However, the credit card you’re transferring from cannot be in the Westpac Group. That’s Westpac and St. George.” This was also clearly reflected in our table.

      So if you are transferring your partner’s Westpac credit card balance to a new ANZ credit card in your name, you can do so.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    KevenFebruary 24, 2016

    My wife and have separated and we have a joint credit card account. I would like to transfer the outstanding balance to take advantage of 0% balance transfers. With the financial settlement I am responsible for all debt on credit cards. Can I apply for a balance transfer for the full amount owing on the credit card in joint names

      AvatarFinder
      JonathanFebruary 25, 2016Finder

      Hi Keven, thanks for your inquiry!

      You can transfer from a joint-account to a single cardholder account. It is important to note that certain joint-accounts require both signatories in order to close the account.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    rocketcatJanuary 29, 2016

    I have a joint Citibank credit card with my wife. Can I balance transfer that to a St George credit card if the new card is only under my own name?

      AvatarFinder
      JonathanFebruary 1, 2016Finder

      Hi Rocketcat,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      Joint-account balance transfers must be completed to another joint account. As a result, you will have to apply for a joint account with St.George to complete this process. You can see a full list of banks which allow joint-accounts and a comparison of balance transfer credit cards to explore your options.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    SamSeptember 25, 2015

    Hi
    I have NAB credit card and I want to transfer balance to my friend’s CC (Westpac) as I owe him money.
    Is this possible?

      AvatarFinder
      SallySeptember 28, 2015Finder

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your question.

      Just to confirm, a balance transfer refers to the process in which a cardholder transfers an existing debt to a new card at a promotional interest rate. By doing so, they can then repay their debt quicker and at a lower interest rate.

      Also, you can generally only transfer balances that will be under the same name as the existing account.

      You may need to consider using your debit card to directly transfer funds to your friend to repay the debt.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Sally

    Default Gravatar
    MarkJuly 14, 2015

    Hi

    So I want to do a balance transfer from someone else’s name into my name. I was wondering what kind of authority do they need to provide for me to do this?

    I am the additional card holder on the account however I don’t think this will be sufficient to authorize a balance transfer without their approval. A representative of heritage said that it would have to be coming from a joint account for me to do this and on the table the Virgin card says I need to just be an additional card holder of the account that the debt is being transferred from.

    Please help!

    Thanks !

      AvatarFinder
      SallyJuly 16, 2015Finder

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your question.

      Heritage Bank lets you transfer a balance from another credit card in another person’s name to a credit card in your own name, taking advantage of that low promotional balance transfer rate of interest while Virgin lets you do this if the primary cardholder on the credit card that you’re transferring from is a signatory on the credit card that you are transferring to. A signatory is basically just a fancy word for additional cardholder.

      For more information, you can check our guide to joint balance transfers It is helpful to make sure that you are aware of the product disclosure statement and terms and conditions to ensure that you got everything covered before you apply.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,
      Sally

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