While there are no lifetime balance transfer credit card offers in Australia, there are other long-term debt consolidation options available to you.
Even if you can’t get access to a lifetime balance transfer offer, there are still many reasons to compare balance transfer deals when you want to pay off your credit card debt. If you're looking to repay your balance transfer over an extended period, a long-term balance transfer credit card could be a valuable alternative.
Some balance transfer cards offer low or 0% introductory rates for up to 36 months, which could help you save on interest and pay off your debt faster. Use this guide to learn more about how a long-term balance transfer could help you consolidate your debt burden.
No longer offered in the market
Balance transfer for life credit cards are no longer in the Australian market. This page now compares other long-term debt consolidation alternatives that can help repay your debts.
Compare balance transfer credit cards
While you can no longer apply for a lifetime balance transfer credit card, a balance transfer credit card (especially one with a longer introductory period) can be an effective way to repay your debt. Compare your options to find the right for you.
How you can use a long-term balance transfer instead of a lifetime balance transfer credit card
Balance transfers for life allowed you to shift a debt from a higher interest card to a lower interest card. Rather than having a number of months to pay off this balance at the lower rate – like what happens today, you’d be able to pay your balance off at this rate until it’s paid.
While lifetime balance transfer credit cards are no longer available, long-term balance transfer credit cards are an alternative that can provide you with enough time to repay your debt. At the time of writing, a number of Australian credit card providers offer long-term credit cards with promotional periods of 12, 24 and 36 months.
How to compare long-term balance transfer credit cards
- Balance transfer period. The low or 0% balance transfer offer will only be in place for an allotted period. While long-term balance transfer credit cards provide you with more time to repay your debt, it's important to calculate whether you can repay your entire debt before the end of the promotional period to avoid collecting interest to get the full value of the card.
- Revert rate. The low balance transfer rate will only be in place for the length of the promotional period, so you should confirm what the revert rate is before applying for the card. If you're unable to repay your balance by the time the introductory offer expires, your remaining debt will begin to collect the revert rate. So it's important to understand what you could stand to pay if you fail to repay your debt within that period.
- Fees. You'll want to make sure the savings outweigh the cost of the card, so make sure to compare and rates and fees while comparing cards. Some common costs to look out for include the one-off balance transfer fee (usually 1% or 2% of the balance amount) that might be charged at the time of transfer, annual fees and the interest you'll be paying on purchases. However, if you're dedicated to repaying your balance, you shouldn't be using the card for purchases.
- Extra features. If you're determined to repay your balance by the end of the promotional period, you shouldn't be using the card for more than consolidating your debt. However, if you plan to use the card for emergency purchases or after you've repaid your debt, you might want to consider other features such as interest-free days on purchases, rewards programs or complimentary insurances.
Mistakes to avoid with long-term balance transfer credit cards
- Using the card for purchases. The purpose of a balance transfer credit card is to consolidate your debt, so you might want to consider getting a card with a low interest rate on purchases if you need a card for emergencies. Then you can leave your balance transfer card at home, prevent spending temptations and repay your balance.
- Forgetting your financial situation. Long-term balance transfers can be a good way to repay your balance over a longer period, but they can also provide you with a false sense of security. Don't forget that you'll need to meet minimum repayments (at the very least) each month and it's important to pay these on time to consolidate your debt as fast as possible.
- Procrastinating. Request a balance transfer at the time of application to ensure you can take advantage of the full promotional period. To ensure this process goes smoothly, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and have the required documents on hand before applying.
- Only paying the minimum repayment. You'll be required to pay a minimum repayment, but you'll most likely need to pay more than this to repay your entire balance before the end of the promotional period. Calculate how much you'll need to pay each month to pay off your debt by the end of the introductory offer before applying for the card to ensure it's the right one for you. Creating a budget will also help you keep your repayments in line and will help you achieve your goal faster.
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