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Guide to lifetime balance transfer credit cards

While you'll be hard-pressed to find a lifetime balance transfer credit card in Australia today, there are other long-term debt consolidation options available to you.

If we rewind to 2010 or earlier, one could find balance transfer for life offers at banks such as Citibank, Suncorp and Bank of Queensland. They allowed you to transfer your balance over and pay a lower rate of interest on it until you paid it off. Today, these deals have largely gone the way of the dinosaur.

Even if you can’t get access to a lifetime balance transfer offer, there are still many reasons to compare balance transfer deals if you’re trying to pay off some 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 your next best bet. Some card providers offer deals which last as long as 24 months. If you repay your balance within the promotional period, you could stand to repay your debt faster without the cost of high interest.

Continue on to discover how a long-term balance transfer could help you consolidate your debt burden.

Compare long-term balance transfer credit cards here

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.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards Comparison

While you can no longer apply for a long-term balance transfer credit card, a balance transfer credit card (especially one with a longer promotional period) can be an effective way to repay your debt. Compare your options to find the right for you.

Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Offers 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 18 months to help you manage your existing credit card balance. Earn bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months, offer ends 16 January 2017.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 3% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months. Also, enjoy an annual fee waiver in the first year.
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 12 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
No annual fee credit card with $100 cashback and a long term balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee.
18.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Fee Card
Enjoy a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 3% balance transfer fee $30 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and an introductory purchase offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months with an annual fee waiver for the first year.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac Low Rate Card
A no frills credit card with an introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 16 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 16 months $59 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
A low rate card from Bank of Melbourne with a long term balance transfer offer 0% for 18 months and a short term introductory rate on purchases.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Australian Military Bank Low Rate Visa Credit Card
Enjoy a low interest rate of 10.99% p.a. on purchases, combined with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 12 months and a low annual fee.
10.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months $49 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Credit Card - Platinum Card
Take advantage of the introductory long term balance transfer offer and reduced annual fee in the first year.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee $199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a low balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. interest for 18 months and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases combined with complimentary insurance covers.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Essential Credit Card
Receive a $50 credit on eligible spend and get Smartphone screen insurance combined with a no annual fee for life card. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
14.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Visa
A low interest rate card with a low annual fee, a long term balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and an introductory offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
Enjoy 0% balance transfer rate for 18 months and 1% purchase rate for 12 months if you apply and are approved by 4 January 2017.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Simplicity Card
Take advantage of the 0% p.a. for 9 months offer on balance transfers, a low interest rate on purchases, an annual fee waiver for life, plus 5% cashback on retail purchases.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info

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, 18 and 24 months.

How can I save on interest and repay my debt faster with a long-term balance transfer credit card?

TitleTracy has a balance of $10,000 on her credit card and is paying an interest rate of 20% p.a. She’s making minimum repayments of 2.5% each month, meaning at this rate it’ll take her almost 30 years to pay off, and cost her close to $30,000. Tracy wants to get rid of her debt for good, but she’s getting married, and so wants to put her extra cash away towards her honeymoon for six months before she starts paying her balance off. She’s been scouring the net for a lifetime balance transfer deal with no luck.

If Tracy instead applied for a long-term balance transfer deal of 2.5% p.a. for 15 months on a card which reverted to an interest rate around the 13% p.a. mark, she’d be able to pay the minimum monthly payment for the first six months and still have nine months left over to get down to debt-paying business.

At the end of six months of paying a minimum repayment of 2.5%, she’d be down to a balance of $8,701, and would have paid $116 in interest. The minimum monthly repayment would be hovering around the $220 – 250 mark.

If she then bumped her repayments up to $500 a month once her wedding and honeymoon was over, she’d pay off the debt in 1 year and 7 months, pay approximately $400 in interest and fees (depending on the annual fee of the card).

As seen from this example, even without a lifetime balance transfer offer, Tracy could work on paying off her debt in a much shorter time and save herself thousands in interest and fees.

How a balance transfer works

  1. Apply for a balance transfer. If you want to take advantage of a promotional balance transfer offer, it's best to submit your balance transfer form while you're applying for the card. The promotional period runs from the time your card is approved, so applying for the balance transfer a few months in will mean you have less time to take advantage of the lower interest rate.
  2. You pay as much as you can every month. You'll be required to meet a minimum repayment each month, but this won't guarantee that you'll repay your balance by the time the introductory offer ends and the higher revert rate kicks in. Calculate how much you'll need to repay each month to pay off the entire balance by the end of the promotional period to avoid collecting any interest costs while consolidating your debt.
  3. Watch the balance reduce month by month. This is the ideal scenario and it’s perfectly achievable if you approach your card with the right attitude.

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.
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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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Frequently asked questions

Where can I find out more about balance transfers?

Please see our credit card balance transfer page for more information.

Where can I find the *best credit card deals?

Creditcardfinder.com.au provides exclusive offers for Australian consumers. These are only available through our site and not through the banks.

Where can I find low rate credit cards?

You may want to have a look at our 0% purchase credit cards.

This guide is about balance transfer for life credit cards which are no longer available for application from Australian banks. Please take this in to account when reading this information. For the most comprehensive balance transfer guide please see our balance transfer comparison page
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American Express Essential Credit Card
American Express Essential Credit Card

Interest rate

14.99

Annual fee

0
ME Bank frank Credit Card
ME Bank frank Credit Card

Interest rate

11.99

Annual fee

0
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

149

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11 Responses to Guide to lifetime balance transfer credit cards

  1. Default Gravatar
    HT | July 27, 2013

    I would like to know how a 0% balance transfer works? My Visa card with Westpac has a $28,000 balance and my CBA card has a $18,000 balance. Every month the repayments get sucked up by the interest. What is the best solution?

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 29, 2013

      Hi HT. Thanks for your question. A balance transfer is an extremely popular option for reducing your credit card interest charges. When you carry out a balance transfer, the new bank you apply for a card with will ‘buy’ your credit card balance off your old bank. They then give the cardholder a promotional interest rate and term in which they can pay down the balance of the card, say 0% for 6 months. Because the new bank is taking ownership of your credit card debt and buying it from your old bank, you can’t transfer a balance between two cards that are owned by the same institution.

      If you’re looking to consolidate both balances to the one card, your approved credit limit on your new card must be greater than the amount you wish to transfer as most lenders will only allow you to use a certain percentage of your credit limit towards a balance transfer. You can find out more about maximum balance transfer amounts on this page.

      There are currently a number of credit cards with a balance transfer promotion, you can compare balance transfer credit cards on this page.

      For basic information on balance transfers, please watch this video.

      I hope this helps.

      Jacob.

  2. Default Gravatar
    John | July 12, 2013

    Just have a scenario and wondering if you can do it.

    I have a credit card (eg CBA card) with a limit of say $30k with a Nil balance.

    I apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card (eg ANZ) and request to balance transfer $30k from my CBA credit card at 0% for say 9 months.

    I then have a $30k credit balance on my CBA credit Card with $30k transfered to the new ANZ card at 0%.

    In the meantime, I withdraw the $30k in credit funds from my CBA credit card and place it in a term deposit earning say 4% for 9 months.

    At the end of 9 months, I use the $30k in the term deposit to pay back the ANZ credit card (0% interest).

    I end up with 4% credit interest on the $30 over 9 months. No risk, no costs!

    What do you think?

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 13, 2013

      Hi John. This is not how a balance transfer was intended to be used. Thanks for your question. Jacob.

  3. Default Gravatar
    Kerri | May 16, 2013

    What is the best credit card transfer offer for me at this time. I currently need to transfer 48,000. I have existing money which is tied up and I can not access at this time. The balance tranfer would not be something that would be endless for me. Just until I can access my money. Maybe an offer which is maybe 12 months. Thanks.

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 16, 2013

      Hi Kerri. Thanks for your question. One of the main considerations when choosing a balance transfer credit card is the time it will take you to pay off the debt, as this will dictate the length of the promotional offer to go for. Compare balance transfer offers here. Another thing to consider. The amount you wish to transfer will depend on the provider you choose to go for. Check this page for maximum balance transfer limits. Some lenders will allow you to transfer a percentage of your approved credit limit, while others will let you transfer all of it. Let me know if you need more information. Jacob.

  4. Default Gravatar
    Sarah | May 14, 2013

    I lost my job last year and had some difficulty making repayments on one of my credit cards. I now have a high balance on the other that I want to pay off. Which cards or institutions will consider a card to someone with a blemished record? I have a late payment listing with one credit provider. Thanks, Sarah

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 15, 2013

      Hi Sarah. Thanks for your question – it’s a difficult one to answer as no one credit card providing institution is more or less lax in their approach to providing credit to people with a credit misadventure in the past when compared to another. Order a copy of your credit file so you can see exactly what the lender can see when you go to apply for a card, if you have a default or missed payment, try to rectify it and get the mark removed from your file (this may or may not be possible), and if all else fails, go speak to a lender directly (if you have an existing relationship with a lender it would be a good idea to speak to them). They may say, ‘here’s a personal loan, show us you can pay this back and we’ll consider you for a credit card.’ Because credit cards require that you have a good credit, there’s a difficult product to get if you have had a credit misadventure in the past. Jacob.

  5. Default Gravatar
    mark | April 30, 2013

    I have been reading that there is more chance of being rejected on “lifetime transfer” applications.
    I have a 3 thou debt spread over three cards, that I want to consolidate, I own over half of the value of my home without a further debts to my name.
    Should I consider a lifetime or 12 month card

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 30, 2013

      Hi Mark. Thanks for your question. These cards are no longer available. If you’re looking to consolidate multiple credit card debts there are a number of options available to you.
      - You can compare balance transfer offers here.
      - this video will explain the basics of a balance transfer,
      - this video will explain what you need to do after you carry out a balance transfer,
      - this page lists balance transfer revert rates – when the promotional period finishes, the balance will revert to the cash advance rate or the purchase rate depending on the provider, and it also lists the maximum balance transfer amount for each provider.
      Let me know if you need more information on balance transfers and how I can help you with this.
      Please subscribe to our youtube channel to stay up to date with the latest from the Finder crew.
      Jacob.

  6. Default Gravatar
    Sam | April 9, 2013

    Are there penalties for paying off the loan early or more than the minimum monthly repayments per month on credit card roll overs/transfers.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 3% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points on eligible spend within 3 months. Enjoy access to premium benefits and complimentary insurance.
19.99% p.a. $199 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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