How long does a balance transfer take?

The whole balance transfer process can take up to 2 weeks - here's what you can do to speed it up.

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If you're paying interest on credit card debt, a balance transfer can be a useful way to move it to a card that offers 0% p.a. for a promotional period. Applying for a balance transfer is a relatively simple process, but it can take up to a few weeks for process to be complete. Use this guide to find out how long a balance transfer takes with each of Australia's major banks and how you can plan your repayments accordingly.

How long does the balance transfer application process take?

It takes around 10 – 15 minutes to apply for a new balance transfer credit card online and you can expect a response almost immediately. Once your application has been approved, you usually need to activate the new card to begin the balance transfer process. It may then take another one or two weeks for the balance transfer to be added to your new account.

As the processing times can vary between banks, we've summarised how Australian card issuers manage balance transfers and the processing times you can expect below.

How long will it take for my new bank to process my balance transfer?

InstitutionNumber of days to processBalance transfer notes and guides
American ExpressNormally within 10 business daysOnce approved, American Express balance transfers are normally completed within 10 working days. During this time, you'll need to continue making any payments that are due on your existing accounts.
Bank of MelbourneUp to 14 daysIf you apply for a Bank of Melbourne card and are approved, it can take up to a week for your balance transfer to go through. Once it's complete, it's your responsibility to contact your old bank to close your account. If you don't, then you'll continue to be charged any account maintenance fees (like annual fees) that come with your card.
BankSAUp to 14 daysIf you apply as a new BankSA customer, the balance transfer request will only be processed after you have completed an identification check and activated the card.
Bendigo BankVariesOnce your application is approved, Bendigo Bank staff will contact you to request the details needed for the balance transfer. Once they have them, the balance transfer will be processed. Depending on your existing provider's processes, it could take up to 48 hours for the balance to be moved once Bendigo Bank has paid out your old card.
CitiUp to 10 business daysBalance Transfers can take up to 10 business days to process. Within that period, you need to continue making payments until there is no outstanding balance on your existing accounts.
ColesUp to 10 daysAs Coles credit cards are issued by Citigroup, you won't be able to transfer balances from other Citigroup accounts. This includes cards from Citi, Suncorp Bank, IMB, Qantas Money and Virgin Money.
CommBankGenerally up to 5 business daysThe balance transfer processing time may vary depending how long it takes the other bank to organise it from their end.
HSBCUp to 7 business daysWith HSBC, the balance transfer process is started once your application is approved. However, you should still allow around 7 working days for the balance to be added to your new account. During this time, you'll still need to make any payments that are due on your existing accounts.
Macquarie BankUp to 5 daysNote that balance transfers are not allowed from any account issued by Macquarie Bank. This includes other Macquarie or Card Services accounts.
NAB5 to 10 business daysNAB will begin the balance transfer process around five days after your card is approved, even if you have not yet used the card. When this happens and the balance transfer is processed, NAB will consider it as your agreement to the card's terms and conditions.
VirginUp to 10 business daysMost Virgin Money balance transfers are processed within 10 working days from when you activate your card, although you should allow more time if Virgin Money sends a cheque to your old provider. So make sure you check the balance of your old and new accounts to see when the transfer is completed – and remember to make any required payments during this time.
WestpacUp to 10 daysWith Westpac, you typically request the balance transfer during the application process. Once you activate the card, any approved balance transfers will occur.

If you've applied and been approved for a balance transfer and it's taken longer than two weeks to appear in your account, you can contact your new bank to find out when the balance will show up in your new account. Once the balance is transferred to your card, you can start making repayments to pay it off before the promotional period ends.

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Tips to speed up the balance transfer process

Being organised is the key to avoiding any speed bumps during the balance transfer process. Know what details the bank needs and ensure that your accounts are in order so your balance transfer can be completed as quickly as possible. Use the following steps as a guide:

  1. Do your research. Every bank and credit card has different interest rates, one-off fees, balance transfer limits and introductory offer time periods. Compare your options to discover which one works for your situation.
  2. Meet the eligibility requirements. You need to meet eligibility requirements such as minimum income and good credit history to be approved for a balance transfer. Make sure you meet these conditions before applying. There are also some providers that only accept balance transfers from certain institutions. Check which banks you’re eligible to transfer your balance from.
  3. Collect the information you need to apply. Each credit card provider has a different application process and will ask you for specific information and documents. To avoid stalling the application process, research what you will need and prepare the relevant paperwork before applying.
    Some commonly required information includes:

      • Existing account name and type
      • Card/account number
      • Balance transfer amount
      • Issuing bank’s name
      • Biller code and reference number
  4. Have your accounts in order. Having large debts or cash advances owing on your credit cards won’t look good to the bank. Ensure your accounts are all in order to increase your chances of approval and show that you have been making repayments regularly and managing your debts well.

Balance transfers to a new credit card can help you consolidate debts, save on interest charges and pay down debt faster. While applying for a balance transfer is simple, remember to compare your options and organise the necessary information beforehand to speed up the application process and improve your chances of approval.

Compare balance transfer credit cards

$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate Purchase rate Annual fee Amount saved
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 36 months
19.99% p.a.
$29 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 30 months
20.99% p.a.
$0
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
St.George Vertigo Card
0% p.a. for 32 months
13.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 32 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Citi Clear Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 36 months
14.99% p.a.
$99
Offers 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 36 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, complimentary insurance covers.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 28 months
20.74% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months (with no BT fee). Plus, $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 31 January 2022.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 15 months
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 32 months
12.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 32 months (with no BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% p.a. for 34 months with 2% balance transfer fee
14.99% p.a.
$0
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 34 months (with a 2% BT fee), ​an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees.
Citi Rewards Card - Purchase and Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 14 months
0% p.a. for 14 months, reverts to 21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, $49 first-year annual fee.
ANZ Low Rate
0% p.a. for 30 months
12.49% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Now eligible for Cashrewards Max. Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months (with no BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Westpac Low Rate Card
0% p.a. for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee
13.74% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $0 annual fee for the first year, plus, a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months.
Citi Clear Card - Cashback Offer
0% p.a. for 15 months
14.99% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get $250 cashback when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, free wine when you dine and purchase insurance cover.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months, reverts to 11.99% p.a.
$45
Save on interest costs with 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 18 months (reverts to 11.99% p.a.). Plus, a $45 annual fee.
BankSA Vertigo
0% p.a. for 32 months
13.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Offers 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers (with no balance transfer fee). Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
Citi Premier Card - Cashback Offer
0% p.a. for 6 months
21.49% p.a.
$150 annual fee for the first year ($300 p.a. thereafter)
Receive $600 cashback when you spend $4,000 through Apple Pay or Samsung Pay in the first 90 days. Plus, save with a $150 first-year annual fee discount.
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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DanApril 23, 2013

    How long does a balance transfer take once the card is activated?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JacobApril 23, 2013Staff

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for the question. Typically, it takes two days. Please check the frequently asked questions section on balance transfers for information on this topic.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jacob.

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