Applying for a balance transfer? Discover how long it can take and learn how to speed up the process here.
A balance transfer allows customers to move their outstanding credit card balance to a new credit card with a promotional rate of interest that is sometimes as low as 0% p.a. for the first year. While there are some instances where you might not be able to do a balance transfer between cards, this option can be very useful for consolidating debt at a lower interest rate. But how long does this process take? Use this guide to find out exactly how long it’ll take to complete a balance transfer and plan your repayments accordingly.
How long does it take for the bank to process my balance transfer application?
Processing times vary from bank to bank. To help you compare the balance transfer application process, we’ve summarised how Australian banks manage balance transfers and the processing times you can expect.
Processing time for popular Australian banks
|Bank||Approx. Days to Process||More on their balance transfer process|
|American Express||Up to 13 business days||American Express credit card balance transfer guide|
|ANZ||Up to 15 business days||ANZ credit card balance transfer guide|
|Bankwest||Up to 5 business days||Bankwest credit card balance transfer guide|
|Citibank||Up to 10 business days||Citibank credit card balance transfer guide|
|CommBank||Up to 10 business days||Commonwealth Bank credit card balance transfer guide|
|HSBC||Up to 10 business days||HSBC credit card balance transfer guide|
|NAB||Up to 10 business days||NAB credit card balance transfer guide|
|St.George||Up to 14 days||St. George Bank credit card balance transfer guide|
|Virgin||Up to 10 business days||Virgin Money credit card balance transfer guide|
|Westpac||Up to 7 days||Westpac credit card balance transfer guide|
What is the balance transfer process for each bank?
American Express offers a useful way for new customers to manage debt at 0% p.a. interest during the introductory period. When applying for your new credit card, you can opt to balance transfer the lesser of $10,000 or 70% of your credit limit from a non-American Express card to your new American Express account. A one-time 1% credit plan establishment fee applies, among other conditions.
Your balance transfer approval process commences 72 hours after your credit card application is approved. If it is approved, your balance transfer will be completed within 10 working days.
If you’re a new ANZ customer, make sure to complete the balance transfer section of your credit card application form. You will be asked to provide details about your existing account, including the issuer’s name, card type, account number, BPAY biller code and the amount you’re transferring, so make sure to have these handy. If your application is approved, a new ANZ credit card will be sent to you for activation. Once the card has been activated, you may receive a phone call to verify the details of your balance transfer.
If you are an existing ANZ cardholder, you can request a balance transfer from a non-ANZ credit card by calling 1800 007 511 (8am-8pm, Mon to Fri), or by completing and mailing in a balance transfer application form. Once approved, the balance transfer can take between three to 15 business days to process, depending on which bank you are transferring a balance from.
Bankwest allows balance transfers from non-Bankwest credit cards at amounts from $500 up to 95% of your current credit card limit. Existing customers can request a balance transfer by visiting a Bankwest branch in person, or by completing and mailing in a Balance transfer request form. New customers should fill in the optional section of their credit card application form that offers to ‘transfer balances from your existing credit card(s)’. Your balance transfer request will only be processed after you have received your new credit card and activated it. The balance transfer process can take up to five working days.
Existing Citibank cardholders can apply for a balance transfer by calling 13 24 84 or by signing into online banking and going to ‘My offers’. New customers can request a balance transfer from another financial institution when applying for a new Citi credit card. Citibank allows balance transfer amounts from $500 up to 80% of your available Citi credit card limit. The balance transfer can take up to 10 business days to process, and you should allow additional time for cheques to be received at the other financial institution.
Existing cardholders can request a balance transfer online by logging into Netbank. Hover over “More”, select “Manage accounts” and then “Manage my accounts” to reveal the “transfer a credit card balance” option. Follow the prompts to complete the balance transfer process. Alternatively you can download and complete a paper to be mailed in, or call 13 22 21 anytime.
New customers can request a balance transfer when applying for a new Commonwealth Bank credit card. Once your application is approved, it can take up to 10 business days for the card to be delivered. If you didn’t have the option to apply for a balance transfer during the application, you can do so once your card is activated by visiting your local branch or calling 132 221. The balance transfer process takes between 5-10 days.
Existing cardholders can make a balance transfer online by logging into Online Banking and selecting "Balance transfers" from the left-hand menu when viewing your credit card details. New customers can request a balance transfer while applying for their new HSBC credit card. If your application is approved, someone from the HSBC applications team will call to let you know how much of your balance transfer amount has been approved for the new card. The balance transfer process itself will take 5-10 working days.
Existing cardholders can request a balance transfer by contacting NAB. Call the number on the back of your credit card or call 13 22 65 (8am-7pm, Mon-Fri; 9am-6pm, Sat-Sun AEST). New customers can request a balance transfer when applying for a new credit card. Once your application is approved, it will take five to seven days for your credit card to be processed. The balance transfer process itself will take up to 10 business days.
Existing cardholders can transfer up to two balances from a non-St. George account if you meet the minimum requirements for balance transfers. Simply call 13 33 30 or complete and mail in the balance transfer request form. You can also request a balance transfer through Internet Banking by logging in, selecting ‘Transfer & payments’, and then selecting ‘Pay out a credit card held with another bank.’
New customers can request a balance transfer when applying for a credit card. The balance transfer will only be processed after your card has been activated and your identification check, if required, has been completed at a St. George branch. The balance transfer can take approximately 14 days to be processed.
Existing customers can discuss and request a balance transfer by calling 13 37 19. New customers can request a balance transfer when applying for a credit card. If you don’t include a balance transfer request on your application, you can still get a balance transfer at the special offer rate within 30 days of having your card approved. Call 13 37 39 if that’s the case. Balance transfers start from $500 and can go up to 80% of your maximum available credit limit on the day the transfer is completed. The balance transfer itself can take up to 10 working days.
Westpac allows balance transfers of $200 up to 95% of your available Westpac credit card limit on the day the balance transfer is processed. Existing cardholders can apply for a balance transfer by downloading, completing and sending in the balance transfer form. This request will take a minimum of 10 working days to be processed.
New customers can request balance transfers when applying for a new Westpac credit card. Once your application is approved, it can take up to six days for the card to arrive and an extra two days for the balance transfer to be finalised.Back to top
How to ensure a quicker process for your application
Four tips for speeding up the 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:
- 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.
- 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 banks that only accept balance transfers from certain institutions. Check which banks you’re eligible to transfer your balance from.
- Collect the required information. Each bank has a different application process and will require you to provide 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 the existing account name and type, card/account number, balance transfer amount, issuing bank’s name, biller code and reference number.
- 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.
Things to be cautious of when using the balance transfer option
- Interest free or low interest period. If you are doing a balance transfer at a special rate, make sure you know when the promotional period ends, and how much interest you will be charged after that time. Be sure to set reminders for when your promotional period will end, and aim to pay down your balance before then to avoid a high interest rate that could lead to further debt.
- Card purchase interest free days. Depending on your card and card provider, you may only be entitled to interest free days on purchases after you’ve paid off your balance in full every month, including any balance transfers. This means that you should avoid making purchases on your credit card until you’ve paid off the full balance. Otherwise, you could be charged interest from the day you make a purchase, so check with your card provider to find out if you’re entitled to interest free days after your balance transfer.
Balance transfers to a new credit card can minimise your interest fees and get your savings back on track. Applying for a balance transfer is simple, but you should do your research, know your requirements, compare your options and organise the necessary information for speeding up the application process and increasing your chances of approval.