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How long does a balance transfer take?

Find out how long it takes to get a credit card balance transfer and what you can do to speed up the process here.

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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 daysBankSA balance transfer guide
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 days

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 transfer information, tips and comparison

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

Updated April 2nd, 2020
$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount saved
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 22 months
19.99% p.a.
$129 p.a.
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn flybuys points for your spending and save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
ANZ Low Rate
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
12.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 22 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard
0% p.a. for 6 months
12.99% p.a.
$58 p.a.
Save with a low purchase interest rate, earn flybuys points as you spend and get up to 55 days interest-free.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
11.99% p.a.
$45 p.a.
A no-frills credit card with a competitive annual fee and 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 18 months.
ANZ First
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
20.24% p.a.
$30 p.a.
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
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2 Responses

  1. 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. Watch this video for information on this topic. Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Updated April 2nd, 2020
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Earn flybuys points for your spending and save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations. Ends 14 Apr 2020.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$45 p.a.
A no-frills credit card with a competitive annual fee and 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 18 months.
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* 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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