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?
|Institution||Number of days to process||Balance transfer notes and guides|
|American Express||Normally within 10 business days||Once 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 Melbourne||Up to 14 days||If 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.|
|BankSA||Up to 14 days||If 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 Bank||Varies||Once 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.|
|Citi||Up to 10 business days||Balance 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.|
|Coles||Up to 10 days||As 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.|
|CommBank||Generally up to 5 business days||The balance transfer processing time may vary depending how long it takes the other bank to organise it from their end.|
|HSBC||Up to 7 business days||With 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 Bank||Up to 5 days||Note that balance transfers are not allowed from any account issued by Macquarie Bank. This includes other Macquarie or Card Services accounts.|
|NAB||5 to 10 business days||NAB 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.|
|Virgin||Up to 10 business days||Most 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.|
|Westpac||Up to 10 days||With 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.Back to top
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:
- 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 providers that only accept balance transfers from certain institutions. Check which banks you’re eligible to transfer your balance from.
- 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
- 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
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Image: ShutterstockBack to top
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