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How to ensure your balance transfer application is successful

Follow these 7 steps to improve your chances of approval when you apply for a balance transfer credit card.

Updated

Fact checked

A balance transfer can help you take control of your debt by allowing you to move it to a card with a 0% p.a. interest rate during the introductory period. When your application is approved, this introductory rate can help you save on interest and help you pay off the balance faster.

While applying for a balance transfer credit card isn’t a difficult process, you need to meet card's application requirements (and the credit card provider's lending criteria) to get approved. Since every declined application has a negative impact on your credit score, it's wise to prepare beforehand to increase your chances of approval. Use this guide to find out everything you need to know to increase your chances of approval when applying for a balance transfer.

Learn how a balance transfer can affect your credit rating

Steps to help you get your balance transfer approved

1. Check your credit score

Credit defaults, late payments, court writs and bankruptcy can negatively impact your balance transfer application. Sometimes there can be mistakes in your report that also affect your applications for new credit. You can see exactly what's on your credit history by requesting your free credit report and a copy of your credit score each year. If you have a bad credit score, you can then spend some time improving it to help increase your chances of getting approved for a balance transfer application.
Get Your Free Credit Score

2. Check your credit card balance

When you apply for a balance transfer, you'll need to provide details of how much debt you want to move onto the new card. This amount is subject to approval based on the credit limit you're approved for. While you can't tell what credit limit you'll get, knowing exactly how much you already owe can help you put as much detail as possible on the application. It could also help if you want to request a particular credit limit by allowing you to make sure it fits with the cards maximum balance transfer amount (usually somewhere between 70% to 100% of the approved credit limit).

3. Compare a range of cards

As well as helping you find a competitive balance transfer offer, looking at a few credit cards will help you choose one that fits your circumstances. Check the eligibility criteria for each card and consider the size of your debt to decide if you would be able to pay off the entire balance before the promotional offer ends. You’ll also want to consider other features such as the annual fee, balance transfer fee and other features to make sure that the cost of the card doesn’t outweigh the savings you’ll earn from your balance transfer.

Compare balance transfer credit cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
% 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.
Save with a 22-month balance transfer offer. Plus, lounge passes, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
12.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee.
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.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. promotional purchase and balance transfer rates and save with a first-year annual fee waiver.
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.
Citi Rewards Card
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 26 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card - Purchase Offer
0% p.a. for 9 months
0% for 9 months, reverts to 18.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers an introductory 0% p.a. for 9 months on purchases and balance transfers (with no BT fee) for an ongoing $0 annual fee.
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.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 7 months on purchases, 0% p.a. interest for 22 months on balance transfers and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA Vertigo
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 22 months on balance transfers and up to 7 months on purchases. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Classic Rainbow
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
All the great low cost features of the Vertigo Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
17.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
0% p.a. for 6 months
19.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months and complimentary insurance covers.
St.George Amplify Platinum
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. interest rates on purchases and balance transfers. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
20.49% p.a.
$200 p.a.
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
20.49% p.a.
$150 p.a.
Earn 80,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, complimentary travel insurance covers.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers along with a $0 first year annual fee waiver.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
% 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.
Save with a 22-month balance transfer offer. Plus, lounge passes, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. promotional purchase and balance transfer rates and save with a first-year annual fee waiver.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 7 months on purchases, 0% p.a. interest for 22 months on balance transfers and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 2 flybuys points / $1 spent and save with a 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, 0% international transaction fees on purchases.
Citi Rewards Card
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 26 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
St.George Vertigo Classic Rainbow
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
All the great low cost features of the Vertigo Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
17.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
% 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.
Save with a 22-month balance transfer offer. Plus, lounge passes, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
12.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee.
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.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months
18.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. promotional purchase and balance transfer rates and save with a first-year annual fee waiver.
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.
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card - Purchase Offer
0% p.a. for 9 months
0% for 9 months, reverts to 18.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers an introductory 0% p.a. for 9 months on purchases and balance transfers (with no BT fee) for an ongoing $0 annual fee.
Qantas Premier Platinum
0% p.a. for 18 months
19.99% p.a.
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits, a discounted first-year annual fee and a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months.
Qantas Premier Everyday
0% p.a. for 12 months
19.99% p.a.
$49 p.a.
Get up to 25,000 bonus Qantas points, a 0% balance transfer offer and complimentary insurance covers.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 7 months on purchases, 0% p.a. interest for 22 months on balance transfers and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA Vertigo
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 22 months on balance transfers and up to 7 months on purchases. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
0% p.a. for 6 months
19.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months and complimentary insurance covers.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 2 flybuys points / $1 spent and save with a 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, 0% international transaction fees on purchases.
St.George Vertigo Classic Rainbow
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
All the great low cost features of the Vertigo Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
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.
St.George Amplify Platinum
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. interest rates on purchases and balance transfers. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
20.49% p.a.
$200 p.a.
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days.
Citi Rewards Card
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
21.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 26 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
20.49% p.a.
$150 p.a.
Earn 80,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, complimentary travel insurance covers.
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Compare up to 4 providers

4. Confirm that the new card could support your debt

As well as the credit limit details, make sure you check what type of debts can be moved onto the balance transfer card. This is especially important for the following types of debts:

5. Make sure you can transfer between providers

Credit card companies don’t accept balance transfers from other brands that they are financially associated with. This means you can’t balance transfer debts between banks in the same institutional group. An example of this is Citi, which issues credit cards for several smaller banks including Suncorp, IMB and Virgin Money. Make sure you check which banks you can transfer your balance to and from to avoid default rejection.

6. Check the other balance transfer requirementslisting requirements

Be sure to do thorough research, read the fine print and find out exactly what's required for you to get your chosen balance transfer card. For example, you usually need to request the balance transfer at the time of your application to get the introductory interest rate.

7. Provide as much detail as possible on your application

Before you apply, double-check the eligibility criteria and get all the relevant documents and details ready for the application. This includes information about the debt you want to balance transfer transfer, so you'll need to provide the account name and number, the BSB and how much debt you want to move onto the new card. Aim to be as thorough as possible with the application, and respond to requests for supporting documentation (such as recent payslips) as quickly as possible.

If you're unsure of anything before you apply for a balance transfer credit card, it's a good idea to call the credit card company and ask them directly. That way you can get the most accurate information based on your circumstances.

Images: Shutterstock

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Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Save with a 22-month balance transfer offer. Plus, lounge passes, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
17.99% p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$425 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and $150 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months with this premium card.
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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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