How long is the longest balance transfer credit card deal?

Compare the longest balance transfer promotions here and learn how these offers can help you deal with credit card debt.

If you’re looking for the longest balance transfer offer available, you probably already know how a balance transfer works. When you transfer existing debts on to a credit card with a balance transfer promotion, you save money by paying lower or no interest on your transferred debt for the period of the promotion. At the end of that period, any remaining debt from the transfer will be charged interest at the standard rate for that card (which is usually much higher). Depending on the size of your debt, the difference between a 6-month and 24-month 0% balance transfer promotional period could mean hundreds or thousands of dollars saved on interest charges. That said, the longest offers aren’t necessarily right for everyone. This guide will take you through the other factors to consider when comparing long balance transfer deals.

St.George Vertigo Platinum

0% p.a. for 20 months on balance transfers

Offer ends 20 September 2017

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

St.George Credit Card Offer

A platinum card that features a long-term balance transfer offer, combined with a range of complimentary insurance covers and a low variable interest rate on purchases.

  • $99 p.a. annual fee.
  • 12.74% p.a. on purchases
  • Cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
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Compare 9-24 month Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Rates last updated August 18th, 2017
$
% p.a.

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Name Product Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount Saved Product Description
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% p.a. for 20 months
12.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
NAB Premium Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months
19.74% p.a.
$90 p.a.
Exclusive to finder.com.au, enjoy a no BT fee, long-term balance transfer offer with platinum privileges, including travel insurance.
St.George Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 14 months
13.24% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the ability to make contactless payments with Visa payWave technology.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$129 p.a.
Apply by 31 October 2017 to receive a long-term, no fee balance transfer and a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend and receive complimentary travel and purchase protection insurances.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Apply by 30 September 2017 to receive a long-term BT offer, earn Citi Reward Points and receive complimentary travel insurance.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
0% p.a. for 20 months
12.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Get a range of complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Exclusive to finder, receive 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months with no balance transfer fee.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Exclusive to finder, receive a long-term, no fee balance transfer and earn up to 1.25 Suncorp Rewards Points per $1 spent.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
0% p.a. for 14 months
13.24% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the protection of Verified by Visa online purchases.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 18 months
13.24% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
Get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and be protected by a 24/7 fraud monitoring service.
NAB Low Fee Card
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.74% p.a.
$30 p.a.
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, special offers from Visa Entertainment and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 15 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.25% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 14 months
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a $100 eGift Card when you apply by 30 September 2017 and make an eligible purchase by 31 October 2017.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
0% p.a. for 18 months
12.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of purchase protection, extended warranty and overseas travel insurance, plus a 24/7 concierge.
American Express Essential®  Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
14.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Receive a $50 credit when you apply online, are approved and spend $750 on your new card within the first 3 months of card membership.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months
11.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive up to 44 days interest-free on purchases and the optional insurance coverage of CreditShield Edge.
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
11.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Enjoy platinum benefits with exclusive discounts, complimentary travel and purchase insurances and a 24/7 personal concierge.

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How to compare long balance transfer offers

It’s always important to research and compare your options when choosing a credit card. When specifically looking at balance transfer credit cards, these are the key features to consider:

  • Introductory offer. Introductory offers are typically worded like this: “Enjoy X% balance transfer interest for Y months”. In general, you will want the lowest X and the highest Y, ie, the lowest promotional interest rate over the longest term.
  • Revert rate. This is the regular rate that interest reverts to once the promotional period ends. It’s usually the standard cash advance rate for that card, and sometimes the purchase rate. This is important in case you still have outstanding debt on your card when the revert rate applies.
  • Balance transfer fee. Some credit cards charge a one-time balance transfer fee ranging from 1-2.5% of your balance transfer amount. Be aware that cards with longer promotional periods tend to charge a higher balance transfer fee.
  • Balance transfer provider. This is important because balance transfers are often prohibited between affiliated banks and cards issued by the same card issuer. Learn more about which banks you can transfer your balance to and from.
  • Maximum transfer amount. This could be your new card’s credit limit, or even up to a certain percentage of your credit limit, ranging from 75-90%. For example, if you are approved for a credit limit of $5,000 on a card that allows transfers of up to 75% of your limit, the maximum amount you could move to the new card would be $3,750.
  • Other balance transfer conditions. This varies with each card, but there may be other conditions limiting where you can transfer your balance from. For example, some cards only allow balance transfers from other credit cards and store cards, while some accept debts from personal loans as well.
  • Combined offers. Some promotional offers combine perks to offer more attractive savings or rewards. For example, a card could offer a 0% balance transfer rate and a 0% purchase interest rate, or a 0% balance rate and bonus frequent flyer points. Usually there are conditions to being eligible for each introductory offer, such as spending requirements to get bonus points. Make sure you’re aware of the requirements for each offer, so that you know exactly what you need to do to get all the benefits you want as a new cardholder.
  • Annual fee. Credit card annual fees can have an impact on the value you get from a balance transfer offer, so make sure your savings more than offset any card fees.
  • Late payment fees. If you don’t pay at least the minimum amount by the statement due date, you could be charged a late payment fee and a black mark could be placed on your credit file. These types of charges typically range from $5-$35 and will start accruing interest right away.
  • Overlimit fees. Some cards charge a penalty fee if you go over the available credit limit on your account. Remember that the higher the percentage of your limit that’s taken up by a balance transfer, the greater the potential risk of maxing out your card, so it’s important to be aware of the fees that could apply.

Finding a long balance transfer offer

sandra-portraitSundari has a credit card debt of $8,000 on a card that charges an interest rate of 18% p.a. She wants to clear the debt as quickly as possible, and calculates that she can afford to pay $500 a month towards it. If Sundari made these payments on her current card, it would take her 19 months to pay off the debt and cost her $1,060 in interest charges. But, if she was paying 0% interest on the balance, it would only take her 16 months to clear the debt. With this in mind, Sundari compares balance transfer cards offering 0% interest for 16-24 months. She decides to apply for a card offering 0% for 18 months, which gives her an extra 2 months of flexibility if other expenses come up in the meantime.

Other factors to consider

While the following factors are not usually a major priority when considering a balance transfer credit card, they should still generally be factored into choosing a new card.

  • The purchase rate. This is very important for balance transfer cards with a long promotional period, since there’ll be a greater chance of wanting or needing to make new purchases with it during this time. Most cards offer interest-free days on purchases, but this only applies if you have paid your full account balance. This means that interest will start accruing on new purchases immediately if you have a balance transfer. If you know you’ll need to make purchases with the new card straight away, you may want to look at 0% balance transfer and 0% purchase rate credit cards – just make sure you know when each of the promotional periods end as the purchase rate promotional period is usually shorter than that of the balance transfer.
  • The cash advance rate. This is the interest rate you’ll be charged when you get cash from an ATM or for cash-equivalent purchases such as travellers’ cheques or gambling tokens.
  • Cash advance fee. A charge of 1-3.5% of your transaction amount is applied for every cash advance transaction you make on your card. This is in addition to the cash advance interest rate.
  • Complimentary extras. Many credit cards include additional perks to sweeten the deal, such as complimentary travel insurance or concierge services. These extras are usually reflected in the cost of the annual fee, so make sure you’re not paying for things you don’t need and eroding your interest savings.
  • Rewards. Some cards have their own rewards programs or frequent flyer programs, which let you earn points for new spending on your credit card. Since they often come with higher annual fees, carefully consider what you need and what you’re actually paying for. Note that balance transfers are not eligible for these points, and remember that new purchases could attract high interest charges if you already have a balance transfer on the card.
  • Foreign transaction fees. This fee applies when you use your card abroad or for online purchases from an international retailer. It’s usually around 2-3% of each transaction.

Tips for making the most of a long balance transfer offer

To get the most out of your balance transfer, consider the following tips:

  • Close your old account. Closing your old account will prevent you from being charged any further costs, such as the annual fee, that could add to your existing debt and it will eliminate the temptation of using your old credit card. To cancel your account, wait until the balance transfer is processed, make sure the total balance is cleared and then call your issuer to request account closure.
  • Make regular repayments. Make full use of the interest-free period by drawing out a schedule of regular repayments. Aim to pay off your full balance within the promotional period if possible, and follow that schedule responsibly to achieve your debt freedom.
  • Use savings to help pay down the balance. Channel all resources towards paying off your debts, including spare cash and savings. Note: This tip is especially relevant if you’re near the end of the balance transfer promotional period and you still have debt remaining.
  • Avoid making new purchases. Apart from being potentially charged interest on your new purchases, your best strategy is to dedicate all available resources towards paying down your debt. Even if the card is offering 0% interest on purchases, remember that any new purchases will add to your debt, instead of reducing it.

Using these tips, you can now compare long-term balance transfer credit cards to find the one that most suits your personal needs and circumstances. Sit down, research the options and do the maths to see which card will deliver the greatest savings and convenience in the long run. Remember to only buy what you need and spend the rest on repaying that debt. Good luck!

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