new-year-resolution

How to achieve your debt consolidation goal in 3 weeks and 5 easy steps

Whether it's a new year's resolution or mid-year crisis, it's never too late to consolidate your debt. Kickstart your financial goal and repay your debt within 3 weeks and 5 easy steps.

When was the last time you made a new year’s resolution to control your finances and actually kept it? Maybe you didn’t know where to start, couldn’t find the right options for you or didn’t know which strategy to take. Don’t make the same mistakes this year. Whether it's January first or the beginning of July, it's never too late to fulfill your resolution.

Keep your promise and kickstart your debt consolidation goal with a balance transfer credit card within three weeks with our easy step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Collect the information you’ll need. What about expenses?

1_documents-needed

Week 1. While we don’t expect you and your pounding hangover to bound out of bed on New Year’s Day, you can start collecting the paperwork you might need over the first few days of the new year. We're going to start by collecting the information and documents you need to calculate your expenses. It may seem a little tedious at first, just know this exercise is going to be a crucial step to understanding (and maybe even start questioning) where your money is going. Don't underestimate the power of itemising your expenses, it's a powerful tool you can use to keep your finance records clean, cash flow steady and in the right direction - whether it's to deal with debt or for a strategy for your savings.

Start by collecting these:

  1. Outstanding bills and expenses: phone, utility, memberships etc.
  2. Your bank statements (paper or online), if you have access to your online net bank account you should be able to access any current direct debit set up and your spending habits.
  3. Any other important financial notices that you might not have access to online.

Next, let's exercise our bookkeeping skills.

  1. Start noting down your expenses. Simply begin by listing them, you can draw this out on paper or start a new spreadsheet-which is what we like to do.
  2. From your expenses, itemise your list including the monthly cost, calculating the total amount to give you your ballpark figure for how much you should be budgeting for expenses each month - this figure is the number you want to have a firm grasp of.
  3. Now add your income into the equation, if expenses exceeds the cashflow coming in you may need to re-evaluate. You might want to consider the expendable costs you're currently engaged in, think about the costs/luxuries you can do without (at least maybe just for the time you'll be executing your new savings strategy).
  4. By now you should have a good idea of where you sit financially, however you see it the turning point starts here - in any event you're already in a better position to start making your decisions to paying down your debt or starting a new savings plan.

Extra tips:

collecting-documents

  • You can go through your inbox and online bank statements to make sure you’re on top of your finances and everything you owe.
  • When calculating how much you owe, remember to consider automatic debits from your account (such as monthly bills or charity donations) that could impact your debt levels. If you decide to conduct a balance transfer, you’ll need to organise for these direct debits to be taken from your new account if you don’t wish to keep your old account open.

Back to top

Step 2: Check your credit score (optional, but useful to consider)

2_credit-score

Week 1. Once you know how much you owe and how much to budget, you can start considering which debt consolidation solution offers you the most value. Before you make a decision, you’ll need to consider which options you’re eligible to apply for. Most debt consolidation alternatives require cardholders to have a good credit history. If you don’t already have a copy of your credit file, it’s easy to order a copy to find out whether you’re eligible to apply. Credit files can take weeks to arrive by mail, but you can receive an online copy within a day if you apply through Equifax.

If you receive your credit file and find that your score isn’t up to scratch, you might want to reroute your resolution to improving your credit score before you apply for a new credit card. Keep in mind that rejected credit card applications can have a negative impact on your credit score, so rushing the process and applying for a card when your credit score isn’t in good shape could backfire.

See our credit file improvement guide for tips on refreshing your credit score before you apply for a credit card

If you have a good credit score, proceed to the next step.

Back to top

Step 3: Compare, compare, compare

3_compare-options

Week 2. You can’t achieve your resolution without the right tools. This is where comparing your credit card options is essential. When comparing balance transfer credit cards, there are a few key questions you should ask yourself to determine whether the card is right for you.

  • When does the promotional offer end? If your card comes with a 0% offer, it’s likely that it will only last for 6 to 24 months. While you’re comparing, devise a quick budget and calculate whether you could repay your entire balance by the end of this period - a common trap you want to avoid is only paying the minimum repayment. If not, you’ll want to consider a card with a longer promotional period to ensure that you’re not carrying a remaining debt (plus interest) beyond 2017.
  • How much can I transfer? Most cards only accept balance transfers up to a fixed amount (or a percentage of your total debt) If your balance exceeds this amount, then you’ll be unable to transfer the entire amount and will have to continue repaying the remaining balance under high interest rates in your old account, you can alternatively look into high credit limit balance transfer cards.
  • Who can I transfer from? Most providers won’t let cardholders transfer balances from an existing account with the same bank. You might also find that you’re unable to transfer debts from partnered, affiliated or co-owned banks. Confirm which banks you can transfer between here.
  • Other fees and features. Make sure to compare other features of the card outside of balance transfers. Details such as the annual fee, interest rates on purchases and rewards programs could also impact how you use the card during and after the balance transfer is in place, so these should also be part of your comparison process.
  • Eligibility requirements. You’ll need to meet the provider’s eligibility criteria if you wish receive approval for the card. Make sure you earn the minimum income requirement, have a good credit history and meet any other conditions before applying.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated June 27th, 2017.

NAB Velocity Rewards Card

A new balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 6 months which is valid until 1 October 2017.

June 1st, 2017

NAB Qantas Rewards Card

A new balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 6 months which is valid until 1 October 2017.

June 1st, 2017

Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer

0% p.a. for 18 months exclusive balance transfer offer has been extended until 31 July 2017.

June 15th, 2017

View latest updates

Jonathan Choi Jonathan
$
% p.a.

Your search criteria didn't return any products. Click to reset your filter options and search again
Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Interest Saved
St.George Vertigo Platinum
Offers complimentary travel insurance, complimentary purchase insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
0% p.a. for 20 months 12.74% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the ability to make contactless payments with Visa payWave technology.
0% p.a. for 14 months 13.24% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
A long-term balance transfer offer with a range of platinum rewards and benefits.
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) Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
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) Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 of eligible spend and receive complimentary travel and purchase protection insurances.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee 19.99% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
Earn 2 Velocity Points on top of the standard earn rate per $1 spent in the first 3 months, plus a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
0% p.a. for 18 months 20.74% p.a. $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Bankwest Breeze Mastercard
Receive up to 55 day interest-free on purchases and free worldwide emergency card replacement.
0% p.a. for 21 months with 2% balance transfer fee 12.99% p.a. $59 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Visa
Get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and be protected by 24/7 Falcon® Fraud service.
0% p.a. for 14 months 13.24% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
NAB Low Fee Card
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, special offers from Visa Entertainment and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee 19.74% p.a. $30 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
A competitive offer from HSBC featuring a long term balance transfer deal and low ongoing interest rate on purchases.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 2% balance transfer fee 13.25% p.a. $55 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year and complimentary travel insurance.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee 20.74% p.a. $375 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
Receive up to 44 days interest-free on purchases and the optional insurance coverage of CreditShield Edge.
0% p.a. for 12 months 11.99% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, special offers from Visa Entertainment and Tap and Pay capabilities.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee 13.99% p.a. $59 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Essential®  Credit Card
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee 14.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
Enjoy the protection of 7 complimentary insurances including overseas travel and purchase protection insurance.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee 13.99% p.a. $100 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 2% BT fee. Plus, the convenience of the Westpac mobile banking app.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee 13.49% p.a. $59 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
Get a range of complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
0% p.a. for 20 months 12.74% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
Enjoy platinum benefits with exclusive discounts, complimentary travel and purchase insurances and a 24/7 personal concierge.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee 11.49% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
Offers up to 1 Velocity point per $1 on purchases, combined with complimentary insurance covers and a concierge service.
0% p.a. for 6 months 19.99% p.a. $150 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB flybuys Rewards Card
Earn 1 flybuys point per $1 spent on everyday purchases and receive 7 complimentary insurance covers.
0% p.a. for 6 months 19.99% p.a. $95 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
A dual Amex and Visa card that allows you to earn up to 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent, plus complimentary purchase protection insurance.
0% p.a. for 6 months 19.99% p.a. $95 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Velocity Rewards Card
This dual Amex and Visa card offers up to 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and special Visa Entertainment offers.
0% p.a. for 6 months 19.99% p.a. $95 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Rewards Classic Card
Earn 0.75 NAB Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary purchase protection insurance.
0% p.a. for 6 months 19.99% p.a. $95 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Rewards Platinum Card
Collect 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 on everyday purchases within 60 days of account opening.
0% p.a. for 6 months 19.99% p.a. $195 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
A dual Amex and Visa card that earns up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases, plus a 24/7 personal concierge.
0% p.a. for 6 months 19.99% p.a. $250 p.a. Go to site More info
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
Receive a $100 eGift Card when you apply by 30 June 2017 and make an eligible purchase by 31 July 2017.
0% p.a. for 14 months 19.99% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info

Learn more about balance transfer credit cards

Back to top

Step 4: Apply wisely4_apply-wisely

Week 2. Once you’ve compared your credit card options and decided on one, it’s time to apply for your card. Click on the green "Go to site" button on the product table or review page to be directed to a secure online application with your preferred bank.

Most online applications will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete and submit. To make sure the application process goes smoothly, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements and have all of the required documentation on hand before beginning the application.

find-compare-apply

If you apply online, many providers can you give a response within 60 seconds or so based on the information you have provided. If you’re approved, you’ll receive confirmation and information packages regarding the card and your account. If there has been a problem or the provider needs to cross-check some information you’ve provided, your application status may be left pending. If you haven’t received any feedback for a few days, contact the provider directly to discuss the status of your application.

Pro-tip for balance transfers

If the card has a promotional balance transfer offer, it’s best to apply for the balance transfer while you’re filling out the rest of the application so you can request that your debt is transferred to your new account as soon as possible. By doing so, this will allow you take advantage of the full length of the promotional offer. Make sure you have the details of your transfer, including how much you need to transfer and where from, before beginning the application. If you’ve decided to close your old account, you’ll also need to contact your old bank to organise this.

See a video we put together for the process to apply for a balance transfer

Otherwise, if you haven’t met the eligibility requirements or have failed to provide the necessary documents, you’ll receive a notification that your application has been rejected. If your application has been denied, don’t apply for another straight away. Take the time to understand why your application was rejected, compare your options and wait a few weeks before applying again. Remember that multiple rejected applications will have a negative impact on your application, so you’ll want to avoid applying for more than one card in a short time frame.

Back to top

Step 5: Start consolidating5_start-consolidating

be-freeWeek 3. If your application has been approved, you can expect to receive your card within one to two weeks. If you applied for the balance transfer at the time of application, your balance should’ve transferred to your new account.

If you haven’t already, spend the wait in between approval and receiving your card mapping out a realistic budget and set of goals that’ll help you keep your repayments on track.

Use these 3 simple rules to keep yourself moving forward:

  1. Set monthly goals.
  2. Use calendar notifications to remind you when payments are due.
  3. Set a final date for when you’d like to have your debt repaid by the end of the year (and preferably before the promotional period finishes).

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to keep, but it's never too late to set your goal. Once the new year settles in, it’s easy to lose sight of your goal and become distracted by your everyday responsibilities. The hardest part is planning how you’ll achieve the goal, but this guide should make that a whole lot easier.
All that’s left to do now is put on your game face, apply for a new card and start consolidating.

Back to top

Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is a journalist at finder.com.au who is a credit cards, frequent flyer and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

American Express Velocity Platinum Card
American Express Velocity Platinum Card

Interest rate

20.74

Annual fee

375
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer

Interest rate

19.74

Annual fee

87
St.George Vertigo Platinum
St.George Vertigo Platinum

Interest rate

12.74

Annual fee

99

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question
feedback