Switch to a low interest credit card

Discover how you can get out of debt sooner by switching to a credit card with a lower interest rate.

If you have credit card debt, paying high interest can make it difficult to get out of the red. A balance transfer to a card with a lower interest rate could help you save money on interest charges and pay your credit card debt off sooner rather than later.

There is a wide range of balance transfer deals out there, many with a 0% promotional interest rate period. This guide explains how balance transfers work, examines the different cards that offer ongoing low interest rates and discusses the other factors to consider before applying for a new card. If you decide this option is right for you, we also outline the steps you need to take to switch to a low interest credit card.

Choose your type of low interest credit card

How do balance transfers work?

A balance transfer is designed to save you money on your credit card interest repayments by allowing you to move your existing debt to a new card with a low promotional interest rate. Say you have a $5,000 credit card debt accruing interest at 20% p.a. If you apply for a credit card offering a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 6 months, you could save up to $487 in interest repayments during the introductory period.

At the end of the introductory period, the promotional interest rate will revert to the purchase or cash advance rate, depending on the credit card. Depending on your circumstances, you could then do a second balance transfer to get another introductory rate on your credit card debt. If you decide to take this path, keep in mind that applying for these offers regularly could have a negative impact on your credit rating and may lead to declined applications.

Comparison of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Rates last updated May 23rd, 2018
$
% p.a.

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Name Product Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Amount Saved Product Description
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 26 months on balance transfers with a one-time 2% balance transfer fee and a $0 first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
12.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Platinum card benefits including complimentary insurance, plus first year annual fee waiver and 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
13.25% p.a.
$79 p.a.
Receive up to 20 months interest-free on balance transfers with a 2% BT fee. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.74% p.a.
$90 p.a.
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer and access to a 24/7 concierge service for a $90 p.a. annual fee.
Citi Simplicity Card
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Save with 5% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 90 days from approval. Plus, a 15 month balance transfer offer.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 18 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months. $64 in the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter), plus, bonus Velocity Points.
NAB Low Fee Card
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
19.74% p.a.
$30 p.a.
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, a 18 month balance transfer offer and special offers from Visa Entertainment.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 14 months
11.99% p.a.
$49 p.a.
Offers a discounted annual fee, $100 cashback when you meet the spend requirement and 0% p.a. for 14 months on balance transfers.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 reward Points, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer, a discounted first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance.
BankSA Amplify Card
3% p.a. for 36 months
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 3% p.a. for 36 months balance transfer and earn Qantas or Amplify Points per $1 spent. Plus, enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
13.74% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
St.George Vertigo Visa
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
13.74% p.a.
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
St.George Amplify Card
3% p.a. for 36 months
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 3% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 36 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee and Amplify or Qantas Points per $1 spent.
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
$100 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate offer on purchases for 9 months and the protection of 7 complimentary insurances including overseas travel insurance.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Velocity Points on purchases, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.74% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2.5% balance transfer fee
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus complimentary international travel insurance.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
3% p.a. for 36 months
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of a 3% p.a. for 36 months balance transfer offer, Amplify or Qantas points per $1 spent and enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.

Compare up to 4 providers


What about cards with low ongoing interest rates?

Low interest rate credit cards offer competitive standard variable purchase rates that are lower than many other cards. Unlike low promotional rates, this type of card gives you ongoing low interest rates that could be beneficial if you regularly carry a balance.

Low rate credit cards can also feature promotional purchase rate offers and balance transfer offers. So if you have a card debt that will take longer than 12 months to pay off, you may want to consider transferring it to a card that offers a promotional balance transfer rate and a low ongoing interest rate. This could help you save money on interest charges when paying down debt over several years.

Comparison of Low Interest Rate Credit Cards

Rates last updated May 23rd, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Product Description
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$100 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
A platinum card that offers 0% p.a. for 9 months on purchases. Plus 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Platinum card benefits including complimentary insurance, plus first year annual fee waiver and 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
ME frank Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
Save money with a $0 annual fee for life, the same low 11.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases and up to 55 days interest-free.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter)
A no-frills card with a first year annual fee waiver, a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
13.25% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$79 p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Add additional cardholders for $0 and pay using Apple Pay. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$49 p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
Offers a discounted annual fee, $100 cashback when you meet the spend requirement and 0% p.a. for 14 months on balance transfers.
St.George Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
11.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee, combined with platinum card privileges and complimentary insurances.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
This card offers a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 6 months on purchases. Plus 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
A no-frills Visa with the protection of a zero liability policy and a 24/7 fraud monitoring service.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Platinum Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$89 p.a.
Offers premium features such as mobile phone and tablet insurance and purchase protections, plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$58 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
With a low minimum credit limit of $1,000, this no frills card allows you to add up to 3 additional cardholders for $0 and has Mastercard PayPass.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for 18 months balance transfer offer. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum Card - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Online only: Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for 24 months on balance transfers (with a one-time 1% BT fee). Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Online only: A low rate platinum card with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months. Plus, $0 annual fee for the first year.

Compare up to 4 providers

If you decide to transfer your balance to a card with a low standard variable purchase rate, be sure to check the revert rate at the end of the balance transfer promotional period. The balance transfer rate will revert to either the purchase or the cash advance rate, and the cash advance rate of a low rate credit card can be as high as 22% p.a., which is not ideal if you still have debt to pay off.


Other factors to consider

Before switching to a low interest credit card, make sure you consider the following factors:

  • Standard interest rates. These are the ongoing rates of interest that apply after the introductory promotional period has finished. Be sure to check both the purchase rate and the cash advance rate, as well as which rate will apply to any remaining balance on the card.
  • Annual fees. Annual fees for cards with low ongoing interest rates can range from $0 to $99, but can also be over $400 for some premium cards with balance transfer offers. This is an ongoing cost you will have to pay for most cards, so remember to compare a range of options to find the features you want for an annual fee you’re willing to pay.
  • Balance transfer fees. Some credit card companies charge a one-off balance transfer fee, usually worth around 1-2% of the balance transfer amount. For example, if you transferred a debt of $5,000 to a card that charged a 1% balance transfer fee, this fee would cost you $50. Make sure you read the balance transfer requirements and factor this cost into your comparison so you can choose a card that’s affordable for you.
  • Maximum transfer amount. Credit card companies put a cap on the maximum amount you can balance transfer. The maximum balance transfer amount ranges from 75-100% of your approved credit limit and is subject to application and lending criteria for individual cards.
  • Interest-free periods for purchases. You’re ineligible for interest-free days on purchases if you’re carrying a balance on your card. This means any new purchases you charge to the account will accrue interest right away.
  • Complimentary extras. Many low rate credit cards also offer value-adding features such as complimentary travel insurance, purchase protection insurance or even rewards. These features usually attract a higher annual fee, so they are only really worth it if you regularly make use of them.
  • Late payment fees. If you don’t pay off at least the minimum of your balance every month, you could be charged a fee of around $10-$30. Late payments will also result in a listing on your credit file, which could negatively affect your credit score.

Steps you can take to switch into a low interest credit card

woman-on-couch-with-laptop-and-creditcard

Once you’ve compared cards and found one you’d like to switch to, follow these steps to complete the process:

1. Find out your current balance. Work out how much credit card debt you need to transfer to pay off your credit card(s).

2. Check the application requirements. Assess whether you’re eligible for the balance transfer credit card. Some cards require a minimum income amount and also list balance transfer limits, which will be important when you’re preparing to make the switch.

3. Apply for the card. Provide as many details as possible in all sections of the application, including your personal information, employment information and assets and liabilities. In order to receive the balance transfer offer, you usually have to request it when you apply. There will be a section on the form that prompts you to enter the details of your existing debt, including the account name and number, provider details and the amount of debt you wish to transfer to the new card.

4. Activate the card. Balance transfers can’t be fully processed until the new credit card is activated, so once you’re approved and have received your new card, follow the steps provided for activation. Also remember to continue making any payments on your existing card if they are due before the balance is transferred.

5. Wait for the balance transfer to be finalised. Your new bank must contact and buy your credit card debt from your old bank. This process usually takes around 10 business days but could be more or less depending on the issuer and your circumstances.

6. Close your old account and start paying off the new one. It’s your responsibility to close your old credit card account after you’ve completed a balance transfer. This will help you to save on credit card fees and reduce the temptation to spend more on credit.

When you want to switch to a low interest rate credit card, it’s important to have an understanding of how long that rate applies for. Some cards offer promotional low interest rates, others offer ongoing low purchase rates and there are some that provides both promotional and ongoing low rates. But whatever you’re looking for, remember to consider the card’s annual fee so that you can find the right standard features and promotional offers for an acceptable price. If you need help comparing credit cards, ask us a question using the form below and a member of our team will be in touch.

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Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer

Interest rate

13.49

Annual fee

59
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

129
NAB Low Fee Card
NAB Low Fee Card

Interest rate

19.74

Annual fee

30
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points

Interest rate

20.99

Annual fee

149
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