Want to get your debt under control with a balance transfer to a Westpac credit card? Here’s what you need to know.
If you want to clear your credit card debt, Westpac is one of many Australian card issuers that offers new cardholders interest-free balance transfer credit cards. You can usually request a 0% balance transfer with Westpac when applying for a new credit card. If you want to move a debt to an existing Westpac card, you can also take advantage of other low rate offers.
As Westpac usually has more than one 0% promotion at a time, you can use this guide to learn how to compare these deals and to decide if a balance transfer to Westpac is right for you.
What you'll find in this guide
What are the benefits of getting a balance transfer with Westpac?
- Save on interest. You can use the calculator in the comparison table above to compare which Westpac credit card offers you the greatest savings based on the size of your debt and the current interest rate you’re paying. Depending on your balance, you can usually save hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest if you use a balance transfer credit card and pay off your debt before the revert rate applies.
- Consolidate multiple debts. If you have more than one credit card, you can consolidate up to three non-Westpac Australian issued credit, charge or store cards to a new Westpac credit card. This means that you can pay off multiple debts with 0% interest under a single account, rather than trying to manage several credit card bills.
- Pay off debt faster. Without the burden of interest, it’s also likely that you can pay off your debt much faster than if you were paying a high interest rate.
Are there any risks when completing a balance transfer with Westpac?
As with any debt product, there are some risks that come with doing a balance transfer with Westpac:
Revert interest rate
At the end of the promotional period, any leftover debt will collect the variable cash advance interest rate. While your introductory rate is usually 0%, the Westpac cash advance rate can be as high as 21.29% p.a. As this is a high interest rate, it’s best to pay off your balance in full before this applies. Before applying for the card, you should calculate how much you’d need to pay off each month to clear the balance before the promotion applies. If you don’t think you can afford this, try looking for a card with a longer interest-free offer to spread out your repayments.
Impact on your credit score
As with any new card application, it could harm your credit score. This is especially true if your application is rejected, which is why it’s so important to ensure you’re eligible for the card before you apply. However, if you transfer your debt to a balance transfer card and pay it off in full, this could also have a positive impact on your credit score.
What rates and features should I look at when choosing an offer?
- Introductory interest rate and offer length. Westpac currently has three balance transfer credit cards. The Low Rate card currently boasts 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months, while the Westpac Altitude Business Platinum and Westpac Altitude Business Gold cards both offer new cardholders 4.99% p.a. for 12 months. Some balance transfer credit cards don’t charge a balance transfer fee, so you might want to look elsewhere to avoid this cost.
- Annual fee. Some of the Westpac balance transfer cards currently boast a $0 annual fee for the first year. However, as these cards offer interest-free balance transfer promotions that last for a year, it’s important to consider the standard annual fee when comparing your options.
- Eligible debts to transfer. You can transfer debts from up to three non-Westpac Australian issued credit, charge or store cards to a new Westpac credit card. Unlike a few Australian card issuers, this doesn’t include loan debts. Although they’re under the Westpac Group, you can transfer debts from St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne accounts to Westpac credit cards. You can compare which cards you can and can’t transfer between for more information.
- How much you can transfer. You can transfer up to a maximum of 80% of your approved credit limit. So if you’re approved for a $20,000 credit limit, you can transfer up to a maximum of $16,000. If you try to transfer more than 80%, the exceeding amount will remain in your old account and continue to collect interest. You can see our guide to balance transfer limits for more information.
Can I transfer my debt to an existing Westpac credit card?
If you already have a Westpac credit card, you can transfer up to 2 non-Westpac Australian issued credit, charge or store cards at a promotional interest rate of 2.99% p.a. for 12 months. You’ll need to use the promotional code “WABM4” to take advantage of this account. You can compare other card issuers that offer balance transfers after application on finder.
What else do I need to know?
As well as the major rates and features, here are some terms and conditions you should consider before you apply:
- Eligibility requirements. As with all credit products, you’ll also need to meet eligibility requirements (such as credit history, residential status and minimum annual income) to receive approval for a Westpac credit card. As a rejected credit card application negatively impacts your credit score, it’s important that you check the specific requirements for the card before you apply.
- Closing your old account. If you apply for a card and are approved, it can sometimes 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 and close your account. If you don’t, then you’ll continue to be charged any account maintenance fees (such as annual fees) that come with your card.
- Making repayments. Although the card may charge 0% interest, you’re still required to pay at least the minimum repayment of 2% of the closing balance or $10 (whichever is greater) each month. If you want to clear your debt before the end of introductory period, you’ll need to pay more than the minimum. If you divide the size of your balance by the number of months in the 0% introductory period, that’s how much you’ll need to pay each month to clear your balance before the revert rate applies.
- Repayment allocation. The bank is obligated to put your repayments towards the highest-interest debt first. If you use your card to make a purchase while you’re also paying off your balance transfer, your repayments will automatically go to paying off your purchase first because it collects a higher interest rate. If you want to make the most of your balance transfer offer, it’s wise to avoid making purchases and to put your money towards paying off your original debt.
- Interest-free days. If you are using your card to make purchases, remember that interest-free days won’t apply while debt from your balance transfer remains in your account.
A balance transfer with Westpac can be a practical way to pay off your credit card debt while avoiding interest. As there are many 0% balance transfer cards on the market, make sure to compare your options to find the right card for you. You can use the balance transfer comparison tables on finder to narrow down your options and apply.
Images: ShutterstockBack to top