Do you want to take control of your debts? Combine what you owe onto a balance transfer card and repay your debt faster while cutting costs.
If you’re burdened with multiple debts, keeping track of your finances and repaying your balances can become complicated. If you’re looking to take control of your finances, consolidate your debts and cut costs, combining your multiple debts under one card with a balance transfer could be the strategy for you. Conducting a balance transfer is a simple process, but here are some tips you can follow to ensure the process goes smoothly.
How to combine your credit cards with a balance transfer
If you’re carrying multiple debts and you’re unable to repay them within two months resulting in interest being charged at more than 10%, you might want to consider a balance transfer as your debt consolidation strategy. Many balance transfer cards allow cardholders to transfer multiple debts from eligible banks to the one card, which you can use to repay the debt with a low or 0% interest rate for a set period of months. When you apply for the card, you’ll just need to request a balance transfer and fill out details regarding the accounts you’re transferring from and the debts you’ll be moving. Once you’ve received approval, the accounts should automatically transfer to your new card within 2-5 days. Once this is complete, you can start repaying your debts at the low promotional rate!
What should I consider?
Combining your credit card debts with a balance transfer is usually a straightforward process. However, there are a few factors you should consider when comparing your options and conducting the balance transfer to ensure you’re getting the most out of the offer.
- What is the promotional offer? There are a number of balance transfer offers available on the market, so it’s important to compare what’s out there to find the right offer for you. Consider the promotional interest rate in place, the length of the offer and the size of your debt to calculate whether you can repay your entire debt before the promotion ends. If it doesn’t, you might want to consider an offer with a longer balance transfer period or a lower rate.
- What’s the revert rate? Unfortunately, the low balance transfer offer won’t last forever. At the end of the promotional period (which generally lasts 6-24 months, depending on the card), your balance will start collecting the standard purchase or cash advance rate. Always try to repay your debt before this revert rate kicks in to avoid growing your debt with interest.
- How much can you transfer? Most balance transfer credit cards only allow you to transfer up to a percentage (such as 75%-100%) of the approved credit limit. Before you apply, make sure the card’s maximum credit limit can support your debts plus some.
- Where can you transfer from? You can’t transfer balances from an account under the same bank, so you wouldn’t be able to transfer from a St.George account to a new St.George card. There are also some restrictions on which banks you can transfer between. For example, you can’t transfer between St.George and BankSA or Bank of Melbourne accounts. See which banks you can transfer between.
- Is there a balance transfer fee? Some issuers charge a one-off balance transfer fee when you combine your credit card debts. Depending on the issuer, this is generally between 1% and 3% of your balance transfer amount. Check the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS) to see whether this fee applies.
- What is the purchase rate? You should only be using your balance transfer card for debt consolidation, but if you need to use it for an emergency purchase, you’ll want to check the purchase rate first. Remember that all payments automatically go to the debt that’s collecting the highest interest, so any payments you make will go towards your purchases first rather than the debt you’re trying to repay. You’ll also need to confirm what the annual fee is if you want a good idea of what the card will cost you in total.
- Do I want to close my old card? When you complete your balance transfer, it’s your responsibility to close your old card. If your old card has a good purchase rate and you want to keep it open in the case of purchasing emergencies, you might want to leave it open while you pay off the balance transfer. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact your bank to close the account if you don’t want to continue paying maintenance fees on it.
How to make the most of balance transfer cards
A balance transfer credit card can be a great way to combine your debts and repay your balance faster with a low interest rate. The balance transfer rate is only in only in place for a set promotional period, which begins as soon as your card is approved. Therefore, it’s best to repay as much as you can as soon as you can to take full advantage of the low interest rate. For example, if you used a balance transfer card with a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for a minimum of six months and used the card to repay a debt of $5,000, you could stand to save $500 on interest costs. While you’ll be required to repay the minimum repayment each month, paying more will improve your chances of repaying the entire debt by the end of the promotional period. Consider the length of the promotional period, the interest rate in place and the size of your debt to calculate how long it will take you to repay it before the revert rate applies.
If you need to combine your credit card debt, a balance transfer could be a handy solution. If you want to get the most out of a balance transfer offer, it’s important to compare your options and stick to a budget to repay your entire debt while the promotion is in place.
Top balance transfer credit card offers*
Rates last updated September 24th, 2016.
- NAB Low Rate Credit Card
Balance transfer and purchase rate offers have been extended until 2 October 2016.
August 9th, 2016
- Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Balance transfer offer has been extended to 30 September 2016.
August 25th, 2016
- Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Balance transfer period changed from 14 to 18 months and is valid until 30 September 2016.
August 25th, 2016