Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Pay off your debt faster: balance transfer credit cards offer interest rates of 0% for up to 24 months. Here’s how you can choose the right one.

A balance transfer credit card lets you move your existing credit card balance onto a new card with a lower rate. That lower rate runs for a fixed number of months (between 6 and 24), after which the interest reverts to a higher rate. Sometimes you’ll pay a one-time balance transfer fee when you move to the new card and you’ll generally pay an annual card fee. Despite that, 0% interest means you can save significantly.

This guide explains how balance transfers work and how they can dramatically lower your credit card interest payments; the different types of balance transfer cards available; how to compare balance transfer cards to pick the best one for you; common concerns about these cards; mistakes to avoid with balance transfers; and how to make sure your application is successful. You can calculate your potential savings with a wide range of cards in Australia using the table below.

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Which type of balance transfer card is right for me?

I want the lowest interest rate
Check out 0% balance transfers.
I want time to get my debt sorted
Look at long-term balance transfer offers.
I want low interest on new purchases too
Examine 0% balance transfers and purchase offers.
I don’t want to pay an annual fee
Consider no annual fee balance transfer credit cards.
I want to earn rewards points too
Look at balance transfer credit cards with rewards programs.
I want to calculate my repayments first
Use our Balance Transfer Calculator.
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What is a balance transfer?

A credit card balance transfer is the process where you transfer the balance (any money you owe on your current credit card) to a new credit card with another credit card issuer.

finder’s money expert Michelle Hutchison answers the question “What is a balance transfer?”

Click for transcript

Hi, I’m Michelle Hutchison, money expert at one of Australia’s biggest financial comparison websites, Today I’m going to talk about balance transfer credit cards.

So what is a balance transfer? It’s essentially when you have a debt from one card, say it’s at seventeen per cent, and you move that debt over to a new card offering a balance transfer rate of say, zero per cent.

Unfortunately these low rates won’t last forever and they generally expire and revert to a much higher rate. One consideration is that you can’t generally transfer that balance to a balance transfer credit card in the same institution. For example, say you have an ANZ credit card with a debt on it, you can’t transfer that debt to another ANZ credit card but you may be able to transfer it to another bank or institution.

You can transfer a debt from credit card, store card, charge card, it’s a really good way of consolidating all your debts into one line of credit.

Balance transfers can be a great way to save loads in interest and pay off your credit card debts, and while you can apply for as many as you like, keep in mind that applying for too many in a short space of time can impact your credit file.

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Common concerns about balance transfers explained

Balance Transfer Process

How do I apply for a balance transfer credit card?

When you apply for a balance transfer credit card, you’ll include the details of your existing credit card debt on the application and ask to have the balance transferred to the new card. If you’re successful, your debt is automatically moved over (that process typically takes a few days). You may have to pay a balance transfer fee and an annual fee for your new card.

What’s a balance transfer fee?

Some balance transfer cards, particularly those with longer promotional periods, charge a balance transfer fee. This is a one-time fee that’s a percentage of the debt you transfer to the new card. Typically this is between 1% and 2.5%. On a $20,000 debt, a 2.5% transfer fee would be $500.

Do I have to contact my old bank and new bank to make the switch?

Your new card issuer can automatically handle transferring your balance. You just need to provide details of your existing card when you apply. If you want to close your old card, you’ll need to do that yourself. If you fail to do so, you’ll be stuck with annual fees on that card.

What’s in it for my new credit card issuer?

Credit card issuers make money when you pay interest, so why would they charge 0% when they could charge 20% or more?
Here’s why:

  • You’ll eventually revert to a higher rate. If you don’t pay off your entire debt at the 0% rate, you’ll end up back on the regular rate for your card. Once that happens, your new credit card issuer can potentially make hundreds or even thousands of dollars from you in interest charges.
  • Persuading you to switch is tough. Australians are reluctant to switch banks, and the cost of acquiring a new customer is hundreds of dollars. Offering a discounted interest rate is one of the cheapest ways for banks to woo potential customers. It’s essentially a cheap form of marketing.

Can I do a balance transfer with my existing credit card issuer?

No, you can’t perform a balance transfer while staying with the same institution. You also can’t perform a balance transfer to other banks within the same group. For instance, you can’t transfer from Westpac to St.George, or from Commonwealth Bank to Bankwest. Check our complete list of which credit card issuers won’t allow transfers between each other.

Are there any hidden catches involved in a balance transfer?

The promotional rate for your balance transfer is locked in, so you won’t have to pay high interest rates during the offer. However, you will still have to make the minimum payment each month.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians arrange balance transfers each year, and the process is safe. Our guide to avoiding common mistakes with balance transfers will help you use your new card effectively.

Can I get a balance transfer for a personal loan or store card?

While most balance transfer deals are for credit card debt, some credit card issuers will let you transfer debt from a personal loan or store card as well. We’ve rounded up the banks that offer personal loan balance transfers.

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How balance transfers work

How The Balance Transfer Process Works

This is how the balance transfer process operates and how to make it work effectively for you:

  1. Find a balance transfer offer that meets your needs. Use our comparison tables to easily compare a range of cards and see how much you could save.
  2. Check how much you’re eligible to transfer. The amount of your existing balance you’re eligible to transfer can vary between 80% and 100%, depending on the offer. Make sure you haven’t picked a new card that won’t accept transfers from your current card. Contact your existing bank to get an accurate payout figure for the account. Your current balance from online banking isn’t the number you need, since interest payments, annual fees and direct debits could change it before your new card is approved.
  3. Submit your application. Check out our guidelines for successfully applying to maximise your chances of approval.
  4. Wait for your application to be approved. This typically takes between 5-7 days. If you haven’t heard from the bank after this time, contact them to find out if there’s an issue.
  5. Confirm transfer and close your old account Once your new card is set up, contact your old bank and make sure the old card is completely closed to avoid any further fee or interest payments. Use our tips for paying off your credit card tips faster.

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What you need to know to compare balance transfer offers

There are lots of balance transfer card deals available in Australia, so how can you pick the right one? These are the crucial features you must compare when looking for maximum savings. We include all these features when calculating your total interest saved:

  • Balance transfer interest rate: This is the interest rate that will be charged on the balance transferred to your new card. Most 2016 balance transfer offers set this at 0%. This is often referred to as the “promotional rate”.
  • Promotional period: This is how long the promotional rate applies. Once the promotional period expires, you’ll pay a much higher rate (the “revert rate”). The longer the promotional period, the more time you have to clear your debt.
  • Revert rate: After the promotional period ends, the remaining debt will be charged interest at the higher “revert rate”. Typically, this ranges from 12% to 20% — the lower the better.
  • Balance transfer fee: This is a one-time fee, charged as a fixed percentage of the debt you transfer to your new card. Typically, this ranges from 1% to 2.5%. Balance transfer fees are often charged for balance transfer deals with longer promotional periods. Try and avoid them if possible.
  • Annual fee: Most balance transfer offers charge an annual fee in advance, typically around $100. Some credit card issuers waive this for the first year. The annual fee is treated as a purchase and incurs the same interest rate as other purchases you make with the card. If there’s a promotional 0% purchase offer in place, your annual fee won’t accrue any interest. Similarly, if you have interest-free days on the card and repay your balance in full then you won’t accrue any interest.

These card features are less important, but potentially worth factoring into your comparison:

  • Purchase rate: This interest applies to any new purchases made on the card. While this is usually 12% or more, some credit card issuers offer a promotional 0% rate on purchases as well. You can check out a full list of cards with that feature here.
  • Other benefits: Cards may offer additional benefits such as the ability to earn reward points or free insurance for travel booked on the card. These could be tie breakers when comparing two similar cards, but shouldn’t form the basis for your decision.

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Why might my application be refused?

Reasons your credit card application will get refused

Financial institutions assess balance transfer applications carefully. These are some of the reasons why your application might not be successful. To maximise your chances, follow our step-by-step guide to successfully applying for a balance transfer.

  1. Poor credit history. You’ll need a good credit history to obtain a balance transfer deal. You can check your credit history by ordering a Credit Report. Common issues that might cause your application to fail include missed payments or significant levels of debt.
  2. Applying too rapidly. Each application you make for a balance transfer deal is recorded in your credit history. If your application is refused, don’t just apply to a different credit card issuer. Follow the steps in our guide to what to do if your application has been refused to increase your chances of approval with the next application.
  3. Transferring to the wrong bank. If you try and get a balance transfer deal from a bank with the same owner as your current card, you’ll be immediately refused. You can’t transfer your debt from a Westpac card to a St.George card, for instance. Check out our full list of who you can transfer between.
  4. Cards in a different name. Your new balance transfer card must be in the same name as your current card. If you apply with a different name you’ll be turned down. If you need a card with multiple account holders, follow the steps in our guide to getting joint accounts.
Can’t get a balance transfer?
If you don’t qualify for a 0% balance transfer, look at debt consolidation loans to see if they can help you pay off your debt.

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Mistakes to avoid with balance transfers

Used intelligently, a balance transfer card will reduce your interest payments and get you out of credit card debt faster. Used the wrong way, your debts can actually become bigger. Ensure you don’t get trapped in balance transfer debt by avoiding these mistakes.

MISTAKE: Forgetting you still have to make payments

Despite the promotional period with interest at 0%, you still have a debt, and you still have to pay at least 3% of the total each month. You can’t simply balance transfer and then stop making payments.

MISTAKE: Not checking the revert rate

Once your balance transfer promotion finishes, you’ll be paying the revert rate on any remaining balance. Choose a card with a revert rate that’s lower than your current credit card rate if possible.

MISTAKE: Not making more than the minimum repayment

If you’re only paying the minimum 3% each month, it will take you 34 months to fully repay your debt. No current balance transfer card offers 0% for more than 24 months, which means you’ll be charged interest again before the card is paid off.

So how much should you pay each month? The table below shows what percentage you should pay off each month to fully clear your debt during the 0% balance transfer period. We’ve also shown how much this would be for a $10,000 debt. (We’re assuming no new purchases are being made with the card.)

Duration% to repay monthly
to clear debt
Repayment on
$10,000 debt
6 months17%$1,666.67
9 months12%$1,111.11
12 months9%$833.33
14 months8%$714.29
16 months7%$625.00
18 months6%$555.56
20 months5%$500.00
24 months4%$416.67

The key lesson? Budget as much as you can towards paying off your credit card debt while the promotional rate applies. If you haven’t paid everything off, it’s possible to apply for another balance transfer.

MISTAKE: Putting new purchases on your card

Adding new debt will slow down your ability to repay your card. Don’t buy anything new on your credit card that you can’t immediately pay off in full. Don’t be tempted even if you have a 0% rate on new purchases.

MISTAKE: Not considering all applicable fees

While you won’t be charged interest with a 0% balance transfer, you may have to pay annual fees and a balance transfer fee. Make sure you consider these when choosing a balance transfer deal. Don’t dismiss cards purely on the basis of fees. Use our calculator, which compares the total costs for cards, to find the right deal for you.

MISTAKE: Keeping your old card open

It’s tempting to hang on to your old card “for use in emergencies”. Realistically, if you’ve run up debt on it before you’re likely to do so again. Cancel the card and concentrate on paying off your balance. Remember to transfer any regular payments. Ask your old bank for the final payout figure so you don’t have any leftover debt.

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325 Responses to Balance Transfer Credit Cards

  1. Default Gravatar
    | May 24, 2016


    Will the 20 months zero 0% balance transfer for a Bank of Melbourne amplify signature card have to be applied at the time when I apply for the card( ie at the point of card application)? Or can I request 0% Balance transfer and enjoy 0% the balance transfer later after card approval (ie) I did not request for a balance transfer at point of application but after card approval for a few weeks, I changed my mind using the current limit to request 0% balance transfer for 20 months? How long will the period within card approval of 30 days? 2 weeks? 4 weeks?

    • Staff
      May | May 24, 2016

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your questions.

      If this is your first time to apply for a Bank of Melbourne credit card, the balance transfer should be requested upon your credit card application and then they will arrange to transfer the balance for you. You should have your card activated so the balance transfer will take place. As for the promotional balance transfer rate offer, it will start by the time that your balance has been transferred.

      Now if you don’t want to do the balance transfer right after your card is activated, you must contact BoM if they could allow you to do that. I’ve forwarded their contact details to your email for your reference.

      Meanwhile, for the status of your credit card application, normally, credit card companies would process your application between one to two weeks.

      I hope this is helpful.


  2. Default Gravatar
    Peter | May 21, 2016


    Would you please tell me and list out which banks platinum card and bank black card will have their minimum credit limit offer more than the normal bank platinum card credit limit of $6000?

    • Staff
      May | May 23, 2016

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your question.

      Generally, the credit limit on your card is determined by the credit card issuer based on their assessment of your financial situation, ability to repay and most importantly, your credit score. The higher score you get, the higher credit limit you’ll be approved for.

      Though I can’t give you a separate list of platinum and black credit cards with a high credit limit, you’ll be able to compare on this page the cards with a high credit limit. As for BT cards, you can find them here.

      I hope this helps.


  3. Default Gravatar
    Sophia | April 21, 2016

    Is it a good idea? I want to change my old credit card to new credit card. Will I be able to know how much money I can transfer to a new credit card?

    • Staff
      May | April 22, 2016

      Hi Sophia,

      Thanks for your question.

      To reckon in getting a new credit card or not would depend entirely on your own financial needs and situation. If you’re planning to do a balance transfer today, you can compare your options here. The amount you can transfer to your new card will depend on the credit limit you’re approved for and your ability to repay. Depending on the card and institution, this limit could be 70% to 90% of the credit limit.

      I hope this has helped.


  4. Default Gravatar
    Damien | April 18, 2016

    I have $95,000 in credit card debt. Which lender will accept that debt as I have looked and some don’t specify maximum amounts? Can you suggest the best card with a long 0% interest period?

    • Default Gravatar
      S | April 20, 2016

      I have 50000 dollar debt can I apply for a credit? I am a pensioner.

    • Staff
      May | April 20, 2016

      Hi S H Shah,

      Thanks for getting in touch,

      Although you are on a pension, you can still access credit. On this page, you can find a list of brands and the documents you’ll need to increase your chances of approval.

      Hope this is helpful.


    • Staff
      May | April 18, 2016

      Hi Damien,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      As is a comparative financial service, we can’t actually recommend one specific card to our users as the best option depends entirely on your own financial situation. However, you can compare your balance transfer credit card options here. These brands offer long term-term 0% interest from 18 to 24 months.

      Please also note that with the balance transfer, depending on the card and institution, the card company would allow you to transfer an amount limited to the percentage of the credit limit you’re approved for – sometimes 70%-90% of the credit limit.

      I hope this is helpful.


  5. Default Gravatar
    Daniel | March 13, 2016

    Hi there

    I’ve applied for a credit card with a high limit ($10,000) to make repurchases on goods that have been stolen from me! Is there anything stopping me from then applying for a balance transfer to another card with 0% interest for 12 months straight after purchasing these goods so it gives me that opportunity to pay It off without interest?



    • Staff
      Jonathan | March 14, 2016

      Hi Daniel, thanks for your inquiry.

      In terms of applying for 2 credit cards it is generally recommended to leave at least a few months (5 months) before applying for another credit card. Frequent applications can be a warning signal to banks, reducing an individual’s chances of being approved for the next credit card.



  6. Default Gravatar
    Victor | March 9, 2016


    I just wanted to know if you can transfer multiple cards to the one account. For example, I am interested in the Amex card and have two existing credit cards for which I would like to balance transfer. I have read the T & C’s but found nothing. Any help would be great, cheers!


    • Staff
      Ysa | March 9, 2016

      Hi Victor,

      Yes, you should be able to transfer multiple balances over one account, as long as the balance transfer amount doesn’t exceed the total approved credit limit.

      You may wish to check this page to give you an idea on how balance transfers on multiple credit cards work.

      I hope this helps.


    • Default Gravatar
      Victor | March 9, 2016

      I see. I did however do an application for my girlfriend and there was no way of doing multiple cards. Not that I could see anyway. I also couldn’t find any way to contact Amex as a non-customer. Are you sure I can as I don’t want to go through the process to find out I can’t.



    • Staff
      Ysa | March 11, 2016

      HI Victor,

      Thank you for following this up.
      However, please note that you have come through, an online comparison service and does not represent American Express.
      Generally speaking, most credit card issuers allow you to transfer balances from multiple credit cards.

      Though this feature still vary from bank to bank, it would be best to get in contact with their customer service team directly to follow up your enquiry.
      I’ve emailed you a link of their contact details for your convenience.


  7. Default Gravatar
    Karla | February 22, 2016

    Hi, my parents have raked up a credit card debt due to my father falling ill. They are both pensioners now and dad can no longer work. I have just payed off my credit card debt with no interest period and thought it was great. Can I apply for another card in my name with 0%interest and transfer my parents credit card debt and pay it off for them?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | February 23, 2016

      Hi Karla, thanks for your inquiry!

      Certain banks allow balance transfers between two separate names. Please refer to this page to compare banks/ lenders who allow this balance transfer transaction.



  8. Default Gravatar
    Trevor | December 10, 2015

    Hi I have a HSBC cc which I owe $4,600 from a 5k limit..not sure how high the interest rate is but can I transfer the whole 5k to a 0% card or what would you suggest and which bank cc would help me clear my debt faster..kind regards Trev.

    • Staff
      Jonathan | December 11, 2015

      Hi Trevor, thanks for your inquiry!

      Balance transfer cards can provide 0% interest for varying promotional periods from 6 months to 18 months. Depending on how long you are planning to repay the debt a longer balance transfer card can provide more flexibility with managing the day-to-day expenses. You can compare balance transfer offers on this page. After you have finished comparing and are ready to choose a card, press the ‘apply’ button and complete the secure bank web-form to transfer your debt and receive your new card.



  9. Default Gravatar
    iflyhigh | November 4, 2015

    Which cc offer gives the most amount that can be borrowed at 0%? Or another way of asking what is the highest credit limit?

  10. Default Gravatar
    Ron | November 3, 2015

    Both NAB and Citibank offer 24 month balance transfers at 0% interest charged. Why is the interest saved in $ figures not the same and how do you account for the difference of a few hundred dollars?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | November 4, 2015

      Hi Ron H, thanks for your inquiry!

      The different in money saved would be due to the balance transfer fee difference of 1.00 %. Depending on your balance transfer amount this would create the difference.



Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated May 27th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 20 months and an introductory purchase offer of 0.99% p.a. for 4 months with a low annual fee.
0.99% p.a. for 4 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Essential Credit Card
Receive a $50 credit on eligible spend and get Smartphone screen insurance combined with a no annual fee for life card.
14.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
Earn up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 within the first three months and 1.5 points per $1 spent. Get complimentary airport lounge access, 24/7 concierge with $0 annual fee in the first year.
19.99% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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