How to ensure your balance transfer application is successful

Information verified correct on October 1st, 2016
Credit Cards & Retirement

Follow these easy steps to ensure that your balance transfer credit card application is accepted

While completing a balance transfer isn’t a difficult process, following these tips can help ensure that your application is accepted. As every declined application has a negative impact on your credit score, preparing beforehand will increase your chances of approval and set you on the road to debt repayment.

1. Check your credit history

Most balance transfer credit card providers require applicants to have a good credit history. As the purpose of a balance transfer card is to consolidate debt, a credit score that reflects multiple bad debts is unlikely to receive approval.

If you’re unsure what your credit score is, you can request a copy of your credit file from Veda group. If you sign up to Veda group, you’ll receive a notification whenever a change appears on your credit history.

Once you receive your credit score, you’ll be able to gauge whether you’re in a position to apply for a balance transfer or if you’ll need to spend some time improving your credit score first.

Discover how to improve your credit score here.

2. Get an accurate pay out figure from the bank

Before you make the switch, contact your current provider to confirm the final payout figure. You can’t close your old card unless the entire debt has been repaid (or moved), so you’ll need to confirm your payout figure to understand exactly how much you need to transfer. Some fees are charged monthly, so you the amount showing in your account may be less than what you actually owe. Logging into online banking won’t necessarily show you what the closing figure is.

For instance, while the interest on your balance is calculated daily, it’s only added onto your account at the end of the month. Similarly, you may not realise that regular fees, such as your annual fee, are due and these can also add to your overall balance. Therefore, if you don’t realise these charges are due to appear in your account and you only request to transfer the initial balance to your new account, you’ll find that your remaining debt continues to earn interest and you’ll be unable to close the old account until it’s repaid. You’ll also need to ensure that any direct debits from your account (such as automatic bill payments or charity donations) are transferred to your new account before you close the old one.

While calling your bank may not seem ideal, it’s worth it in the long run. When you inform your current bank that you’re after a payout figure for your balance transfer, prepare to be transferred to the cancellation team. These customer service representatives are trained to talk you out of your decision and will try to persuade you to stay with the bank. Whether they’re offering you bonus rewards points or a cheaper rate, remember the reason why you’re leaving and stick with your initial decision.Politely say “no” and ask for the final payout figure.

3. Compare your options to find the right card

There’s no such thing as the ideal balance transfer credit card. You’ll need to compare the available options to find the right one for you. Consider the costs, features and perks of the card to determine whether you can both afford and benefit from it. You can easily do this with the table below.

Rates last updated October 1st, 2016
$
% 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
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Offers 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 18 months to help you manage your existing credit card balance with a reduced annual fee in the first 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
Westpac 55 Day credit card
Enjoy a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months, an introductory purchase rate of 1% p.a. for up to 12 months, plus a waived annual fee for the first year if applied by 11 October 2016.
0% p.a. for 16 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.84% p.a.) $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) 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.
0% p.a. for 15 months 19.99% p.a. $149 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee 0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) $59 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Take advantage of this exclusive offer and enjoy 0% p.a. for the first 12 months on balance transfers and 0% p.a. for the first 3 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 12 months 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) $30 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Fee Card
Enjoy a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.
0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee 0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) $30 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac Low Rate Card
A no frills credit card with an introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) $59 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and an introductory purchase offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months with an annual fee waiver for the first year.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Enjoy a long term balance transfer plus a $100 cashback offer (spend criteria applies) and never pay an annual fee for this card.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee 18.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
Enjoy a low annual fee combined with 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and 1% p.a. for up to 12 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a low balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. interest for 18 months and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases combined with complimentary insurance covers.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) $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. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee 14.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Credit Card - Platinum Card
A long term balance transfer offer with the Citi Rewards Platinum Card. Earn extra points on overseas spend and includes travel insurance.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee 20.99% p.a. $199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Explorer Credit Card
Receive 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points on eligible spend within the first 2 months of Card Membership. Also enjoy a $400 travel voucher and two complimentary airline passes per year.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee 20.74% p.a. $395 p.a. Go to site More info
Rates last updated October 1st, 2016
$
% 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
Westpac 55 Day credit card
Enjoy a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months, an introductory purchase rate of 1% p.a. for up to 12 months, plus a waived annual fee for the first year if applied by 11 October 2016.
0% p.a. for 16 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.84% p.a.) $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) 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.
0% p.a. for 15 months 19.99% p.a. $149 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee 0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) $59 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Offers 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 18 months to help you manage your existing credit card balance. Earn bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months, offer ends 31 October 2016.
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
Westpac Low Rate Card
A no frills credit card with an introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) $59 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
No annual fee credit card with $100 cashback and a long term balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee 18.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Take advantage of this exclusive offer and enjoy 0% p.a. for the first 12 months on balance transfers and 0% p.a. for the first 3 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 12 months 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) $30 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Fee Card
Enjoy a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.
0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee 0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) $30 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and an introductory purchase offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months with an annual fee waiver for the first year.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac 55 Day Platinum Credit Card
Get a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months, platinum card benefits including complimentary insurances and 24/7 concierge with $0 annual fee for the first year.
0% p.a. for 16 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.84% p.a.) $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($90 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
A low rate card from Bank of Melbourne with a long term balance transfer offer 0% for 18 months and a short term introductory rate on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Credit Card - Platinum Card
Take advantage of the introductory long term balance transfer offer and reduced annual fee in the first year.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee 20.99% p.a. $199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a low balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. interest for 18 months and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases combined with complimentary insurance covers.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) $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. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee 14.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Visa
A low interest rate card with a low annual fee, a long term balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and an introductory offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Rates last updated October 1st, 2016
$
% 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 Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac 55 Day credit card
Enjoy a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 16 months, an introductory purchase rate of 1% p.a. for up to 12 months, plus a waived annual fee for the first year if applied by 11 October 2016.
0% p.a. for 16 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.84% p.a.) $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) 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.
0% p.a. for 15 months 19.99% p.a. $149 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
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
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and an introductory purchase offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months with an annual fee waiver for the first year.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac Low Rate Card
A no frills credit card with an introductory rate of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) $59 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Exclusive Offer to finder.com.au

Enjoy 0% p.a. for the first 12 months on balance transfers and 0% p.a. for the first 3 on purchases.

0% p.a. for 12 months 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) $30 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee 0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) $59 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. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
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 Fee Card
Enjoy a low introductory rate of 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.
0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee 0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) $30 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
No annual fee for the life of the card with $100 cashback and a 0% p.a. offer on balance transfers for 18 months. Spend criteria applies for cashback offer.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee 18.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
Enjoy a low annual fee combined with 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and 1% p.a. for up to 12 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Visa
A low interest rate card with a low annual fee, a long term balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months and an introductory offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 18 months 1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) $55 p.a. Go to site More info

As well as the balance transfer feature, consider the other costs and benefits of the card to confirm whether the card will be of use to you when the promotional offer ends. Does the card come with a rewards program? Can you take advantage of interest-free days? How much is the annual fee? Consider your usual spending habits and whether the card compliments your financial needs.

See our guide for tips on comparing credit cards for more considerations and advice.

4. Make sure you can transfer to your bank

When you’re comparing cards, a crucial element is where you can actually transfer your debt. Credit card providers don’t allow you to transfer your debt to another account under the same bank. While you can keep any remaining debit accounts open, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you’re considering a balance transfer.

Some banks also won’t accept balance transfers from other banks, usually because they’re owned by the same organization. For example, St.George cardholders can’t transfer their balance to BankSA credit cards as both brands are owned by Westpac.

See our comprehensive list of providers to discover who you can and can’t transfer between.

5. Confirm that your new card can support your debt

  • The available credit limit

Most credit cards allow cardholders to transfer a percentage of the approved credit limit. For example, St.George applicants can transfer up to 95% of the credit limit, while Latitude Financial Services customers allow cardholders to transfer the entire credit limit amount. To see whether the card is fit for your balance transfer, calculate the total debt you’ll have to transfer (this is where your confirmed payout amount comes in handy), the credit limit of the new card and how much of that limit you’re allowed to transfer.

If you don’t calculate these figures beforehand, you may find that you’re unable to transfer your entire balance. Not only does this mean that a chunk of your debt will continue to accrue interest, you’ll also be unable to close your old account. Consider these restrictions before applying to find a card that can support your balance.

  • Accounts under different names

There are some restrictions in place around transferring to or from joint accounts or from accounts under different names. Most providers won’t allow cardholders to transfer balances from an account unless the primary cardholder’s name is the same for both cards. So even if you’re an additional cardholder, the balance may still need to be transferred under the name of the primary account holder. If you’re unsure, contact the bank you’re interested in to confirm these details.

You can’t transfer joint accounts to single accounts or vice versa. Instead, if you have a joint account, you’ll only be able to transfer your balance to another joint account. If your credit history isn’t great, having a joint balance transfer can help improve your chances of approval if your partner has a solid credit score.

Compare which providers allow joint account balance transfers

6. Gather all the details you’ll need for application.

So you’ve compared your options, decided on a card and confirmed that it meets your balance transfer needs. To simplify the application process and increase your chances of approval, it’s wise to organise all of the necessary documents before you begin the application. You can usually find this information in the relevant product disclosure statement, but some of the standard information you’ll need to provide includes:

  • Contact details. Such as your phone number, email address and postal address.
  • Financial details. You’ll need to provide details about your annual income, monthly expenses, any other loans or debts and your employer’s contact information.
  • Proof of identification. You may be asked to provide your driver’s licence, Medicare card or birth certificate.
  • Balance transfer information. Many providers require that you request the transfer at the time of application, so it’s crucial to have this information on hand. Make sure you have the final payout amount confirmed and that you complete the balance transfer sheet before applying.

You’ll be required to meet some eligibility requirements, so save your time and confirm whether you can apply for the card first. Some of the criteria you’ll be required to meet include:

  • Age. Applicants must be 18 years of age.
  • Residency. Providers often only accept permanent Australian residents.
  • Annual income. Some cards require cardholders to meet a certain income level to receive approval.

Again, all of the information can be found in the online application forms and the product disclosure statement. Confirm that you meet the requirements before applying.

7. Apply for your chosen card

Once you have compared your options, decided on a card, confirmed that it supports your needs and that you meet the requirements, you can apply for the card! When you’ve made your decision, you can click on the “Go to Site” button available on our comparison tables or review pages to be directed to a secure online application.

Here you can complete your application within 10 to 15 minutes. A separate section of the application will be dedicated to your balance transfer request and this is where you’ll need to provide your balance transfer amount, old account details and other relevant information.

See our guide for more tips to ensure the application process runs smoothly.

8. Wait to see if your card has been approved

Most online credit card applications will be able to provide you with a response almost immediately. If your card isn’t automatically approved or declined, it means that the bank is following up the information you have provided to make a final decision.

If you haven’t received an immediate response from your bank or received any feedback within a few days, you’ll need to contact your provider directly to confirm the status of your application.

Compare instant approval credit cards here.

9. Check that your card has a zero balance and has been closed out

If your application has been approved, your new bank will begin transferring your balance over to the account. However, confirming that your old account no longer carries a balance is your responsibility. If you wish to close your old account, you’ll also need to carry this out once the transfer has been completed. You can do this by contacting your bank via the customer service team.

10. Start consolidating!

Congratulations! You’ve been approved and your balance transfer was successful. Now it’s time to start budgeting to meet (if not exceed) the minimum monthly repayments. This will help you make the most of the promotional balance transfer and get you one step closer to debt-free financial freedom.

See our five simple tips to help pay off your credit card for some inspiration.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated October 1st, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 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

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au 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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