When is the best time to do balance transfers*?

Information verified correct on September 28th, 2016
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Is your debt attracting high interest payments? It might be the right time for your to conduct a balance transfer.

A balance transfer is the process where you move a debt from a high interest credit card to one with a low promotional interest rate on balance transfers. These cards can help you repay your debt faster and without the burden of massive interest costs. As these balance transfer promotions don’t last forever, it’s best to conduct your balance transfer as soon as you apply for the card to get the most out of the promotional low interest offer.

Why should I request a balance transfer straight away?

Some banks give you the option of either applying for your balance transfer at the time you apply for the credit card or after. If your card comes with a low promotional balance transfer offer that you’d like to take advantage of, it’s best to request a the balance transfer when you’re applying for the card. The balance transfer promotional period begins as soon as your card is activated, not as soon as you apply for the transfer. So say you have a card with a 6 month promotional 0% balance transfer offer and you apply for a balance transfer 2 months in. This means that you’ll only have 4 months to repay the balance and would have wasted two valuable months you could’ve been repaying your balance without the cost of interest. Once the promotional offer ends, the higher revert rate will kick in. As such, it’s best to request your balance transfer as soon as you apply for the card to get the most out of it.

So say you have a card with a 6 month promotional 0% balance transfer offer and you apply for a balance transfer 2 months in. This means that you’ll only have 4 months to repay the balance and would have wasted two valuable months you could’ve been repaying your balance without the cost of interest. Once the promotional offer ends, the higher revert rate will kick in. As such, it’s best to request your balance transfer as soon as you apply for the card to get the most out of it.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 28th, 2016
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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 20 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 20 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

How to make the most of a balance transfer

  • Introductory period. In almost all cases, a balance transfer is an introductory offer. This means that the low interest rate will only last for a set period of time. That time limit is different on each offer, but is generally related to the rate. For example, a zero interest deal might only last three months while a 1.9% interest rate can last up to six months. It is important that you evaluate your debt and your budget and get a deal that allows you enough time to actually pay off the full amount within that introductory period.
  • Submitting your application. That introductory period usually begins the day that your application is approved. Not the day that you get your new plastic in the mail or the day you send in your transfer documents, but the day you are approved. That being said, in order to maximise your opportunity to save money and pay off your debt at the lowest possible rate, you should submit your application for the transfer at the same time as you submit your application for the plastic. That way, they will both be approved at the same time and you will not miss even one day of your introductory period.
  • Fees and limits. One other factor that you have to keep in mind is the restrictions and costs of using this option. Typically, you can only transfer from other cards that are not issued from the same bank as your new plastic. For example, you could move debt from a MasterCard to another MasterCard but not if they were both issued from Westpac. See which banks you can transfer between based on your provider.
    Usually you can only transfer up to a certain percentage of your available balance, so even if you have two thousand dollars available to use, you might only be able to transfer fifteen hundred over to the new plastic.
    There are also fees involved for the service that will usually be a percentage of the amount you want to move. Do the math to make sure that you will still save money after paying these fees.

Credit cards can help you get out of debt. You just have to know how to use them so can take full advantage of the benefits they have to offer.

What happens when you do a balance transfer?

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 28th, 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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