How a balance transfer could be the savviest way to help your wallet in “iso”
Wednesday 01 April 2020
With Aussies having to tighten their wallets due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, nestling credit card debt and forking out interest repayments are among some of the last things any of us want to be doing.
So if you need to find a way to hold onto your money while you're in "iso", lightening the load on your credit card with a balance transfer could be an option to consider.
“Credit card debt can be a tough point for many Aussies, especially with the average interest rate at the moment sitting around 20%,” Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont said.
“In such uncertain financial times, it makes sense for consumers to find ways to combat debt and keep more cash in their pockets rather than in the banks - and that’s where taking advantage of things like balance transfer offers can really help.”
According to the Mozo database, a whopping 93 credit cards have balance transfer offers attached to them, ranging from six months all the way up to 26 months.
How do credit card balance transfers work?
Balance transfer credit cards are offered by banks to help you pay down your debt without facing hefty interest charges, by moving your existing credit card debt to a new card.
Typically, these credit cards offer a 0% interest rate for a specific amount of time, and you can usually transfer up to 80% of the new card’s credit limit.
Here's a example...
Let’s say you opt for a balance transfer card with a $5,000 limit. This would mean you’d be able to transfer a maximum of $4,000 of your debt.
It is important to remember, however, that this is not always the case. There are some balance transfer credit cards that only allow customers to move over 70% of the card’s limit and others 100% - so read the fine print before you make your choice.
Also bear in mind that any purchases you make during your balance transfer offer will not be subject to the low or 0% interest rate, or interest-free days. So it could be a good idea to view this card as a way to kick debt rather than accrue more!
Which balance transfer credit card is right for me?
As above mentioned, interest free periods differ between cards - so it’s a matter of finding one which suits how much debt you have, and how long it would realistically take you to pay that debt down.
Here's how to work out the right period for you...
Again, let’s say you currently have $5,000 in credit card debt. According to your current budget, you are able to pay $450 per month in credit card repayments.
To find out which balance transfer offer might suit you, simply divide the amount of debt you have with the amount you pay per month, as below:
- 5,000 (your debt) ÷ 450 = 11.12
What this shows is that it would take you exactly 11.12 months to pay down your current debt at 0% interest. But because you probably won’t find a card with an 11.12 month offer, it’d be a good idea to opt for a 12 month balance transfer period.
Just bear in mind though, there are some costs that come with transferring your debt from one credit card to another, such as annual fees, balance transfer fees and the revert rate (which can sometimes be the cash advance rate instead of regular purchase rate).
So it's crucial to weigh up the fees and conditions of different balance transfer offers before you choose your credit card that’s right for you.
Keen to check out some balance transfer offers? Take a peek at the table below or head on over to our credit card comparison tool for more!