Is your answer to blasting credit card debt one of these new balance transfer offers?

Kelly Emmerton

Wednesday 03 October 2018

In September, a number of credit card providers - including Virgin Money, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA - made some adjustments to the balance transfer offers on their credit card ranges.

Is your answer to blasting credit card debt one of these new balance transfer offers?

Among the changes, Amplify Classic cards offered by St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne all swapped an old balance transfer offer of 3% for 36 months for a new 0% for 14 months.

On the other hand, the Virgin Money No Annual Fee Card went the other way, trading a 0% for 12 months offer for a longer balance transfer period of 36 months, albeit at a 6.9% interest rate.

With all the changes, Aussies might be left wondering what kind of balance transfer is the best for blasting debt - a low interest rate for a long time, or no interest for a shorter period?

According to Mozo Data Manager Peter Marshall, that’s a call each cardholder needs to make for themselves, depending on their budget.

“The key to finding the right balance transfer offer is making sure you can clear your balance within the offer period, whether that’s 12 months or 3 years. And that means having a good idea of how much you can afford to repay each month,” he said.

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The first step is to take a look at your budget and work out how much you have left over each month - or where you could divert other spending like Netflix subscriptions or eating out - to put toward paying off your credit card.

Then it gets really easy - just plug your figures into our credit card debt repayment calculator to see how long it will take you to pay off your balance to work out if a balance transfer offer is right for you.

For example, say you have a credit card debt of $4,400. On a 0% balance transfer offer for 14 months, you’d need to pay approximately $315 a month to clear your debt within the interest free period.

If you were paying off the same balance on a 3% balance transfer offer for 36 months you could pay as little as $130 a month to clear your debt within the timeframe - but by the time you did, you’d have paid an extra $203 in interest.

Or, say you chose to tackle that debt without a balance transfer offer, paying it off on your regular card with an interest rate of 17.12%. If you wanted to pay the debt off in 14 months, you’d need to cough up $360 a month (and wind up paying $470 extra in interest) or to pay it off in 36 months, you could pay $160 a month and $1,226 in total interest - more than 6 times the amount you would with the 3% BT offer.

“A longer period with a low interest rate will cost you more in the long run that an interest free offer, of course, but the upside is that if your monthly budget is really tight, it allows you to chip away at your debt without a big monthly commitment,” said Marshall.

Interest rateInterest rate periodMonthly repaymentTotal interest paid
0%14 months$315$0
3%36 months$130$203
17.12%Indefinite$360 (to pay off in 14 months)
$160 (to pay off in 36 months)
$470 (to pay off in 14 months)
$1,226 (to pay off in 36 months)

Ready to blast your debt with a balance transfer offer? Head over to our balance transfer credit card comparison table to get the right fit.

Rates and calculations are indicative only and may not represent your situation.

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