A balance transfer credit card can help you to reduce your interest payments and get out of debt faster. See how much you could save by transferring to a top 0% balance transfer deal using the comparison table below.
How to use Mozo’s balance transfer comparison table
It’s easy! First enter how much existing credit card debt you need to transfer, the amount you can afford to repay each month, your current credit card interest rate, and your current annual fee at the top of the table so we can calculate how much each card in our balance transfer comparison table could save you. Then just hit Go to Site once you’ve found an option you like the look of.
What to look for when comparing balance transfer credit cards
Our balance transfer comparison table is designed to help you narrow down your balance transfer credit card choices without having to wade through tonnes of jargon. We’ve put the features we think are most important - balance transfer rate and offer length, credit card purchase rate and annual fee - front and centre.
How are my savings calculated?
* These results are approximate. They assume you make the monthly repayments you specified, plus any annual fees and reward fees. The cost of your current card is calculated based on the interest rate and annual fee you have entered, and assumes that you do not receive the benefit of any interest free days. The results allow for balance transfer interest rates, the interest rate it reverts to after the balance transfer offer ends, standard annual fees and rewards fees and whether annual fees are waived in the first year.
They do not include other things such as:
using your card for new purchases while still repaying the balance transfer (new purchases may be charged a higher interest rate);
minimum monthly repayment rules that might require higher repayments than those you specified;
any fees or fee waivers other than those mentioned above;
differences between card issuers in the way they calculate interest;
future changes in interest rates or fees.
Please consider the above carefully before you make a final decision.
Balance transfer credit card comparisons on Mozo - rates updated daily Mozo has robust processes to ensure our site is updated to reflect the latest information from providers. There may be the odd occasion where updates are delayed, so please confirm information before purchasing.
Receive up to 1.75 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on Card purchases (T&Cs apply). No annual fee for the life of the card. Credit Card Provider of the Year in the Mozo Experts Choice Awards 2019.^ T&C’s apply
0% p.a.for 26 monthsand then 12.99% p.a.(2.00% balance transfer fee)
$99 $49 in the first year
0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months (2% BT fee applies). Streamline your budget with a low ongoing interest rate of 12.99% p.a. Plus, enjoy complimentary overseas travel insurance as well. T&Cs Apply
This card boasts no annual fee and the option to pay with the Bankwest Halo payment ring. Plus, with no foreign transaction fees and complimentary travel insurance it's a good pick for travel. Winner of a Mozo Experts Choice Award 2019 in the No Annual Fee Platinum Credit Card category^.
A balance transfer is when you take the debt that you've built up on your credit card, and move it to a new credit card at a much lower interest rate, often even 0%. Without a hefty interest-rate hanging over your head you can repay that debt faster, because payments are going towards wiping the balance away, instead of keeping up with interest charges.
A balance transfer can be a great tool to help you clear credit card debt once and for all, but before you get started there are two things to bear in mind.
Until you've paid off the balance transfer, it’s best that you don't use the new card for new purchases. This is because most cards won't give you any interest free period on new things that you buy, until that balance has gone.
And balance transfer rates are always limited time offers, so you should always have a plan for how you are going to pay off the debt before that great interest rate runs out.
How do balance transfer credit cards work?
Now you know what a balance transfer card actually is, let’s take a look at how it works. It’s important to know the ins and outs of balance transfers before you sign up, so that you give yourself the best chance of actually clearing your debt.
How much can I transfer on a balance transfer card?
You can usually transfer a balance of around 80% of the new card’s credit limit, but sometimes it’s 70% or even as much as 100%. Let’s break that down.
Say you apply for a balance transfer deal that allows you to transfer up to 80% of your credit limit. If you’ve got a balance of $4,000 to clear, you’d need to be approved for a credit limit of at least $5,000 to put it all on the one balance transfer.
This can get tricky if you’re transferring multiple debts, so be sure to crunch the numbers carefully. Keep in mind there might also be minimum transfer limits with some balance transfer cards, so you may not be eligible if you’ve only got a small balance to clear.
How much could I save with a balance transfer?
A balance transfer can help you save money by putting a stop to mounting interest. Wondering how much you could save? Check out this scenario:
Say you have $10,000 owing on your current credit card with a 20% interest rate and you make monthly repayments of $600. To pay this off, it will take you 1 year and 8 months and you will pay $1,814 in interest. Whereas if you move that debt across to a 0% balance transfer card, you will pay no interest at all and on top of that you will also repay your debt three months earlier. Think of all you could do with nearly $2,000!
But, and there is a but, if you use the balance transfer card unwisely by spending on the card or fail to repay the debt within the balance transfer period you could end up paying high revert rates and fees, and find yourself back where you started.
Will I still get interest free days?
Generally speaking, whenever you’re using a balance transfer deal, you don’t get interest free days on your regular spending. Once you’ve paid off your debt and you’re back down to a zero balance, you will again be eligible for the card's standard interest free days on new purchases which will usually be between 44 - 55 days depending on the card.
The good news is that doesn't leave you any worse off than before - if you carry any balance on your credit card you usually won’t be eligible for interest free days until you’ve paid the balance back in full anyway.
How do I make the most of the interest free period?
To avoid the traps of a balance transfer credit card, and make the most of your time off from paying interest, check out these basic rules of BT cards.
Rule 1# Always create a repayment plan
Unlike a debt consolidation loan where the provider tells you how much you need to repay each month to pay off your loan within the given timeframe, with a balance transfer card all you're required to pay is the minimum monthly payment amount, which is usually 2-3% of the balance.
But the minimum repayment isn't going to clear your debt within the interest free period. So make sure you use a debt payments calculator to work out how much you'll need to repay each month to totally clear your debt before the balance transfer period comes to an end.
Rule 2# Compare balance transfer deals before you start
Before you apply for a new balance transfer offer, make sure you take a look around to be sure you’ve found the right fit for your needs. There’s more information on choosing the right balance transfer deal in the next section.
You can easily compare balance transfer cards using Mozo’s unique Switch & Save Calculator which will help you find the cards that will save you the most in interest and fees. We’ll compare your existing card, balance owing and repayments with hundreds of other cards in the market. Like all of our comparison tools, it's free, so why not see how much you can save by switching now?
Rule 4# Don't use it like a regular credit card
Spending on your new card will only get you deeper in the red, because the low balance transfer interest rate doesn't apply to new purchases. Instead those new gadgets will be charged the card's much higher purchase rate, and you won't get the benefit of any interest free days on new purchases until you have paid off your outstanding debt in full.
Another thing to be mindful of is payments have to be made towards the highest accruing debt, which is usually the purchase rate. So if you spend $300 on the card and you've worked out you can afford to repay $500 a month, $300 will go towards paying off the new purchases first and only $200 will go towards paying off the original debt.
Rule #5 Steer clear of cash advances
Steering clear of the ATM or taking cash out over the counter with your credit card is a good rule of thumb at any time, but it’s especially important now. That 0% interest rate also doesn't apply for ATM cash withdrawals, instead you will be charged the much higher cash advance rate, soaring close to the 22% mark in some cases. And you guessed it, there are no interest free days.
Rule #6 Choose the right balance transfer for you and stick with it
Did you know applying for too many balance transfers could affect your credit rating, especially if you are rejected by multiple banks or card providers? That's why it's important to get a free copy of your credit rating prior to applying for the new card, to check if there are any mistakes that could affect your chances of being approved for the card.
And once you do get a balance transfer credit card, do your best to pay out the debt within the 0% balance transfer period. Continually moving your debt from one balance transfer card to another, may hurt your credit rating and your likelihood of being approved for other banking products like car loans, personal loans and home loans later on.
Rule #7 Don’t repeat old mistakes and stay debt free
Lastly, don't revert back to your old spending habits, instead only spend within your means by creating an airtight budget. And if you decide to keep on using the credit card, be sure to pay the balance in full each month to avoid the bite of interest and late payment fees.
How to compare balance transfer offers
With so many things to consider, finding the right balance transfer card for you can seem overwhelming. So to help you make sure you’re not forgetting anything crucial, Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont has broken down five key questions you should ask when comparing balance transfer deals and choosing a card.
Is there a 0% interest offer? Not all balance transfer cards are created equal. Most come with an interest free period, but some offer you a super low rate instead, usually under 10%, but for a longer period of time. It’s up to you to decide which is better for your needs.
How long is the interest free period? This one’s important, because you should aim to have your full balance paid off before the interest free period ends. Choosing a longer balance transfer deal usually means you can make smaller monthly repayments, and vice versa.
Will you have to pay a balance transfer fee? Sometimes, paying the fee is worth it to get the balance transfer deal on offer, but keep in mind that this fee is usually a percentage of your balance, so for bigger debts it can get expensive. For example, a 3% BT fee on a $10,000 balance is an extra $3,000 you’ll have to pay.
Is there an annual fee to budget for? If you’re working to pay off a credit card debt, annual fees can be another fly in the ointment. Not only will you have to pay this while clearing your balance, but keep in mind it’s an ongoing cost that you’ll need to stay on top of.
What’s the revert rate? Speaking of ongoing costs, you should also take note of the interest rate that will be charged on your balance if you don’t manage to pay it all off (or start carrying a balance again in the future.) Don’t undo all your hard work by choosing a card with a massive purchase rate!
How to choose a balance transfer credit card
There’s a fine art to choosing the right balance transfer deal for your needs. You need to find a card that offers an interest free period long enough to allow you to comfortably pay off your debt.
For example, if you have a $5,000 balance and choose a card with 0% interest for 12 months, you’ll need to pay at least $417 each month to clear your balance before the interest free period is over.
Applying for a balance transfer credit card
Applying for a balance transfer credit card is just like applying for any other credit card, but at some point during the application process, you’ll need to choose the balance transfer option, and put down what balance you’d like to transfer over.
Getting started is really easy - if you’ve found the right balance transfer deal for you here at Mozo, just click the blue Go to Site button to go to the credit card providers website. Once there, you can find some more information or start an application.
How do I transfer my debt?
Let's look at transferring your debt in a little more detail. Here are the main steps you'll follow when transferring credit card debt using a balance transfer deal.
1. Choose a balance transfer deal to suit your needs. You can use the table above or our Switch & Save Calculator to compare balance transfer deals. Once you’ve found a debt consolidation option that ticks the boxes for you, click on the blue ‘go to site’ button, which will take you to the lender’s application page.
2. Start your application. For this, you’ll need to provide identification like your Australian driver's licence or proof of identity details, personal details like your name, address and phone number, plus some financial details, like your current savings balance and any other financial commitments. This helps the credit card provider determine whether or not you’re responsible enough to have a credit card and what your credit limit will be.
3. Choose the balance transfer option. There will be a section on the application form which is specifically about balance transfers. You will be asked to nominate the amount you want to transfer and details of your current credit card. This is so the provider can transfer the debt from this card onto the new card for you.
4. Wait for approval on your application. Credit card providers can differ in the length of time they take to get back to you, so it could take up to 2 business days until you receive a response, usually by email, letting you know that you have been approved for the card.
5. Your provider transfers the debt to the new card. Once you have been approved, your new provider will use the credit card details you gave them when you applied to transfer your balance from your old card to the new BT card. Your job is done for now.
6. Your new card will arrive in the mail. It is a good idea to put the new card in a drawer (not in your wallet) so that you’re not tempted to spend on the new card. This is when your payment plan comes into play. Set up an automatic repayment which will have you debt free by the end of the BT period.
7. Close your old credit card account. Once your debt has been rolled across to the new credit card, you’ll need to close the old credit card account yourself. Don’t leave it open or you could end up paying an annual fee on a card you are no longer using or worse, start spending again and get further into debt.
Am I eligible for a balance transfer?
To be eligible for one of these debt blasting offers, you’ll need to tick a few boxes, including:
being over the age of 18
being an Australian resident or citizen
meeting any other eligibility criteria for the card, such as income or credit requirements
fitting the requirements of the balance transfer offer. You might be eligible for the card itself, but if your balance isn’t within the minimum and maximum transfer amounts, you may not be able to take full advantage of the BT offer
most banks require you to be a new customer, as they sometimes use balance transfer cards as a way to entice you to make the switch from your current bank
Does it cost anything to transfer debt?
Sometimes there is a balance transfer fee that you’ll need to pay when taking up one of these deals. It’s a one off handling fee payable upfront, which is usually a percentage (between 1 - 3%) of the amount you’re transferring. For instance, if there was a 1% fee and you transferred $5,000, you would be charged a fee of $50.
This fee is usually linked to cards that have longer balance transfer terms (18 - 24 months). So you’ll need to weigh up the cost of the fee against the benefit of having more time to pay back the debt at little or no interest.
What to do if you’re in credit card debt
The good news is, if you’re reading this you’ve already taken the first step to getting rid of your bad debt. Here are a few other tactics to help you stay debt free.
Plan your balance transfer and pay off your existing balance. Follow all the steps laid out above and get your balance back down to zero, or as close as possible. If you’re starting from a clean slate, you’ll be motivated to keep it that way.
Limit future spending. Sounds like a no brainer, but this means asking yourself what you really need or want and making some hard choices until your finances are back on track.
Lower your credit card limit. A high credit card limit can just tempt you to spend more than you can afford. By lowering your limit, you’ll remove that temptation and minimise the chances of a big debt blowout.
Automate credit card repayments. Do you find yourself with a balance just because you forget your credit card due date is coming up? Try setting up automatic repayments to cover your spending.
If you’ve tried all that and you’re still struggling to pay off your balance, make repayments and stay debt free, it might be time to look at other options. Some steps you can take include:
Look into your bank’s hardship policy. If you’re struggling to meet credit card repayments, talk to your bank about arranging a new repayment scheme, postponing repayments for a while, or other options they can offer to help.
Contact the National Debt Helpline. This is a great resource for free advice and support, or to talk to a free financial counsellor.
Kelly Emmerton was the Money Editor at Mozo until March 2020. With over 4 years experience writing exclusively in the Australian finance space her in-depth knowledge spans all areas of personal finance, from home loans to travel money. Kelly has a background in communications and when she’s not delving into finance industry stats and product disclosure statements, you’ll find her on the beach reading classic sci-fi.