Is the balance transfer dream over?

Question is, what happens when the low rate intro period runs out and you still haven’t paid off the balance?

A general rule for BT cards is that after the low intro period rate – typically 0% – 4% for around six months – the balance transfer rate will revert back to the card’s standard ‘purchase’ rate. This rate should be easy to find, and will generally be somewhere south of 20% – closer to 10% for low rate cards.

Some cards however, instead of reverting to the purchase rate, will sneakily attract the much higher cash advance rate. This is usually in the order of 21%. What’s worse is that some cards require you to pay off any purchases before you can start tackling the burgeoning balance transfer debt. A spiral of despair may quickly ensue.

So are BT cards the work of evil banking genii or a gift to be used for good? In the right hands, they are pure gold. If you can plan ahead, check all the fine print and rates (which you can find on Mozo) and manage your spending, you can save thousands with the right card. Just don’t over-extend yourself.

Now, if you can tick all those boxes, check out our…

Balance transfer card top picks

ANZ <#Low Rate#CreditCard#67#> 2.90% 12 months 13.24% $58
Virgin Money <#No Annual Fee Card#CreditCard#231#> 2.90% 6 months 16.95% $0
St George <#Vertigo#CreditCard#60#> 2.99% 6 months 12.49% $55
Aussie <#Aussie MasterCard#CreditCard#206#> 3.99% 12 months 12.99% $49
Suncorp Bank <#Clear Options Platinum (Qantas Rewards)#CreditCard#174#> 3.90% Until repaid 19.99% $224

Or to take matters into your own hands, compare balance transfer cards now!