You may complete a credit card balance transfer if your credit card debt is getting the best of you. However, before applying, there’s so much to know. That’s why Monzi’s here to present our guide to completing a balance transfer. We’ll cover introductory periods, how to apply and everything in between. Find out if a balance transfer may be an option for you today.
Please note, certain ideas and products presented in this article may not be offered by Monzi nor the lenders we work with. This article presents only general information. Consider seeking professional financial, taxation, legal or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.
What is a credit card balance transfer?
A credit card balance transfer is the act of transferring your outstanding credit card debt from one or more cards onto one single credit card. Typically, this will be done to take advantage of low, introductory interest rates offered by several banks and credit card providers. As a result, you may significantly reduce your interest payments to make it easier and quicker to pay off your outstanding debt.
Generally speaking, introductory periods may range from 6-24 months or longer in some cases. Throughout this period, you must do what you can to significantly reduce your debt or pay it off completely. This is because once the period ends, interest will accrue on your outstanding balance.
While that addresses the initial question, there is much more to discuss. Read on as Monzi takes an in-depth look at credit card balance transfers as well as another option you might consider. Let’s go.
What’s the point of a credit card balance transfer?
Credit card balance transfers may be a way for you to manage your credit card debt. By transferring your outstanding balance onto a card offering a low introductory rate, you can potentially pay off your debt sooner. After all, rather than your payments going towards your interest, they will go to your principal balance instead.
Given this, the point of a balance transfer is to help you. Rather than trying to keep track of multiple, high-interest credit cards, you just need to focus on making one minimum monthly payment on a single card. However, keep in mind that the introductory period won’t last forever. Once the period elapses, your rate will revert to a variable interest rate. As a result, do your best to pay off your debt before that date.
What is an interest free credit card balance transfer?
An interest-free credit card, otherwise known as a 0% balance transfer credit card, is the best option offered by banks and credit providers when you’re looking to complete a balance transfer.
In short, with 0% interest, you won’t have to pay any interest on your credit card debt over the course of the introductory period. As a guide, this period may range from 6-24 months or even longer depending on what card you are looking at. However, once the period ends, your rate will revert to a standard credit card interest rate. Moreover, you may still be charged interest on purchases.
In any case, if you have credit card debt and are looking to complete a balance transfer, it’s usually best to look out for a card with 0% interest. However, there are other factors to consider too as you’ll soon find out.
Credit card balance transfer comparison
If you want to find the best balance transfer credit card, then it starts with comparing your options. After all, as we with most products, by shopping around, you may find a good deal. Moreover, you may even be able to access more favourable terms too.
So, when you need a balance transfer credit card, make sure you compare the following:
- Introductory period: as a guide, your low-interest or interest-free period may range from 6-24 months. However, some providers may offer longer terms. Make sure you give yourself enough time to repay your debt before the period ends.
- What’s the limit: how much debt can you transfer onto your new card? Note that it may not always be 100% of your new card’s limit.
- Are there any restrictions: you may not be able to transfer your balance between certain banks or providers. Ensure you compare each card based on the restrictions imposed.
- Revert rate: when the introductory period ends, what will your interest rate be? Often, it will be quite high. So, ensure you compare options because you must pay interest on any remaining balance.
- Other fees, charges or benefits: does the provider charge any annual fees or balance transfer fees? Moreover, are there any rewards programs on offer?
How do I transfer my credit card balance?
After you’ve completed your credit card comparison and found a suitable option, a balance transfer is simple.
To get started, you must apply for the card and request a balance transfer. With this, you can usually apply online or at a branch. As a guide, you may need to provide financial and personal information such as ID, bank statements, proof of employment and the details of your balance transfer. From there, the provider will assess your application to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria and you will receive an outcome.
If you are approved, then your card will be sent through the mail. Once your balance transfer has been processed, you are then free to cancel your old card and begin paying off your debt by taking advantage of the introductory period. However, ensure you owe no money on your old card before you cancel it.
Are there any balance transfer credit card offers?
Credit cards are a competitive market. With the number of banks and providers out there, the competition is often fierce to get your business. As a result, they will do whatever they can to provide you with an incentive to sign up.
One such incentive may be the offering of low or no-interest balance transfer credit cards. As a result, consumers are potentially able to find a deal that will make repaying their debt more manageable or affordable. All you need to do is shop around.
With this, ensure that you compare the points we listed above. In addition to this, don’t be afraid to use a comparison website or similar tools to get an idea of the range of products on offer. From there, you can decide which offer is best suited to your situation. However, make sure you are aware of any eligibility requirements or transfer restrictions.
Is it a good idea to do a balance transfer?
If you’ve got credit card debt, then finding the best credit card to complete a balance transfer may be a good idea. To give you an idea, some of the key benefits of balance transfers include:
- Cut down your interest: the most obvious benefit. The low interest rate on offer allows you to pay off more of your debt over the course of the promotional period.
- Access better terms: aside from the lower rate, you may also find a card with lower annual fees or a better rewards program than your existing one.
- You’re incentivised to get your budget under control: the introductory period won’t last forever. As a result, you must do what you can to pay off as much debt as possible before it ends. With this, you may need to prioritise your spending or create a budget.
Are there any downsides to balance transfers?
Balance transfers can provide you with many benefits if you are struggling to stay on top of your credit card debt. However, there are downsides you must consider too. If you don’t, then you may find yourself in a pickle.
In any case, the most commonly cited disadvantages of balance transfers include:
- The introductory period will end: as a guide, your promotional period will range from 6-24 months. Once it ends, your rate will increase to a standard, variable interest rate. With this, credit card interest rates may be high.
- Credit cards present temptation: if you’ve struggled to control your spending in the past, then having a new credit card may lead to more temptation.
- Interest on purchases: you should typically avoid using your balance transfer credit card for purchases. While you’ll pay little interest on your outstanding balance, your provider may charge a standard rate on other transactions.
Do balance transfers hurt your credit?
In short, they may. However, the true effect may depend on how you manage your debt.
In the short-term, your credit score may take a hit if you submit multiple applications for balance transfer credit cards. After all, each application will result in a hard credit inquiry being listed on your report. However, if you only apply once and are approved, then any negative impact may be limited.
In the long-term, the impact of a balance transfer may be positive if you are able to consistently make your minimum repayments and pay off your outstanding debt. In other words, it could begin to repair your credit score.
However, the impact may be negative if you make payments late. Moreover, if you apply for another balance transfer credit card down the line after failing to get your debt under control during the introductory period, then this likely won’t look good on your credit report.
Should I cancel a card following a balance transfer?
Generally, you should.
If you have transferred the total balance of your existing card onto your new card and you no longer owe anything, then you are free to cancel it. After all, if you are not using it, then you no longer need it. Moreover, you will avoid having to pay the annual fee.
That said, before you cancel a card, there are a few steps you should take. Firstly, make sure that your balance owing is $0. In addition to this, transfer or spend any reward points that you have accumulated rather letting them go to waste. Finally, ensure you have cancelled any direct debits or on-going payments to avoid dishonour fees or a breach of contract resulting from missed payments.
For more information, read Moneysmart’s handy guide outlining how to cancel a credit card today.
Can I complete a balance transfer with the same bank?
It is not possible to complete a balance transfer between two cards issued by the same bank. Moreover, you may also be unable to transfer debt between two credit cards with the same issuer. As a guide, there are a handful of different credit card issuers out there, so ensure you are aware of this fact before applying.
In addition, take note of any transfer restrictions that your provider may impose too. This should be listed somewhere in the terms and conditions. If you are unsure, then it may be best to contact them directly.
If you do attempt to apply for a balance transfer card with the same bank or issuers, then your application will be denied.
Credit card balance transfer calculators
If you would like to know how much you may save with a balance transfer, then many banks and credit card providers offer online calculators. In essence, they operate in a similar manner to loan repayment calculators and other financial tools.
To begin, you’ll need to enter the details of your current, outstanding credit card debts. As a guide, this may include your outstanding balance, interest rate and annual fee. From there, the calculator may generate an estimate of how much you may save by completing a balance transfer. You can then use this information to determine whether it’s a worthwhile option for you.
That said, remember that online calculators can only ever offer estimates. This goes for balance transfer calculators, personal loan calculators, credit card interest calculators and other similar financial tools. In other words, your true savings may vary based on the terms of your balance transfer and how you manage your debt repayments.
What do I need to apply?
Applying for a new credit card with a 0% introductory rate will be similar to applying for most other forms of credit. While providers may vary in the exact requirements, you’ll usually need to meet a number of criteria related to your age, income and financial situation.
As a guide, you may need to be at least 18 years old and an Australian citizen, earn sufficient income to meet the necessary requirements and check a few other boxes related to your current debt and expenses. For specific criteria, contact the relevant credit card provider.
In addition to this, your provider will ask you to supply a range of documents. So, before you apply, ensure you can provide information such as:
- ID: you must prove that you are who you say you are. This may include your licence, birth certificate or passport.
- Employment details
- Your assets and liabilities (e.g. any current outstanding debts)
- Bank statements
- An outline of your current living situation and expenses (e.g. rent, food, etc.).
Again, though, credit card providers and banks may vary in their exact requirements and criteria. As a result, it’s best to contact them directly for more information.
Are there any monthly payments on a balance transfer credit card?
While a balance transfer credit card may charge 0% interest or low interest on your outstanding balance, all cards will still come with a minimum monthly repayment. In short, this is standard for most credit cards. If you fail to make the minimum repayment on your outstanding balance, then your provider may charge a late fee or you may risk voiding your introductory rate period.
In any case, you should be doing what you can to repay more than the minimum each month anyway. After all, the introductory period will only remain in place for a short time before reverting to a higher rate. As a result, you must take advantage and pay off as much debt as possible while there’s little to no interest charged. Otherwise, your balance transfer may have been for nothing.
Ultimately, your goal should be to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends. However, this won’t always be possible. So, in some cases, it may be wise to create a more realistic goal.
Should I be worried about any fees?
Yes, if you apply for a new card to complete a balance transfer, it’s important to keep an eye out for any fees. In short, while you may be able to largely avoid interest, you may incur other charges.
As a guide, this may extra charges may include:
- Balance transfer fees: you may be charged for moving your debt from one card to another. Typically, providers will charge this as a fixed percentage of the amount that you are transferring. Usually, the fee will be less than 5%. However, check the terms and conditions to know for sure.
- Annual fees: these fees are common for most credit accounts. As you’d expect, it’s simply a once annual payment that you must make. While some cards may come with no annual fees, others may have fees that exceed $100.
- Interest on purchases: while you may pay little interest on your balance through the introductory period, you may pay standard interest rates on new purchases. As a result, whenever possible, it’s usually better to avoid spending with the card.
What should I ask myself before completing a balance transfer?
If you’ve got your heart set on a credit card balance transfer to help you minimise your interest payments, that’s great. However, before you make the leap, you must ask yourself a few of the following questions to determine if it will be the best option for you:
- What is my current level of credit card debt?
- Do I have any other outstanding debts (e.g. fast cash loans)?
- Can I get a card with a 0% interest introductory period?
- How long will the introductory period last?
- Based on my current earning and budget, will it be possible to pay off the debt before the introductory period elapses?
- Am I disciplined enough to avoid applying for credit while I pay off my current debt?
Note that these questions only provide a guide. However, the answers may be helpful for you to consider the viability of a credit card balance transfer. If you are in any doubt, it may be best to approach an expert who can assess your financial situation and provide advice tailored to you.
Are there any other options?
If you’re consumed by credit card debt and feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, you must understand that there may be options for you. While a credit card balance transfer could be one, debt consolidation loans may be another.
In short, a debt consolidation loan involved borrowing money to repay your current outstanding debts. As a guide, this may include credit card debt, personal loans and other forms of credit. As a result, you’re left with one fixed-term loan, meaning you only need to keep track of one regular repayment, one interest rate and one lender. In other words, debt consolidation may provide a clear path to repaying your debt.
What are the pros and cons of debt consolidation loans?
As we touched on above, debt consolidation is often viewed as a positive because it may reduce the uncertainty related to your debt and make your life easier. Rather than making repayments on multiple debts each month, you’ve only got one loan to worry about. Moreover, it will be a fixed-rate loan too, meaning you know exactly how much you have to pay.
In addition to this, there may also be debt consolidation loans for bad credit, which could be an option if your credit score isn’t where it should be.
On the other hand, a key drawback you must consider is that you may pay more. With this, before applying, you must calculate how much you are currently paying as well as how much it will cost you to be debt-free. Then, compare this to the costs of your debt consolidation loan to determine if it’s a viable option from a financial perspective.
Given this, if you’re not sure about consolidating your debt, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons to see how they apply to your financial situation. If you are unsure, then consider approaching a qualified professional for advice tailored to you.
Can Monzi help me find debt consolidation loans?
Here at Monzi, we cannot offer you a credit card. As a result, if you’re looking to complete a balance transfer, then you may need to do your own research. We’ve simply down our best to provide you with a detailed guide outlining your options and the information you must know.
However, we are a lender-finder service. With this, we may be able to connect you with lenders offering cash loans from $300 to $10,000 today. One of the most common reasons that Aussie like you apply for these loans is debt consolidation.
So, if you’re looking for a quick loan with a fixed repayment term to simplify your debt, then apply with Monzi. Use the loan slider at the top of the page to begin now.
Finally, keep in mind that there are costs involved, meaning it may be wise to use a debt consolidation loan calculator before applying.
Should I consolidate my debt?
You may consider a credit card debt consolidation loan if:
- Your repayments are unmanageable or difficult to keep track of.
- You have many debts with a number of different credit providers.
- Interest rates on your loans and debts are high.
- You earn a consistent and regular income that will cover both your everyday expenses and loan repayments comfortably.
- You feel that you have the discipline to repay your debt consolidation loan and will implement strategies to avoid relying on credit in the future.
However, note that the list above provides a general guide. Debt consolidation may or may not be appropriate for your financial situation. As a result, it’s up to you to assess the benefits and costs.
When should I not take out a debt consolidation loan?
Debt consolidation won’t always be the perfect solution. As a guide, you should not apply if:
- You will be paying more: debt consolidation may leave you with one easy loan. However, if the costs exceed what you were previously paying, then it may not be worth it. Moreover, consider any exit fees or penalties applied for paying off your other debts.
- Your assets will be at risk: generally, you must secure loans over $2,000. With this, you are potentially putting yourself at risk of losing an asset. So, don’t apply unless you are sure that you can make the repayments on time and in full.
- A company makes unrealistic promises or guarantees: don’t agree to a loan unless you know exactly how much you will pay. Moreover, ensure you will be able to repay your debt over a manageable term.
If this applies to you and you are dealing with credit card debt, then a credit card balance transfer may be a more realistic option.
Should I take out a debt consolidation loan or complete a balance transfer?
Realistically, it’s up to you. While both options may have their benefits, there are drawbacks to consider too. As a result, you must do your research and conduct some calculations to decide which option may be most appropriate.
On the one hand, if you are able to find a credit card with a low or no interest introductory period, then this can be a great way to reduce the interest you pay. In turn, it may allow you to get your credit card debt under control. However, once the introductory period ends, your debt will begin to accrue interest.
On the other hand, debt consolidation personal loans could be an option if you have several outstanding debts. With this, it can reduce the headache and streamline your repayments as you’ll only have one loan to worry about. That said, lenders will charge fees and interest so you must be aware of any costs.
Given this, as we’ve mentioned, it’s your decision. Aim to find the option that fits your needs the best, whether that’s a personal loan or a credit card.
How do I apply with Monzi?
If you crunch the numbers and determine that a debt consolidation loan is an affordable option to help you manage your credit card debt, then your next step will be to apply. With Monzi, it’s a breeze. Just follow these easy steps and you may be matched with a lender before you know it:
- Select your loan amount and repayment term.
- Complete Monzi’s online application form by providing the necessary financial and personal details.
- Put your feet up as Monzi takes over. At this point, we’ll do our best to pair you with an available lender from our extensive network.
- Keep a close eye on your phone as we’ll be in touch with an outcome. If we pair you with a lender, then they will contact you to begin the next stage of your application.
However, note that approval is not guaranteed. Moreover, ensure that you have considered all your options (e.g. credit card balance transfers) as well as the costs before applying.
Who can I ask for help with credit card debt?
If debt is controlling your life and you feel as if there is no way out, it’s important to understand that there is help available. While credit card balance transfers and consolidation loans may reduce your costs or simplify your repayments, a good first step is often to consult with a qualified debt advisor.
With this, you can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free advice on managing your debts. From there, they may be able to connect you with a financial counsellor who may provide advice tailored to your situation. Alternatively, there may be many companies who specialise in debt relief and management and may be able to help you put a plan in place.
Finally, if you would like to learn more about debt consolidation loans and what you may need to consider, Moneysmart has provided an easy guide to debt consolidation that may be a great place to start. Check it out today.
Credit card balance transfers? Consider a debt consolidation loan
At Monzi, we’re expert lender-finders. So, if you decide that a consolidation loan is the right option to help you manage your debt, then you’re welcome to apply. We may pair you with a lender offering debt consolidation loans from $300 to $10,000 in just 60 minutes. However, ensure you consider any costs before beginning your application.
In addition to this, if you’ve got any questions about Monzi or our lender-finder service, then don’t be afraid to reach out. We’re a friendly organisation and will also do our best to address any questions that you might have. All you need to do is send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll do our best to get back to you ASAP.