Do you currently have credit card debt across one or more cards that you are struggling to pay off? If so, you might benefit from a balance transfer credit card. 

A lot of Australians struggle with credit card debt, so you're not alone. A balance transfer moves your existing debt to a new credit card, to reduce your monthly repayments and the total interest you have to pay. This could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in debt, especially if you only make the minimum repayment every month.

The main reason people use a balance transfer credit card is to take advantage of 0 per cent balance transfer periods, which can be anywhere from 6 to 26 months.

Calculate how much you could save by transferring your balance to a 0% card balance deal

Credit card holders who transfer their balance to a new card could save an average of $1262 in interest and fees and pay their debt off 6 months earlier. Calculate your savings and compare balance transfer deals today*

Credit card balance

$

Monthly repayment

$

Current interest rate

%
Product Name Card
Balance Transfer Rate
Annual Fee
Potential Savings
Fees & Interest
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Balance Transfer Rate

0%

for 6 months then 21.74%

Annual Fee

$30

$1,288

1 year and 11 months

$536

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More details

Balance Transfer Rate

20.24%

Annual Fee

$80

$601

2 years and 3 months

$1,222

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More details

Balance Transfer Rate

20.24%

Annual Fee

$95

$544

2 years and 3 months

$1,280

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Balance Transfer Rate

20.24%

Annual Fee

$375

-$581

2 years and 9 months

$2,405

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More details

How does the balance transfer calculator work?

Credit card debt happens to the best of us, and one way you can try and get on top of it is through a balance transfer.

The RateCity balance transfer calculator can help you see how much you might save by switching from your current credit card to a balance transfer card. The calculator shows you multiple balance transfer options, and the potential savings for each card.

Here’s how it works:

  • Enter your current credit card balance (debt)
  • Enter your monthly credit card repayment
  • Put in your current credit card interest rate
  • Hit Enter

The rate table below will update to show you a list of credit cards and the potential savings you could make if you were to switch. 

The table also includes information like annual fee, other fees and interest charges, as well as the balance transfer rate, and details of any 0 per cent balance transfer period.

Why use a balance transfer calculator?

Determining how much you’ll save on a balance transfer can be tricky, especially when there are so many choices available on the market. 

Fortunately, the RateCity credit card balance transfer calculator eliminates the guesswork by showing you: 

  • Potential savings you will make by switching to another credit card;
  • How much you could save by choosing to make higher repayments; and
  • How much interest you’ll pay after the promotional interest period is over.

How do I choose the best balance transfer offer?

There are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing the best balance transfer offer for your financial situation, and the balance transfer calculator can be a great asset in your decision making. 

  • Interest free period: the period of time that you are not charged interest will indicate just how much breathing room you have to pay back your debt. This could range from as low as 6 months to 12 months, and climb as high as 18 months to 24 months interest free. 
  • Interest rates: not only should you take into consideration the purchase rate charged on new purchases and cash advance rate, but also the balance transfer rate charged upon using the account. Looking for a low rate option once your balance transfer period has ended may help you continue to keep debt at bay. 
  • Fees: including annual fees, balance transfer fees (bt fees), foreign transaction fees, late payment fees, and more. These will impact the ongoing cost of your balance transfer card, regardless of if you're still in an interest free period. 
  • Card issuer: your card provider should play a role in your decision making. If you want a credit card that is bundled with your home loan, or with the same bank as your personal loan, you'll only be considering offers from the one lender. Or, you may want a card from a newer, online lender for ease of application and access to the latest fintech. And it's not just the bank you need to consider, but also whether you want a Visa, Mastercard or American Express. 
  • Perks and rewards: once you've paid your balance transfer amount in full, will your new card offer you any perks and rewards? This could include a rewards program, travel insurance, a high number of interest free days, cash back and more.

What happens if I don't pay off my balance transfer in time?

If you come to the end of your balance transfer period, or even the end of a 0 per cent introductory period on a standard card, and you still have money owing, you will begin to accrue interest on this balance.

This is why it's so important that cardholders carefully review their repayment terms before applying for a balance transfer card. This includes:

  1. Knowing exactly how long the balance transfer period is. 
  2. Knowing exactly what purchase rate the balance will be charged if it's not paid in full. 
  3. Knowing exactly what potential ongoing fees may be charged. 
  4. Knowing that if you make any new purchases on your balance transfer card, you will immediately be charged interest on these purchases. 

The latter point can be a serious blind spot for a lot of struggling Aussies trying to get on top of their debt. This is why experts generally recommend that once you transfer your balance to your new card, you put it in the freezer or lock it in a drawer so you're not tempted to use it until the debt has been repaid.

If you believe that you won't be able to pay your balance in full by the end of the interest free period, or if you want to continue using a credit card after the balance has been paid, it may be worth considering low rate credit card options. 

It's also worth keeping in mind that you triple check your old credit card account has been closed, and nothing is still owing once you've transferred to your new card. 

  • Remember, having a maxed out credit limit and only making minimum monthly payments on your debt can seriously impact your credit score. By choosing to get on top of it with a balance transfer card, you're potentially not only improving your financial situation, but also your credit rating.

What are the pros and cons of balance transfers?

Overall, there are a variety of reasons to consider a balance transfer. However, it’s important to be aware of sneaky fees and revert rates that can hit you after the promotional period. 

The benefits of balance transfers

  • Pay off your debt quicker: switching to a credit card with a lower interest rate or 0 per cent balance transfer rate can help you pay off your debt faster.
  • Easier debt management: if you have multiple debts across different cards, it can be hard to keep track of repayments. Consolidating debt can make debt simpler to manage.
  • Lower interest rates: transferring your debt to a card with lower interest rates could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest.

The disadvantages of balance transfers

  • Additional fees and charges: credit cards can come with many different fees and charges, including bt fees. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before you apply to better understand these costs.
  • Higher rates after promotional periods: Once your interest-free period ends, you may incur a high interest rate on any outstanding balance. Make sure you work off any debt before this period ends.
  • Risk of more debt: purchases made on balance transfer cards will still accrue interest when you make purchases, so you could be at risk of accumulating more debt.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

How to pay a credit card from another bank

Paying or transferring debt from one lender to the other is called a balance transfer. This involves transferring part or all of the debt from a credit card with one lender to a credit card with another. As part of the process, your new lender will pay out the old lender, so that you now owe the same amount of money but to a new institution.

Many credit card providers offer an interest-free period on balance transfers to help new applicants better handle their debt. During this period, cardholders are not required to pay interest on the debt they brought over from the other card. This can be a great opportunity for consumers to pay off credit card debt with no interest. There are often fees associated with balance transfers; normally, these are a percentage of the amount transferred.

So make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card before transferring any debt across.

How is credit card interest charged?

Your credit card will be charged interest when you don’t pay off the balance on your credit card. Your card provider or bank charges you the individual interest rate that is associated with your card, which is usually between 10 and 20 per cent. 

The interest will be added onto your bill each month or billing period if you don’t pay off the balance, unless you are in an interest-free period.

You will be charged interest on anything that hasn’t been paid for inside the interest-free period. Usually you will receive a notice on your bill or statement saying you will be charged interest so you have some form of notice before you’re charged.

How does credit card interest work?

Generally, when we talk about credit card interest, we mean the purchase interest rate, which is the interest charged on purchases you make with your credit card.

If you don’t pay your full balance each month (or even if you pay the minimum amount), you are charged interest on all the outstanding transactions and the remaining balance. However, interest is also charged on cash advances, balance transfers, special rate offers and, in some cases, even the fees charged by the company.

The interest rate can vary, depending on the credit card. Some have an interest-free period, otherwise you start paying interest from the day you make a purchase or from the day your monthly statement is issued. So avoid interest by paying the full amount promptly.

How to calculate credit card interest

Credit card interest can quickly turn a manageable balance into unmovable debt. So being able to understand how interest rates translate into dollars is an important skill to acquire.

The common mistake people make is focusing on the credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR), which often sits between 15 and 20 per cent. While the APR does provide a rough idea of how much interest you’ll pay, it’s not entirely accurate.

This is because you actually accrue interest on your balance daily, not annually. So, you need to work out your daily periodic rate (DPR). To do this, divide your card’s APR by the number of days in a year (e.g. 16.9 per cent divided by 365, or 0.05 per cent). You can then apply this figure to the daily balance on your credit card.

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How to get rid of credit card debt

  1. Calculate your debt. Credit card calculators make it easy to determine the repayments required to chip away at your debt in the shortest timeframe possible for your budget.
  2. Repayment plans. Take some time to formulate a credit repayment plan. Consider increasing your income, scaling back your lifestyle or refinancing.
  3. Talk to your credit provider. If you’re still struggling with your debt, give your credit provider a call. You may be able to come to a new arrangement.

Monthly repayment

This is how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis off your credit card. You can enter any amount you wish; but to make the balance transfer worthwhile the default is $200.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

Current Interest Rate

This is the current interest rate on your existing credit card.

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.

How do you pay off credit cards?

The best way to pay off a credit card bill is to set a realistic spending budget and stick to it. Each month, you’ll get a credit card statement detailing how much you owe and how long it will take to pay off the balance by making minimum repayments. If you only make the minimum repayments, it will take you years to pay off your outstanding balance and add extra costs in interest charges. To avoid any extra charges, you should pay the entire bill. 

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.