Credit card providers chasing business with 0% balance transfer offers

Credit card providers chasing business with 0% balance transfer offers

Gone a bit hard on your credit card lately? If so, an interest holiday of 18 months might be just what you need to finally clear that debt.

“But how is that possible?” we hear you ask.

The answer is a ‘balance transfer’, which allows you to switch your debt from one credit card to another – and can also give you an interest holiday in the process.

Not all credit cards allow balance transfers. And not all balance transfer offers include an interest-free period. Some, though, will freeze repayments on your existing debt (but not any new debt you accumulate) for a certain period.

For example, there are more than 10 institutions that allow consumers to transfer their credit card debt without paying any interest on that debt for at least 18 months:

  • ANZ
  • Bank of Melbourne
  • BankSA
  • Bankwest
  • Bendigo Bank
  • Citi
  • HSBC
  • Qantas Money
  • St George Bank
  • Suncorp Bank
  • Virgin Money
  • Westpac

(For more details, see the table at the bottom of this article.)

Balance transfer options

There are almost 100 credit cards on the RateCity website that offer 0% balance transfers. However, only a small portion of these offer 0% balance transfers for at least 18 months.

How to get the most out of balance transfers

When making balance transfers, there are several potential traps to be aware of:

  • Most credit card providers won’t allow you to transfer your entire debt
  • Many credit card providers charge a balance transfer fee
  • The interest-free period applies only to old debt (not any new debt you accumulate)
  • Unless you cancel your old credit card, you will now have two cards
  • Many credit card providers charge an annual fee

To get the most out of a balance transfer, you might wish to:

  • Pay off the entire debt during the interest-free period
  • Cancel your old credit card as soon as possible
  • Avoid spending on either your new card or your old card

You might also wish to cancel the new credit card once the entire balance transfer debt has been repaid. That way, you won’t be able to run up any more credit card debt.

Credit cards – the key numbers

The average interest rate of the approximately 200 credit cards on the RateCity database is 16.78%. The average annual fee charged by those cards is $134.60, while the average number of interest-free days they offer is 51.

Compare Australian balance transfer options

Ready to compare balance transfer credit cards?

Here are some credit cards that offer interest-free periods of at least 18 months for any debt you transfer as part of a balance transfer:

Provider Product BT rate BT fee Annual fee
Citi Platinum (Balance Transfer Offer) 0% for 26 months 1.5% $0 for 12 months, then $199
Bankwest Breeze Mastercard 0% for 26 months 2% $0 for 12 months, then $79
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum 0% for 26 months 2% $0 for 12 months, then $99
BankSA Vertigo Platinum 0% for 26 months 2% $0 for 12 months, then $99
St George Bank Vertigo Platinum 0% for 26 months 2% $0 for 12 months, then $99
HSBC Platinum Credit Card 0% for 22 months $0 $129
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card 0% for 20 months 2% $79
Virgin Money Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card (Ongoing Annual Fee Offer) 0% for 18 months $0 $50
Westpac Low Rate Card 0% for 18 months $0 $59
Virgin Money Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card (Bonus Points Offer) 0% for 18 months $0 $64 for 12 months, then $129
Suncorp Bank Clear Options Platinum Credit Card (Suncorp Bank Rewards) 0% for 18 months $0 $129
Qantas Money Qantas Premier Platinum 0% for 18 months $0 $149 for 12 months, then $299
Suncorp Bank Clear Options Platinum Credit Card (Qantas Rewards) 0% for 18 months $0 $178
ANZ Platinum 0% for 18 months 2% $0 for 12 months, then $87
ANZ First 0% for 18 months 2% $30
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard 0% for 18 months 2% $45

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Learn more about credit cards

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 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 to increase your Qantas Premier credit card limit

When your income or spending habits change, you might wish to increase your credit card limit. The Qantas Premier credit card allows you to do this over the phone. You can contact Qantas Premier Card Support by calling on 1300 992 700. Unlike some other credit providers, Qantas doesn’t give you the option to increase your limit online.

Qantas will only accept your application if you have a good history of repayment and have not increased your credit or bought another credit product from Qantas in the past six months.

Before approving your Qantas Premier credit card limit increase, Qantas will perform a credit assessment on your current financial circumstances and ask why you would like to increase your credit limit.

To ensure that there are no bumps in your application process, you must provide accurate and recent information about your financial situation. You should also account for any future changes you’re anticipating which could hinder your ability to repay the loan.

Once the assessment is complete, Qantas will either approve or deny your application. If they approve it, you will need to sign a credit limit increase agreement - and you can request a written copy of the credit assessment. However, if your application is rejected, Qantas can opt not to provide a copy of the assessment.

How can I increase my credit card limit on my American Express card?

If you want to increase the credit limit on your American Express (AMEX) credit card, you will need to apply through the AMEX Online Services, or by calling the number on the back of your card. You may need to share personal information that the bank can use to assess whether the requested limit is suitable for you and your current financial status. Once your application is approved, your new limit will be ready for use within an hour.

What does Westpac credit card insurance cover?

If you own a Westpac credit card, one of the perks may be  free travel insurance. If you’re eligible, you may be covered if you get sick while travelling, have lost your luggage, have to cancel a trip or have an accident while you’re on the move.

Besides these standard inclusions, the Westpac credit card insurance policy may also cover you for hospital essentials, emergency dental treatment and alternative transport if your original plans go awry. It may also cover loss of income when you get back home after being sick  overseas and your pets’ boarding costs too.

If you have any queries, the Westpac credit card insurance contact number is 1800 091 710. You can submit a claim online.


What is the CUA credit card increase limit process?

A credit limit is pre-assigned based on factors like your income, expenses, and debt by the card-issuing company. It varies from time to time based on credit utilisation and changes to your circumstances.

If your income has increased or your liabilities have reduced, you can request for an increase of your CUA credit card limit. You can lodge the request via online banking on the website, or by visiting the closest branch, or by downloading the application form and mailing it. While making the application, you may need to provide information about your income, employment status, desired limit, and the reason for the increase. The card-issuing company will assess your request before approval.

Before you apply for an increase to the credit limit, ensure your bills are paid in full and you aren’t asking for a very steep enhancement.

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.

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.

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 do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

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.

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.