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Can I balance transfer credit card debt from my partner?

Looking to consolidate a joint debt or alleviate your partner’s debt? Discover which providers allow joint balance transfers below.

Not all credit card providers allow this process, but many do give you the option to move another person’s debt or a joint debt to your credit card. This guide outlines the different options available, including banks that allow joint balance transfers and the steps you can take to transfer a credit card debt from your partner. You can then work out the best approach for you, when dealing with shared debt.

How to conduct a balance transfer for someone else’s debt

Financial institutions provide two main options if you want to transfer another person’s balance to an account under your name. They are:

  • Transferring the balance between two people’s names

    In this instance, you transfer the debt from your partner’s credit card to your credit card. Their name is removed from the debt and yours replaces it, meaning you are the only person legally responsible for the balance. Some credit card issuers require you to add your partner as an “additional cardholder” before their debt can be transferred to the new credit card. Otherwise, you might simply transfer the balance from any person’s account to your own.

single-to-single

  • A Joint accounts for the debt

    Some credit cards and other lenders will allow you and your partner to apply for a joint account. This option means you and your partner share the legal responsibility for the account and any balance that you transfer onto it. To get a joint credit card account, both of you need to provide your details when applying for the balance transfer credit card. Depending on the issuer, you can request that your partner is added as a joint account holder, after you have applied for a card.

singles-to-joint

The process of transferring your partner’s balance to a new card varies depending on the option you choose, and the specific credit card you want to use for the balance transfer. Use the table below as a guide to which banks offer the two balance transfer options for partners.

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How to transfer a balance from your partner’s account to your credit card

As most credit card issuers only allow one primary cardholder, transferring the debt from your partner to your credit card is probably the most achievable option.

Use the following steps as a general guide, when transferring someone else’s debt to a balance transfer credit card in your name.

  1. Compare credit cards. Compare balance transfer credit cards to find one that has a competitive interest rate and promotional period to suit your debt consolidation needs. You want to make sure it has a credit limit that can support your balance (remember, some issuers only allow you to transfer up to a percentage of your credit limit) and that you can pay off the entire debt before the promotional period ends.
  2. Check the balance transfer terms and conditions. Make sure the credit card allows balance transfers between different account names, and whether your partner needs to be a secondary cardholder. For cards not listed on this page, you can check the card product disclosure statement or call the issuer for more information.
  3. Apply for the credit card. You need to provide details, including your full name, address, driver’s licence number or passport number, and employment status.
  4. Include details of the balance transfer. You need to provide details of the account, including the name and details of the current primary account holder (i.e. your partner); the account number; the financial institution’s name; the National Clearing Code (NCC), , where relevant and the amount of debt to be transferred to the new card.
  5. Include details of the additional cardholder. If the issuer requires your partner to be an additional cardholder to process the balance transfer from their account to your new credit card, make sure you fill out this section of the application with your partner.
  6. Submit the application. You should get an initial response within a few minutes. If you get conditional approval, follow the steps outlined by the issuer to complete the application process and finalise the balance transfer.

Once this process is complete, you should receive your new credit card within 5-10 working days, although it can take up to 21 days in some cases. After you activate the new card, the issuer will process the balance transfer.

Make sure you stay in touch with the new issuer and be ready to answer any questions or provide supporting documentation, to help the transfer run as smoothly as possible.

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How to complete a balance transfer to a joint primary cardholder with a partner

With some credit cards, it is possible to transfer a balance from a joint account, or transfer your partner’s credit card debt to a new joint credit card account. The important thing to remember is not all credit cards or issuers allow joint credit card accounts, so you need to make sure you have chosen a card that does offer this feature before you proceed.

  • To transfer a balance from an existing joint account
    Apply for the credit card as usual and include details of the balance transfer request, including all the names of the joint account holders, as well as the account number, financial institution and the amount of debt you want to transfer. You can go through this process with a credit card in just your name, or apply for a credit card that offers joint account status for you and your partner.

joint-to-joint

  • To transfer a balance from your partner’s account to a new joint credit card account
    Find a credit card issuer that allows “joint primary cardholders” and compare their balance transfer credit cards.Depending on the issuer, you can either apply and receive joint account status immediately or apply as an individual, then have your partner request and fill out an application to be added as a joint primary cardholder.

single-to-joint

See our guide on how to apply for a balance transfer for tips to improve your chances of approval.

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What is the difference between joint-primary cardholder accounts and secondary cardholders?

It’s important to understand both of these terms when you plan on sharing a credit card account with your partner or another person. It has an impact on the balance transfer options, as well as your legal rights.

Joint-primary cardholder accountsPrimary cardholder accounts, with secondary cardholders
Two people have applied for a credit card under the “cardholder’s name” and both have complete access to the accountOne person has applied for a credit card in their name but wants to share the account with a partner (without joint account status)
Both can change credit limits, request an account freeze or close the accountPrimary cardholders can request to add a secondary or additional cardholder, but only the primary cardholder has control over credit limit changes, an account freeze or account closure
Both partners have a regular source of income and good credit historiesOnly the primary cardholder needs to have a regular source of income and a good credit history
Both parties remain liable for all transactions and payments made on the cardThe primary cardholder remains liable for all transactions and payments made on the card, even if a balance has been transferred from an account held by the secondary cardholder
If the closure of the account is the result of a divorce or a separation, both partners might have to pay half of the debt, no matter who made which purchase.In the event of a separation or a divorce, the primary cardholder, is liable to make repayments towards the entire account.
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Mistakes to avoid when transferring a balance from someone else’s card

Whether it is your debt or your partner’s, balance transfer credit cards can be a convenient way to save money on interest and pay off the balance faster. However, there are also some risks involved. Being aware of the following mistakes, can help you make an informed decision about balance transfers for you and your partner when you want to consolidate credit card debt.

  • Applying for a card that doesn’t allow balance transfers from someone else’s account. Not all credit cards let you transfer another person’s credit card debt to a new card in your name. Make sure you check these details before you apply to avoid a declined application.
  • Not discussing payments with your partner. If your partner becomes a secondary cardholder on your account, or you apply for joint account status, it’s important to be clear on how and when you will both make payments towards the balance of the credit card. Discussing this before you apply for a new card or balance transfer reduces the risk of confusion or other issues down the track.
  • Not checking the revert rate. The low balance transfer interest rate is only available during the introductory p eriod of the card. When this period ends, any outstanding debt from the balance transfer will attract a higher standard interest rate until it is paid in full.
  • Balance transfer fees. You might have to pay a balance transfer fee for the balance transfer to take effect, and this fee can vary from one card provider to another.

While it is hard to find information about transferring a balance from your partner’s accounts to a new credit card, it is possible under certain circumstances. Understanding the different options available, and the varying conditions credit card issuers impose, means you can find a balance transfer credit card that fits the needs of both you and your partner when you want to deal with debt.

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Frequently asked questions

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