Transfer your credit card debt and repay it over 12 months with 0% interest. Compare some of the longest balance transfers available today.
One way to tackle your credit card debt is to apply for a balance transfer credit card and transfer your balance at a low interest rate for a set period of time. The longer the term of a balance transfer, the more time you will have to pay off your debt. Learn about longer term balance transfer offers in this guide and some of the most commonly asked questions when applying for them.
What is a long-term balance transfer?
A balance transfer offer on a credit card allows you to transfer your current credit card balance to a new card and repay it at a lower interest rate for a set period of time. Longer term balance transfers are a type of credit card offer that allows customers to transfer their existing credit card balance to a new credit card for a longer period of time – typically 9 or 12 months. Balance transfers charge a lower interest rate over the promotional period so you can save money and repay your debt.
What is the process to transfer a credit card balance?
Customers can apply for a long-term balance transfer credit card by requesting it during the online application (or after credit card approval with specific banks). Once the balance transfer has been requested, the new banking institution submits a request payout for the existing debt and transfers that amount to the new balance transfer credit card.
Credit card issuers essentially provide this offer as an incentive to attract new customers. However, it is important to pay off your debt during this period because after the balance transfer period, the interest rate reverts to a much higher standard interest rate or cash advance rate.
What are the types of long balance transfer period credit cards available?
No frills balance transfers. You can choose to balance transfer your debt onto a standard credit card that doesn’t have any features you won’t use. If you are seriously dedicated to paying off your debt, then these type of credit cards won’t motivate you to spend more because of the lack of rewards and features. The interest rate is typically either:
– 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 6 months or more
– A low balance transfer interest rate (e.g: 0.99%, 1.9%, 3.9%) for a longer period of time eg: 12 months.
- Platinum balance transfers. If you have a high credit limit, you may want to balance transfer your debt onto a Platinum credit card. These types of credit cards often have complimentary travel insurance as well as a range of features to motivate you to spend more. They are often linked to a rewards system as well, so aren’t a great idea if you want to remain dedicated to paying your debt back quickly.
- Rewards and Airpoints balance transfers. These type of credit cards allow you to earn points on eligible purchases. While you don’t earn points for transferring your balance, you still get more value out of purchases made on the card. Be mindful that if you have a balance on a rewards credit card, the interest charges will often negate the benefits the rewards points provide.
How to compare credit cards that offer a long balance transfer deal
- Promotional interest period. If you are looking for a balance transfer period that is considered a longer term, you need to look for one that is 6 months or longer.
- The balance transfer interest rate. This is the interest rate that is charged on balance that you transfer. . There is a range of credit cards that offer a 0% balance transfer for a period of 12 months, which then reverts to a low rate (eg 5.95%) for the life of the transferred balance. Others, for example the ANZ low rate Visa card, offer a low purchase rate of 1.99% for 12 months which then reverts to a purchase rate of 13.90%. This is when you need to use your judgement to determine how long you need to repay your credit card debt to get the most competitive interest rate.
- Balance transfer amount and limit. This determines the maximum amount you can balance transfer to your new credit card. A rule for long-term balance transfers is that you can’t balance transfer more than your approved maximum credit limit. A common industry limit is 95% of your approved credit limit. So for an approved credit limit of $10,000, the maximum amount that can be transferred to the new card is $9,500. A few balance transfer credit cards have minimum and maximum amount of balance that can be transferred.
- Balance transfer fee. Banks may charge a fee of 1to 3% of the entire balance transfer amount, so it is important to read the terms and conditions before applying.
- Balance transfer revert rate. Have a look at whether the balance transfer rate reverts to the purchase rate or cash advance rate. The purchase rate is generally lower than the cash advance rate, so if you do forget you won’t be charged as much interest.
Pros and cons of a long-term balance transfer
- More time to pay off your debts. 12 months gives you more time to get on top of your finances and make the smart move to pay off debt.
- Pay less interest. Using a long-term balance transfer can be great for customers with a sizeable credit card debt who want more time on the one card to save money in interest and pay off their debt.
- Revert rate. The revert rate of your balance transfer is either the purchase rate or cash advance rate so it is important to have your balance paid off before the balance transfer period ends or transfer any leftover balance again, if you are in a position to apply for another balance transfer credit card.
Things to avoid when transferring your balance for a longer term
- Making extra purchases. If you make a purchase on a credit card with an outstanding balance, interest is charged on the day of the purchase. This defeats the purpose of trying to pack back your original debt.
- Leaving unpaid balances after the set period. Interest on a balance transfer will revert to either the purchase rate or, more commonly, the cash advance rate of interest after the promotional period. This can vary from card to card, but usually the interest will revert to an excess of 20% p.a.
- Transferring to the same bank. Most credit card products don’t allow you to balance transfer to the same bank or its affiliates unless specifically stated in their terms and conditions.