Is it possible to carry out a second balance transfer?

What you need to know before you apply for a second balance transfer credit card to get your debt under control.

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If your current balance transfer promotion has come to an end, but you haven’t repaid the entire debt, you do have the option of moving it to another card with 0% on balance transfers. While there’s technically no restriction on the number of times you can transfer your credit card balance, there are conditions you need to be aware of before doing so. For example, each application is listed on your credit file and you can’t transfer your debt to a credit card within the same financial institution. There are also balance transfer limits you need to consider before doing a second balance transfer.

This guide covers the terms and conditions you need to be aware of, so you can secure another break in credit card interest repayments.

How to conduct a second balance transfer

If you have an active balance transfer promotion that is about to finish, you can transfer the balance again to another credit card. Just follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you pay off as much as you can before the end of the original balance transfer promotional period.
  2. Compare balance transfer credit cards on the market and consider the length of the promotional 0% balance transfer offers and any fees the cards attract, to determine whether it benefits you.
  3. Double check the eligibility requirements, by reading our balance transfer credit card review and application pages.
  4. Apply for a balance transfer credit card and enter your current credit card details when prompted by the online application.

Bear in mind that your second balance transfer is subject to the credit card provider’s lending criteria, which includes a credit check that will show your previous applications and current credit accounts (they can see when you applied for the first balance transfer card). If your application does not meet a lender’s specific requirements, you won’t be approved.

Case Study: José's second balance transfer

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José has been using his credit card for purchases and to pay important bills and now has a debt of $14,000. He applied and was approved for a balance transfer to a new card at 0% for six months. In the six month promotional period, he paid back a portion of the debt but still owes $11,000.

Now the balance transfer deal is over, the remaining $11,000 will accrue interest at 19% p.a. Instead of paying this high-interest rate, José decides to apply for a new credit card that also offers 0% for six months on balance transfers.

He’s approved for the new card and spends the next six months throwing all his extra money at the debt, eventually getting it down to $6,000.

Remember, the $5,000 Jose has paid on this balance has gone purely towards paying off his debt, so (with the exception Remember, the $5,000 José paid on this balance has gone towards paying off his debt, so he hasn’t paid any other fees, except the annual one. If he continued to pay off his balance of $11,000 at 19%, in six months, he would pay approximately $900 in interest.

Now, José can either apply to move the money to a third credit card with a balance transfer promotion or simply try to pay extra each month, to offset the interest charges that apply once the promotional period is over.

Five factors to consider before applying for a second balance transfer credit card

  1. Is the bank eligible? To be eligible for a balance transfer promotion, you must transfer your debt to a credit card from a different bank. For example, if you have a Westpac Low Rate Credit Card, you can transfer a balance from a BNZ credit card but not another Westpacone.
  2. Do you meet the credit card eligibility requirements? Every credit card has a list of application requirements that you need to meet in order to apply. Credit card application requirements include New Zealand citizenship or residency, minimum age and minimum income requirements. Usually, if you’re eligible for a credit card, you’re eligible for a balance transfer to that card. See our guide on how to ensure your balance transfer application is successful, where there are more tips on the information you need to improve your likelihood of approval.
  3. Is there a balance transfer limit? There is a minimum and maximum amount you can balance transfer. The minimum amount is around $500, and the maximum balance transfer amount varies depending on the institution and your financial circumstances. As such, the maximum balance transfer amount is expressed as a percentage of your credit limit, for example, you could be able to use up to 80% of your approved credit limit towards a balance transfer. Balance transfer limits are important when you look at second balance transfers. If you accepted the maximum credit limit available when you applied for your first credit card and your financial situation hasn’t changed, the credit limit on your second credit card could be lower than the first. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to transfer the full amount.
  4. How will this impact your credit rating? Every application for credit is recorded on your credit report. A healthy credit report is key to your chance of being approved for credit in the future. Too many applications for credit in a short space of time is a red flag to potential lenders. What’s more, applying for multiple balance transfer offers – sometimes known as “credit card churning” – is frowned upon by most issuers. After all, they are typically looking for customers that will stay with them beyond the honeymoon period.
  5. Are there balance transfer fees? Some financial institutions charge a balance transfer fee for specific credit card offers. This fee could be 1-4% of the total amount you wish to transfer and is deducted from your remaining credit limit. It’s also important to consider other fees, such as the annual fee and interest rates. If these costs outweigh the savings you’ll earn from your paying off your debt without interest; you might want to look for a card with lower costs.

If a balance transfer promotional period is finished and you still have debt, you may want to transfer the balance again to avoid interest charges. As there is some risk to carrying out a second balance transfer, make sure you weigh up all of the factors above. Remember, any balance transfer card you apply for is subject to approval and recorded on your credit file, so it pays to do your research first.

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