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Balance Transfers in Singapore

Find out how to pay off your debt faster with a balance transfer.

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Do you want to consolidate your debts and save money on interest costs? A balance transfer can offer you an introductory low or 0% interest rate when you move what you owe from one card issuer to a new line of credit, helping you to pay off your debt faster.

Use this guide to learn about how balance transfers work and what you need to know to make an informed choice when looking for a balance transfer promotion in Singapore.

What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer is when you move existing debt from one credit account to another. People do this in order to reduce their interest payments or help consolidate debts into one manageable monthly payment.

How exactly does a balance transfer work

Let’s say you have debt on a credit card with a typical interest rate of 25%. The repayment amount can add up fast, meaning it’s harder to keep up with your payments. By moving this balance to a 0% deal with a new personal loan or credit card, you wouldn’t need to pay interest on your borrowing until the introductory rate ends. In Singapore, this could be for as long as 12 months. As long as you pay off the credit line in full before the 0% introductory deal expires, a balance transfer works a bit like a loan you don’t pay interest on.

You can typically use up to 90%-95% of the available credit limit of your existing credit line towards a balance transfer. Most balance transfers accept debts from other card issuers as long as they are issued by different financial institutions.

Balance Transfer Offers

Compare the best balance transfer options in Singapore

The following rates, fees and details are accurate as of 18 Aug 2020 and are subject to change.

ProviderEffective interest ratePrevailing interest rateProcessing fees
Citibank Credit Card Balance Transfer Program3.65%26.90%1.58%
HSBC Credit Card Balance TransferStarts from 4.39% p.a.28%S$88 (waived for approved amounts S$10,000 or more)
Maybank Fund Transfer2.96% p.a.25.90%Starts from 1.38%
Standard Chartered Credit Card Funds Transfer Programme2.83% p.a.29.90%Starts from 0.70%
DBS Balance Transfer5.34% p.a.26.80%Starts from 2.50%
UOB Balance Transfer5.34% p.a.28%Starts from 2.50%
BOC Fund Transfer7.49% p.a.28.88%Starts from 1.8%
CIMB Balance Transfer2.06% p.a.28%Starts from 0.5%
OCBC Balance Transfer7.38% p.a.28.92%Starts from 1.80%

Balance transfer promotions: how to apply

Most of the big banks in Singapore offer a balance transfer promotion at 0% for a stated period, usually between three and 12 months. To take advantage of the promotional interest rate, you’ll need to request a balance transfer when you apply for a new line of credit.

In most credit card applications, you will find a section that asks whether you would like to shift existing debt onto your new account. You will be asked for details of your existing credit card debt, including where it’s from and how much of it you want to transfer to the new card.

If your application gets approved, your debt may be automatically moved over to your new account after you activate the new credit account. But do check – as you may need to ensure any debt is switched within a certain time period. Always check the terms and conditions to ensure you fully understand the offer before you sign up.

Must Read. Before you apply for a balance transfer, make sure that you have selected a new line of credit from an issuer that accepts transfers from your current bank and account.

Should I close my credit card after a balance transfer?

It’s important to contact your current issuer to find out exactly what you’d need to pay back on your existing account – and by when – before it can be closed. This is important because the final payout figure might be different from the balance that appears in your account statement due to various charges, such as interest payments, annual fees or outstanding direct debits.

About balance transfer fees

The majority of balance transfers charge a one-off balance transfer or processing fee. This charge is usually calculated as a percentage of the amount of the debt that you transfer to the new account.

Typically the balance transfer fee is between 1% and 5% of your debt balance you transfer, depending on the repayment term. For example, if you have a S$5,000 debt which you want to transfer, and the fee is 3%, your transfer fee will amount to S$150. You can also expect to pay a late payment fee if you fail to make the minimum payment that applies each month. Late payment fees can range from around S$50-S$125.

When it comes to a balance transfer promotion, be aware that if you fail to repay your entire debt before the promotional period ends, you’ll have to start paying interest. Keep an eye out for the new account’s ‘revert rate’ of interest. Also, be aware that you may even have to pay a cash advance rate after the 0% period ends. Read our guide for more information on how cash advance rates work.

So, be sure to look for the following:

  • Reverting interest rate. The promotional rate for your balance transfer is locked in, so you won’t have to pay higher interest rates during the offer. When the promotional offer ends, a higher revert rate will apply to any remaining debts. This is called the reverting rate. If you want to save on interest costs, go for a card with lower reverting rates of interest, especially if you will be unable to complete repayment during the interest free promotion period.
  • Minimum payments. Even if the card offers a 0% balance transfer rate, you will still have to make the minimum payment each month. If you only meet the minimum repayment, you won’t pay off the entire debt before the promotion ends. Once the promotion period ends, any remaining debts on your credit card will start collecting interest and your balance will continue to grow.

Why might my balance transfer application be refused?

credit-card-rejection-reasons Financial institutions assess balance transfer applications carefully. To increase your chances of approval, see some of the factors that could cause a bank to decline your application before you apply:

  1. Poor credit history. You’ll need a good credit history to obtain a balance transfer deal. If you haven’t checked recently, you may find out what your current credit score is with a report from the Credit Bureau. It is important to remember, however, that prompt payments, regular paying off of debt in full and other responsible credit behaviours for at least a year will only clean up the ‘Account Status History’ section of your credit report. Other parts of the credit report will still show your credit card issuer about bankruptcies, defaults and debt management programs in the past.
  2. Submitting multiple applications too rapidly. Too many such enquiries in the credit report can indicate higher risk behaviour to a lender. If an application gets refused, avoid making another application straight away. Take the time instead to work out a plan to help boost your credit rating. When you’re ready, carefully compare your credit options and ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria before making another application.
  3. Transferring to the wrong bank. Banks do not allow balance transfers within institutions of the same group. So before applying for a balance transfer offer, find out which issuers will accept your balance transfer. If you apply for a balance transfer deal from a bank with the same owner as your current card, your application will be immediately refused. If you’d like to explore other ways to pay down debt, you might consider a personal loan.
  4. Cards in a different name. Your new balance transfer account must be in the same name as your current card. If you apply with a different name, such as your partner’s name, your application will be rejected.

So, is a balance transfer worth it?

Used intelligently, a balance transfer can be a good idea as it reduces your interest payments and can help you repay your debts faster. Many people are able to save money with a balance transfer by not paying interest. However, if you use a balance transfer in the wrong way then your debts may escalate. As long as you understand all the typical fees and charges of balance transfers – and how balance transfers work – then you could find you’re in a great place to get on top of your finances.

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Frequently asked questions about balance transfers

Compare credit cards

Name Product Reward Cashback Offer Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
Earn up to 10X Reward points or 4 miles per S$1 spent on qualifying purchases.
Choose between a S$150 cashback or Samsonite suitcase if minimum spend requirements are met. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
S$0 annual fee
S$30,000
New cardholders can choose from a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage worth S$670 or S$150 cashback. Existing cardholders will get S$30 cashback. Minimum spend of S$800 within the qualifying spend period is required. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card
Earn 1.4 miles for every S$1 spent locally with no minimum spend or cap.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend a minimum of S$1,500 within 30 days. First 200 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Enjoy up to 20,000 bonus miles if you charge S$50,000 to your card in a year. Apply today and enjoy free transfers to Changi Airport.
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward point for every $1 on all spend.
Up to 5% cash rebates on groceries, dining and fuel with minimum monthly spend of at least S$600.
S$0 annual fee for the first 2 years and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can receive a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp suitcase (worth S$670) or S$150 cashback, if a minimum of S$800 is spent using the card in the qualifying spend period. Receive an additional S$30 worth of Lazada vouchers when you apply online with MyInfo via SingPass.T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Earn 3 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 when you spend with Singapore Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir or KrisShop and 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 on all other spend.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend S$1,500 or more within 30 days. First 200 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can receive 7,000 KrisFlyer miles when applying and spending a minimum of S$1,500 within 30 days card approval. Ends 31 October 2020. An additional 3,000 KrisFlyer miles for new cardholders upon spending a minimum of S$5. Existing UOB cardmembers get 3,000 KrisFlyer miles after the first transaction of S$5 minimum. T&Cs apply.
UOB Yolo Card
Enjoy a wide variety of discounts and cashback rebates on dining, entertainment, online shopping and travel.
Up to 8% cashback on some weekend dining, travel, and entertainment and 3% cashback on online fashion, weekday dining, travel and more.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
UOB Lady's Card
Earn 10X UNI$ (or 20 miles) per S$5 spent on a chosen spending category with no min. spend required, and 1X UNI$ (or 2 miles) on other purchases.
New customers can get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.Ends 31 October 2020.
HSBC Advance Credit Card
Choose between a sign-up gift of a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage or S$150 cashback when minimum spend requirements are met.
Enjoy up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can choose between a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage worth S$670 or S$150 cashback if minimum spend of S$800 within the qualifying spend period is made. Receive an additional S$30 worth of Lazada vouchers when you apply online with MyInfo via SingPass. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
UOB One Credit Card
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 200 eligible applicants only.
Up to 10% cashback with some merchants including Grab,7-Eleven and Cold Storage; 6% for Singapore Power Utilities bills; and 5% back on all other retail spending.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get up to S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Oct 2020.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
Earn 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent on local purchases, with no cap.
N/A
S$337.05 annual fee
S$50,000
Get free Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 2.0 earphones valued at S$399 when you spend S$5,000 within the first three months and an additional 10,000 KrisFlyer miles if you are new to American Express. T&Cs apply. Ends 30 Nov 2020
UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 200 eligible applicants only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$150 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
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