A balance transfer offer could help you get on top of that daunting credit card debt and put your finances in order. Knowing the ins and outs of balance transfer offers can help you use your new card to your advantage. Read on for some handy balance transfer tips.
- Compare balance transfer offers carefully
- Check the purchase rate and balance transfer fee
- Make the most of the offer period
- Get the scissors out on your other cards
Balance transfer offers may appear to be similar to one another at first, but there are subtle differences. The first key differentiator is the promotional interest rate – many cards offer a special low introductory rate, sometimes 0% p.a., which could save you interest on any balances you transfer. This promotional rate will only last for a set time – so take note of when it ends. You also need to be aware of what the rate will revert to after the balance transfer term. Most of the time, this will be higher than the regular rate.
Once the promotional period is over, the rate will usually revert to one of the card’s standard rates. It might be the purchase or cash rate, but can sometimes be a specific balance transfer revert rate. So if you think you could have a balance on your new card after the offer ends, it is worth checking whether the interest rate that will then apply is lower than your current card.
Remember you will pay the standard rates on any new purchases or cash advances you make with your credit card. You also need to look at the amount of the annual card fee and factor this into your decision.
You may also need to pay a balance transfer fee, which is usually a percentage of the amount you’re transferring. So, say you transfer $4,000 and the balance transfer fee is 2%, you’ll pay an $80 fee, which you should weigh up against the interest you could save.
A smart way to take advantage of a balance transfer offer is to pay off your entire debt by the time the offer ends. From then on, you may want to spend within your means and pay off your credit card in full every month. Imagine how good you’ll feel when you’re in control of your debt.
If you’re serious about getting rid of your debt, you should cut up your old cards so you’re not tempted to keep using them. It’s worth knowing that banks do not close your other credit card accounts when you transfer your balance, so you will have to arrange this yourself. You can normally do this by phoning the bank that issued the card and asking them to close the account.
Things you should know
Credit criteria, fees and charges apply. Terms and conditions available on request. Switches, upgrades or customers accessing employee benefits are ineligible for balance transfer offers. Our balance transfer offers may be varied or withdrawn at any time and are not available in conjunction with any other promotion.