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Thinking about a promotional balance transfer offer?

While the promotional interest rate on some balance transfer offers may seem appealing (with some as low as 0%), make sure you read the offer and card terms and conditions, because if you’re not sure how they work, it could end up costing you.

A balance transfer can be used as a way to consolidate credit card debt, by transferring some or all of the balance from one credit card to another. But balance transfers aren’t for everyone and, depending on a range of factors including your financial circumstances, the amount you plan to transfer and your other credit card terms, it may not be the best option for you. Here are a couple of things to look out for when considering a balance transfer offer.

Look at the fees

Promotional balance transfer offers may include a fee for transferring a balance to a new or existing credit card. Often, the fee is a percentage of the amount you’re movingdisclaimer.

For example, some ANZ balance transfer offers have a balance transfer fee of 2% of the transferred balance, with this fee applied at the time the balance is transferred and forming part of the promotional plan balancedisclaimer. So, if you were to move $2,000 across to a new credit card in this situation, a fee of $40 would be applied – so your total balance transfer amount would be $2,040disclaimer. And remember, the fee for transferring the balance is not usually the only fee or cost that applies to the credit card.

You might want to pull out the calculator to work out whether the balance transfer fee (plus any other fees and charges associated with the new credit card) will end up costing you more than any interest charges on your current card. In other words, consider whether the savings gained by the lower interest rate during the promotional period on the new credit card are cancelled out by this fee and other charges.

Consider the timing

At ANZ, it can take 15 or more business days to complete a balance transfer application. While being processed, you will still need to keep up with any repayments due on the card or cards you’re transferring the balance from. If you’ve transferred the full outstanding balance of a card onto a new one, you might want to consider closing it if you no longer need it so that you aren’t tempted to use it.

There’s also the amount you are permitted to transfer

There can be rules about the amount you are able to transfer. Depending on how much you owe on your credit card (or cards if you have more than one), you might not be able to transfer the full outstanding balance over to a new card with a balance transfer offer. Check the terms and conditions of your balance transfer offer and card, or with your credit provider, to see what’s permitted.

Some other things to note

Every credit card provider will have their own rules when it comes to balance transfers. At ANZ for example, some of the situations where we don’t accept promotional balance transfers include:

  • From other ANZ accounts
  • From credit cards issued outside Australia
  • If a person is in default on any existing ANZ credit card account
  • If the other account named in an application is in default at the time the application is received.

Additional terms and conditions may apply. Check the terms and conditions of the offer and the card you’re considering applying for, or speak to your credit provider to learn more.

Think about reading up on some of the common things to watch out for with balance transfers – which include managing your repayments, being aware of the different interest rates that apply, and curbing your spending. The more knowledge you have about balance transfers, the better position you’ll be in to assess whether one is right for you.

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Information in this article refers to personal credit cards, is general in nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider if right for you.

By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.

The information is current as at June 2019 and may be subject to change. ANZ recommends you review your personal credit card contract and any relevant offer terms and conditions for information that applies to you.

ANZ interest rates and fees and terms and conditions are subject to change. Refer to the current credit card interest rates, fees and terms for further information and current interest rates, fees and terms. 

Applications for credit at ANZ are subject to ANZ’s credit approval criteria, terms, conditions and fees and charges apply. Australian Credit Licence Number 234527.

Refer to the offer and relevant consumer credit card account terms and conditions for details of the fees and charges that apply to a specific offer.

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A fee may apply to balances transferred from a non-ANZ credit, charge or store card to an ANZ consumer credit card as part of a promotional offer. The applicable fee will be advised in the terms and conditions of the promotional offer.

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Illustration only. The applicable fee (and other fees and charges that apply) will be advised in the offer and relevant consumer credit card account terms and conditions.

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