Roundup: The Longest 0% Balance Transfer Offers Currently Available

If the coronavirus crisis has caused you to take a closer look at your financial situation, you may be wondering what you can do to help weather the storm. For people who have credit card debt and are looking to reduce how much they are paying in interest, one option is to transfer the debt to a new card with a 0% balance transfer offer.

A credit card balance transfer involves transferring credit card debt from one or more existing cards to a new one, with the new card usually having a lower initial interest rate on that balance for a limited time. Credit card balance transfers with a 0% offer allow customers to pay off their debt interest-free for a limited time – assuming they manage to pay it all off within the promotional or introductory period and don’t make any new purchases (higher interest rates can apply afterwards and for new purchases). A credit card with a balance transfer offer may also help to make your repayments more manageable during this promotional period. 

If you’re considering a balance transfer offer, it’s also worth considering any annual fee that may apply, plus the interest rate the card reverts to after the interest-free period. Bear in mind that some cards may also charge you an upfront fee to transfer your balance. This could be a flat dollar figure or a percentage of the balance transferred.

0% balance transfer offers available

The table below displays some of the low-rate credit cards on Canstar’s database with 0% balance transfer offers for Australians looking to spend around $500 per month. Please note that this table is sorted by the length of the 0% balance transfer period (longest to shortest), then provider name (alphabetically). Use Canstar’s credit card comparison selector to view a wider range of credit cards.

What is a 0% balance transfer?

The balance transfer interest rate is the introductory interest rate charged on your existing balance when you transfer it to a new credit card. This introductory rate typically lasts between 6-24 months but can last for longer in some cases. So, for example, with a 12-month 0% balance transfer, you would pay 0% interest on your existing credit card debts for 12 months.

In addition to generally having a low or 0% interest rate for a period of time, a balance transfer can also be a good way to consolidate credit card debts. By paying a one-off balance transfer fee, you could move your existing credit card debt from multiple cards onto one. Check how much you can transfer, as some credit cards will only allow you to transfer a certain amount of money and you may not be able to transfer the full amount from your existing credit cards. Some providers may also place a limit on how many cards you can transfer debt from.

However, you need to be aware of the revert rate – the interest rate your card will revert to once the introductory period finishes. You may also be charged interest on any new purchases you make on the card, even during the introductory balance transfer offer period.

If you don’t pay off your transferred debts by the end of the introductory period, then what’s left will be charged interest at the higher revert rate. If you don’t think you can pay it all off in time, consider picking a card with a lower revert rate, or think about whether you may want to choose a card with a low ongoing interest rate, instead of one suited to balance transfers.

Is the balance transfer rate all you need to consider?

A card with a 0% introductory balance transfer offer may not necessarily provide better value than a card which charges interest immediately. For example, a card that comes with an interest-free period but a high annual fee could actually end up being more expensive over the long-term than a card with no interest-free period but no annual fee.

If possible, you it could be worth considering a card which combines a 0% balance transfer rate, no upfront or annual fees, and a competitive revert rate.

The table below shows a snapshot of 0% balance transfer offers with $0 upfront and annual fees on Canstar’s database for Australians looking to spend around $500 per month. Please note that this table is sorted by the length of the 0% balance transfer period (longest to shortest), then provider name (alphabetically). Use Canstar’s credit card comparison selector to view a wider range of credit cards.

When taking out a balance transfer, it’s typically a good idea to focus primarily on paying off as much of your debt as possible before making any new purchases with your card.

You may even want to consider paying off and cancelling your previous credit cards if possible, to reduce your temptation to spend and help you repay your other existing debts quicker.

Failing to repay your debts in time on a balance transfer deal could keep you in a cycle of debt, so make sure you compare your options thoroughly before deciding. You may want to seek advice from a qualified adviser. 

If you’re having trouble making credit card repayments due to coronavirus, you may also want to contact your credit card provider and speak to them about applying for financial hardship.

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