Sydney, New South Wales (PRWEB) January 13, 2013
Australians start 2013 with more than $33 billion in credit card debt that is attracting interest, according to rating agency Canstar. That’s more than $4700 per cardholder on average. The solution for most of those cardholders is to take out a balance transfer credit card to reduce the overall interest bill on the debt.
Roland B Bleyer, founder of creditcard.com.au warned that the terms of balance transfer offers are different. “Not all offers are created equal. Some offer 0% interest, but only for a period of 4-6 months, while others might charge 2.9% but offer 12 months or more to pay down the transferred debt.
“Balance transfer cards are marketed by the banks to get new customers, so are only available to non-existing customers, but there’s no shortage of offers available from the 25 providers listed. To help visitors start the selection process, creditcard.com.au has rated the cards available on its site based on popularity and results of user reviews, interest rate, the length of the balance transfer offer and fees charged. Using those criteria this is how we ranked the four top balancer transfer cards,” he added.
1) Citibank Clear Platinum This offer is exclusive to creditcard.com.au and is one of the longest available at 0% for balance transfers. This card scores the number one spot because the purchase rate is so low, 11.99%. The annual fee is only $49 for the first year, and there is no separate balance transfer fee.
With such a low purchase rate, this card is one worth keeping when the balance transfer period expires. It’s important to pay the transfer off during the balance transfer period, because what’s left over from that will attract interest at the higher cash advance rate.
Citibank Clear Platinum remains one of the most popular choices on creditcard.com.au and there is no reason to believe that will change as we move into 2013 with such competitive terms.
2) Westpac Low Rate: This card has an even lower annual fee than the Citibank Clear Platinum, at $45 and it doesn’t go up in the second year. The balance transfer offer is also competitive, and is only 0.99% for 9 months, before reverting to a low purchase rate of 13.49%. A simple, user friendly card that should enable cardholders to pay down their left over credit card debt from 2012. This card doesn’t come with a separate balance transfer fee either.
With Westpac cardholders can also transfer as little as $200, and consolidate up to three credit cards (most only allow a transfer of two credit cards maximum).
3) St George Vertigo: This is another balance transfer offer that caught the editor’s eyes. The card allows customers up to 8 months with 0% interest to pay on balances transferred. The purchase rate is even lower than Westpac’s Low Rate too, at 13.24%.
Although the annual fee is $55, this doesn’t increase in the second year and still isn’t excessive compared to other cards on the market.
The ideal way to use this card is pay off the full balance transfer amount in time then take advantage of the 55 days interest free on purchases after that. Many will find this a suitable option to get rid of their Christmas credit card debt and make purchases afterwards.
4) Citibank Rewards-Platinum Credit Card: Citibank ranks a second time due to the outstanding terms if its Rewards-Platinum card. This card really combines the best of both worlds. A super long 15 month balance transfer offer, where cardholders pay just 1.9%, as well as a range of perks and benefits like travel insurance, entertainment and shopping rewards. This card is the ideal choice for those who want to get their debt under control and get something back from their spending afterwards. Whether you want money off merchandise, travel and accommodation discounts or free or discounted entertainment offers the Citibank rewards program has something to consider.
For those who intend to spend on this card it’s important to remember that the purchase rate is a bit higher, at 20.99% so it is best to use the interest free days on this card (55 days) to juggle purchases and avoid excessive interest charges.
With 15 months to pay the debt down at such a low rate, this is a card that should suit many types of budgets and not interfere with lifestyle choices if used correctly.
Since creditcard.com.au was launched in 2005, more than 100,000 Australians have used its free comparison service to find a better credit card deal. Cards are compared from 25 providers, and set out in simple, easy to use tables displaying the features that site users are most interested in. Creditcard.com.au is also a comprehensive personal finance and credit card blog, with frequently asked questions. The unique card finder tool also takes the hard work out of matching you with the perfect credit card.