Balance transfer credit cards are the best option if you are struggling to pay off your card bills every month. You can consolidate debt from several credit cards by moving it onto one card.
However, balance transfers Terms and Conditions can be a little tricky to understand. And the impact of variable annual percentage rate ( APR) interest might be confusing. When deciding between balance transfers, checking the APR can help you compare what each one means to your bottom line.
Ideally, look for balance transfers that offer 0% APR for 6 to 12 months. To help out with the headache in choosing a good balance transfer credit card, here are the top five balance transfers in Malaysia at the moment.
AEON cards balance transfer
- Loan Period : 6 months
- Interest Rate : 0%
- Minimum Amount : RM1000
AEON credit cards offer 0% interest for six months on any transferred credit card balance from any bank or financial institution. Furthermore, there are no other fees, such as processing fees. With a low minimum amount of only RM1000, it makes it even easier to perform a balance transfer.
If you fail to make the minimum monthly installment of 5% due on the payment due date, you will be charged the usual tiered finance rate of between 13.5-17.5%.
Standard Chartered balance transfer
- Loan Period : 6 months, 12 months
- Interest Rate : 0%
- Minimum Amount : RM1000
The Standard Chartered balance transfer has an amazing interest rate that is only available to the new low cost Standard Chartered Visa Translucent credit card. The offer however, expires 31st October 2013. Standard Chartered bank is the only bank that offers 0% interest rate for two different loan periods which give card members more choice in planning their monthly payment.
However, in the event that the card member fails to meet the minimum payment of 5% of the monthly installment or RM50, whichever is higher, a finance fee of 18% per year will be charged. The fee will be levied on the outstanding balance of the monthly installment due from the due date to the date of the full settlement.
BSN balance transfer
- Loan Period : 3 to 9 months, 12 months, 24 months, 36 months
- Interest Rate : 3.6%, 3.6% (0% for first 6 months), 4.5% (0% for first 12 months),
- Minimum Amount : RM500-RM1000, RM1000 for 12 months to 24 months, RM2000
BSN balance transfer programme offers the most choice and one of the lowest interest rates in town. This promotion only lasts till 31st December 2013. Take note that supplementary card holders can apply for their balance transfer program, however they must first obtain consent of the principal card holder.
There are no exit fees charged for card members who opt for early settlement at any time. However, the whole balance of the installment amount which includes the outstanding principal and interest fees will be charged to the card member’s account.
Public Bank balance transfer
- Loan Period : 6 months, 12 months, 24 months
- Interest Rate : 0%, 2%, 5%
- Minimum Amount : RM3000, RM1000, RM3000
Though Public Bank’s balance transfer plan offers 0% interest rate for the 6 month installment plan, the minimum amount needed is higher than others at RM3000. Their 12 month plan, however, offers a low rate of only 2% and only a minimum of RM1000 is needed.
Beware of the RM100 settlement fee charged if you pay off the balance transfer early. Missed or late payments will also result in the standard tiered interest rate of 15% to 18% being charged.
Maybankard balance transfer
- Loan Period : 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 24 months, 36 months
- Interest Rate : 6%, 9%, 0%, 4.5%, 8.8%
- Minimum Amount : RM1000 for 6 to 12 months, RM2000 for 24 to 36 months
Maybankard balance transfer programme advertises a 0% balance transfer rate for 12 months but this is not actually the case once the up-front processing fee of 3% is charged. Nonetheless, even at 3%, it is one of the better balance transfer deals around. You can also enjoy a long repayment period of up to 36 months albeit at the rather high interest rate of 8.8%.
The 36 month Maybankard plan also gives you a guaranteed gift of an iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy S4 upon sign up subject to availability (offer ends 31 October 2013). You can also make payments via Maybank2u online, which is nice and convenient.
Other than that, Maybankard card members are required to pay their monthly installment of their 12, 24 and 36 month plan in full. They do not accept any minimum amount of payment for their monthly installment. Failure to do so will see a finance charge of up to 18% per annum.
Keep in mind that even with the 0% or low interest rates there are pitfalls.
As always, it is a good habit to be a punctual paymaster. Keep track of when your payment due dates by jotting them on a calendar, or post-it notes on your fridge. Balance transfers are great in consolidating debt, they won't make a difference if you fail to make your payments on time.
Lastly, try not to add new credit charges to your balance transfer card, pay off the debt first before you use the card. And, of course, you can always compare all the balance transfer plans in Malaysia right here at RinggitPlus.