By Ankur Mittal
Updated On October 12, 2021

There might be times when you are unable to pay your credit card bills on time- it may be an urgent need of funds for a medical emergency or loss of employment, your credit card continues to incur compounding interest on the balance amount due.
Recently, many credit card holders were faced with such a situation during the COVID lockdown as all economic activities came to a standstill. To make things easier, many card issuers offer an option to transfer your due amount to another credit card that offers a buffer period during which you have to pay either zero or a less interest. This facility is called Balance Transfer facility.

How Balance Transfer Works?

When you transfer your outstanding balance from one credit card to another, the new card issuer pays the outstanding amount to the old issuer; and now you owe credit to the new card issuer which you have to repay as per the terms and conditions of the new issuer. You usually get a buffer period to repay your outstanding amount, during which the interest rate is either zero or very less. This outstanding amount is deducted from the credit limit of the new credit card. Effective credit limit of the card = Actual credit limit of the new card – the outstanding amount transferred. Usually, banks allow the transfer of an amount up to 75 – 80% of the credit limit of the new credit card.

Card Issuers In India That Offer Balance Transfer Facility:

Many banks in India including the HDFC bank, SBI, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, RBL Bank, HSBC Bank offer the balance transfer facility to their cardmembers. In most cases, only primary cardholders can avail of the balance transfer facility. Each bank has its own policy with regard to balance transfer. Here, we’ve covered the balance transfer policy and terms of some of the major card issuers in the country.

SBI Cards:

SBI Cards is the second-largest credit card issuer in India. You can transfer the outstanding amount on another credit card of yours to your SBI credit card. You must transfer a minimum of Rs. 5,000 to your SBI credit card to avail of the balance transfer facility, while the maximum transferable amount is capped at 75% of the credit limit of your SBI card. You can either repay the transferred amount lump sum within the stipulated time period or you can also choose to pay the transferred amount in EMIs-

SBI Cards Balance Transfer: SBI Cards offers two plans for transferring the outstanding amount on another credit card to their cards-

  • Under the first plan, you don’t pay any interest (0% interest) and the transferred amount is to be repaid within 2 months (60 days). However, in this case, you do have to pay a processing fee equal to 2% of the transferred amount, subject to a minimum amount of Rs. 199.
  • The second plan allows you a period of 6 months (180 days) to repay the transferred amount. An interest of 1.7% per month is applicable in this case, but you don’t pay any processing fee.

 

How to apply:

You can apply for SBI Balance Transfer in 4 ways –

  • via SBI Cards website
  • via SBI Cards mobile app
  • via SMS- SMS BT to 56767
  • by calling SBI Cards helpline at 1860 180 1290 / 39 02 02 02 (prefix local STD code)

 

SBI Cards Balance Transfer On EMI: SBI Cards also allows you to convert the amount due on your old credit card into EMIs which you can pay off either in 3 months or 6 months-

  • If you choose to pay the amount transferred in 3 monthly installments, an interest of 0.75% of the transferred amount shall be applicable, plus you’ll also have to pay the processing fee of 1.5% of the transferred amount, subject to a minimum amount of Rs. 199.
  • If you choose to repay the transferred amount in 6 monthly installments, an interest rate of 1.27% shall be applicable. In this case also, you’ll have to pay the processing fee of 1.5% of the transferred amount (minimum Rs. 199).

Some of the SBI credit cards you may consider to transfer the outstanding balance from your another bank’s existing credit card are SBI ELITE Credit Card, BPCL SBI Card Octane, Club Vistara SBI Card, etc.

How to apply:

You can avail the Balance transfer on EMI facility in the following 3 ways-

  • via SBI Cards website
  • via SBI Cards mobile app
  • by dialing SBI Cards helpline at 1860 180 1290 / 39 02 02 02 (prefix local STD code)

HDFC Bank:

HDFC Bank, the largest credit card issuer in the country also allows you to transfer the amount due on your existing (another bank’s) credit card to your HDFC credit card and pay the same in easy monthly installments of 9 to 48 months. The transferred amount shall attract an interest rate of 1.1% per month. Apart from the interest, you also have to pay a processing fee of 1% of the transferred amount, subject to a minimum fee of Rs. 250. Some of the best HDFC bank credit cards to which you can transfer the outstanding amount on your existing credit card include HDFC Infinia Credit Card, HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card, HDFC Regalia Card, HDFC Millenia Credit Card, etc.

Standard Chartered Bank:

You can transfer the outstanding amount on your (another bank’s) credit card’s statement balance to your Standard Chartered credit card, subject to the following conditions-

  • You can transfer maximum Rs. 5 lakh to your Standard Chartered credit card and repay the same in monthly installments of a minimum of 5% of the transferred amount.
  • You get a buffer period of 6 months, during which an interest rate of 0.99% per month is applicable on the outstanding amount, post which you pay the regular interest rate as applicable on your Standard Chartered credit card.

 

How to apply:

To apply for balance transfer to a Standard Chartered credit card, you can SMS BT NOW to +91 9223010121 or dial the bank’s helpline at 080-39401166/080-66011166.

Kotak Mahindra Bank:

Kotak Mahindra Bank is another popular card issuer that allows you to transfer the outstanding balance on another bank’s credit card to your Kotak Mahindra card. Kotak Mahindra Bank also allows you an interest-free buffer period of 90 days on the outstanding amount.

  • You can transfer a minimum of Rs. 2,500 to your Kotak Mahindra credit card, while the maximum transferable amount is capped at 75% of the credit limit of your Kotak Mahindra card.
  • Balance transfer facility is available only on credit cards that have been active at least for the last 6 months.
  • A processing fee of Rs. 349 per Rs. 10,000 transferred is applicable on your Kotak Mahindra credit card.

How to avail the facility:

You can apply for balance transfer to your Kotak Mahindra Credit Card in the following four ways-

  • via net banking
  • via mobile banking
  • via SMS (SMS <BT> to 5676788)
  • by calling Kotak Mahindra customer care at 1860 266 2666

 

ICICI Bank:

You can transfer the outstanding amount on your other bank’s credit card to your ICICI bank credit card. To avail of the balance transfer facility on your ICICI bank credit card, there must be a minimum outstanding balance of Rs. 15,000 and the maximum amount transferable is capped at Rs. 3 lakh. ICICI allows you to pay off the outstanding amount in easy monthly installments within 3 to 6 months. ICICI Bank offers some of the best credit cards in the market to which you can transfer the outstanding balance on your other bank’s credit card like ICICI Bank Emeralde Credit Card, ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card, ICICI Bank HPCL Super Saver Credit Card, etc.

How to apply for Balance Transfer:

To apply for balance transfer to your ICICI Bank credit card SMS <BT> to 5676766.

RBL Bank:

RBL Bank also offers the Balance Transfer facility to their cardmembers. You can pay off the amount transferred from your another bank’s credit card in easy monthly installments in 3, 6, or 12 months- the bank offers the choice between three repayment plans, summarised as under-

Tenure (Months) Processing Fee Reducing Interest Rate Effective Interest Rate
3 2.99%, subject to minimum Rs. 750 No Interest N/A
6 Rs. 499 21% 12.42%
12 Rs. 499 21% 11.73%

How to avail the Balance Transfer Facility-

You can apply for the transfer of the outstanding balance from your another bank’s credit card to your RBL Bank Card in the following ways-

  • via the chatbot on the bank’s website
  • by giving a missed call on 7045906912 or 7045958512
  • by sending ‘BTEMI’ to 5607011 or 5607033
  • by calling the customer care number mentioned at the back of your RBL Bank credit card.

 

HSBC Bank:

HSBC Bank offers two types of balance transfer facilities to its credit card customers-

Balance Transfer on EMIs- Under this facility, you can transfer the outstanding balance on your another bank’s credit card and repay the same in easy monthly installments.

  • You can choose between 3,6,9,12,18, or 24-month tenure for the repayment of the transferred amount.
  • An interest rate of 1.17% per month is applicable if you choose the tenure between 3 months and 12 months, while if you choose to repay the transferred amount in 18 or 24 months, an interest rate of 1.33% shall apply.
  •  Apart from the interest, you also need to pay a processing fee of 1.5% of the transferred amount (subject to a minimum fee of Rs. 200).
  • You can apply for the Balance Transfer on EMI facility by sending the SMS <BTR> to 575750.

 

Perpetual Balance Transfer: This facility by HSBC Bank allows you to transfer the dues on your other bank’s credit card and repay the same at a lower interest rate. No pre-defined tenure for repayment is applicable in case of perpetual balance transfer.

  • You must have a minimum outstanding balance of Rs. 5,000 on your other bank’s credit card to avail of this facility
  • You must pay a minimum of 5% of the transferred amount each month, subject to a minimum payment of Rs. 100.
  • An interest rate of 1% to 1.2% per month is charged on the outstanding amount transferred to your HSBC Bank credit card.
  • Apart from the interest, you’re also charged a processing fee of 1% of the transferred amount, subject to a minimum fee of Rs. 149.

 

Bottom Line:

If you’re struggling to pay the outstanding amount (which attracts recurring compound interest) on one of your credit cards, transferring the same to another bank’s credit card where you get a buffer period with a lower or zero interest rate, can be a good strategy to avoid a debt trap. In most cases, the bank also allows you to pay off the outstanding amount in easy monthly installments. However, one must keep in mind, if you fail to pay off the entire transferred amount within the stipulated time period, the regular interest rate shall be applicable. Also, since balance transfer involves a hard inquiry of your credit report, it can also potentially impact your credit profile. However, not being able to pay the due amount on time has a worse impact on your credit profile; therefore it is advisable to transfer the amount due to another credit card which allows a zero or low interest period for repayment of your outstanding amount.

We’ve summarised the key features of the balance transfer facility offered by the aforementioned major card issuers in the table below-

Card Issuer Tenure Interest Rate Minimum
Transferable Amount
Maximum
Transferable Amount
Processing Fee
SBI Cards 60 days or 180 days for balance transfer 0% on balance transfer with tenure of 60 days,
1.7% p.m. on balance transfer with tenure of 180 days
Rs. 5,000 75% of the credit limit 2% of the transferred amount (min Rs. 2,000) for balance transfer with tenure of 60 days,
nil for balance transfer with tenure of 180 days
90 days or 180 days for balance transfer on EMIs 0.75% p.m for 3 months on balance transfer on EMIs,
1.27% p.m for 6 months on balance transfer on EMIs
1.5% of the transferred amount (min Rs. 199) for balance transfer on EMIs (in both the tenures)
HDFC Bank 9 to 48 months 1.1% p.m. N/A 75% of the credit limit 1% of the transferred amount (min Rs. 250)
Standard Chartered Bank 6 months 0.99% p.m. N/A Rs. 5 lakh (subject to the credit limit of the card) N/A
Kotak Mahindra Bank 90 days 0% Rs. 2,500 75% of the credit limit Rs. 349 per Rs. 10,000 transferred
ICICI Bank 3 to 6 months Shared at the time of application Rs. 15,000 Rs. 3 lakh Shared at the time of application
RBL Bank 3,6, or 12 months No interest on the 3-month plan, 12.43% and 11.73% on 6 and 12-month plans Not pre-defined Not pre-defined 2.99% (min Rs. 750) on 3 month plan, Rs. 499 on 6 and 12-month plans
HSBC Bank 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, or 24 months for balance transfer on EMIs 1.17% p.m. on 3 to 12-month plans, 1.33% on 18 and 24-month plans for balance transfer on EMIs Rs. 5,000 95% of the credit limit of the card 1.5% of the transferred amount (min Rs. 200) for balance transfer on EMIs
No predefined tenure for perpetual balance transfer 1% to 1.2% per month for perpetual balance transfer 1% of the transferred amount (min Rs. 149) for perpetual balance transfer

FAQs:

Balance transfer on EMIs is a facility offered by some of the card issuers including SBI and HDFC, that allows you to pay off the transferred outstanding amount in equated monthly installments.

Yes, the effective credit limit of the credit card to which the balance is transferred decreases by the amount transferred. Effective credit limit of the the card = Actual credit limit of the new card – the outstanding amount transferred.

Yes, since balance transfer involves a hard inquiry on your credit report, it does negatively impact your credit profile. However, you must keep in mind that not paying your card bills on time has a worse effect on your credit score.

Each card issuer has its own terms and policy with regard to the maximum transferable amount. For example, SBI Cards allows a balance transfer of up to 75% of the credit limit of your credit card, while HSBC bank allows utilization of up to 95% of the credit limit of your card.

The perpetual balance transfer facility by HSBC bank allows you to transfer the outstanding balance on another bank’s credit card to your HSBC credit card, which you can repay in monthly installments. It is different from EMIs as there is no predefined tenure for repayment of the transferred amount. However, you are required to make a minimum payment of 5% of the transferred amount each month.

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