Is a Balance Transfer Credit Card a Good Idea? Here's How It Works

Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta

Last updated August 04, 2023

Are your credit card payments becoming too much of a burden? If you're paying high interest on your balance every month, it's time to shop for a balance transfer credit card in the Philippines. This can help prevent worst-case scenarios like accumulating huge credit card debt.

Manage your credit card payments better through a balance transfer. Learn what a balance transfer credit card is, how it works, and your best options in this helpful guide. 

What are Balance Transfer Credit Cards?

A balance transfer credit card is a low-interest card to which you can move the amount you owe from your other high-interest cards. Because of the lower interest rate, most of your payments will go toward your principal balance instead of the interest charges.

This type of credit card also simplifies your payments by consolidating your balances on other cards into one monthly payment and due date.

How Balance Transfer Credit Cards Work

When you're approved for a credit card balance transfer in the Philippines, your new card provider will pay your outstanding balance to the original issuing bank. The balance will then be moved to your new card, this time with an interest rate that's lower than regular rates.

The rates of balance transfer credit cards in the Philippines go from as low as 0% to 2%, depending on the transfer amount and the cardholder's selected repayment period. In contrast, regular credit cards have an interest rate of 3%.

A balance transfer credit card can thus help you save money on interest payments. Because your monthly payments will be applied to your principal balance instead of the finance charge, you can pay off your debt faster.

Is a Balance Transfer Credit Card a Good Idea?

Yes. Consolidating your credit card balances into one allows you to keep track of only one card instead of having to deal with multiple monthly payments and due dates. This helps prevent missed payments and late charges on your bill.

Related reading: Take Back Control: Credit Card Amnesty Program in the Philippines

How to Choose the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

balance transfer credit card philippines - how to choose

The right credit card features spell the difference between paying off your balances fast and getting buried deeper in debt. Here's how to free up your finances with the best balance transfer credit card.

Step 1: Compare Features and Fees

Pay close attention to the following when choosing from different balance transfer credit cards in the Philippines:

🔍 Balance Transfer Rate

Once your card is approved, an introductory rate is charged to your transferred balance for several months. The lower the rate, the lower the charges you'll pay.

Banks set different balance transfer rates per installment term. Look at the rates for the same installment term for an apples-to-apples comparison. For example, if Bank A offers 0.88% interest for 12 months and Bank B offers 1.50% for the same period, you'll get a better deal with Bank A.

Some banks also offer a 0% balance transfer in the Philippines. Depending on the bank, it usually lasts for only two to six months from the approval date. You won't pay interest within this time, so your monthly payments will all go toward your credit card debt.

After that period, the interest will rise to the regular rate, which could be higher than that of your original card. So make sure to look for the lowest balance transfer rate in the Philippines.

🔍 Balance Transfer Amount Limit

Consider the amount you need to transfer to a new credit card. The amount you can transfer depends on the issuing bank's limits.

Banks set a minimum amount and require it to be within the unused credit limit of the balance transfer card. It's a matter of choosing which bank matches your needs.

🔍 Installment Terms

Low-interest balance transfer offers last for a limited period only. You can pay your transferred balances in installments ranging from three to 60 months.

Shorter installment terms have slightly higher balance transfer rates, making monthly payments more expensive. But over time, you can save on interest payments. 

On the flip side, longer terms are more manageable on the budget, but you'll pay more interest.

When comparing and choosing from the available payment terms, consider your monthly budget, your balance transfer amount, and the balance transfer rate. It allows you to determine the right term based on what you can afford to pay monthly.

🔍 Balance Transfer Fees and Other Charges

There are costs involved in transferring your credit card debts. First is the processing fee, which is a fixed amount (usually ₱100 to ₱300) charged per approved balance transfer. Some banks charge it, others don't.

If you wish to pay off your transferred balance before the end of your installment term, the bank may charge a pre-termination fee, either a fixed amount (₱300 to ₱550) or a percentage (usually 4% or 5%) of the remaining balance.

It's also important to prioritize cards with low interest rates (charged after the end of the installment term) and low or no annual fees. If these two fees are high, they'll just offset the savings from the low balance transfer rate.

Lastly, consider the late payment fee if you pay your credit card bills beyond the due date.

Related: 12 Credit Card Fees in the Philippines to Watch Out For

Step 2: Compute and Compare Monthly Amortizations

balance transfer credit card philippines - metrobank balance transfer calculator

Metrobank Balance Transfer Calculator

Which program offers the most affordable monthly payment based on your transfer amount and preferred installment term?

Compute that figure to know which bank allows you to save the most on payments. Metrobank has a balance transfer calculator[1] on its website so you can get estimates for monthly amortizations.

For banks that don't have an online balance transfer calculator, refer to their sample computation table and use their formula for computing the monthly installment.

Here are some of the best balance transfer credit cards:

Credit Card Balance Transfer Features
UnionBank Platinum Mastercard
unionbank platinum mastercard
bpi edge card
  • Balance transfer rate: 1%
  • Installment terms: 6 to 60 months
  • Minimum balance transfer amount: Inquire with UnionBank
Metrobank Titanium Mastercard® 
METROBANK TITANIUM MASTERCARD
APPLY NOW
  • Balance transfer rate: 1%
  • Installment terms: 3 to 60 months
  • Minimum balance transfer amount: ₱6,000
HSBC Red Mastercard
hsbc red
APPLY NOW
  • Balance transfer rate: Prevailing monthly interest rate, depending on the chosen repayment period
  • Installment terms: Up to 24 months
  • Minimum balance transfer amount: Monthly installment amount of ₱500
Security Bank Gold Mastercard
Gold_Contactless_2022-2026-1
APPLY NOW
  • Balance transfer rate: 1% 
  • Installment terms: 3 to 24 months
  • Minimum balance transfer amount: ₱5,000
BPI Edge Card
BPI Edge
bpi edge card
  • Balance transfer rate: 0.99% (36 months) / 1% (6 to 24 months)
  • Installment terms: 6 to 36 months
  • Minimum balance transfer amount: ₱3,000

Find more details and options below.

Read more: Why Get Another Card: Is Having Multiple Credit Cards Good or Bad?

9 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards in the Philippines

Metrobank Titanium Mastercard®

Metrobank Titanium

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rate: 1%
  • Installment terms: 3 to 60 months
  • Balance transfer amount: Minimum of ₱6,000

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱15,000 (for existing credit cardholders)
  • Rewards: 
    • 1 point for every ₱20 spend
    • 2x points for online, dining, and department store transactions

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱2,500 (waived on the first year)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Processing fee: ₱350
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: ₱300 or 5% of the remaining unpaid amount
  • Late payment fee: ₱550 or 5% of the remaining principal balance, whichever is higher

Get more out of your Metrobank Titanium Mastercard®. Aside from extended balance transfer plans at 60 months, you enjoy low balance transfer rates and the chance to earn non-expiring rewards points for every ₱20 you spend.


🎁 Free Gift from Moneymax: ₱2,500 Cash Credits, Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS, or JBL Clip 5

moneymax metrobank credit card promo

Eligible cards: Metrobank Titanium Mastercard®, Platinum Mastercard®, and World Mastercard®

Promo period: Until June 30, 2024

How do you get a Metrobank credit card welcome gift? Simple! Just apply and get approved for any eligible card through the Moneymax website.

Choose between a Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS worth ₱5,199, a JBL Clip 5 worth ₱3,799, or Giftaway cash credits worth ₱2,500.

This Moneymax Metrobank eGift/Dolce Gusto/JBL promo runs until June 30, 2024 only. Hurry and apply now!

Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-194371 Series of 2024. Terms and conditions apply. 

Note: Applicant must be an existing credit cardholder in good standing for at least nine months.


HSBC Red Mastercard

HSBC Red Mastercard

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rate: Prevailing monthly interest rate, depending on the chosen repayment period
  • Installment terms: Up to 24 months
  • Balance transfer amount: Must be a monthly installment amount of at least ₱500

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱16,667
  • Rewards: 
    • 1 bonus point for every ₱20 spend
    • 4x bonus points for shopping, online, and overseas transactions

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱2,500 (waived on the first year)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Processing fee: ₱650
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: ₱300 or 5% of the remaining unpaid amount
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower

HSBC also offers a balance transfer plan that you can pay for up to 24 months with a minimum installment amount of ₱500. Check out the HSBC Red Mastercard, which comes with a low minimum monthly income requirement.

After you pay off your balance transfer plan, you can earn bonus points with every ₱20 you spend and 4x bonus points on shopping, online, and overseas purchases. 


🎁 Free Gift from Moneymax: Giftaway Cash Credits, JBL Flip 6, or JBL Wave Beam

moneymax hsbc credit card promo

Eligible cards: HSBC Red Mastercard and Gold Visa Cash Back

Promo period: Until June 30, 2024

Not an HSBC credit cardholder yet? Apply for an HSBC card through Moneymax during the promo period (and get approved subsequently) to receive an exciting welcome gift! Choose from free Giftaway cash credits worth ₱3,000, a JBL Flip 6 worth ₱7,499, or a JBL Wave Beam worth ₱3,799

This Moneymax HSBC Giftaway/JBL promo runs until June 30, 2024 only. So hurry and apply now!

Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-192974 Series of 2024. Terms and conditions apply. 


Security Bank Gold Mastercard

Security Bank Gold Mastercard

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rate: 1% throughout the installment term
  • Installment terms: 3 to 24 months
  • Balance transfer amount: At least ₱5,000 and must not exceed credit limit and the outstanding balance

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱30,000
  • Rewards: 
    • 1 point per ₱20 spend
    • Up to five supplementary cards

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱2,500 (free for the first year)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: 5% of the unbilled portion of the principal amount
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the minimum amount due, whichever is lower

With the Security Bank Gold Mastercard, you can enjoy a low transfer rate of 1% for up to 24 months. Plus, it earns non-expiring rewards points for every ₱20 spend, letting you accumulate points fast. Moreover, you enjoy waived annual fees in your first year. 


🎁 Free Gift from Moneymax: ₱2,500 Cash Credits, JBL Charge 5 Speaker, or Sony WH-CH520 Wireless Headphones

security bank welcome gift

Eligible cards: Gold Mastercard, Complete Cashback Platinum Mastercard, Platinum Mastercard, World Mastercard

Promo period: Until June 30, 2024

Want a credit card from Security Bank? You're in for a treat if you apply and get approved for an eligible card through Moneymax and meet the minimum spend requirement. Pick your free Security Bank welcome gift: ₱2,500 Giftaway cash credits, a JBL Charge 5 worth ₱7,599, or Sony WH-CH520 Wireless Headphones worth ₱3,299.

This Moneymax Security Bank Giftaway/JBL/Sony credit card promo runs until June 30, 2024 only. Apply now!

Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-194368 Series of 2024.  Terms and conditions apply. 


BPI Edge Card

BPI Edge Card

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rate: 0.99% (36 months) / 1% (6 to 24 months)
  • Installment terms: 6 to 36 months
  • Balance transfer amount: At least ₱3,000

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱15,000
  • Rewards: 1 BPI Point per ₱50 spend

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱110/month (free for the first year)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Processing fee: ₱300 per availed balance transfer
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: 550 plus 2% interest on the principal amount
  • Late payment fee: ₱850 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower

BPI's lowest balance transfer rate of less than 1% is available on the 36-month installment option. If you want to pay off your transferred balance sooner, you may choose from six, 12, 18, and 24 installment terms—all of which come with 1% interest.

If you're looking for the best BPI balance transfer credit card, consider the Edge Card, which charges a low annual fee and earns rewards points.

UnionBank Platinum Mastercard

UB Platinum Mastercard

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rate: 1%
  • Installment terms: 3 to 36 months
  • Balance transfer amount: Minimum of ₱3,000

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱50,000
  • Rewards: 
    • 1% cashback on all spending 
    • Free Marhaba Lounge Access at NAIA 1 and 3

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱3,000
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Processing fee: ₱350
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: 5% of the remaining principal balance or ₱500, whichever is higher 
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 

UnionBank's in-house installment facility allows you to transfer balances from other credit cards to your UnionBank credit card via EasyTransfer. Processing takes 10 banking days. 

Consider the UnionBank Platinum Mastercard. Get 1% cashback on all purchases, from shopping, dining, travel, and more. 

PNB Essentials Mastercard

PNB Essentials Mastercard

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rates: 1% 
  • Installment terms: 3 to 24 months
  • Balance transfer amount: At least ₱10,000

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱10,000
  • Rewards:
    • Rewards points you can convert to Mabuhay Miles or Cash Credits  
    • No annual fees for life for supplementary cards

💸Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱1,200
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Processing fee: ₱250 per balance transfer application
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: 5% of the total balance or ₱500, whichever is higher
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the minimum amount due, whichever is lower

Are you looking for a balance transfer credit card in the Philippines with a low income requirement? Check out the PNB Essentials Mastercard, which you can qualify for if you have at least ₱10,000 monthly income. Moreover, applications are processed within seven banking days.

The PNB Essentials Mastercard earns rewards points that you can convert to miles or cash credits. Your supplementary cardholders also enjoy no annual fees for life. 

Related reading: Fly for Free When You Convert Your Credit Card Points to Miles

RCBC Flex Visa

RCBC Flex Visa

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rates: 1% 
  • Installment terms: 3 to 36 months
  • Balance transfer amount: At least ₱5,000 and not exceeding ₱300,000

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱15,000
  • Rewards:
    • Double Rewards Points in 2 preferred categories: clothing, dining, transportation, or travel 
    • Rewards Points for all your other spending
  • Travel perks:
    • Complimentary travel insurance and purchase protection
    • Free access to the PAGSS Lounge in NAIA 1 and 3

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱1,500
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Processing fee: ₱250 per balance transfer application
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: ₱500 or 5% of the unpaid principal amount, whichever is higher
  • Late payment fee: ₱850 or the minimum amount due, whichever is lower

RCBC also offers one of the lowest balance transfer rates at 1%. The Flex Visa is the best RCBC credit card for balance transfer because of its low annual fee and generous rewards. With an RCBC credit card, you can pay your other cards' balances in three, six, nine, 12, 18, 24, and 36 monthly installments.

Bank of Commerce Platinum Mastercard

Bank of Commerce Platinum Mastercard

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rate: 0.49% to 0.88%
  • Installment terms: 12, 24, and 36 months
  • Balance transfer amount: Must be equal to or less than the outstanding balance and must be within the credit limit

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱100,000
  • Rewards:
    • 1 point per ₱25 spend
    • 5x points at select department stores and restaurants
  • Travel perks:
    • Up to ₱2 million travel insurance
    • Dual currency billing

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: ₱5,000
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Processing fee: ₱100
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: ₱1,000
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower

Bank of Commerce Platinum Mastercard is another option for the best balance transfer credit cards in the Philippines.

It has a low rate of 0.49% when you transfer at least a ₱20,000 balance from another card and pay it off in 36 monthly installments. Meanwhile, the rate is 0.88% if you pay at least ₱10,000 in 12 monthly installments and 0.60% if you transfer at least ₱20,000 and pay in 24 monthly installments. 

If you’re looking for the lowest balance transfer rate in credit cards in the Philippines, check out the Bank of Commerce Platinum Mastercard and enjoy significant savings.

China Bank Freedom Mastercard

China Bank Freedom

💳 Balance Transfer Features:

  • Balance transfer rate: 1%
  • Installment terms: 3 to 24 months
  • Balance transfer amount: At least ₱3,000 and within your available China Bank credit limit

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱20,833.33
  • Rewards: 1 point per ₱30 spend

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Balance transfer pre-termination fee: ₱500 or 5% of the remaining unpaid installment balance, whichever is higher
  • Late payment fee: ₱750 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower

Another credit card with a low balance transfer rate comes from China Bank. You can pay your transferred balances in three, six, nine, 12, 18, or 24 installments at 1% interest.

For maximum savings on your credit card payments, get the China Bank Freedom Mastercard with waived annual fees for life.

How Do You Do a Credit Card Balance Transfer

balance transfer credit card philippines - how to do balance transfer

The application process for balance credit cards in the Philippines varies per bank, but here's the general procedure to give you an idea.

Step 1: Get a New Credit Card

First, apply and get approved for a credit card with another bank. Make sure the new card is eligible for a balance transfer. You can transfer your balance as long as the receiving card is not issued by the same provider. 

Step 2: Apply for a Balance Transfer

Banks require cardholders to wait a minimum period before applying for a balance transfer. It can take as fast as five days after card approval as in the case of BPI, or as long as 25 days for new China Bank credit cardholders.

Once you qualify for the bank's balance transfer program, request to transfer your credit card balances from other banks through your new provider's customer service hotline or website.

📝 Requirements for Balance Transfer Credit Cards

You may be required to submit any or all these requirements via email, via online banking, or personally at a bank branch:

  • Accomplished balance transfer application form
  • Two valid IDs
  • Latest statement of account of credit cards from other banks

Step 3: Wait For Balance Transfer Approval

Your balance transfer application will undergo a verification and evaluation process, typically lasting eight banking days. While waiting for the bank's decision, continue paying at least the minimum balance on your other credit cards.

If you're approved, your new credit card provider will pay off your other cards' outstanding balance to your old bank. Once the payment is reflected in your old card’s billing statement, coordinate with the bank to close your credit card accounts.

The balance gets transferred to your new credit card account and deducted from your available credit limit. Afterward, you can start paying your installments to your new credit card provider.

 

Final Thoughts

These credit cards are a valuable tool in keeping your finances under control. As long as you get the best balance transfer credit card in the Philippines and use it responsibly, you won't have to worry about accumulating credit card debt again.

Compare credit cards with Moneymax

Source: [1] Metrobank Balance Transfer Calculator

Venus has almost 20 years of combined experience in content marketing, SEO, corporate communications, and public relations. Most of her career was spent creating informative articles on personal finance and digital marketing. She also invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Venus graduated cum laude with a Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. A hardcore Hallyu Tita, she loves bingeing Korean shows on Netflix while bonding with her cats. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.

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