[UPDATE February 2012 - Please note that this article was published in early 2011 and most of the 0% Balance Transfer Plans have EXPIRED!]
[UPDATE 18 March 2012 - To learn more about Balance Transfer Plans and Facts You Need to Know, please read my latest article on Balance Transfer at my new blog GenX GenY GenZ by clicking>> Credit Card Balance Transfer Plan 2012 - Gone is the best 0% Interest Free Loan.]
This is my third post on the subject of Credit Card Balance Transfer, the last time I posted about Balance Transfer Program/Plan was about 6 months ago and now more banks have joined in to offer 0% Interest Free Balance Transfer including Maybank where they are offering 12 months 0% Interest Balance Transfer for their Maybank Credit Card Holders and also American Express Credit Card Holders. The banks in Malaysia must be making hell a lot of money until they don't know what to do with it (or maybe not willing to take risk and loan to small businesses instead prefer to give its customers some benefit and maintain their card base and/or attract new customers?). Anyway whatever the reason, we card holders can benefit from this credit card 0% Balance Transfer Plan.
If you are not familiar with Balance Transfer Plan for Credit Card, please read my earlier post about it first before proceeding reading the rest of this article by clicking the link below:
Click here to read about Balance Transfer Plans.
And after you have read the above post, click below link to see an example on how Balance Transfer works for step by step guide on CIMB and Direct Access 0% Interest Balance Transfer for 6 months Balance Transfer Plan.
Click here to read the benefits of Balance Transfer and guide to applying CIMB Balance Transfer.
I hope the above two posts were helpful and now I shall give a brief write up on Balance Transfer for different banks.
CIMB and Direct Access Balance Transfer
There's nothing new in 2011 in CIMB Bank Balance Transfer as compared to last year. Once again they offering 0% Interest for 6 months and 1% for 12 months balance transfer. This offer expire on 30th Jun 2011 and a very important note is that the plan is not applicable to CIMB Islamic Cardholders.
The CIMB Bank and Direct Access 0% Interest Free 6 months Balance Transfer is truly interest free with no handling fees. No interest will be charge for the next 6 months as long as you pay the minimum 5% payment before the Due Date and comes end of the 6th month you got to settle in full. Once your Balance Transfer Application is approved, a new account will be created and a separate monthly statement will be issued together with your normal monthly statements. This is great as makes it so easy to see your monthly expenses and keep track of the Balance Transfer outstanding amount.
For the CIMB Bank Balance Transfer 12 months plan, an interest of 1% will be imposed on the amount of the balance transfer approved.
As I mentioned in my second post on Balance Transfer posted on June 2010 (please click on link mentioned above if you have not read it), you can even do it for your American Express Charged Card as payment is made to Maybank. Well I did another balance transfer for my Amex Gold Charged Card recently. I faxed the Balance Transfer Application Form to CIMB on 10th January 2011 (Monday). Called Direct Access Customer Service line on 17th January 2011 (Monday) and they told me my application have been approved and payment made to MBB on 14th January 2011. It took them only 5 working days to process and make payment, CIMB really efficient for my case.
Click here to download 2011 CIMB Balance Transfer Application Form. Applies for Direct Access Balance Transfer Plan too.
Public Bank Berhad Balance Transfer XII
Public Bank Berhad is offering 6 months, 12 months and 24 months Balance Transfer plans with 0%, 1.5% and 5% respectively where the interest for the 12 months and 24 months will be charged upfront i.e. you got to pay in the interest charges in full as stated in the coming monthly statement together with the first installment. In Public Bank Balance Transfer case, the BT amount approved will be divided into equal installment payments according to plan chosen unlike CIMB Bank's Balance Transfer where you only need to pay the minimum 5% of outstanding balance.
There will be a penalty of RM100 if you settle in full early.
Click here to read more on PBB BT Terms and Conditions and to download application form.
Maybank 12 Months 0% Interest Free Balance Transfer Scheme
Maybank have several Balance Transfer Plans or Schemes as they called it. The odd thing is they are offering 12 months 0% Balance Transfer whereas for the 6 months and 9 months tenure there is a monthly interest charge of 0.5% and 0.75% respectively. Is as if Maybank is promoting you to prolong your debt which is not really good but since it is 0% interest I guess is it a good deal. Exact Similar Balance Transfer plans are offered to American Express Credit Cards (issued by Maybank i.e. Hong Leong Bank American Express credit card not applicable).
So if you need a longer Balance Transfer Plan, then go with Maybank 0% Interest 12 months Balance Transfer instead of the 0% 6 months offered by CIMB Bank or Public Bank. That's assuming you got all three cards. To note that by applying for a new card, you need to pay RM50 GST.
For the Maybank Balance Transfer 12 months plan, you will have to pay 12 equal installments i.e. the approved balance transfer amount divided by 12.
As I mentioned, American Express Credit Cards also get the same exact Balance Transfer offer as Maybank card holders. Since I can't give you a direct link to maybank2u balance transfer page, you can read more about it at American Express website. There's even a FAQ link for it. The 0% 12 months Balance Transfer Scheme for both Maybank and AMEX is valid until 30th April 2011.
One big difference between Maybank and CIMB is that Maybank allows Balance Transfer for their Islamic Cards. Also, there will not be a new account created solely for the Balance Transfer.
Here a table showing the repayment for various balance transfer tenure with MBB/AMEX.
Alliance Bank 12 Months 0% Balance Transfer Plan
Alliance Bank has join the fray by giving 0% Interest Balance Transfer until 31st March 2011. However this offer is not being advertised nor can be found in their website. I received the application form together with my monthly statement. You can transfer up to 80% of your credit limit which is normally the case with other banks.
I was told that Alliance took 9 working days (you got to add extra days for weekends and public holidays) to approve and make payment. So take note of this and allow for adequate time for Alliance to process and make payment to your other bank and the payment cleared before the Due Date to avoid interest charges.
There is an exit fee of 5% of the total Balance Transfer amount if you settle early! 5% is damn high. If you ask me, avoid doing BT with Alliance simple because of this condition. 12 months is a long time and you may loose track on the months you are into the program and settle early.
HSBC 0% 6 Months Balance Transfer
Some of you might have heard or received calls from HSBC offering 0% Balance Transfer for 6 months. Well, a forum member at Low Yat did report that he was going to do BT with HSBC until he found out that he may face some issues since he got installment plans with them. So when HSBC called me to offer the BT Plan I took the opportunity to ask about it. She explained that HSBC have some kind of hierarchy when you make payment and told me not to worry as I don't have outstanding balance or any installment plan with them. The thing is she said not to worry, why should I worry in the first place, and that got me worried about HSBC Balance Transfer. Anyway I don't understand how the payment hierarchy works and not interested to know about it anyway since I am very happy with CIMB BT. But if you want to do Balance Transfer with HSBC, my advise to you is ask them about this payment hierarchy and if you understand then I guess ok for you to do BT with them. But if you don't understand like me, better stay away from it to avoid unnecessary headache.
Hong Leong Bank Balance Transfer Plan
Hong Leong Bank do not offer 0% Interest Free Balance Transfer plans for any tenure. So I would not recommend you do Balance Transfer with them if you have above mentioned cards. So why am I mentioning HLB here? Read below if you need CASH with monthly interest starting from 0.4%.
If you have read my first post on Balance Transfer where I gave you the link at the start of this post, you may remember that I mentioned that Hong Leong Bank will transfer money into your Savings or Current Account. Well they have extended the plan and I'll repeat it here as Hong Leong Bank Balance Transfer Program as they called it can be also treated as a unsecured loan where the monthly interest rates are 0.4%, 0.5%, 0.75% and 1% for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months respectively. If you need a short term loan , then call HLB up and ask for the 3 or 6 months plan where they be more than happy to transfer cash into your account via Giro where there is a RM2 fee. I feel that the rates for the 9 months and 12 months plan are high where you'll be paying interest rate of 9% and 12% respectively. However this HLB loan plan is on reducing rate and interest is calculated daily, the earlier you pay back the more you save.
The program ends on 30th June 2011. Also note that there is an early settlement fee of RM100 so if you settle in full prior to the expiry period chosen by you, remember to maintain a minimum amount like RM60 two months before your plan ends (since minimum payment is RM50 better not have less than this) and RM10 in the last month of the plan where you need to settle in full then.
Click here to go to HLB website for more info.
EON Bank has similar unsecured loan with their credit card named "Call For Cash" where I did mentioned in my post about my Visa Signature. The difference between EON and HLB loan is that EON Bank Call For Cash charges interest upfront. The cash will be transferred to your Savings or Current Account via Giro shall be payable by way of equal installments based on tenure selected. Click here to read more on EON Bank's Call For Cash.
The 0% interest Balance Transfer is great where you can earn some money based on the example I shown in my second post on Balance Transfer especially if the amount is substantial or you may just want to treat it as a short term loan. Before you go applying for Balance Transfer, do understand the terms and conditions that comes with it and different banks have different conditions e.g. early settlement penalty and payment hierarchy. Best for me is CIMB Bank and Direct Access Balance Transfer plan because I get separate statement(s) for separate balance transfer plan(s) (yes, you can have more than 1 BT account with CIMB) and I don't have to worry about payment hierarchy or whatever as long as I pay before the 6 months period expire, I won't be imposed a single sen of interest.
Do let me remind you once again, this 0% interest balance transfer offer is not free money, it is a loan where you need to pay back. There is no point that you go and buy stuff and then do Balance Transfer if you don't have the fund. Do not end up working for the bank but instead let the bank work for us (make or save money from their offers). And on a final note, I don't think this 0% Balance Offers will last till next year as Bank Negara Malaysia is expected to raise the Overnight Policy Rate this year.
|Note: Date should be 31 Jan 2012|
Other Related Post
Click here to read more about CIMB and MAYBANK Balance Transfer Plan Payments - where I have shown a sample on how CIMB payment works for the CIMB BT plan.
Click here to read my article The Best Credit Card in Malaysia - Is There Really One?
Click here to read my article titled Credit Cards Are CAsh Cow For Banks. Are You Working For The Banks? In this article I gave example on interest charges imposed onto Outstanding Balance, talked about 0% installment plans and how you may end up having debts.
Click here to read my article, Earn Pocket Money with your Credit Cards.