Credit Houdini

Reporter: Bryan Seymour 

He's the credit card Houdini - the man who can help you escape being tied to one bank and the outrageously high interest rates it charges.

He says pick a card, any card, and he can help you reduce your rate of interest from as high as 23.5% down to less than 1%.

As Bryan Seymour reports, all you have to know are the magic words to tell your bank.

Bryan: "Why are any of us paying 8% 12%, 15%, 20% interest on our credit cards?"

Martin: "Well really there's no need for you to be doing that."

He's a modern day credit card Houdini brushing away high interest rates and magically delivering less than 1% interest on your current credit card.

Bryan: "Now everyone knows you can get a low introductory rate on a new card, is that what you're talking about?"

Martin: "No, not at all. So this is for a current existing card that someone has."

Martin Chin is 46 years old and he has an MBA. He also has multiple credit cards with many thousands of dollars on them. Over the last six years he's saved tens of thousands of dollars by transferring his debt to existing cards he hold and slashing the interest rate.

Bryan: "What's the lowest discount you've ever got on a credit card?"

Martin: "With just a balance transfer on an existing card… I have gotten 0%."

Currently in Australia there are more than 14 million credit cards in circulation with an average debt of over $3,300 dollars. In an unprecedented splurge, Australians have racked up $50billion in personal credit card debt, delivering the banks an annual windfall of nearly $10billion profit.

The highest credit card interest rate on offer is 23.5%, the lowest is 10.99% and the average rate we're paying is 15%.

Until now.

We invited 29yo Tasha Wade to help us prove martin's method can work for anyone. She has two credit cards, one with Citibank at nearly 24% interest, the other with the leading credit card provider in the country Westpac.

We called Westpac to use Martin's script (see below) to get Tasha a new interest rate of 0.99% on $3,000 transferred from her Citibank credit card. For legal reasons, Martin informed the Operator he was recording the conversation.

First, the Westpac operator tried steers Tasha towards getting a new credit card; then she tried stonewalling her altogether but she didn't count on having to haggle with 'Houdini'.

About six minutes into the call Tasha, with Martin's help, has worn down Westpac and they're speaking to the special, secret unit we should all be speaking with. Just a few minutes later Tasha has cut her interest rate from nearly 24% to less than 1%.

Yes, you can do this too with any bank, not just the big four. When the 6 months on your new low rate is up simply transfer it again. Martin says it should take only an hour of your time every couple of months.

"I've tried it before and I've got blocked by someone like (the Westpac operator) and I've said I'm sure you can do it because I've seen you do a card for 0% for six months and they say that's for new customers only," said Tasha.

"I'm intrigued about the discovery from you guys," said finance expert Peter Switzer of <>, who was surprised by Martin's method.

"I'm kind of surprised at 0.99%, I'm not surprised that we don't know about it, I know the banks wouldn't advertise it, it's not in their interest to transfer customers on 19% to 0.99%,"' Switzer said.

Bryan: "Martin, what message do you have for the big four banks in light of this story going to air?"

Martin: "I would ask the banks if they could continue to keep these facilities open, they are making out of this, it's good for them, it's good for Australia and for the consumers and I don't think they're losing money out of this at all... I'm sure that they are still making money."

"Don't close the doors guys, keep it open for the Australians out there… (for a) fair go, definitely."

Bryan: "What would you urge everyone watching right now to do first thing tomorrow morning?"

Martin: "If you do have at least two cards at least two different banks and the banks do want your business you can get through to the right group and get that transfer on your existing, current credit card and do the transfer at, you know, 4% and below right now, today."

Westpac balance transfer script

1. Call 132032

2. After the prompt, enter option 2

3. Enter your 8 digit customer number

4. Enter your 3 digit pin access

5. Say "balance transfers credit card"

6. Tell the operator exactly that you " Want to do a balance transfer on your existing card at 0.99% for 6 months for your existing credit card which ends in _______"

7. Do ask her to transfer you to the card relations group, whom you know CAN do a balance transfer on existing credit cards at the 0.99% for the 6 months…

8. After you get transferred, tell the operator you want to do a balance transfer at 0.99% for the 6 months on your existing card..

9. To reinforce that you know what rates they can offer, tell him that you do not want the 7.99% for life of the balance transfer, but that you want the 0.99% for 6 months..

10. Then wait for him to ask you for your credit card details of both banks.. he will ask you which bank you want to pay.. then tell him the name of the other bank

11. Tell him the amount you want to transfer… say $3,000.

12. Ask for your application reference number.

13. Take note of your reference number. If you have an problems with your transfer, you can call Westpac on 1300 366 867

Story Links:

Martin Chin

Peter Switzer

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