If you have a large amount of credit card debt and you’re looking to pay it down, you’re probably in the market for a card with a great introductory offer that will let you transfer your existing balance.
That makes sense. These days, lots of credit cards come with introductory offers that extend a zero percent rate for anywhere from six to as long as 18 months, and that usually will give you plenty of time to significantly reduce the amount you owe to a more manageable level.
But of course, there are many things you should consider when looking to make a switch. For one thing, how much of a balance transfer fee will you have to pay? Usually, there’s not much wiggle room with this fee, as it’s typically about 3 percent of the total value of the balance you’re transferring. But comparing a few might help you save a little bit of money when it comes to getting your new account in order.
Then you should think about the amount you’re transferring versus the length of the introductory offer you’re looking for and what you think you’ll be able to pay every month. If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay down your entire debt within six months, then you might opt for a card with a longer introductory rate to make sure you don’t incur any added interest costs after that. However, you should also keep in mind that, in many cases, the longer the introductory rate on your card lasts, the higher the ongoing rate you’ll pay on any debt you have left over—or accrue—when the initial period ends.
And for that reason, you should probably look to avoid charging purchases to the account as you attempt to eliminate your debt or reduce it to more manageable levels. Charging more on it may defeat the purpose of obtaining the balance transfer card in the first place.
As always, you should take a look at how any type of new credit card account, and any repayment plan you come up with, will impact all aspects of your finances. This will help you to better understand what type of card works best for you.