Home > Credit Cards > How to Transfer a Credit Card Balance

Comments 1 Comment

Credit card balance transfers can be an invaluable tool for managing credit card debt. This tactic allows cardholders to move their debt from a card with a high interest rate to one with a lower interest rate, or no interest charges at all.

While it’s not inherently complex to transfer a credit card balance, there are still several important things that cardholders need to be aware of before, during, and after.

Before You Transfer a Credit Card Balance

Preparing your finances for a balance transfer is vital to making sure you don’t get tripped up by some of the fine print.

1. Make sure you keep up with all of your payments.

This will allow you to maintain excellent credit and find a balance transfer offer with the best possible terms. The right card may be one you already have with a lower interest rate than the one you are using, or it may be a new card with a 0% APR promotional balance transfer offer. In fact, you may be able to get a promotional financing offer from one of your existing accounts, possibly in the form of a convenience check.

2. Understand all of the terms and conditions of the balance transfer.

Know what the card’s credit limit is, its interest rate on balance transfers, and what the balance transfer fee will be. Balance transfer fees are typically 3% of the amount transferred, but not always. Chase Slate currently has the only 0% APR promotional balance transfer offer with no balance transfer fee, although others can have fees as high as 5%.

In the case of promotional financing offers, learn how long you have to complete a qualifying transfer, and the length of the promotional financing period. Typically, promotional balance transfer offers must be completed within 30 days to four months of the account opening, and can last from between six and 18 months. Keep in mind that even though the terms might not explicitly say so, banks will not allow balance transfers between their own accounts.

3. Make a plan.

Come up with a sound financial plan for paying down your debt, otherwise your balance transfer is just another form of postponing your obligations.

Making the Transfer

Contact the bank that you are transferring the balance to and ask to perform a balance transfer. Be prepared to give the account information for the other card, and the total amount you want transferred.

After the Transfer

Continue to make at least the minimum payment required from the old credit card, and if you have paid your entire debt, make sure to get a statement from your bank. However, keep your old account open in order to maintain a low credit utilization ratio, which will help your credit score.

Most importantly, stick to the plan that you created to reduce your debt. Recognize that it probably will not be possible to take advantage of promotional financing offers over and over again.

By understanding some of the nuances of balance transfers, cardholders can use these offers to save as much money as possible on their credit card interest charges.

Image: iStockphoto

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Applying for a new credit card may have also dinged your score, as well as the maxed-out credit card. (Overall utilization is more important, but maxing out a single card can also ding your score a little bit.) A new account may have also reduced the average age of your credit history, which can hurt your credit score. If you check your credit scores on your credit.com account, it should tell you what’s driving your score and what you should focus on to change it. Scores are always changing: http://blog.credit.com/2016/07/should-i-be-worried-if-my-credit-score-dropped-10-points-150317/

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team