How To Do A Balance Transfer
Being surrounded by mountains of credit card debt can feel overwhelming. Add high-interest payments, and it can feel downright impossible to repay.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to get out from under sky-high debt, like consolidating it with a balance transfer credit card.
Many of these types of cards extend low- or even zero-interest rates for new accounts, making them one of the best ways to pay off your debts.
It works by moving the balance from one or even several cards onto a new one with a lower interest rate. And if you get a card with a 0% APR introductory offer, it can make repaying your debts even easier.
Balance transfer credit cards don’t only make debt management easier, but they can also simplify your monthly credit card statements.
Although this strategy is a viable means to get out of debt, it’s not a guarantee. To get over your personal mountain, you must create a plan and stick with it, so you might consider speaking to a financial advisor or debt management professional to help you.
Credit Karma explains how to pay down debt with a balance transfer credit card.
1. Look At Your Balance And Interest Rate
Before diving into a balance transfer credit card application, you should consider a few things first, such as your current credit card’s interest rate and balance. These details will help you chose the right card for your needs later. Generally, a good balance transfer card is one with a lower APR than your current one, and that lets you transfer the entirety of your balance onto it.
2. Choose A Card That’s Right For You
As we mentioned, you want a balance transfer credit card with a lower interest rate than what you currently pay and allows you to transfer your whole balance. You should have no problem finding a card that offers both of these because there are tons available on the market today.
Some other factors to take into account include:
- The length of the introductory-APR offer
- How much time you have to transfer balances
3. Review Terms And Conditions
Don’t agree to a balance transfer credit card until you fully understand what you’re signing up for.
“You need to make sure that the transfer is financially beneficial. For example, if the fee is 3% of the balance and the new APR is 10%, you won’t benefit from the transfer if the APR on your old card is 11%,” Roslyn Lash, AFC and financial educator and coach at Youth Smart Financial Education Services told Credit Karma.
Look for any balance transfer fees and determine if they will offset the cost of moving your debt to a new card. Additionally, make sure to check for any restrictions such as credit limits or other features.
4. Apply For Your New Balance Transfer Card
After you have everything in order and understand your chosen card’s terms and conditions, it’s time to start the application process.
Applying for a balance transfer card works like any other credit card application process. You can apply online, making sure to provide all the necessary details, then submit it and wait for a response.
5. Transfer Your Balance
The most straightforward way to transfer the balance from your old credit card to your new one is by filing a request with your new card issuer, which you can do online or over the phone. Make sure you have your old account numbers and the amount that you need to transfer.
After you submit your request, you will have to wait once again. The waiting period varies but typically ranges from a few days or several weeks. In the meantime, make sure you continue paying your old credit card’s monthly statements to avoid penalty fees.
6. Pay Your Balance
When you receive approval, your old card’s balance will appear on your new credit card statement. If your new credit card didn’t allow you to transfer the whole balance, continue to pay the minimum balance on your old card.
The fastest way to get rid of debt is by focusing on the amount on the balance transfer card. Try to pay more than the minimum payment so that you can eliminate as much debt as possible before the introductory period ends. Doing this will make sure you get the most out of your new balance transfer card.
- Lockert, Melanie. “Error: Credit Karma.” Error | Credit Karma, 25 Aug. 2020, www.creditkarma.com/credit-cards/i/how-to-do-a-balance-transfer.