Balance Transfer Credit Cards: Know What to Look for

Many credit cards offer introductory balance transfer offers to entice customers with existing credit card debt to switch. Generally, new cardholders can transfer their existing credit card debt to a new card with a low interest rate for a limited time. Theoretically, this would allow you to avoid interest and pay off debt more quickly.


However, not all balance transfer offers are created equal. The cards you can qualify for depend on your credit score, but you should search for the card that gives you the best chance of successfully paying off your debt. Remember: for more tips on how to improve the quality of your life, visit


A balance transfer credit card should have the following features.


Balance transfer credit cards usually offer introductory interest rates (intro APRs) that are much lower than what cardholders typically pay. If you transfer your balance over, you can reduce – or eliminate – your interest when you take advantage of these introductory APRs.


Start by looking for credit cards that offer 0% interest rates, which allow you to pay off your balance interest-free. By paying off the balance before the intro APR period expires, you can avoid paying interest altogether.

Even if you don’t qualify for a card with a 0% intro APR, you can probably find a card with a lower APR than the one you currently have. You can still save money in the long run and pay off your balance faster using this method.



For balance transfers, the intro APR is only valid for a limited time. A timeline can range from a matter of months to over a year for each card. In the event that you do not pay off your balance within that time period, the normal interest rate will apply to any remaining balance.


Choose a card that gives you enough time to pay off your balance in full during the introductory period. Before applying for a credit card, calculate how much you have to pay off before the interest kicks in. If you have a balance of $1,200 and a six-month introductory period, you need to pay $200 per month for the balance to be paid off before interest kicks in.

If you can’t find an introductory period long enough to pay off your balance in full, try to find one that allows you to pay down most of it.



As a transfer fee, most credit cards charge 3% to 5% of the balance amount. It may not seem like much, but for high balances, this percentage can be significant. Some credit cards offer free balance transfers, but you may need to transfer the balance quickly to qualify. Try to find a card with a low, or no, balance transfer fee.



Several credit cards charge annual fees, which are added to your balance, just for the benefit of using the card. Whenever you’re paying off debt, it’s a good idea to avoid any added fees. Choose a credit card that has no annual fee.



Once your card is active, make your balance transfer. You will have the most time to benefit from the intro APR period. In addition, it helps you avoid balance transfer fees if your card offers free balance transfers for a limited time.


Make sure you pay your balance off in full by the end of the intro APR period. You can end up paying interest on your balance if you don’t.

Furthermore, you should avoid making purchases with your credit card while you focus on paying off your balance. Making regular purchases increases your balance and makes it harder to pay down your debt.


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