What is a balance transfer credit card and is it right for you?

Balance transfer credit cards may be an appropriate means of debt consolidation if your debt can be paid off within the 0% interest period. But be sure to set a plan and adjust spending habits before using this form of debt consolidation.

Opening a new card requires conducting a hard inquiry on your credit reports and can reduce credit utilization, potentially helping improve scores. Before selecting one over another it’s essential to compare and assess their merits and demerits before making your final choice.


Balance transfers can be an effective tool to help you become debt free faster, save on interest costs, and boost your credit score. Before applying for one of these cards, however, it’s essential that you carefully assess their potential benefits against their drawbacks in order to make an informed decision suited to your financial circumstances and goals.

An obvious benefit of balance transfer credit cards is their potential to save you money on interest payments. By switching your debt to one with low or no interest rate, you can start saving right away – especially by targeting debt with higher-interest payments first for transfer. Furthermore, consider selecting cards which offer cash back or travel rewards as they could also provide additional savings potential.

Balance transfer credit cards offer another important benefit – consolidating all your debt into one convenient location. Carrying debt across various cards can make managing and tracking balances challenging; by consolidating all your balances onto one card, it makes management much simpler while helping ensure timely repayment of balances.

Balance transfer credit cards can also help boost your credit score by reducing the debt utilization ratio. Your debt utilization ratio is calculated by dividing your total outstanding debt by your total credit limit – typically, the lower your ratio is, the better your score is likely to be. By moving debt onto cards offering low or 0% interest rates, transferring it could have a dramatic impact on lowering this ratio and positively altering it in favor of improving it further.

Though balance transfer credit cards offer numerous advantages, you should remember that their 0% introductory period will eventually come to an end and plan for paying off remaining debt or moving it onto another card with another 0% offer in place.


Balance transfer credit cards carry with them one major risk: increasing debt. This is particularly true if you lack the discipline necessary to repay the balance prior to its 0% interest period expiring or continue making purchases on it afterward. In addition, moving debt between cards typically triggers hard credit inquiries that could have adverse repercussions for your score.

No matter if it’s just one revolving balance or multiple, the right balance transfer credit card can save you money in interest charges and help you escape debt faster. However, if you have history of unhealthy spending practices then balance transfer cards may not be right for you.

Not to be forgotten is that 0% interest only applies to debt you transfer; any new purchases could incur interest charges as well. Furthermore, some balance transfer cards charge a balance transfer fee (typically 3-5% of total amount transferred), which could offset any savings potential.

If you’re considering balance transfer credit cards, take stock of your debt and budget first before reviewing all available balance transfer cards on the market to find one that fits. Be sure to consider any time limits attached to any 0% APR promotions or benefits such as annual percentage rates before transferring debt onto new cards.


Certain credit card companies charge a balance transfer fee when you move debt between their cards, usually expressed as a percentage of the amount transferred; it could even be lower or even zero depending on your chosen balance transfer card company. Some offers also come with an introductory 0% APR period to help accelerate paying off your debt faster.

Carefully consider all fees associated with balance transfers before making any decisions. It can be easy to get carried away and transfer debt without fully understanding all of its implications and creating a plan to repay before its 0% interest period expires; this can cause more debt in the long run and cost you even more money overall.

Before selecting a balance transfer credit card, it’s essential to factor in all costs associated with owning it – such as interest rates and fees. A credit card calculator can help estimate potential monthly charges so you can determine if transferring debt outweighs its associated fees.

An important consideration when selecting a balance transfer credit card is its credit limit. This amount will depend on both your credit history and score, but may not cover your entire debt; in such a situation you may need to divide it up over several transfers.

Once you’ve decided to proceed with a balance transfer, the next step is waiting for it to be processed – which can take anywhere from two weeks up to several months or more. During this period, make sure you continue paying the minimum due on any old cards to avoid late fees and late payments.

Once your balance transfer has completed, make a payment using your new card. In an ideal world, this should include paying off or at least reducing your debt below $5,000 before the 0% interest offer ends; otherwise create and adhere to a budget to begin repaying as soon as possible.


If you have significant debt that’s difficult to repay on its own, balance transfer credit cards could offer relief. By moving the outstanding balance onto a card offering low or no interest for an introductory period, balance transfer cards allow you to transfer it without incurring additional charges or incurring late payment fees. Before considering one as an option though, be mindful that high credit scores may be needed in order to qualify – and should they fail, costs could outweigh potential savings.

Consider also how long and what fees will be assessed upon balance transfers; you want a card with an extended 0% interest period that corresponds with how long it will take you to repay debt; further, make sure it has enough of a credit limit to hold all of it.

Final steps involve assessing whether you’re ready for a change in spending habits. Depending on your specific circumstances, this might involve restricting other cards entirely or keeping open only the credit card you plan to transfer debt onto as part of an attempt to manage finances and avoid temptation – if discipline is an issue then a balance transfer card might not be suitable for you.

Balance transfer credit cards can be effective tools in your battle against debt, provided that they’re used responsibly and you are confident you can pay your balance within its introductory period. If payments have become difficult or you have previously struggled to keep up, a debt consolidation loan might be more suitable for managing your payments and consolidating them into one loan payment plan.