Is Balance Transfer on your Credit Card a Good Option?

By PolicyBazaar
  | Published: 14 July 2020 | Last Updated On: 29 December 2020
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A balance transfer credit card allows you to transfer your debt with a high-interest rate from your credit card(s) to another one that offers a lower rate of interest. This assists you in clearing off your debt more quickly because more parts of your payment will be directed towards the principal amount every month rather than towards the interest charged. 

What types of balances can I transfer to my balance transfer credit card?

The majority of the issuers will not allow you to transfer your balance from a different credit card from the same bank. This is applicable to both business and personal cards.

While transferring the balance, you move the amount that you owe on a credit card to another one. The receiving card can be the one you have already or a fresh account, which you open for taking advantage of a lower promotional rate.

The banks earn money from a combination of fees and interest charged. For example, the banks earn from the annual fees you pay every year for your credit card. In case you carry some balance at the regular APR, your provider can also benefit from the amount of interest that you pay.

This is the reason why banks generally do not allow the balance transfer between credit cards at the common financial institution. Usually, you have the option of transferring the balance from different card accounts to one balance transfer credit card when they have not been issued by a common provider.

With the balances on your card, you can also transfer costly loans for your appliances, cars, furniture, as well as other installments to a balance transfer card that charges no interest using the balance transfer checks from the bank, which issues the card. 

What is the amount of debt that I can transfer?

 The debt amount that you can transfer to an existing or new balance transfer credit card may differ from one card to another and from one provider to another.

This amount is dependent on many factors including the spending limit on the balance transfer card, your creditworthiness, the credit available on the card during the balance transfer, and strict restrictions imposed by the card provider on balance transfers (if any).

Some of the credit card providers will not allow you to move a balance for the entire available credit on the card (even when during the balance transfer the card balance is zero). The majority of the issuers also take into consideration your payment and credit behaviour to decide whether to approve or deny the balance you wish to transfer, even when it is lower than the spending limit on the credit card. In case you have a good payment history, the probability of getting approved for the balance transfer is high.

Moreover, a lot of insurers do not allow you to be aware of the credit limit they will be offering you on the new balance transfer credit card in advance. They will ask you to apply for the card first. After you get approved, the provider will let you know the limit offered on the card. 

Should I Opt for a Balance Transfer?

Transferring your balance may be a solid strategy for debt-repayment that lets you save on interest and with time chip away on your balance. However, it may not turn out to be the best alternative for all. These points will help you to be sure if a balance transfer is correct for you or not. 

What amount should you transfer?

Even though you get approved for a balance transfer credit card, the credit limit offered to you might not cover the entire balance you wish to transfer. In case your balance is very big to transfer at once, you will have to decide if it is the best to transfer a part, apply for more than cards, or continue with the existing creditors for getting a lower rate of interest. 

What is the reason for your debt?

You might have the motivation for paying off the debt, but in case you have not addressed the reason that leads you into debt initially, you might just make use of the new card for creating a bigger balance. Even worse, you may end up with a high rate of interest on the new card at the end of the promotional period. 

What is your repayment plan?

It is critical that you opt for a balance transfer plan with how you will be clearing your debt and making the most out of the 0% introductory APR duration or low ongoing APR on the card. Otherwise, you might just find yourself in the same place you began. Moreover, in case you fail to make payments on time, you can lose the 0% APR and may also trigger a penalty APR. 

You need good credit for being eligible.

For enjoying the best offers on balance transfer, you will require a credit that good to excellent. Rather than attempting a balance transfer with bad credit, you can consider taking a debt consolidation loan or put your focus on clearing your balance as much as you can before applying to rebuild the credit score and getting better terms. 

In a Nutshell!

A balance transfer could turn out to be a useful tool for paying off your credit card debt quickly without incurring interest. However, there are many things that you must keep in mind for making this facility work in your favour, including the fees and the payment and spending patterns.

Before you transfer your balance, ensure that you have made a plan for repayment to make sure you will clear your balance before the end of the introduction period. Also, avoid getting under more debt on your credit card. For ensuring this, create a budget to control your spending. Otherwise, the benefits of the balance transfer credit card may become null.