Credit Card Balance Transfer Tips

Credit Card Balance Transfer Tips

How to use a balance transfer credit card.

If you’re struggling with credit card debt, one way to throw yourself a lifeline is to open a balance transfer card. By doing so, you give yourself some breathing room by eliminating (or at least lowering) the interest you have to pay. Here’s how to use a balance transfer card in four easy steps.

  1. Find a Card. The first step is to find the best card possible. You want to find a balance transfer card that has:
    • 0% introductory interest rate for at least six months, preferably double that.
    • Low transfer fee — somewhere around three percent.
    • No annual fee.
    • Note. Remember you can’t use a balance transfer card from the same company you’re transferring debt from. If you have debt on a Citi card, you typically won’t be able to open a Citi balance transfer card.
  2. Contact the New Lender. Now that you have the new card, you have to contact the new company and give them details about your balance transfer. You can just do this via the card’s site. Log into your new account and request a balance transfer. Be ready with certain info, like the amount of debt you’re transferring, the previous card lender, and the previous card account number. 
  3. Wait it Out. Once you have requested the transfer, be prepared to wait up to two weeks for it to be processed. Make sure you check your new account often, as many times you will not be notified that the transfer was made.
  4. Pay down the debt. The last step is the best. Now that your transfer has gone through, pay down the debt (and the balance transfer charge) as fast as possible. You want to have a plan in place to pay off the debt before the intro rate deal is over.

Do One Thing: Open a balance transfer card if you’re struggling with debt on a high-interest rate card.

Chris O'Shea

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