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A balance transfer can help you save money by moving high-interest debt on one credit card to a card with a lower interest rate or an introductory 0% APR offer. When you shift a balance to another card, you may have to pay a balance transfer fee, which is typically 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred.
Although a balance transfer fee can add to your existing debt, it’s usually far less than the double-digit interest rates charged by most credit cards. Some cards don’t charge a balance transfer fee, which can help save you money overall. However, if you’re looking for the longest runway possible to pay down your debt, cards with the longest introductory 0% APR typically come with fees.
Before choosing a balance transfer card, it’s important to do the math to make sure that what you’ll save on interest over theintroductory 0% time period is less than what you would pay upfront in balance transfer fees.
Use the balance transfer calculator below to see how much of your total debt amount would be with a balance transfer offer, including any transfer fees. Comparing offers this way will help you determine the best balance transfer card for your particular circumstances.
Your savings with a balance transfer:
Based on your previous credit card payment(s):
Based on your new credit card payment:
Show payoff charts
Payoff Schedule with Old Card
Payoff Schedule with New Card
|No.||Monthly Payment||Interest Paid||Principal Paid||Original Balance|
|No.||Monthly Payment||Interest Paid||Principal Paid||Original Balance|
How to Use The Balance Transfer Calculator
Step 1: Enter Current Card Details
Enter your current card’s details in the balance transfer calculator boxes. In the first box, enter the amount of debt on your current card that you’re looking to transfer. Then, enter the interest rate you’re currently paying on the balance in the second box. Finally, enter the amount you pay each month towards that balance.
If you have more than one card you’re looking to transfer a balance from, repeat the process for each card.
Step 2: Enter New Card Details
Next, you’ll enter the information for the new balance transfer card you’re considering. This includes the ongoing interest rate you’ll pay after the promotional period expires, the amount you plan to pay each month towards the balance, any annual fee associated with owning the card, as well as the terms of the introductory offer including the promo APR , length of the offer and any balance transfer fees.
After inputting all relevant information, hit the “Calculate” button.
Step 3: Interpreting Your Results
The calculator will show you how much you could save by transferring your current balance to a card with a low or 0% APR balance transfer offer. You’ll also see how much it will cost you to pay off your balance at the current rate with your current card(s) as well as how much your monthly payments would have to be on the new card to pay it off completely before the promotional period expires.
You can click on “See Payoff Charts” to see detailed information month-over-month comparing the progress you’d make paying off your current card compared to payments on a new card with a promotional balance transfer offer.
What Is a Balance Transfer?
A balance transfer moves a balance to another account or card, preferably one with a lower or 0% interest rate. That lower rate is typically an introductory one and will only last for the promotional period which is typically anywhere from six months to nearly two years. There’s also typically a balance transfer fee which can range from 2% to 5% of the amount that you’re transferring.
Before you apply for a new card, check your current credit cards for balance transfer offers. Most cards do not allow you to do a balance transfer to another card issued from the same bank, but utilizing the offers you already have could be a better option than getting a new card.
The best balance transfer cards are generally those with lengthy introductory 0% APR periods. For those who find themselves making just the minimum payments without making headway on the principal debt, a balance transfer card might help them whittle down the balance.
How to Transfer a Credit Card Balance
There are a few simple steps to do a balance transfer. First, once you’ve picked a balance transfer card that aligns with your goals, you can apply for it just like you would any other card. Typically, you can apply online and find out within minutes if you’re approved.
After you’re approved and you know what the credit limit is on the new card, now is the time to collect the information you’ll need to transfer debt to the new card. This will include the account numbers of any accounts you’re looking to transfer from as well as the amount you plan on transferring. Don’t forget to calculate the amount of any balance transfer fee into the amount you’ll be putting on the new card.
How long does a balance transfer take?
Balance transfer times can vary greatly from as little as two or three days, to six weeks or more. The transfer time is dependent on the banks involved and each bank has its own estimates for how long a balance transfer will take.
How to Apply for a Balance Transfer Credit Card
Applying for a balance transfer card is the same as applying for any type of credit card and can typically be done online by entering some basic information about yourself. Once you apply and are approved, you’ll find out your credit limit. Just like your credit limit is the maximum amount you can charge on your credit card, it’s also the maximum amount you can transfer.
Unfortunately, factors like your credit history and the amount of debt you’re carrying, may affect the limit you get approved for on a new card. If this happens, you can try calling the issuer and see if they’ll consider granting you a larger credit limit. Be aware that some issuers will still have limits on the total amount you can transfer. For example, even if you get a new card with a $20,000 credit limit and you have great credit, the bank may only permit a maximum of $15,000 to transfer.
Find the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards Of 2022
Balance Transfer FAQ
You can’t transfer more than the credit limit on the card you want to transfer a balance to. The catch is you often don’t know how much of a credit line you’ll receive when you apply for a credit card. If you have $10,000 worth of debt and you’re hoping to take advantage of a balance transfer offer on a new card to help pay it off, there’s no guarantee you’ll get approved for as much credit as you’re seeking.
How does a balance transfer fee work?
Most, but not all, balance transfer cards charge a fee. This fee is typically anywhere from 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred. This means if you’re shifting $10,000 worth of debt to a new card and you’re charged a 5% balance transfer fee, your will now be $10,500 debt.
Depending on the amount being transferred and the fee being charged, this could add a hefty sum to your existing debt. It’s important to do the math to see if a card with 0% intro APR offer with a balance transfer fee will save you more money overall then just paying off your current debt over the same time period. Also keep in mind that the balance transfer fee may factor into your credit limit. This means on a $10,000 credit balance transfer line with a 5% fee, you may only be permitted to transfer $9,500 so you have enough left over to cover the fee.
Which is the best no balance transfer fee credit card?
Nearly all credit cards charge a balance transfer fee. There are a handful of exceptions to this however as issuers will often change the terms on a card to entice new cardholders. Since these terms are likely to fluctuate often, it’s important to know that there is no one “best” no balance transfer fee card.
What credit score do I need for a balance transfer?
Generally, you’ll need a good credit score or better to qualify for most balance transfer cards. That’s because issuers are taking on risk when you open a new account with them and if you’re doing so specifically to transfer a balance, that means they are also assuming the risk that you will default on paying off your debt. The better your credit score, the better the rates and terms on any type of loan you’ll qualify for.
Are there balance transfer cards for bad credit?
You may have to choose a secured card that has a 0% or low-interest introductory balance transfer offer or consider transferring your balance to a card that has an ongoing interest rate lower than what you’re paying now. Either option is still likely to save you money over the long-term.
How do I pick a balance transfer card?
The right card for you comes down to two choices: either pick the card that offers the longest length of time on its 0% intro APR offer or pick the card that’s the cheapest option, which generally means a low or zero balance transfer fee.
You should also keep in mind that banks won’t let you transfer a balance within the same bank. So if you’re carrying debt and you’d like to take advantage of an introductory 0% APR balance transfer offer, you’ll have to look to a card from another bank. However, sometimes you’ll receive a balance transfer check, in which case you can write a check to yourself and use that money to pay off any card you choose.