There is a game that many people play to see the best interest they can get from any new credit card by transferring their balance. Although this is a very positive thing to do you will want to really know what the benefits are — and the traps — of using balance transfer cards.
It is very important before you use one of these credit cards to read the fine print. The information about how they exchange credit card balances is very important because it will tell you what you are going to expect over time. When they say you can pay off your debts by transferring your credit card balance to their card, remember you still have to pay your balance on the new card.
The best reasons to use a credit card transfer are to:
- Transfer a balance from a credit card with a high interest rate to card with a lower interest rate–this can make your payments smaller and help you reduce your cost over time.
- To consolidate your credit cards –transferring the balance of one to another will give you one card to deal with and pay off.
- You will have 6-12 months to pay your balance off with no interest applied to the card.
When thinking about transferring a card, questions you should ask yourself include:
- Does the new card have a lower interest rate than the card you use now?
- Does the new card have a transfer fee?
- Does the new card have a better penalty rate for late fees than your current card?
When you start searching for balance transfer credit cards you will find that most have 0% interest for a period of time so you will want to know when this time stops. You will usually have between and six months for this 0% interest rate.
During that time you will be applying all the money that you send in to your credit card balance and no interest will be taken out. This is a very good time to get you bill paid down.
This could give you the opportunity to make double payments and get the card paid off that much sooner. In order to make this work to your benefit it is a good idea to pay off the entire balance before the interest starts to be charged.
Some of the issues that you will face with a balance transfer will depend on your credit report. Your offer from these credit card companies will be different depending on your credit score.
If you have excellent credit a balance transfer may not be as good a deal as asking you current credit card company to give you the lowest rate possible because they will sometimes be able to offer you a better deal.
If your credit isn’t stellar you can still get some reduced interest with some cards. But again, read the small print to see what the new card offers and how it fits into your spending habits.