The balance transfer method is a great way to save on interest charges by moving a high-interest balance to a credit card with a low or 0% APR. The first step is to get a credit card to which you can transfer your balance. You need one that offers 0% APR or low-interest offers on balance transfers, has low or no balance transfer fees; and has no annual fee.
Here’s what you need to do once you have your balance transfer card ready.
Make a balance transfer request
The first step in transferring debt is to contact the issuer of the card you’re moving debt to and provide some details about the balances you want to transfer. As a result, you’re saying, “Here’s this debt. Can I transfer it to this account?”
Transferring debt is subject to certain rules on credit cards. For example, you cannot transfer a balance from one Chase card to another Chase card.
Balance transfers can be requested in the following ways:
A balance transfer can generally be requested online through the issuer’s website. You’ll need to provide information about the debt you’re moving into, such as the name of the issuer, the amount of the debt, and the account number. Before you’re even approved, some credit cards let you request balance transfers during the application process.
A balance transfer can be requested by calling your issuer. You’ll need information about the debt you’re transferring, just as you would for an online transfer.
Your issuer might offer convenience checks that can circumvent this process. These checks are sometimes mailed with special interest rate promotions to cardholders, and they can be counted as balance transfers. Credit card debt on another account can be paid off with these. Be sure to read the terms and conditions and understand the associated fees and rates before you use these.
Let the balance transfer go through
A transfer request may take up to two weeks to be approved and completed by the issuer. Taking care of that old debt you’re trying to discharge could require you to make another monthly payment.
It is generally possible to transfer balances directly between major issuers. Your old account will be credited with the amount approved by the issuer offering balance transfer terms. This payment amount will appear as an outstanding balance on the new account, along with a fee, usually 3% to 5%.
It’s up to you to make sure all payments are made on time after your transfer goes through since you might not receive a notification when it occurs.
Ensure your debt is paid off
Your balance will be transferred to a new credit card once it has been transferred, and you will begin paying it down according to the terms of the new card.
During the promotional period, you will be able to make interest-free payments if the card offers a 0% APR on balance transfers. Interest rates will return to their regular levels after the promotional period ends. A store card’s deferred interest offer may also charge you retroactive interest. But these will only apply to the remaining balance, not the entire balance.
Even though you can transfer balances one after another, balance transfer fees can make this an expensive and unsustainable option. During the promotion, if you’re able, you can lock in your savings by paying off the balance while meeting your other obligations.