Transferring a Credit Card Balance
By Andrew Medvedev
staring at that attractive advertisement for switching credit card
companies by transferring your balance from one card to another?
While many of these offers are truly great deals, balance transfers
and card-switching is not something to jump into, eager as you may
be. You need to do your homework first: Do enough research and
investigating in order to determine whether it in fact is worth it
or a good idea to make the transfer.
find out if it is in fact worth it. Generally speaking, these
attractive advertisements and super credit card deals advertise very
low introductory rates if you transfer your current balance from an
existing credit card onto this new one. You can stumble upon these
offers anywhere—online, in the mail, on a flyer or via a telephone
call from credit card company salespersons—and you need to determine
how great these deals really are, or if you’ll just end up paying
much more in fees and interest in the long run.
fine print. Read everything. Read it through several times so that
you make sure you understand what it is saying. It may appear to be
a bunch of financial jargon that you might not think is very
important, but the truth is, this information is valuable and
critical to your decision in whether or not you make the big switch.
Call the credit card company and ask any questions you might have.
If the deal is solid and they want to make a sale, generally they
should be able to help you out in any way.
you need to find out about the deal? Here is an example. Let’s say
that the advertised introductory rate is 6% (a low rate) on credit
card B if you transfer your balance from credit card A, where you
currently rack up an APR of 18% (a standard rate). You come across
another offer, showcasing credit card C with an introductory rate of
9%. At first glance you may think, “Well, let’s go with credit card
B—it’s the obvious choice here.” However, after reading the fine
print, you discover credit card B’s special rate only last six
months, and afterward the APR is 20%, whereas credit card C’s higher
rate lasts for a year and the interest rate after that is 18%, the
same as yours on credit card A.
words, you have to factor in a lot of variables when making the
decision to switch your balance from one credit card to another.
Besides comparing the introductory rates being offered, the length
of the offer and what the regular interest rate is, you’ll also need
to take into account balance transfer fees, annual fees, late fees,
and other miscellaneous fees, as well as whether the teaser rate
applies to balance transfers only or also purchases, among other
Something else to keep in mind is that you may not actually qualify
for the special rate being offered, depending on your credit history
and credit rating. Before you make the big plunge, make sure you
know exactly what you, yourself, will be getting. There may also be
other conditions. For example, some credit card companies may
penalize you for one late payment and take you off the introductory
rate onto their regular rate, which may be higher than your current
many credit cards with these introductory rates offer great deals
for people interested in switching credit cards and transferring
their balance over and can be more than worth it. The important
thing is to do your research, read the fine print and ask questions
to determine which credit card and deal is the right one for you.
you’ve selected the right credit card offer, the next step is to
fill out the balance transfer application form completely and
accurately. Then, make the minimum payment on your original credit
card while you wait for the balance transfer to go through. When it
has gone through, the new company should send you a notice, after
which you’ll need to verify the transfer with your old company so
they can send you a zero-balanced billing statement. Finally, cancel
your old card since you don’t need it anymore—it will also save you
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