Credit Card Debt & Balance Transfers
Where is your credit card debt currently at? Are you making minimum payments that don’t make a dent once your interest rates kicked in? It may be time to weigh a different option now that you are hoping to make some headway on your current debts.
Your Balances and Interest Rates
While it is always important to take into consideration the best options for you and your financial situation, we have several people that want to know more on the option to do a balance transfer. Here is how in a few short steps:
- Check your current credit card balances
- Pick a card to transfer to
- Read all information and fine print
- Apply for the balance transfer cards
- Start paying debts
Below are the steps explained in detail. Before making any quick-second decisions, be sure to educate yourself on all of the pros and cons to the balance transfer.
1. Current Credit
When you are thinking about making a balance transfer it is important to figure out what your interest (APR) is on the current credit card. When looking for a balance transfer card, you’ll want to find one that has low (no) fees and will take the actual amount you would be transferring over.
2. What Cards To Transfer To
Researching what credit cards are best to balance transfer to is very important. Depending on the amount of debt you have, you may not be able to transfer all of the debt to the card you choose. Many balance transfer cards offer a 0% introductory period for an allotted time frame.
- Check the promotional period
- Check how long the low APR will last
3. Terms and Conditions
The most important part of this transfer is understanding what the fine print states. Although the balance transfer could help you out, many of the cards have balance transfer fees associated with them, and every time you transfer balances over.
Make sure that the transfer is really going to be financially beneficial to you before moving money around. Figure out what the balance transfer fees is and then you will want to calculate the transfer fee cost, how much you could potentially save on interest and go from there.
Some balance transfer cards won’t let you transfer within the same bank, such as Citibank. If your balance is already on one Citibank card, you cannot move it to a balance transfer card.
It is also possible that when the creditor runs your credit and is deciding if you are approved, you may not become approved for the amount you are trying to switch over.
4. Application Process
As with any other credit card, you must become approved first. If you have completed the above steps and are ready to make the switch, go ahead and apply for the balance transfer card.
More than likely you can complete a balance transfer online or by phone. You will be giving your account information and the amount of the balances you wish to transfer over to them.
On average, the process takes 7 to 10 business days. Most importantly, it is important to continue to make your payments until you have been given confirmation that the transfer successfully went through.
The Pros Of A Balance Transfer
- Streamlining all credit payments onto one card
- Start fresh with low APR
- Get ahead on paying debt
- Lower interest than previous credit card
The Cons Of A Balance Transfer
- If you do not conduct research, you may end up with higher interest rates
- Transfers can be expensive
- Could drop your credit scores (due to opening a new line of credit)
- Risk of more debt-likely that your credit limit increases and more credit is available to you if you can’t control spending habits
Your Final Decision
We understand that life happens and the average consumer does own credit cards. In an effort to set our clients up for success, we want them to understand and become more educated about the way the credit world works. As always, continue to educate yourself and always read the fine print! If you are using the balance transfer card for what it is, and in an effort to pay off your debt, not get into more, you will eventually get there. Keep chipping away at the payments you are making and always try to keep your balances low and payments on time.
A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.
Article by Breana Washington
Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.
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