Using Balance Transfer Credit Cards

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Getting in debt can be quick and easy, but getting out of debt is almost always slow progressing.  Paying down debt can be done with the snowball method (putting all extra money toward the lowest debt balance until that is paid off then continue to the next lowest debt balance), interest rate method (put all extra money toward the debt with the highest interest rate), or a combination of the two.  If you would like to see exactly how these methods work then take a look at this debt repayment post.

One method to help you decrease your interest rate is by using a balance transfer credit card. This is often thought of as a more advanced debt tactic, but it is not difficult to do.

You can, on occasion, find a balance transfer credit card that offers a 0% transfer rate. It is harder to find now (they used to be a dime a dozen before the recession), but they do exist. Even when a 0% rate cannot be found you may be able to find a rate that is lower than the rate you are paying on your current card. If you do find a 0% rate then check the fine print to find how long that rate will last (and what rate it will revert to once the 0% ends).

There are fees associated with transferring a credit card balance.  A common fee is to charge 3% of the balance, but make sure to check the details on the credit card that you choose.

There are two big reasons why you might transfer your credit card balances on to a new credit card. The first is just for a mental boost. It may be easier to tackle your credit card debt if it is on one card instead of many smaller ones. It will be a higher balance, but there will be only one to deal with. Only you can determine if this will give you the boost you need to help pay down your debt.

Another reason to transfer your balances is to get a lower rate. If you can transfer a high interest balance to a card with a lower interest rate then you can save a lot of money in the long run.

Say, for example, you have a 10K balance on a 20% interest rate card and you are able to transfer it to a card with 15%. You will save 500 a year by doing this. If the fees are 3% then it will cost you 300 thus saving you 200 the first year and 500 thereafter (as your balance is reduced the amount you save will be reduced as well).

Balance transfers are not for everybody, but if you are carrying a high balance on credit cards with a high interest rate then a balance transfer might be exactly what you need.

This post contains real information and a couple sponsored links.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Doable Finance March 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

As long as the customer read the fine prints for the transfer and not do it in a hurry, balance transfer is one way to save money.

The more important thing is to get into the habit of spending less than you make and to save before you buy.


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