Why should I get a balance transfer card?
The credit card market is a competitive market. If your current credit card doesn’t provide ample benefits for the cost, you may want to transfer your balance to a new credit card. Your new bank or credit card provider takes on the outstanding balance, which you then pay off through their services. This may incur a fee, typically between 1% and 3%.
When you compare credit cards, you may find many of these credit cards offer lower fees or no fees at all. Many cards may give you 0% interest on balances transferred for a limited time. However to take advantage of these transfers, it’s best you pay your remaining debt before you incur interest. Transferring your balance to a new card with lower overall interest could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
What types of balance transfer cards can I choose?
Balance transfer cards are specifically tailored for people who require a new card without opening up a new account. You can compare from a few variants of balance transfer cards that may suit your needs and lifestyle.
Low interest rate balance transfer cards give you the extra bonus of low rates on new purchases.
Long-term balance transfer cards may offer low or 0% interest on your transferred balance for periods exceeding 12, or even 24 months.
Some balance transfer cards do not charge an annual fee, so you can save money.
Premium or rewards balance transfer cards not only let you transfer a balance, but offer a rewards or frequent flyer program that lets you earn bonuses.
How much money can I save with a balance transfer?
Every balance transfer is different, coming in all sorts of combinations of balances, interest rates and fees. Let’s crunch some numbers. If you owe 2,000 on your original credit card at 20% interest, transferring your balance to a new card that offers 0% p.a. on your balance for 12 months and no balance transfer fee might save you $252.93 over that year, provided you do not add to your balance with purchases and only make the minimum required payments. Before you compare, you should do your own calculations to determine how much you can save with a balance transfer. Paying off your credit card balance with higher repayments can help you reduce your debt even faster.
Do you have questions about balance transfer credit cards?
Helpful guides to making the most of your balance transfer
How to eliminate debt with a balance transfer?
Banks know that acquiring new customers can be a costly experience. It may cost a bank thousands of dollars to sign up a new customer. That’s why they attract new customers with balance transfers. Balance transfers give you a “second chance” to eliminate your credit card debt at a lower rate; even zero percentage in some cases. This may take a few months, but the savings in interest are worth it. Better yet, do not use the new credit card for purchases – this will make it even easier to pay off the debt.
Why a balance transfer might be refused?
Some people are refused a balance transfer by the new bank and don’t know why. The most common reason is a poor credit history. This is caused by defaults or failure to pay a minimum amount each month. If you apply for new balance transfers too quickly, this also reflects poorly on your credit history and lowers your credit score . Taking time to repay a debt is better than trying to find new balance transfer cards. Other reasons are transferring from a bank that is owned by the same bank or transferring a card in a different name.
Common balance transfer mistakes
Many people make easily avoidable mistakes with balance transfers. Here are a few that trip people up. Many people forget they have to pay a minimum amount each month with a balance transfer. You still have to make repayments! Another mistake is forgetting about the reversion rate that kicks in after the interest free period. One of the worst mistakes is not paying more than the minimum repayment, which only increases your debt in the long term. You should also remember that some cards may have fees which you may have overlooked.
Getting rewards with your balance transfer
Many balance transfer cards offer rewards such as complimentary insurance, concierge services, preferred dining perks, rewards points redeemable for goods or cash, and frequent flyer programs. Some balance transfers may actually translate your balance into points for a rewards program; it’s up to you to make a smart comparison and check with the bank or card issuer. Many cards give you a rewards program on purchases only. If you opt for a low fee or low rate card, it may not have any rewards program. The only “reward” is paying less interest than normal.