- Balance Transfer Credit Cards: What to Do When Your Credit Limit is Too Low
- Balance transfers are a good deal – if you can get one
- If you don’t get a high enough credit line, call your issuer
- Another alternative to pursue if your issuer won’t budge
- How much can I transfer with a balance transfer card? | finder.com
- What is the maximum balance transfer amount?
- What if the limit I’m given is too low?
- Are there any cards that offer a ,000 credit limit?
- What Is The Limit For A Balance Transfer Card?
- Discover it® Cash Back
- U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
- How much debt can you transfer?
- How many credit card accounts can you consolidate?
- Tips on how to do a balance transfer
- Check your credit score before you apply
- Know exactly how much debt you have
- Compare top balance transfer cards from each issuer
- Keep making payments on all cards until your account balance shows
- How to get a high credit limit
- Alternatives to a balance transfer card
- Credit counseling
- Debt consolidation loan
- Debt snowball
- The bottom line
- What is the limit on a balance transfer card?
- What are balance transfer cards?
- Key points
- Is there a limit on balance transfer cards?
- Is a balance transfer right for you?
- Should you take out a personal loan for debt consolidation?
- 4 Ways A Balance Transfer Can Affect Your Credit
- 1. New Inquiries
- 2. Credit Utilization
- 3. Closing Your Old Account
- 4. Paying off the new card vs. keeping the debt
- Two excellent balance transfer offers to consider
Balance Transfer Credit Cards: What to Do When Your Credit Limit is Too Low
We’ve all been there: You recognize a problem with your finances, come up with a plan to deal with it, then hit a snag.
Many people trying to pay down credit card debt turn to a balance transfer card, only to find that the credit limit they receive on the 0% card is less than their outstanding debt.
So what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? Don’t worry, you have options – take a look at the details below to find out what they are.
Balance transfers are a good deal – if you can get one
If you’ve decided to pursue a balance transfer to pay down your credit card debt, you’ve made a smart choice. You could potentially save thousands on interest payments by moving your balance onto a card that’s offering a 0% promotion (but don't forget to factor the balance transfer fee into your calculations).
And these days, finding a credit card that offers 12, 15, or even 21 months interest-free isn’t as hard as it used to be. Thus, paying off your debt before the 0% period is up is much easier when interest isn’t taking a big bite every payment you make.
But for some folks, using this strategy to deal with debt doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch. For one thing, you generally need good or excellent credit to obtain a 0% card, so getting approved in the first place can represent a big hurdle. Then comes the next obstacle: qualifying for a high enough credit line on the 0% card to transfer your entire high-interest balance to it.
If you don’t get a high enough credit line, call your issuer
The whole point of doing a balance transfer is to refinance all of your high-interest debt, not just a portion of it. If you don’t immediately get approved for a high enough credit line on the 0% card to do so, it’s natural to be a little frustrated.
It might seem counterintuitive, but the first thing you should do is contact the issuer of the balance transfer card and ask for a higher limit.
Most have a pretty straightforward system for determining your credit limit, with factors your credit score, your income and your debt-to-income ratio influencing the decision.
However, many are willing to be flexible, especially if what you need is within a few thousand dollars of what you were approved for.
Before you place the call, be ready to state and/or provide the following:
- A clear, friendly way of asking for what you need (a higher credit line).
- The credit line you were approved for on the card.
- The additional credit you’d to be approved for (be sure to give an exact dollar amount).
- The reason you need a higher credit line (be very specific that you’re planning to do a balance transfer).
Set aside a little bit of time for this call; it’s ly that you’ll need to speak to more than one person before you get a final answer.
Another alternative to pursue if your issuer won’t budge
In many cases, contacting the issuer of your 0% card and simply asking for a higher credit line will do the trick. But if for some reason you really can’t get a big enough credit limit on the card to transfer your whole high-interest balance, there are other ways to bring down the rate on your debt.
Your best bet is to apply for a personal loan to refinance the remainder of your balance. Although you won’t have the simplicity of making just one monthly payment, there are other benefits to this strategy.
For one thing, there are lots of different personal loan options on the market today – you could use a peer-to-peer lender, a traditional bank or a credit union.
If you do your research and choose wisely, there’s a good chance you’ll get approved at a rate that’s much lower than what you’re paying on your card.
You’ll also be converting revolving debt (i.e., credit card debt) to installment debt (i.e., personal loan debt). This will bring down your credit utilization ratio, which will ly give your credit score a boost.
Remember, you’ll still have a couple of hard inquiries on your credit report from applying for the 0% card and the personal loan – but in the long run, transforming credit card debt into personal loan debt will have a positive impact on your score.
The takeaway: If you don’t initially get approved for the whole credit line you need on a 0% card to refinance all of your high-interest debt, place a call to your issuer. Asking for a higher credit limit is often just the ticket.
But if this still doesn’t work, apply for a personal loan to bring the interest rate on your remaining debt down.
Then make it a priority to pay off both balances as fast as you can – the sooner you get to debt-free, the better!
How much can I transfer with a balance transfer card? | finder.com
When you apply for a new balance transfer credit card, you’re given a credit limit, which affects how much you can transfer. Usually a percentage of your limit is available for a transfer, or a flat amount. Aside from the debt itself, other factors may impact how much you can transfer.
Credit card providers use your credit limit to determine how much debt you can transfer to a new card. While some cards will let you transfer up to 100% of your credit limit, others may cap it at 75%.
For example, if you had $10,000 worth of credit card debt and got a balance transfer card with a $10,000 credit limit, you might not be able to transfer all of the balance to the new card. A balance transfer card with a higher credit limit of $12,000, on the other hand, is more ly to allow you to move the whole debt.
The higher your credit limit, the more ly you are to meet these requirements and get your balance transfer approved.
What is the maximum balance transfer amount?
Depending on the credit card, you could be able to transfer a maximum of 70-100% of your approved credit limit. So in some cases, you may not be able to transfer all of your debt even if it’s equal to, or more than, your approved credit limit.
The following cards tend to have higher-than-average credit limits according to readers. However, providers rarely share the exact credit limits of their cards and a high limit isn’t guaranteed. If you apply with a good to excellent credit score you may be more ly to qualify for a higher limit.
Balance transfers often come with minimum and maximum amounts that depend on a percentage of your credit limit. Credit card companies consider your credit score, monthly income and outstanding debt to determine your balance transfer limit.
For example, if you’re offered a credit card with a $5,000 limit, you may be given a balance transfer limit of $3,500. The limit includes any transfer fee you’ll pay.
There’s no real way to determine how much you’ll be approved for until you apply for a card. If you need a higher limit, you can call the provider and ask, or find another card with a higher limit. Note, however, that applying for too many cards within a short period of time can lower your credit score.
What if the limit I’m given is too low?
- Transfer what you can. Transfer as much of the balance as you can to the new card and take advantage of the introductory rate. During this time, you’ll still need to make minimum payments on your original card and the new one.
- Request a higher limit. Try to request a higher credit limit from the provider. It’ll require calling the issuer or visiting a local office — and there’s no guarantee that the provider will agree to it.
- Consider other options. If you’re struggling with debt and can’t find a balance transfer card with a high enough limit, you might consider looking into personal loans. You can find personal loans for debt consolidation as high as $100,000 with APRs as low as 4%, depending on your creditworthiness.
Your assigned credit limit depends on several factors including your creditworthiness, utilization rate and debt-to-income ratio.
However, some card providers are typically more generous than others and are a better fit for large balance transfers.
|Discover||$500||Between $15,000 and $25,000||Up to 100% of your available credit limit including fees|
|Chase||Between $5,000 and $25,000 on average||Up to 100% of your available credit limit or $15,000 including fees, whichever is lower|
|American Express||$500||Between $5,000 and $25,000 on average||Up to 75% of your available credit limit or $5,000 including fees, whichever is lower|
|Citi||$500 or $5,000 depending on the card||Between $5,000 and $30,000 on average||Up to 100% of your available credit limit including balance transfer fees|
|Barclaycard||$500||Between $2,000 and $15,000 on average||Up to 100% of your available credit limit including balance transfer fees|
|Bank of America||$500||Up to 100% of your available credit limit including balance transfer fees|
If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card with a high limit, you’ll have better luck with a high credit score. Apply with a credit score in the good to excellent range of 670 or higher for a better chance of being approved for transfer limits up to $10,000. Check your credit history and see what you can do to improve your score.
Are there any cards that offer a $10,000 credit limit?
Yes, most of the card providers offer a $10,000 credit limit or higher. That said, these cards can be ideal for large balance transfers. But as we said before, the size of your credit limit depends on your finances and credit score. So unless you have at least a good credit score or higher and low utilization rate, don’t put your hopes high for a generous credit limit.
Enter in your current balances and APRs, as well as the information of the card you’d to transfer to and your monthly repayment amount to find out if the card is right for you — and how much you’ll save.
Finding the right limit for you is a straightforward process. Look at your debt and consider if you want to use the maximum credit limit offered.
While moving all of your debt may not be an option if the credit limit you receive isn’t high enough, you can ly still transfer a partial amount to an approved card. Just be sure that the cost of the balance transfer fee doesn’t outweigh what you’d save on interest. There are some balance transfer credit cards with no fee that may be worth checking out.
Transferring any amount frees up one credit card, and the temptation to spend using it can come up. Be sure to use both your cards, new and old, as little as possible to avoid slipping further into debt.
If you’re focused on getting debt, a balance transfer may be what you need. If you have a lot of debt and need a higher limit, consider your income and credit score to get the highest limit.
It’s also important to compare balance transfer cards and consider the following features: the length of the intro APR period and the ongoing APRs.
This will help you find the right card for your situation.
- With most providers, a balance transfer can be done online. During the application, you’ll ly be asked if you want to transfer a balance from an existing credit card. Enter each card number and the amount you want to transfer from that account to your new account.The balance transfer request is often processed when you activate your credit card.
- A balance transfer request can take up to 14 days to process from when you activate the card. Often it can be much quicker than this.
- You’ll only be able to transfer some of the balance from your previous card under these circumstances.For example, if you have a $5,000 credit card debt you want to pay off using a balance transfer, and you only get approved for $4,000 on your new credit card, the balance transfer maximum limit is calculated on a credit limit of $4,000.
- You’ll have to apply for a credit limit increase with the card provider. This request is approved or denied the financial institution’s credit lending criteria.If you’ve accepted the maximum credit limit available to you and your circumstances have not changed, you may not be able to get a credit limit increase.
What Is The Limit For A Balance Transfer Card?
A balance transfer is a popular debt relief tool that can help you save money as you pay down outstanding balances. By moving your debts to a new credit card with a 0 percent introductory APR period, you can give yourself the breathing room needed to pay off debt once and for all—or at least faster than you would otherwise.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for certain the card transfer limit you’ll receive until you get approved. That means you could potentially apply and be approved for a balance transfer credit card that doesn’t accommodate the amount of debt you want to transfer.
If you’re in a cycle of transferring lingering balances to a new card every few years, know that you’re most ly dragging out your journey to becoming debt-free. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to set yourself up for a successful balance transfer and ensure you get just the right balance transfer limit to manage your debt.
For cases where you’re looking to move a large balance, look for a credit card with a high credit limit—though this aspect of cards isn’t always readily displayed by issuers—and an extended introductory 0 percent APR period.
Anything between $5,000 and $10,000+ can be considered a high credit limit. Yet, these limits are most often seen from more premium cards the Citi Prestige® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. For your typical balance transfer credit card, you can expect minimum credit limits of around $500.
Here are a couple of Bankrate’s top picks for high-limit balance transfer cards:
Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it Cash Back not only provides a rewards structure of 5 percent cash back on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent—activation required), it also comes with balance transfer offer.
There’s a 14-month, 0 percent introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers (11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR after) and a 3 percent introductory balance transfer fee. After the introductory period, the fee rises to 5 percent on future transfers (see terms).
One of the most premium features of the card is its Cashback Match™ welcome bonus: at the end of your first year, Discover matches all the cash back you’ve earned.
Though not explicitly stated by the issuer, rumored credit limits for the Discover it Cash Back sit above $10,000. According to Discover, if you’re not happy with the credit limit you receive, a few months of responsible card usage, followed by your own inquiry, may be enough to snag a higher limit.
The Wells Fargo Platinum card is first and foremost a balance transfer card, offering an 18-month, 0 percent introductory APR on qualifying balance transfers and purchases (16.49 percent to 24.49 percent variable APR thereafter) for no annual fee.
What’s more, the minimum credit limit for those approved for the Wells Fargo Platinum is said to be $1,000, which is $500 more than the rumored minimum credit limit for some competing cards that offer 0 percent APRs for a similar time. Keep in mind the credit limit you’re approved for could be much higher depending on your income, your credit score and other factors.
While the Wells Fargo Platinum doesn’t have a rewards structure or welcome bonus, it does offer up to $600 in cell phone protection (subject to a $25 deductible) when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with the card.
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
Due to its lengthy introductory offer, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card should also be on your list. This balance transfer card lets you enjoy 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles, after which you’ll pay a variable APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent. There’s no annual fee, although a 3 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5) does apply.
In addition to offering the longest balance transfer introductory period on the market today, this card lets you pick your own credit card payment due date. You’ll also qualify for perks a free credit score access, contactless payment options and cell phone protection with up to $600 in coverage.
How much debt can you transfer?
The exact amount you’re able to transfer depends on your card, but there are a couple of general rules of thumb to keep in mind.
Credit card providers typically determine the amount of debt you can move in relation to your credit limit. Many issuers are generous, giving cardholders the ability to transfer their full credit limit, but in some cases, your transfer limit may be capped at 75 percent of your overall credit limit.
Also keep in mind that some card issuers have internal rules for balance transfers. Chase, for example, lets cardholders transfer only up to $15,000 to their cards within a 30-day period.
Further, your monthly income, credit score and outstanding debt are weighed when deciding your credit limit. In order to get a top-end credit limit to increase your transfer capabilities, you’ll ly need a good or excellent credit score. Improving your credit score ahead of time may be in your best interest before applying.
It’s important to note that the balance transfer fee is often considered a part of your transferable balance, making your “true” limit slightly lower than you may have expected. Be sure to read through your credit card agreement or talk to your issuer to determine if and how the balance transfer fee affects your limit.
How many credit card accounts can you consolidate?
If you’re juggling debt on multiple credit cards, you may be able to transfer debt from each of them over to your new balance transfer card. If you have widespread debt, however, don’t try to open up multiple balance transfer cards to circumvent your credit limit; doing so leads to multiple hard inquiries on your credit report and may hurt your credit score.
Also keep in mind that, generally speaking, you cannot transfer balances between different cards from the same issuer. For example, you cannot transfer debt from one Citi credit card to another Citi card.
A final rule to be aware of has to do with the types of debt you can transfer. In most cases, you’ll be able to transfer credit card debt only when executing a balance transfer. Some options are more flexible and offer to consolidate auto loans and other categories of debt but they’re harder to find.
Tips on how to do a balance transfer
Before you gear up to transfer balances, you should know about the most important “do’s” and “don’ts” and the steps you can take to boost your chances for approval. The following tips can help ensure your balance transfer goes off without a hitch:
Check your credit score before you apply
The best balance transfer credit cards are mostly available to consumers with good or excellent credit, so it can help to check your credit score before you apply. Balance transfer cards for bad credit also exist, but their introductory rates and benefits aren’t nearly as good.
Know exactly how much debt you have
Make sure you tally up your debts from all of your credit cards before you get started with a balance transfer or apply for a new card. You’ll want to make sure you are able to transfer as many balances as you can while giving preference to debts with the highest interest rates.
Compare top balance transfer cards from each issuer
Spend some time comparing cards that offer 0 percent APRs on balance transfers for a limited time. As you do your research, keep in mind you’ll have to find a balance transfer card with a different issuer than the one with which you currently carry balances.
Keep making payments on all cards until your account balance shows $0
Make sure your balance transfer doesn’t cause undue harm to your credit score. One way to do this is by keeping up with payments on your old cards until all your balances have been transferred and each old account shows a $0 balance.
How to get a high credit limit
Card issuers look at multiple factors when deciding on the credit limit you can qualify for, yet one of the biggest is your income. That’s why you should make sure you list the entire income amount you are legally able to on your credit card application.
Fortunately, the CARD Act of 2009 makes it legal to use your household income when applying for a credit card instead of just your own. This means you can list your own income and that of other household members, your spouse, in order to qualify for a higher credit limit.
Alternatives to a balance transfer card
Before initiating a balance transfer, it’s vital to consider your other debt-relief options. Here are some of the best alternatives to consider:
To avoid continuously transferring your debt and cycling through credit cards, consider seeking debt counseling or debt management services. If you pursue one of these routes, you’ll receive coaching and help with setting up a repayment plan to rid yourself of your outstanding balance.
Debt consolidation loan
If you have a considerable amount of debt to pay off, it’s possible a debt consolidation loan could work better than a balance transfer card. After all, personal loans can come with competitive fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments and a set repayment schedule that lets you know exactly when you’ll become debt-free.
Finally, you can also try to pay down debt the old-fashioned way.
The debt snowball asks you to list your debts by how much you owe, then to pay as much as you can toward the smallest balance first while making minimum payments on the rest.
Over time, you’ll pay off your smallest debts and “snowball” the payments you were making toward the next smallest debt. With enough time and work, you’ll eventually be left with your largest debts, one large debt and then none.
The bottom line
Your balance transfer limit can vary depending on factors your income, your credit score and how much debt you currently have.
Your best bet is making sure your credit score is in good shape before you apply for a balance transfer card, and that you consider cards with the longest introductory offers out there.
With some research and planning, you can hopefully get approved for the card transfer limit you require.
The information related to the Wells Fargo Platinum card has been collected by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
What is the limit on a balance transfer card?
Credit card debt in the U.S. was nearly $890 billion for the first quarter of 2020 — that’s a staggering number. Not to mention that the average credit card holder carries an outstanding balance of more than $6,000 month-to-month. Balance transfer cards come in handy when paying off high-interest balances, saving you a fortune in interest. But there are drawbacks.
What are balance transfer cards?
A balance transfer credit card is much any other credit card. It typically comes with a lower interest rate or 0% introductory rate and can save you hundreds of dollars in interest over months. That makes it a practical money-saving option to pay off high-interest debt at a lower interest rate.
The best balance transfer cards have low balance transfer fees, no annual fees, and long introductory APRs — from 12 months up to 24 months. Some credit card companies charge balance transfer fees and other charges, so visit Credible to find the right balance transfer card for you.
PROS AND CONS OF BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS
Balance transfer credit cards allow you to consolidate your debts by moving account balances to the card. But it can cost you more in the long run if you don’t pay off your balance as quickly as possible, if you make late payments, or miss a payment.
- A balance transfer of credit card is a credit card that offers a promotional 0% APR.
- It is a practical way to chip away at balances on high-interest credit cards.
- Some balance transfer cards charge high fees.
- There are limits on the amount you can transfer.
Is there a limit on balance transfer cards?
You’re given a credit limit when you apply for a new balance transfer credit card. This credit limit, which varies from one lender to the next, directly impacts just how much you can transfer.
Generally, card issuers limit a transfer to a percentage of your credit limit or sometimes to a specific dollar amount. They take a look at your credit history at the time you apply to determine your limit. Use Credible to see multiple balance transfer card options from credit card companies — all in one place.
3 WAYS TO ELIMINATE CREDIT CARD DEBT
But other factors also affect just how much you can transfer, balance transfer fees and any new purchases charged to your card. For example, if you have a $12,000 credit limit and charge $4,000 in new purchases, you’ll only be able to transfer $8,000.
While some cards let you transfer 100% of your credit limit, other cards may cap it at 70%. That means that you may not be able to transfer all of your debt even if it’s equal to, or more than, your approved credit limit.
It’s important to know the credit limit on your new card before you make a balance transfer. You’ll want to keep your credit utilization ratio at about 30% for all of your lines of credit and only move a balance that is smaller than the credit line on your new card.
Is a balance transfer right for you?
Generally, credit cards carry very high interest rates. In fact, average APRs on credit cards in 2020 is between 15.49% to 22.61%, according to US News. That makes transferring your higher-interest balances to an intro 0% balance transfer card very tempting.
A 0% balance transfer card may help you get debt faster, but they aren't for everyone.
- If you have less than good credit, you may not qualify for the 0% APR. That may take a credit score of 670 or higher.
- If you’re carrying low balances on your credit cards, less than $1,000, you may not benefit from a balance transfer card. That’s because your credit score will take a preliminary hit when you open a new card. Less than $1,000 in total balances? You’re better off just paying it off.
- Balance transfers can take time, so you might need to continue making minimum payments to avoid incurring late charges.
- Balance transfer cards can come with high fees. For example, if an issuer charges a 3% transfer fee and you transfer $8,000, you’ll pay $240 in transfer fees. That makes your new balance $8,240.
- You have to be committed to getting debt. Transferring your high-interest balances to a new card, and then using your credit cards to make additional purchases is counter-productive. If you’re not ready to wipe out your existing credit card debt, a balance transfer card can be a bad idea.
Now, you can explore all of your credit card options by visiting Credible to compare companies.
Should you take out a personal loan for debt consolidation?
Using a personal loan to consolidate your debts into one monthly payment is an excellent way to reduce the total amount of interest you’ll pay over time. A personal loan can also be one of the best ways to pay off credit card debt.
Personal loans often come with a lower annual percentage rate than many credit cards. You have a predetermined pay-off date and fixed payments, and you may qualify for a loan large enough to pay off all of your debt. Besides, you’ll only have one bill to pay rather than making multiple payments on many accounts.
However, if your credit is less than stellar, you may only qualify for a high interest rate. Personal loans also often have fees attached to them, and if you plan to pay off your debt quickly, a personal loan may not be your best option.
Before you decide, visit Credible and use their personal loan calculator, and to find the best personal loan rates out there without hurting your credit score.
SHOULD YOU USE A PERSONAL LOAN TO CONSOLIDATE YOUR DEBTS?
4 Ways A Balance Transfer Can Affect Your Credit
When you’re trying to pay down high-interest credit card debt, a balance transfer offer can be an enticing deal. Before you jump on a promotion, though, it’s important to understand that the way you handle the transfer can help or hurt your credit score.
How that happens depends on a few different factors. We’ll cover four here, as well as some top balance transfer cards to keep in mind when you’re shopping around.
Getting a new balance transfer credit card can be a good or bad thing for your credit. Here are some things to keep in mind.
1. New Inquiries
Every time you apply for a credit card, the credit card issuer performs a hard credit check. Each time this happens, it could knock a few points off your credit score. The more you apply, the more inquiries. This can have a compounding effect.
As a result, it’s important to know if your credit score is good enough to get approved for a balance transfer credit card. Applying for and getting denied by multiple cards is not only frustrating, but it can also work against you.
Balance transfer credit cards typically require good to excellent credit to get approved. That’s typically considered a credit score of 700 or higher. If your credit score isn’t quite there yet, work to improve your credit before applying.
2. Credit Utilization
How much you owe is the second biggest factor in your FICO credit score, and your credit utilization is a big part of that calculation.
Your credit utilization is calculated by dividing your balance by your credit limit. Experts generally recommend keeping your credit utilization below 30 percent, but the lower, the better.
So, if the credit limit on your new credit card is lower than that of your old one, it could spike your utilization rate and hurt your credit.
For example, let’s say you have a card with a $5,000 balance and a credit limit of $15,000. Your credit utilization is 33 percent on that card. But if you transfer that balance to a card with a credit limit of $7,500, your credit utilization increases to 67 percent. Depending on other factors in your credit score, that increase could cause a lot of damage.
On the flip side, if your new card has a higher credit limit than your old one, it could help your credit to do the transfer.
3. Closing Your Old Account
Closing a credit card account can hurt your score if you lose a lot of available credit in the process. The main reason for this is that it could increase your credit utilization.
For example, let’s say you have three credit cards:
- Card A: $0 balance, $15,000 credit limit
- Card B: $1,000 balance, $2,000 credit limit
- Card C: $5,000 balance, $7,500 credit limit
Your credit utilization across all of your cards is roughly 25 percent. But let’s say you cancel Card A because you just transferred its balance to Card C. With Card A the picture, your new credit utilization across all cards is about 63 percent. Again, that jump could wreak havoc on your credit score.
One other thing to note is that keeping a credit card account open can help boost your average age of accounts over time, which ties into your length of credit history. So, keeping it open will provide you with more long-term credit benefits.
Of course, it’s important to consider why you want to close it. If you’re afraid of getting back into debt, getting rid of that temptation could be more important than losing some points on your credit score. The same goes if the card has an annual fee and you can’t downgrade it to a no-annual-fee card.
4. Paying off the new card vs. keeping the debt
If you tackle the debt on your new card, your actions can help your credit as your debt burden decreases. In fact, paying off your debt quickly can keep a high utilization rate from hurting your credit for too long—your score should start increasing again as the credit utilization rate decreases.
But, if you keep the debt on the card with no payoff strategy, it could continue to hurt your credit score, especially if your credit utilization is high. So, avoid using a balance transfer credit card if you don’t have a payoff strategy in place.
Two excellent balance transfer offers to consider
If a balance transfer is right for you, it’s important to make sure you get the right card for your needs. Here are the two top options to consider.
Apply Now On the Citi Secure Website
0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (regular APR of 14.74% – 24.74% Variable)
Free access to your FICO® Score online
- 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
- With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
- Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
0% for 18 months on Purchases Intro APR Balance Transfers 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers Intro Term Balance Transfers 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
Apply Now >>
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is an essential balance transfer credit card with no annual fee. For starters, it has an extremely enticing welcome offer.
You will get an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Purchases and 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers – making it one of the longest promotions out there at the moment. After that, you’ll get an APR of 14.
74% – 24.74% (Variable), your creditworthiness.
Unfortunately, the card doesn’t have a rewards program or any other major perks, so use it only if your top priority is reducing your debt.
See card details/apply.
If you need to move a balance but also want great rewards, the Discover it® Balance Transfer can do that for you.
The card offers See Terms APR on purchases for See Terms and balance transfers for See Terms. After that, a See Terms rate would apply, depending on your creditworthiness. The card charges a See Terms.
The card also offers 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in rotating categories that change every quarter. You must activate the bonus categories each quarter.
You’ll also get one percent cash back on everything else, and Discover will match all the cash back you earn in your first year.
For more, read our Discover it® Balance Transfer review or see card details/apply.
Getting a balance transfer credit card can make a big difference in helping you pay down your credit card debt. But it’s important to do it the right way and to use it to tackle your debt rather than just shift it around.
Don’t be scared away by potential negative effects on your credit, though. As long as you pay down your debt quickly, the negative impact should be temporary, and you’ll be better off financially paying no interest than if you were to keep your old high-interest card.
If you’re considering a balance transfer credit card, check out the ones we’ve listed, as well as other top balance transfer cards to make sure you get the right one for your needs.
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