Credit Card Statement | Basics of credit cards explained
Balance transfers can be a great way to pay off your debt at a lower interest rate. But, before you apply for a balance transfer credit card, make sure you understand how balance transfers work.
The Purpose of a Balance Transfer
A credit card balance transfer is a type of credit card transaction where you pay off the balance of one credit card with another credit card, usually with a credit card from another credit card issuer. When you apply for the credit card, you can enter the details of the balance you want to transfer including the account number and transfer amount.
If your application has approved and your credit limit is high enough, your new credit card issuer will initiate the process of transferring the balance. You may also be able to transfer a balance by phone or online after your credit card account has already been established.
One of the best reasons to transfer balances has to take advantage of a lower interest rate. It’s not a good idea, however, to transfer credit card balances just to avoid paying your credit card bill. That can get expensive and lead to credit card debt, especially if you make it a habit.
Important Features of a Credit Card Balance Transfer
The credit card you choose should allow balance transfers. Look through the terms of the credit card, if it lists an APR and fee for balance transfers, then you can use it to transfer a balance. If those costs aren’t listed, it’s safe to assume you can’t transfer balances to that credit card. You could call the card’s customer service to confirm if you’re especially interested in that particular credit card.
There are two APRs to consider with balance transfer credit cards: The promotional introductory rate and the regular rate that will apply after the introductory period has ended. Compare the post-promotional interest rate to the interest rate on your current credit card. Make sure you understand what you have to do to qualify for the promotional interest rate. Finally, be sure you know the balance transfer fee. This fee is added automatically when you transfer the balance. The lower the fee the better.
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