Balance Transfer Basics

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

With the APR on most credit cards in the double digits and creeping ever upwards, balance transfer offers boasting low or no interest on transferred balances for an introductory period of time can be incredibly appealing to those of you who are carrying outstanding balances on one or more credit cards. With a 0% interest balance transfer offer, the opportunity is being extended to save money on interest for the duration of the promotional offer, usually between 6 to 12 months. The end result can amount to a rather substantial savings, especially if your revolving balance is on the large side. The most important thing to do if you are considering a balance transfer off is make certain you understand all of the terms and conditions involved.

You are a good candidate to take advantage of a balance transfer offer if:

  • You are committed to paying off your credit card debt.
  • You can control your spending and not rack up debt on other credit cards while you are working to pay your transferred balance down.
  • You are willing and able to make all of you payments on time.
  • You can establish a realistic plan to pay off your entire balance within the promotional time period established by the credit card issuer.
  • Your credit is in good enough shape that you will be approved for a 0% balance transfer card.

Credit card companies are out to profit from consumers. They offer 0% interest on transferred balances because they hope that you will still be carrying a balance on the card when the 0% promotional period expires, after which the APR increases to sometimes astronomical amounts. So it really only makes sense to transfer a balance from one card to another – and pay the balance transfer fee, typically 3% of the entire amount transferred, if you are serious about making a real dent in your credit card debt during the time allotted.

Keep in mind that even if you receive solicitation in the mail by a credit card issuer touting a teaser rate on balance transfers, you may not be eligible. If you have poor credit history you may not qualify for the new card. Keep an eye on whether or not the card charges an annual fee and shop around for one that does not. Likewise, although you ideally do not want to be making many additional purchases while you are attempting to pay off your existing debt, it makes sense to attempt to get a card that has 0% APR not only on transferred balances but on new purchases as well. If you can’t find one, make certain that you do not use that card for any purchases, otherwise any new debt you accumulate will sit accruing interest until the entirety of your transferred balance is paid off.

Finally, after you transfer your balance to another card, make sure that you submit all of your payments on time each billing cycle. Just one late payment can lead to an interest rate hike, and sometimes a penalty fee as well. If you outline a payment schedule to get rid of the balance before the promotional 0% interest rate period expires and stick to it, you will benefit from transferring your balance by saving money.

Latest Balance Transfer Cards Guides

The Best Tricks To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast June 15th, 2017

It’s easy to lecture people about getting into credit card debt, but it’s also easy to get into debt over your head without even realizing it. First, you’re charging one small purchase that you plan to pay off as soon as you get paid, and the next thing you know, your credit ...
Continue »

The One Thing You Need to Know About Balance Transfers November 4th, 2016

Transferring a high-interest balance to a new credit card with a 0% APR promotional rate is one of the smartest financial moves you can make. It seems like an easy way to pay off debt quickly, with not a lot of questions about whether it’s a good idea or not.
Continue »

5 Things to Know About Credit Card Debt March 22nd, 2016

If you’ve got credit card debt, there are a few things you should know. First off, you’re not alone.
Continue »

Best Tricks to Stay Debt-Free for Life September 11th, 2015

Being in debt can feel like something heavy is weighing you down. It keeps you from living your life and being your best self.
Continue »

Six Strategies for Staying Debt-Free December 9th, 2014

If one of your resolutions for the approaching New Year is to get--and stay--out of debt, you may be tempted to lock away your credit cards and vow never to use them again. But there’s no need to be afraid of using your cards.
Continue »

Best Credit Offer
Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
Check off the cards you want to compare. Then click the Compare link to go to the comparison table.
Consumer Rating: 5 / 5
Horizon Card Services Horizon Gold Credit Card
Copyright © 2001-2017 All Rights Reserved.

* The webpage is a free service and an information resource for credit cards and financial products and services available to eligible United States consumers. does not offer any warranties and is not a direct service. There are no guarantees for approval or offers when applying for a credit card. Please refer to the application if you would like more information on each credit card. When you click "Apply" for a particular credit card, please take the time to review the terms and conditions of the product/service at the issuer's website. All logos on the website are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all info is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for terms & conditions. makes every effort to keep information up to date and accurate. However, the information regularly changes and is presented without warranty. Therefore, we strongly recommend all our readers to visit the credit card application page by clicking "Apply Online!" button to review the detailed credit card's terms and conditions. Note that may be compensated by the credit card issuers when the readers apply for a credit card through this site. is an independent, advertising-supported website which receives compensation from the credit card issuers and companies whose offers appear on the site. Compensation may impact how and where products appear on our site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear on the site pages. does not review or list all available financial or credit offers.

Disclosure: Not an access card.

User Generated Content Disclaimer: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.