How do I transfer a credit card balance?

Transferring a credit card balance from a card with a high interest rate to one with a lower one seems like an attractive option. There are a number of credit card companies that are looking for new business by offering very low introductory rates on balance transfers. Before you decide that you want to transfer your credit card balance, you need to make sure that you understand the terms of the offer completely.

Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

Do Your Homework First

Before you sign the agreement to transfer your credit card balance to another card, make sure that you have reviewed the terms of the offer carefully. The low interest rate you are being offered may be available for a limited time only.

You will want to find out what interest rate the credit card company usually charges on the type of card you are considering. If you are confident that you will be able to pay off the amount of the balance transfer relatively quickly, as in before interest rates rise to their normal level, then going ahead with the balance transfer may be the right choice for you.

Introductory Interest Rates May Apply

Some companies will only offer you the introductory rate on an initial balance transfer only. This means you need to make the decision to transfer an existing balance at the same time you accept the offer of a new card. If you decide after the account has been opened that you would like to do a balance transfer, you may be charged a higher rate.

The credit card company may also choose to treat the balance transfer as the same thing as a cash advance. In that situation, you will be charged interest daily until the amount of the balance transfer is paid in full. Other companies will also charge a fee when you choose to transfer a balance that is a percentage of the amount you are transferring. To make an informed decision about whether a balance transfer is the right choice for you, be sure to ask whether any other fees apply if you decide to transfer an existing balance to your new card.

Steps Involved in Transferring a Balance

To transfer a balance on an existing card, there are a number of steps you need to follow. The first thing you need to do is apply for a new card and fill out a balance transfer form. While your application is being processed, it’s important that you continue making at least the minimum payment on your existing credit card account.

Once the balance transfer has been completed, you will receive notice from the new credit card company. The first statement will show the balance transfer and it should be clearly identified. Examine your statement carefully to ensure that the amount of the balance transfer and the interest rate you are being charged is the same one that you agreed to when you applied for the transfer. If it isn’t what you agreed to, contact the credit card company. Be sure you have a copy of the forms you signed when you do so.

Not only do you want to check the statement on the new account to see that the balance has been transferred, but you will also want to check with the old credit card issuer to make sure that their records show that the balance on your account has been paid. Many credit card companies will provide this information over the phone or online, and it’s a simple matter to find out what your current balance is.

Then you wait to receive confirmation from your old credit card company that the balance transfer has been completed. You can check it out by watching for your next statement. Once you receive it, you can go ahead and tell your old credit card company to close the account.

You have the option of notifying the old credit card company by phone or in writing that you want the account closed, but putting it in writing may be the best way to go. If you keep a copy of your correspondence, you have a record of your request and the date you made it. You should also tell the credit card issuer to send a note to the credit reporting companies stating that the credit card account was closed at your request.

Compare Credit Card Balance Transfer Offers

Those are the steps involved in transferring a credit card balance. If you have decided that this is the right step for you, check out cards with low introductory interest rates for balance transfers by using the free credit card Chaser tool on this site. Click to get started comparing credit cards today!

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or any other credit card company or issuer. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any credit card company or issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any credit card company or issuer. Credit Card Chaser may be compensated through various affiliate programs with advertisers. As always, Credit Card Chaser is an independent website commmitted to helping people research credit card offers and find the best credit card!