Doing a balance transfer is an effective way to pay debt faster with the benefit of a 0% APR.
The number one question you should ask yourself before doing a balance transfer is if you are financially capable of paying off the credit card during the introductory period.
If the balance isn’t paid during that time, the 0% APR will expire and the new APR will kick in, which may result in a higher interest rate than you started out with.
There are several important things that you should consider before doing a balance transfer:
#1: Length of introductory period: In this period, you can transfer your credit card balance to a new credit card with a 0% APR. This period is usually 6-15 months. Finding a credit card that offers the longest period is key as it allows you to have more time to pay the balance. Especially if you have a large balance, having a longer introductory period gives you more flexibility.
#2: APR: Although the majority of credit cards offer a 0% APR on balance transfers, there are some that could charge 3%-6%
APR after the introductory period expires: This is important to note. If there is any balance after the introductory period is over, the higher APR will apply to the remaining balance.
#3: Fees: Some credit card companies charge anywhere between 3%-5% of the transfer amount. It’s important to find offers that have 0% balance transfer fees and no annual fees.
You should take the time to shop around and find the best balance transfer credit card.
My suggestion will be to call the credit card company and see if they can negotiate the balance transfer fee to be waived. Bring up your credit and payment history and let them know that you are interested in becoming a customer by doing a balance transfer. Be patient and request to speak to a supervisor if necessary.
#4: Be consistent and make it a priority: The rewards of a balance transfer are that you will be paying 0% APR for a promotional period, which means paying off debt faster since more money is being allocated to the principal.
Things to look for:
Rewards: You should consider credit card companies that offer some type of rewards programs and cash back. This is especially important if you plan to continue using the credit card.
#1 Credit score: A strong credit score (670+) is required to get approved for a balance transfer credit card.
#2 Hard Inquiries: A new credit card will result in a hard inquiry. This means that the credit card company will be pulling their credit, which will affect your credit score. So, if you already have a low score, I recommend you wait. You should take the time to build their credit so that you can get the best offers.
#3 late payments: A late payment can trigger the loss of an introductory period. Understanding the terms of the transfer is very important. Otherwise, you could end up paying more in interest and fees.
Balance transfers are a powerful way to pay off debt in a short period of time and with a 0% APR. Just remember to ask yourself if you are 100% financially committed to make this a priority and pay the balance during the introductory period. If you follow these steps, you’ll have a successful balance transfer and say good-bye to your credit card debt!