If you have a credit card you’re likely to have debt, but you could save a small fortune on repayments by transferring the outstanding balance on one credit card to another credit card. Credit card balance transfers are an easy option for managing credit. Some people switch their balances from card to card to take advantage of each new offer. This is known as card jumping or rate surfing.
Credit card balance transfer offers can also be used to reduce the interest paid on bank loans or other loans. If the credit limit is high enough, you may even be able to pay off the loans completely. Some credit cards provide credit card cheques for this purpose, but you’ll need to be careful. Some credit card cheques have higher interest rates than the credit card itself, so read the fine print very carefully. Some credit cards also allow you to transfer the balance from store cards. This can be useful after an intensive shopping spree!
Types Of Balance Transfers
There are two main types of credit card balance transfer offer. Many credit card companies offer users the chance to transfer balances for a rate of 0% for a fixed period, such as six or nine months. Once this offer has expired, the interest rate on the transferred balance will revert to the standard variable rate, which is likely to be considerably higher.
The best way to take advantage of 0% balance transfer offers without ending up with higher interest rates is to get a new credit card about a month before the balance transfer offer expires. Then you can transfer the outstanding balance on your old credit card to a new card and continue to save money on credit card repayments. Remember not to apply for too many new cards at once, as this could damage your credit rating.
The second type of balance transfer offer is one that offers a fixed rate on the money transferred for as long as it remains on the credit card. This may be a good option if you’re currently paying interest at a higher rate. These offers tend to offer a rate of around 5% which is considerably lower than standard interest rates. With this type of offer, there’s no need to worry about transferring balances every few months.
Credit Card Purchase Rates
With this type of offer, it’s best to check the rate that applies to purchases. Credit cards that offer a low balance transfer rate often have a higher rate for any spending on the credit card. It is also common to take any payments you make off the lower rate total first, which means you could end up paying quite a bit for spending on the card.
Each type of balance transfer offer has advantages depending on the amount of debt you have, how you spend and how you plan to pay off the credit card balance. Some credit cards and store cards have annual percentage rates that are well over 20%. Shopping around for a balance transfer card could save hundreds.