Transferring existing credit card balances to another credit card with a lower interest rate can help you pay off your debt faster and more cheaply. Read on to find out how to do it.
Your first step should be to compare balance transfer credit cards. Look for ones that offer a low interest rate or even no interest for a set number of months. Check whether you’ll be charged a balance transfer fee and how much this will cost you. Using our credit card eligibility checker will help you work out which credit cards you’re most likely to be accepted for, without damaging your credit score. Once you’ve found a suitable card, you can go ahead and apply in full.
You can often request your balance transfer during the application process or after you’ve been accepted. If you’re doing it afterwards, check how long you have to carry it out – you’ll typically need to do it within the first 60 or 90 days. In all cases, you need to provide the details of the card balances you want to transfer, so make sure you have this information to hand. You can usually transfer 90% to 95% of your credit limit to your new card.
Once the transfer is complete, you’ll need to start making your monthly repayments. Missing payments could see you lose your 0% offer (if you have one). You’ll also be charged a late payment fee and you could damage your credit score.
If your credit card offers a 0% introductory deal, work out how much you need to repay each month to clear your balance before the 0% deal ends.
For example, if you have a balance of £3,000 on a card with a 0% deal for 20 months, you need to pay £150 a month to clear the balance before the offer expires. (£3,000 / 20 = £150).
Balance transfers usually take one to three working days, but in some cases, can take a couple of weeks. To avoid late payment fees or charges, keep up your monthly repayments on your old card(s) until the balance is transferred.
Once you’ve transferred your balance, try to resist the temptation to spend on your new credit card. You don’t want to start building up new debt while trying to pay off the old debt. New purchases might also attract a higher rate of interest.
If you shift your balance to a card with a lower rate of interest, you’ll save money
Using a balance transfer credit card can also help you to pay off your balance faster
You’ll be able to manage all your credit card balances in one place
You might have to pay a balance transfer fee equal to around 2% to 4% of the amount you’re transferring
If you don’t pay off your balance in full before any 0% promotional offer ends, you’ll start paying interest
If you spend on your balance transfer card, these purchases could be charged at a higher interest rate
You’ll need a good credit rating to get accepted for the best deals