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Balance Transfer Credit Cards: Get the Most From Your Balance Transfer

Aug 3, 2008
Do you have a nagging balance on one of your credit cards? Did you know you can pay it off, and save hundreds of dollars at the same time? A balance transfer credit card will help you do just that. This type of card lets you bring over an existing balance or loan and pay it off at a lower interest rate. Here's how to get the most out of a balance transfer credit card.

Transfer the Balance

Before applying for a balance transfer card, you'll want to check out your options. First look at the fees involved, as these may vary from card to card. Many companies charge a certain amount to bring over an existing balance. The usual rate is around 3 percent of the total amount, and some cards include a cap of $50 or $75. In most cases, the money you save in interest will outweigh the cost of transferring.

Also compare the interest rates. Balance transfer cards usually come with a 0% APR period. This means that you will have a certain time, usually between six and twelve months, during which you will not be charged any interest. You can use this time to pay off the balance.

Get the Most from it

Once you've found the best balance transfer card to apply for, it's time to pay off the debt. Ideally, you will want to pay it off within the initial zero percent interest timeframe. Say you transfer a balance of $2,400 and you have twelve months of 0% APR. All you need to do is put $200 toward the debt each month for twelve months. Pay that amount at the beginning of each month, or every time you receive a paycheck.

Think about it: if you pay off the $2,400 balance on the card within a year, you will save hundreds of dollars. If your previous card charged 18% APR, and you carried the balance for a year, you would have to pay $432 in interest! That is a significant savings.

If it becomes difficult to pay $200 each month, reduce the amount you pay to $150. Then keep paying that amount until the entire balance is paid off.

Use the Card

Many experts recommend paying off credit card debt before using a new card. This rule of thumb applies to balance transfer credit cards too. Some cards are set up so that if you make new purchases, the amount you pay each month will first be applied to those, and then to the transferred balance. This can make it hard to pay off the balance in its entirety. To avoid problems, don't use your new credit card right away. Put it in a drawer until you have paid off the balance.

Once the debt is paid off, you can begin using the card. Many balance transfer cards come with additional perks such as rewards programs or cash back options. So when you start shopping with the card, you will receive even more benefits. Try to pay off the amount on the card each month to avoid interest charges and late fees.

A balance transfer credit card can help straighten out your finances. Apply online for one today and you'll notice the difference right away. Soon you'll be debt-free, thanks to your credit card.
About the Author
Click Here to Find Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

Stephanie Andrews is a contributing editor of the website www.CreditCardCity.com , a credit card directory where you can apply for a new card with online applications.
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