If you have a number of credit cards, or are looking to get another card, then it pays to know about the ins and outs of balance transfers. If you use balance transfers correctly you can save yourself a lot of money in interest payments on your debts. If you are uncertain about how to use balance transfers properly, then here is some advice on the ins and outs of balance transfer?
What is a balance transfer?
A balance transfer is simply where you transfer part or all of one credit card balance to another credit card. You are effectively using one credit card to pay off another one. For example, if you have one credit card with a ?1000 balance and another card with no balance, you could transfer some or all of that ?1000 onto the card with no balance.
How do I make a balance transfer?
Making a balance transfer is extremely easy, especially if you have online banking. IF you have just got a new card then it is likely that you will asked if you want to make any balance transfers straight away. If you do then you simply give your other card details to the new card issuer along with the amount you want to transfer and they will sort it out for you. Also, on most online banking systems there is a feature to allow you to make balance transfers at any time.
Costs of a balance transfer
Unless you have a special rate for balance transfers, there is usually a cost involved in making a balance transfer. These rates can vary, but are usually either a fixed fee or about 2% of the amount to be transferred. When transferring a balance it is important to take these charges into consideration, because it may cost you more than the money you are saving if you have to pay a variety of fees.
0% balance transfer offers
One good way to make balance transfers work for you is to get a card with 0% on balance transfers. These cards usually charge a fixed fee for transferring your balance, but offer 0% interest on the amount you transfer. This 0% rate usually lasts for around 6 to 9 months, during which time you will not pay interest on your transferred balance. This is especially good for people who are currently struggling to keep up with their credit card payments due to high interest rates. However, you must remember that new purchases on these cards will be charged at the standard APR, and that after the 6 or 9-month period you will have to start paying interest.
Perhaps the best way to use balance transfers to your advantage is to consolidate your credit card debts. If you have a number of credit cards with different interest rates and balances, then try and transfer as much as you can to the cards with the lower interest rates. This will save on your interest, and as you pay off the debt you card start to transfer more and more onto the lower interest cards. If you use balance transfers wisely then you can really reduce the interest that you pay and keep up with your credit card repayments.
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