Transferring high interest credit card debt to a balance transfer credit card is a smart way to save money on interest and get out of debt faster. With most balance transfer cards, you'll get 0% APR for anywhere between 12 – 21 months. Best of all, many balance transfer cards don't charge an annual fee, either.
The biggest downside is a handful of balance transfer cards do charge a balance transfer fee to get started. This fee usually works out to 3 – 5 percent of your total balance, but it can be well worth it if you use your card's 0% APR period to get serious about debt.
Still, it pays to know how much you can save with a balance transfer, as well as how the costs of transferring your balance might add up. Here are a few tools that can help you save as much money as possible while also inding the absolute best card for your needs:
Balance Transfer Savings Calculator
How much interest are you paying now? And, how much could you save over time if you transferred your high interest balances to a balance transfer card? This balance transfer savings calculator answers those questions, while also leading you to balance transfer offers that might fit the bill.
Simply enter your current debts, your current interest rate, and your credit score to see how much you could start saving right away. If you're not sure how your credit score looks, you can find out for free here.
Balance Transfer Credit Card Search Tool
Unsure of which balance transfer card to get? With our balance transfer search tool, you can compare offers side-by-side to see how they stack up. Find out which cards offer 0% APR for the longest stretch of time, which cards charge an annual fee, and which cards waive the balance transfer fee for the first 60 days. Once you discover these details, you'll be in the best spot to find the ideal 0% APR card for your needs.
Features to Look for in a Balance Transfer Credit Card
Once you have figured out how much you could save, it's crucial to know what to look for in any balance transfer offer. Here are some key details to take note of as you compare cards:
- Introductory APR – Most balance transfer credit cards offer zero interest for anywhere from 12 – 21 months. Confirm your offer before you sign up.
- Balance transfer offer – In addition to knowing your card's introductory APR, or annual percentage rate, you need to know how long it lasts. Find out how long you'll save money with zero interest on your balance.
- Balance transfer fee – Some balance transfer cards charge a balance transfer fee that equals 3 – 5 percent of your balance. Find out what this fee is, and if you need to pay it.
- Annual fee – Few balance transfer credit cards charge an annual fee, yet some do. Find out where your favorite card stands.
- Rewards program –A handful of balance transfer cards offer rewards when you use them for purchases. Find out whether your card offers a rewards program, and how it works.
- Ongoing APR – Your ongoing APR is the interest rate applied once your introductory offer expires. However, it may also apply to new purchases you make with the card. Make sure you know how your card's ongoing APR works before you start using your card.
Before you sign up for a balance transfer credit card, you should know your offer inside and out. The tools we included can help, but it's up to you to decide which card works best.
With an eye for detail and a handle on the fine print, you can be on the path to consolidating your high interest debts in no time. As always, a little research and planning can go a long way towards setting you up for success.