How to Transfer Credit Card Balances

If you have a substantial amount of credit card debt that you’re struggling to pay down, you may want to consider transferring your current balances to a different credit card. By moving your balance over to a card that offers a low or zero APR, you can really start chipping away at the principle–and eventually pay off your credit card debt once and for all. Would you like to know how to transfer your high-interest credit card balances to a card that’ll give you a better deal? Here’s how.

Add Up Your Credit Card Debt

Before you start looking for a card to transfer existing balances to, it’s important to take a close look at your overall credit card debt and habits. How much credit card debt do you have? Do you have several lines of credit that are maxed out? Are you paying sky-high interest rates each month on a hefty balance? What’s your credit card history like? If you haven’t been on your best behavior financially by charging too much, making late payments, or missing payments altogether–a creditor might be hesitant to extend yet another line of credit to you.

Look at your credit card situation very closely, and start looking for ways to improve your credit if need be. Just because a balance transfer request might be declined now, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to get one. Be on your best behavior when it comes to spending your credit card line and paying off your current debts.

Research Your Transfer Options

If you’ve decided that you really ought to try and transfer a credit card balance, take some time to thoroughly research your options. You can browse a variety of credit card offers online, and you can also call or stop in at reputable financial institutions in your area to see if they have any special offers. Keep your eye out for very low or zero APR’s, how many months the APR’s are fixed for on each offer, and what the expiration dates of the offers are.

Consider Splitting Up Credit Card Balances

If you have multiple cards each with its own high balance, you may not be able to transfer them all on to one card. The total amount of your current credit card debt might exceed the line that you’d be eligible for–so you’ll have to decide whether or not you’ll transfer only a portion of your credit card debt, or if you’ll split it up onto a couple of different low or zero-interest cards. Unfortunately, the decision won’t be entirely up to you, though–it’ll be up to the credit card company to approve your credit request and they’re the ones that’ll set the limit.

Inquire about Transfer Fees

While transferring credit card debt to a card with a lower interest rate will give you a better deal, you won’t get it for free. Most credit card companies charge a balance transfer fee–a small percentage of the balance to be transferred. Many credit card companies have a cap on that fee–but not all. Don’t assume there is one, and ask if you’re in doubt.

Read the Fine Print Carefully

Credit cards come with a lot of fine print–and it’s important that you read it over carefully to make sure you’re really getting a better deal on your balance transfer before you commit to it. A low or zero-interest APR isn’t going to stay that way forever, and you’ll find out all about that and more by reading the tiny details that many people choose to ignore. Find out what your APR will go up to once the special offer is over. If it’ll be higher than what you’re paying now, it won’t be worth transferring your balance to that particular card unless you can pay it off before the low APR goes up. Transferring your credit card balances over to a card with an ultra-low or zero APR can be a smart move if played right. The right balance transfer coupled with responsible credit card behavior might help you lighten your load when it comes to credit card debt.

Guest post from Alex Storm. Alex writes for