What Is a Balance Transfer?

What Is a Balance Transfer?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A balance transfer is a financial strategy often used to reduce interest on high-interest debts. It involves moving a debt balance, or part of it, from one credit card to another, usually one with a lower interest rate. This can help reduce your financial burden by making your monthly payments more manageable and reducing the amount you need to pay back overall.

Related Questions

1. How does a balance transfer work?

A balance transfer works by applying and being approved for a new credit card that has a lower interest rate. You then request the card issuer to transfer the balance from your old card to the new card. Once approved, the debt from your old card is transferred to the new card, leaving your old card with a zero or lower balance.

2. What are the benefits of a balance transfer?

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Balance transfers serve two main benefits. First, they help reduce the amount of interest you’ll have to pay on your credit card debt. Second, they can make it easier for you to manage your debt by consolidating multiple payments into a single monthly payment.

3. Are there any downsides to a balance transfer?

While balance transfers can be a good strategy for managing debt, there are potential downsides. One is the potential for high fees associated with transferring your balance. Additionally, interest rates on balance transfer cards often skyrocket after a promotional period ends.

4. Does a balance transfer impact my credit score?

Performing a balance transfer can have both positive and negative effects on your credit score. On one hand, it might lower your credit utilization ratio which could improve your score. On the other hand, applying for a new credit card will likely involve a hard credit inquiry, which can temporarily reduce your score.

5. Can I do multiple balance transfers?

Yes, there is no limit to how many balance transfers you can perform. However, each balance transfer may come with costs and could potentially impact your credit score, it’s important to carefully consider the benefits and downsides of multiple balance transfers.