Balance Transfer Tips

The most expedient and convenient way (but not necessarily the most effective as we shall see later) of reducing the interest on your card is to get balance transfer, which basically means paying off one card with another. Obviously you need another card to do this and there is really no objection to this (unless you simply must abuse it.) Of course cards with no annual fee are best, but even a small annual fee is okay when you’re saving more anyway. The number of card offers these days that have low or no interest periods makes this fairly easy. Here are a few things to take note of:

1. Balance transfer offer periods usually start on the card activation date, not the date you actually do the transfer. Once this period (usually about 6 mouths) is finished, the remaining transferred amount and any further transfers revert to the standard balance transfer rate.

2. Balance transfers at a later stage are still useful to eliminate cash out interest that may have been ‘sandwiched’ between purchase transactions. Learning not to get cash out is a good move in the long-run, but this will solve those impulse hiccups.

3. Transferring a whole card account balance frees your initial card to enable you to make use of the ‘interest free days’ or ‘grace period’ facility. (See Report.)

4. Depending on the credit card company’s policy, you can do balance transfers over the phone, online or only by having a form sent out and sending it back. This last takes longer of course (though you could use fax if you’re in a hurry) so allow for this extra time. On new card applications this is rarely a problem anyway as they’ll ask you during the application process whether you want to do one (or you can wait until your card is activated if you like.)

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