There are many credit card holders today who aren’t familiar with balance transfers, what they are, and how they can be used to manage your outstanding debt.
To complete a balance transfer, when referred to in relation to credit cards, is simply the process of moving an existing balance on one credit card over to another credit card account. This is usually done in an attempt to lower the overall interest rate that is paid on credit card debt.
So when are balance transfers a good idea? If you’re currently carrying balances on one or more high interest rate credit cards and can’t pay them off in full at the end of each billing cycle, you’re a prime candidate for a balance transfer. The best thing to do in this circumstance is begin searching for credit card offers with a 0% interest rate on all balance transfers (for a pre-defined period of time). Once you’ve found a card that you would like to apply for, fill out your application and wait for the approval process to run it’s course. When you’ve been approved, simply transfer the balances on your existing cards over to your new card.
Balance transfers aren’t a good idea if the card that you are moving the balances over to has a higher interest rate than what you’re currently paying. In my opinion though, this is one of the rare instances where a balance transfer wouldn’t be helpful.
One thing to be careful with when it comes to credit card balance transfers is doing the transfer, and then running up the balance on the cards again that were cleared out. Unfortunately, there are people out there who fall into this trap and end up with more debt than then started out with as a result. The key to benefiting from balance transfers is to use them responsibly.