If you have a number of credit cards and you’d like to consolidate your payments, a balance transfer credit card can be the right decision for your finances. Not only are many balance transfer credit card companies offering lowered or even zero percent interest rates, but you might even be able to finally pay down that debt that you’ve accrued.
1. Determine the amount you want to transfer
While most balance transfer credit card companies are willing to transfer larger balances for those with a good payment history, for those that do not have excellent credit, you might find that only small amounts will be transferred.
And while this helps, it might not reap the rewards that you were expecting. Talk with the balance transfer credit card before deciding to sign up for their card to be sure that the amount you want to transfer will be allowed.
2. Find out the restrictions
Most of the time a balance transfer credit card company will allow you to enjoy a low or zero percent interest rate when you follow their rules. This means that you should work to understand their rules before signing up.
You might not be able to purchase anything on the card for a certain amount of time, or you might have to purchase something within a certain amount of time.
3. What is your time limit?
While it would be nice if balance transfer credit card companies could give consumers unlimited time to enjoy the lower interest rates, this isn’t the case. Find out how long the introductory balance transfer credit card interest rate is good for—the longer the better.
4. Can you get your money back?
Some balance transfer credit card companies also offer you money back for new purchases on their card. While you probably won’t get that cash back on the transfer, you can begin to reap rewards for future use. If you think that you may keep the balance transfer credit card for a while, this is a good thing to investigate.
5. What is the annual fee?
When you’re trying to limit your payments, you’ll want to be sure that the balance transfer credit card doesn’t start off with an annual fee as well. Many balance transfer credit card companies do not make a customer pay a fee initially, but some might charge the customer after the initial time period is over.
A balance transfer credit card can help you reduce your monthly payments and get you on the road to a debt-free life, but only if the card is working for you and not against you.