Use a balance transfer calculator
Balance transfer calculators show you how much money you can save with a balance transfer. They compare the amount you will pay in interest charges with your existing card versus a balance transfer card.
To use this balance transfer calculator, you will need the following information:
- How much do you want to transfer: This can be the balance of a single credit card or the balances of multiple cards.
- Your current interest rate: The interest charges you pay are based on the APR on your card. You can find your current APR in your card’s pricing and fee documentation or in your online account.
- The interest rate of your new card: To determine what you could save in interest charges, you will need the APR from the balance transfer credit card. This will be stated in the pricing and fee documentation. Some cards will charge a different APR for balance transfers than for purchases. So make sure you enter the correct balance transfer rate.
- Fees applicable for the new card: Many credit cards charge a balance transfer fee. These fees are usually 3-5% of the total amount transferred.
- The amount of your monthly payment: Our balance transfer calculator will show the cost and time of debt repayment using your minimum payment amount. But you can pay a different amount if you plan to pay more than your minimum required payment. (If you want to see how your payment amount affects your credit card debt, try using a credit card interest calculator.)
Once you have entered the relevant data, the calculator will show you a cost comparison of the two cards. If you haven’t chosen a balance transfer card yet, you can try different APRs and fee amounts to see what works best.
You can also compare credit cards to see side-by-side comparisons of popular balance transfer cards to help you make up your mind. When you have chosen a card, simply click “Apply Now” to start the application process.
How does a credit card balance transfer work?
A credit card balance transfer involves moving the existing balance from one credit card account to another card account. While you can’t pay your credit card bill with another credit card, you can actually transfer your credit card debt from one card to another.
Cards that accept a balance transfer from another account are called balance transfer credit cards. Not all credit cards accept balance transfers.
The easiest way to see if a card accepts balance transfers is to find a balance transfer APR listed in the card’s pricing and fee table. Many balance transfer credit cards will charge the same interest rate for purchase and transfer balances, while others will charge a slightly higher rate for transferred balances.
For a balance transfer to be worth it, you’ll want to transfer your balance to a low interest credit card or at least with a lower APR than your current card charges. Otherwise, you won’t save money on interest charges and the balance transfer will be pretty pointless.
The best balance transfer credit cards will offer introductory APR offers that provide 0% interest on transferred balances. These offers are valid for a specified period after opening a new account. (You may also receive occasional APR offers on your existing credit cards, but these are less common and difficult to predict.)
You can usually initiate a balance transfer when applying for a new card. Alternatively, you can perform an online balance transfer once your card account is opened. You will need to specify the account from which you want to transfer your existing balance, as well as the amount you wish to transfer.
After you initiate the transfer, it may take several days for the debt to move from one account to another. If your outstanding balance due date occurs before the transfer is complete, make sure you make at least the minimum payment required to avoid late fees or other issues.
Learn more: How to make a balance transfer
What is the balance transfer fee?
Almost all credit cards that accept balance transfers will charge a fee for the transaction, called a balance transfer fee. Most balance transfer fees vary between 3% and 5% of the total transaction amount. For example, if you transfer $ 5,000 to a credit card with a 5% balance transfer fee, you will be charged a $ 250 fee for the transaction.
Some balance transfer credit cards will include a reduced balance transfer fee as part of its introductory APR offer. In most cases, you will need to complete the balance transfer within a specified time frame (often the first 90 days) to be eligible for the introductory rate.
Is there a limit to the amount you can transfer?
Credit cards with balance transfer usually have limits on the amount you can transfer. This limit can be the same as your overall credit limit, but some cards will have a specific balance transfer limit.
One thing to note is that the balance transfer limit will include your balance transfer fee. So, if you want to transfer a balance of $ 5,000 to a card with a 5% transfer fee, you will need to have a transfer limit of at least $ 5,250 on the balance transfer card.
In addition, this limit applies to your total balance of all transfers; it is not a limit per transaction. For example, if you transfer $ 1,000 and then later transfer $ 1,000, you will need a card with a transfer limit of at least $ 2,000.
Who can benefit from a credit card balance transfer?
The cardholders most likely to save with a balance transfer credit card are those who can qualify for an introductory 0% APR offer. The lower interest rate means that more of your monthly payments will go to pay off your outstanding balance, rather than paying interest charges.
In general, you will need good credit to qualify for a credit card with an introductory APR offer. Cards with the longest introductory periods will require good or excellent credit.
If you can’t qualify for a low-interest balance transfer credit card or can’t get a card with a high enough transfer limit, you may want to consider consolidating your debt with a personal loan. . Personal loans tend to have lower interest rates than most credit cards, which can help you lower your monthly interest payments. Check out our guide to choosing between a balance transfer or a personal loan.
How to choose a balance transfer credit card
There are several factors to consider when looking for a balance transfer credit card:
- A launch APR offer: Good balance transfer cards come with an introductory 0% APR on transferred balances of at least six months. The best introductory 0% APR credit cards will give you 15 months or more of 0% interest before reverting to the benchmark interest rate.
- Balance transfer fees: Most cards will charge a transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the total transaction amount. However, some cards offer a reduced rate as part of an introductory offer.
- The balance transfer limit: Some cards will allow you to transfer up to your total credit limit, while other cards will cap balance transfers at a lower amount. (Unfortunately, you won’t be able to determine your balance transfer limit until you’ve been approved for the card.)
Using our Balance Transfer Calculator can help you determine what type of APR and fee structure you might need to save the most money. This will narrow down your card options and make it easier to find the right card for you.