How to Find the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Finding the best balance transfer credit cards is not as difficult as you might think. In fact, there are a number of balance transfer credit cards to select from, making the most difficult part deciding which one of the great deals you should take advantage of.

Balance Transfer Credit Card Interest Rates

Since you are looking for a card to transfer your current balances to, you most likely do not intend to pay the balance off in full at the end of the billing cycle. Therefore, you want a card with a low interest rate. Ideally, you should find a card offering a 0.00% introductory rate. The longer this introductory period lasts, the better. Be aware that the interest rate can go sky high on some cards after the introductory period is complete. So, pay special attention to what the interest rate will be after the introductory period is over. The best balance transfer credit cards will keep the introductory rate on your transferred balanced until you pay it off in its entirety.

If you do choose to get a balance transfer credit card that has a low APR for a limited time, be sure to pay off the balance before the introductory period is over. This way, you won't have to pay finance charges on the higher APR. Also, hold out for a balance transfer credit card with a 0.00% APR. With so many great introductory offers out there, you are bound to find one with a 0.00% APR that meets your needs.

Balance Transfer Credit Card Fees

The majority of credit cards assess a fee to your card when transferring balances. With balance transfer credit cards, this fee should be waived. If the balance transfer credit card you are considering does not waive the fees, you should move on to a different card. There are too many cards out there that are willing to allow you to transfer balances for free - take advantage of them.

Additional Benefits of the Balance Transfer Credit Card

There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a credit card solely for transferring balances. If you do this, you should only transfer your balances, set the card aside, and use another card for your purchases. If, however, you want to transfer balances and still use the same card for your routine purchases, pay attention to the other benefits associated with the card. For example, some cards offer purchase protection, extended warranties, fraud protection services, auto rental insurance, travel insurance, and more. In addition to looking at the APR and balance transfer fees, consider the additional benefits associated with the card. Don't just apply for the first card with a 0.00% APR and free balance transfers.

Don't be Fooled by Balance Transfer Credit Cards

In addition, to choosing the card with all of the right benefits, don't let yourself be fooled by balance transfer credit cards. Several have great introductory offers on balance transfers, but the interest rates on purchases are high. Be careful to find out what the interest rate will be on purchases if you choose to use your balance transfer credit card for regular purchases. You might be disappointed. In addition, keep in mind that the credit card company can choose to apply your payments toward any portion of your balance that it wishes. Therefore, while you might have a 0.00% APR on balance transfers, you might have a 19.99% APR on purchases. Every dollar you send toward your credit card balance can be used to pay off the balance transfers before the balance for purchases is even touched. So, basically, you are paying off the 0.00% balance while the 19.99% balance goes untouched - and accumulates finance charges.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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