Ryan P Page, Staff Writer
You can get the most balance transfer offers by improving your credit score, paying your bills on time, and making sure you haven’t opted out of pre-approved offers. The best balance transfer credit cards are generally reserved for applicants with good-to-excellent credit and a history of making on-time payments.
You can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub and get personalized credit-improvement tips. Also, you can opt back in for pre-approved cards, if necessary, to start getting more offers sent to you by mail or email.
Once you start to receive more offers, you’ll want to ensure you get the most out of your balance transfer. This will require you to carefully select a balance transfer card and avoid some common mistakes. You can learn more below.
5 Tips for Getting the Most from a Balance Transfer
- Pick a card with a long enough 0% intro APR period. You’ll want to give yourself enough time to pay down your full balance without interest. Using a balance transfer calculator can help you plan how long you need.
- Read your card’s terms. Each issuer has different 0% balance transfer offers, and promotional terms are different from card to card. Be sure to read your card’s terms so that you’re aware of the rules and fees that apply to your card. For example, most balance transfer cards charge a balance transfer fee, and making a late payment could cause your 0% APR period to end early.
- Avoid making purchases on a balance transfer credit card. Your card may have a 0% purchase APR in addition to a 0% APR on balance transfers, in which case reasonable purchases are fine, but only some balance transfer cards will have both. If your card doesn’t have a 0% APR on purchases and you’ve already transferred a balance to the card, any purchases will accrue interest immediately because the grace period goes away when balances are carried from month to month.
- Keep track of your 0% APR intro period. Because your balance transfer credit card will only have a 0% APR for a limited time, keep track of your repayment schedule so that you can pay off your entire transfer interest-free. Also, some balance transfer offers could expire before you even get to use them. Make sure you transfer all of your eligible balances as soon as you can after getting approved for the card to avoid running out of time.
- Keep your old credit cards open. When your transfer request goes through, don’t cancel your old credit cards unless you absolutely must. Keeping unused cards open without a balance will help you build or improve your credit score.
Applying for one of the best balance transfer credit cards is a great way to reduce your interest charges and make it easier to pay off your debt. However, you’ll want to avoid some of the more common mistakes to ensure you get the most out of your balance transfers. You can learn more by checking out WalletHub’s guide on mistakes to avoid with balance transfer cards.
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