Debt Management

Reducing Your Credit Card Debt with Balance Transfers

Credit card debt is easy to rack up and difficult to pay down. One reason that it can be so hard to pay off credit card debt are the high interest rates that many cards carry. If you are only able to make the minimum payment you might find that every dime you are paying toward your credit card is only covering the monthly interest. It might seem like a lost cause and like you will never be able to get out of debt, but there is hope. Learning to use balance transfer offers to your advantage can help you to reduce your credit card debt and pay down your balances much more quickly.

If you don’t understand balance transfers it might seem unlikely that moving your money around will actually help you to pay it off. It does work however. The trick to this process is finding credit cards that offer low interest rates on balance transfers. This helps by putting yourself in a better situation and allowing you to spend less money on interest. Look for credit cards that offer 0% balance transfers, as these are provide the most opportunity to save.

Once you find offers with 0% APR balance transfer deals you can start transferring balances from high interest credit cards and start saving. For example if you have a credit card with a 20% APR you should move this balance to the 0% card. Once it is transferred you can pay down the balance without having all of your money go to interest payments. This allows you to finally get on top of your credit card bills and start making a dent in how much you owe.

Of course these 0 balance transfer offers are typically only for a limited amount of time. Credit card companies use them to attract new customers. However, this does not mean that they aren’t beneficial for you. If you aren’t spending money on interest the money you pay will go toward your actual credit card debt. Even if the offer is only for 6 or 9 months that is still 6 or 9 months that you can make progress on your debts. Make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunity that you have during this time of 0% interest by paying as much as possible toward your credit card debts so that you can make progress and reduce your debt before the 0% rate expires.

This is especially important if you are based abroad as many countries have higher interest rates than the US. You can still get 0% offers like this one from Austrailia, but you need to use the interest free months well http://www.hsbc.com.au/1/2/personal/credit-cards/balance-transfers.

Transferring the balances from your high interest credit cards to lower or 0% interest options is a great way to start reducing your credit card debt and take control of your finances. If you aren’t spending money on interest you can actually start reducing your debt.

This is a guest post by Jenn D

Comments (8)

  • Personal Finance Buzz…

    Your story was featured in Personal Finance Buzz! Please visit and promote your article….

    Reply
  • I used this technique to pay off some of my credit/consumer card debt. If your rocking a debt snow ball the question to ask yourself is – Will the balance transfer fee be more or less then the interest you have paid without transferring? As long as it is less go for it…

    Reply
  • I have tried this before and found it to be highly frustrating. Taking a 20% APR card with a balance of 900.00 and then when transferring the other card would only let me put 400.00 dollars on it. I understand that the 400 at 0% is better than at 20%, but then I still would have 500 dollars on the one at 20%. Do you have suggestions for when this situation arises? I think this is a great idea in theory…but the readers need to be aware that sometimes you cannot put the entire amount on the new card. And seriously why do you want to keep opening additional credit lines, isn’t this bad for your overall credit score?

    Reply
  • This is actually a very good idea. I recently did this with my Discover More card…they were only able to transfer 80% of the balance, so now I have two payments a month required, yes its an additional line of credit…but i didnt pay a balance transfer fee, and its free money for a year, no interest. That means I can keep my investments in place earning healthy returns until the full amount comes due and then I can use my invested funds to pay it off if necessary…or just whittle away at it in the meantime. Be careful of transfer fees though!!! they can really add up.

    Reply
  • Transferring the balances from your high interest credit cards to lower or 0% interest options is a great way to start reducing your credit card debt and take control of your finances. If you aren’t spending money on interest you can actually start reducing your debt.

    Reply
  • It is also important to know what the current interest rate is on all you Credit Debt, otherwise it will take a very long time and several dollars later to finally be debt free.

    Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Sorry pushed the wrong key on that first one! Terrific article and so true. If you are able to get those 0% interest credit cards and then pay $20 to $30 more than you were paying, those balances really start disappearing. It just takes determination and a great plan like you’ve mapped out to follow, and they will have their life back so quick. Thanks for sharing such a super plan. Hope lots of people see it and take advantage of it!

    Reply
  • This is great for people in the U.S. Unfortunately it is not an option in Canada. Canadian banks do not offer 0% credit cards.

    Reply

Write a comment