How to Find the Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers

By Contributing Writer

  • Overview

    In the midst of an economic recession, more Americans are trying to find ways to reduce their monthly expenses. One way to free up a bit of cash is to transfer high-interest credit card balances to cards with a lower rate. Of course, there are many credit cards out there, and choosing can be difficult. Here are important steps to finding the best credit card for balance transfers.
    • Step 1

      Look for cards that offer 0 percent APR on balance transfers. This means that, for at least a limited amount of time, you won't have to pay any interest on the balance you intend to transfer.
    • Step 2

      Check to see what interest rate is charged on new purchases. Sometimes you may get a great rate on the balance transfer but a sky-high rate if you make a purchase. If you plan to use the card for purchases, you may need to choose another card.

    • Step 3

      Find out how long the low rates apply. Usually the low "teaser" rates on a balance transfer credit card will only last for several months. Each card is different. Some cards may give you the low rate for six months, and others may last up to a year. You'll want to choose the card that gives you the longest time at the lowest rate.
    • Step 4

      Read the fine print closely to find out if balance transfer fees are charged. Some cards may offer a low interest rate but charge a percentage of the balance transfer in fees.
    • Step 5

      Be aware that you have to qualify for certain interest rates. Although some card issuers say they are offering you 0 percent APR, they aren't telling you that it's not a done deal. Depending on your credit, you may or may not qualify for this low rate. Your credit may allow you to qualify only for a 15 percent interest rate instead of the advertised 0 percent.
    • Step 6

      Decide which card will do you the most good in the long run. You want to get the most out of your balance transfer credit card, so look for no fees or low fees, the lowest interest rates and the longest amount of time with the "teaser" rates.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Warning:
    • Choosing a balance transfer credit card can help you free up cash in the short term, but you need to work on paying off that debt. Many people get caught in the cycle of constantly transferring their balances while never paying them off. This can offer temporary help, but it will never help you get out of credit debt for the long term.

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