If you have a credit card, you may have wondered if you could pay one credit card bill by using another credit card. You may not have the money on hand to pay your bill, or you may be wondering if you could get a better rate by paying off a card with a higher interest rate using one with a lower interest rate.
Should you try this tactic? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach? Are there any alternatives you should consider? Let’s explore the answers.
Most Americans Have a Credit Card
According to Gallup, 76% of Americans have at least one credit card, but the average is 3.4 cards. Nearly half – a whopping 48% – of Americans have credit card debt.
As these stats show, clearly many Americans rely heavily on their cards. Their habits may vary, but a lot of people carry credit card debt and need some way to help pay down their balances.
What is a Balance Transfer?
Transferring debt from one credit card to another credit card is called a balance transfer. When you’re considering a balance transfer, it’s important to know what fees you may be charged.
For example, if you have a credit card with a $3,000 balance from card provider X, you can use a balance transfer to move that debt to a different credit card from provider Y.
As long as your card from provider Y has a lower interest rate, this transfer has the ability to save you money. However, you may be hit with fees that outweigh the savings in interest charges.
At PSECU, we do not charge a Visa® balance transfer fee. This distinguishes us from other companies because many of them have fees associated with balance transfers. Often these are either:
- A one-time flat fee
- A one-time fee that is a percentage of the amount you transfer
Often, the balance you transfer will receive a limited-time, special interest rate that is much lower than the regular interest rate on the credit card. This is one advantage to transferring money from a high-rate card. It can greatly reduce the amount of interest you pay for a limited period of time.
Before you initiate a balance transfer, you should check the terms and conditions on both cards thoroughly so you’re aware of any possible penalties or fees.
In some cases, people may not have a credit card that provides a favorable balance transfer service. In that instance, if you’re looking for a new card specifically for this purpose, you’ll want to get a card with favorable terms, such as our Classic Card.
Our Classic Card has no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, and a low interest rate for balance transfers. See how much you could save with our calculator. Plus, we don’t have penalty rate increases. That means that we won’t increase your rate, should you have a late or missed payment.
Can You Pay a Mortgage or Car Loan With a Credit Card?
If you can use balance transfers to pay down credit card debt, what about using them for other debt, such as auto, student, or home loans? While you can use a credit card to pay down other debt, it doesn’t always save you money, and it may take away some protections or payment options. Talk with your financial institution or advisor about the best options to pay down your debt faster while saving you the most money.
Some financial institutions may not allow you to use their credit cards to pay down other loans you have with their company. For instance, our Classic Card balance transfer cannot be used on any PSECU loan.
The Most Frequently Asked Questions About PSECU Balance Transfers
Before you complete a balance transfer, you may have some lingering questions about how it works. You want to have the fullest understanding possible of the process. Here are answers to technical questions we hear about balance transfers.
- How Many Balance Transfers Can You Have at Once?
At PSECU, we allow you to take out up to 10 Visa balance transfers at once. Keep in mind, the total debt accrued on these cannot be more than your available credit, which can be up to $30,000, if qualified.
- What Is the Minimum Amount for a Balance Transfer?
Our Visa card requires a minimum balance transfer of $250 when you send it from digital banking.
- When Do Finance Charges on My Transfer Begin to Accumulate?
Finance charges begin to accrue on the date the balance from another card is posted to your PSECU account.
- What Else Should I Know About Balance Transfers?
We treat balance transfers like a cash advance, which means you get a different interest rate on them than with other purchases. For balance transfers, we offer a lower interest rate for an initial time period, giving you an opportunity to rack up big savings on interest payments.
Still, you do need to keep in mind one important thing about balance transfers. Don’t look at them as a way to justify unnecessary spending. If this could apply to you, consider instituting some rules regarding impulse buys. Also, start budgeting your money to curb that urge.