What is a balance transfer?
A balance transfer is pretty self-explanatory; it is a transfer of the balance, or part of the balance, from one account to another account, often at another institution. Specifically, a credit card balance transfer is the transfer of the balance owed on a credit card account to another credit card account.
Many people will transfer balances from a high interest rate account to a lower interest rate card in order to save money on finance charges. You may think you will save money this way but make sure you read the fine print! Many balance transfers come with high fees! Most of the time, credit card companies charge a fee when transferring a credit card balance.
Many people will transfer their balance to a new card with an introductory interest free period. This can save you money, but only if you can pay it down in the time allotted. If not, you may be hit with an even bigger interest rate than you had on the previous card!
The biggest problem with balance transfers is that it is ultimately borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. You are just moving the debt instead of resolving it. Sometimes (if you have an interest free and fee free deal) it may save you money, but if you cannot pay it off you will be stuck in the same situation.
So although balance transfers can be useful in managing finances, and lowering interest rates, all of these other factors should also be taken into account when seeking to use a credit card productively, and maintaining good credit.
A balance transfer is not always the best way to get out of debt. If you are struggling with debt and need to know your options, contact us today to see if our debt relief programs are a fit for you!