Compare 8+ balance transfer cards with 0% apr for 15 mos finder.com electricity and magnetism review

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When applying with a new card provider, you provide an idea of how much you’re hoping to transfer. But it’s only after you’re approved that you can complete those transfers, typically within a strict transfer period. Read the fine print to know how many days or months you have to get it done.

After you’re approved, the new credit card company pays off the creditors you listed on your application. If you don’t qualify for the total amount you requested, your creditors are typically paid off in the order you listed them on your application. The transfer stops when your credit limit is reached — less any fees per transfer. You can typically call your credit card provider or initiate your transfers online after approval.

How much you can transfer and the APR you’re ultimately offered largely depends on your credit history. You typically need a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher for the most competitive balance transfer cards — those with low rates, long intro periods and high credit limits. However, you’ll find decent options for people with fair or poor credit at a score of at least 580.

Yes. A “hard pull” on your credit report is part of how a provider determines whether to take you on as a borrower, so merely applying for a balance transfer card can shave anywhere from 5 to 20 points off your score. To minimize hard pulls, narrow down your options to only those cards you’re highly eligible for.

But you could find that a balance transfer credit card slightly improves your creditworthiness. This is because of something called your credit utilization ratio, or the amount of your debt on one card compared to that card’s spending limit. For instance, a balance of $2,000 on a card with a $4,000 limit that’s transferred to a card with an $8,000 limit could minimally improve your credit by lowering your utilization ratio from 50% to 25%.

You’ll find low-APR balance transfer offers that last from 6 to 18 months — and sometimes up to 24 months — depending on the card. Consider the APR, the size of your debt and the promo period to calculate whether you can repay your balances before your revert rate kicks in.

Though they’re quickly going the way of the dodo, balance transfer checks are a feature that at least a few card providers use to entice you to apply. They’re much like blank checks you write to creditors or yourself to put cash in your checking account.

How much you’re able to transfer with these checks depends on your approved credit limit. Because the amount you transfer then becomes a balance on your card, you’ll want to be careful with how often you use it before your low-interest period expires. Help out with a partner’s debt

Some card providers allow joint balance transfers that can help you lend a hand to a struggling loved one. Not all providers will allow a joint balance transfer. A solution to this is to look into adding your friend or family member as a secondary cardholder and hold onto the card until the balance is satisfied. Shop around for other promos

An easy way to make a go of the game is to set a reminder for at least two months before your promotional period expires. At that point, you can begin shopping around for another balance transfer card — applying early so that it’s ready when you need it. Of course, you’ll need a good handle on your finances and a strong credit score to rely on this tactic.

Depending on your provider, it could take up to 14 days for your balance transfers to complete. Don’t stop payments on your old cards until you know they’re closed. The last thing you need when dealing with debt consolidation is shelling out cash for fees.

Here’s why: Your 0% intro APR likely won’t extend to new purchases. Worse, if your card is like most your monthly payments will first go to paying off debts with the lowest interest. A good idea in theory, it means that your monthly payments will first apply to the balances you transferred to the card initially. Unless you’re paying a lot more than your minimum, you might inadvertently give your newer balances more time to accrue interest at higher rates.

To avoid getting stuck with your revert rate, know how much you need to repay monthly to satisfy your full balance before your promo period expires. To calculate your repayments, divide the amount of your debt by the number of months in your balance transfer offer. Use this amount as your repayment goal for each statement period.

Applying for a balance transfer credit card is just like applying for any other card, only you’ll list your creditors and the amounts you wish to pay to each. Eligibility varies by provider, but they’re typically open to permanent residents of the US who are at least 18 years old — or your state’s age of majority.

After you’ve confirmed your eligibility and weighed the APRs, intro periods and fees of all your options, complete your balance transfer credit card application with your personal information and financial details. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions before submitting it.