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Pros and Cons of a Balance Transfer

December 17, 2021 GMT

NEW YORK - December 17, 2021 - ( )

iQuanti: Swimming in debt is never fun for anyone. But how do you get out of it without drowning? One option is to take advantage of a balance transfer. If your goal is to pay off your credit card balances quickly without the fuss of high interest rates and long-drawn-out payments, this may be a good idea.

A balance transfer can either relieve your situation or make it worse, so it’s important to know both the pros and the cons before deciding.

How do balance transfers work?

When you complete a balance transfer, you’re transferring your outstanding debt from one account like a gas card or store credit card and moving it to another credit card. People typically use a balance transfer credit card when paying down their debt by moving it to a credit card with a lower interest rate and better benefits like cash back rewards and travel points.


You’ll typically need to have a good to excellent credit rating to qualify for a balance transfer credit card. Your credit score will also indicate your annual percentage rate (APR), or how much interest you’ll have to pay per year. Select a credit card with a zero percent balance transfer offer so that you can get the most out of your balance transfer. Find out how long the promotional interest rate will last so that you can pay off your debt before the actual interest rate takes effect.

When considering which balances to transfer, you’ll want to make sure you move over the unpaid balances with high-interest rates first, so you save more money. The balance doesn’t have to be in your name to transfer it to your balance transfer credit card. So, you can move over your spouse’s credit card debt to help consolidate your bills.

Pros and cons of a balance transfer

Getting a balance can come with the following benefits and drawbacks:


  • Catch up on unpaid debt: A balance transfer allows you to catch up on your unpaid debt all at once while saving money with lower interest rates.
  • Consolidate multiple payments into one: You can combine your debt from more than one credit card to tackle all your payments at once.
  • Pay more on the principal: Most of your payments will go toward your principal if you transfer your debts to a card with a lower interest rate.
  • Lower credit utilization: The amount of credit you have available will increase when you move your debt over to one card and make on-time payments.
  • Pay off debt in less time: You can pay off your debt more quickly by paying a lower interest rate.



  • Balance transfer fees: Creditors charge a balance transfer fee when you transfer your balance from one credit card to another. These fees are dependent on how much you’re moving over.
  • Hard credit inquiries: You will see a hard inquiry on your credit report when applying for a balance transfer. This will drop your credit score down a few points and remain on your credit report for up to two years.
  • Temporary low or no interest rate: Balance transfer credit cards with low or no interest rates are not permanent. The interest rate is typically a promotion and will only last for a limited amount of time.
  • Can potentially increase your debt: A balance transfer can increase your debt if you don’t pay your balance off within the promotional period. The increased interest rate can leave you paying more than you initially planned for.

The bottom line

If your credit history is in good standing, you can consider applying for a balance transfer credit card with a low or no interest rate. But before getting a balance transfer, it’s smart to review the pros and cons to make sure it would be beneficial in your situation. If you’ve decided that a balance transfer is right for you, be sure to pay off your balance during your promotional period so you can fully reap the benefits.

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