A balance transfer credit card can be a valuable financial tool. With their low APR introductory rates, they can provide an easier way to pay down credit card debt. However, just like any tool, you need to know how to use it properly in order to get the job done. Let’s take a look at how to do that.
The Intro Rate
A balance transfer credit card comes with a promotional intro offer. They often offer 0% interest rates for anywhere between six and 21 months. Once the intro offer expires, you’ll be assigned a new APR that is stated in your cardholder contract.
Intro Rate Expiration
If the intro offer period is coming up and you still have a balance on the card, you have a few options:
- Try to transfer the balance to a new balance transfer card. This hinges on you being approved.
- Use savings or your emergency fund to pay off the debt. This could be the best option, as paying interest is always a headache.
- Keep the card and start paying interest. If you go this route, make your payments as big as possible so the interest doesn’t get out of hand.
If you want to get the most out of a balance transfer card, form a smart payment plan first. Go through your budget and map out a plan to pay off the debt within the intro offer period. Once you have a plan in place, shop around for the card with the longest intro offer available. The more time to pay down debt with zero interest, the better.