Balance Transfer

Chase Slate® Review: Is this Legit? An Introductory $0 Fee Balance Transfer?

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The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Chase Slate Review

Updated January 13, 2017

Chase slateDo you have credit card debt that you can’t afford to pay off? Do you feel depressed watching all of your payment going towards interest? Are you afraid that you will be in debt for the next 30 years? Don’t just sit at home and worry: take action by transferring your debt from a high interest rate to a low interest rate with a balance transfer.

Chase Slate® has a very popular introductory balance transfer offer. You can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

The savings can be astonishingly high, and you can take years off your debt repayment. But some people worry that the offer is too good to be true. So long as you do the following 3 things, it really is a free balance transfer:

  1. Complete the balance transfer within 60 days of opening the account. Otherwise, you lose the offer and standard balance transfer fees and rates would apply.
  2. Always pay on time. If you are just one day late, you will be charged a hefty late fee. And, if you are 60 days late, you will lose the promotional interest rate.
  3. Only transfer debt from another bank. You can not use this offer to transfer debt from another Chase credit card – and that includes co-brands (like United Airlines and Southwest Airlines credit cards).

The application process is easy, and will only take a few minutes.

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The interest rates on credit cards are shockingly high, especially those store credit cards that you were tempted with during holiday shopping. Most store cards have interest rates higher than 20%, and here are some examples of particularly expensive cards:

  • Macy’s: 24.5%
  • Wal-Mart: 22.9%
  • Target: 22.9%

Store cards are obscenely expensive, but ordinary credit cards also carry a hefty interest rate. Most people who have a balance on a credit card are paying more than 15% on that debt.

If you wake up one morning with a debt hangover, you shouldn’t think of your high interest rate as a life sentence. Your debt does not need to stay on that high interest rate credit card: you can move it to a lower interest rate with an intro balance transfer. And, one of the best balance transfer credit cards out there is the Chase Slate®.

In this article, we will explain:

  • What is a balance transfer
  • How to qualify for a balance transfer credit card
  • Why Chase Slate® is an almost-perfect introductory balance transfer
  • How to complete a balance transfer with Chase
  • What to do once the balance transfer is complete

If you have any questions about this card, you can always send us an email at info@magnifymoney.com, and we would be happy to help answer any questions you might have. We always respond to emails within 24 hours, and are usually quicker than that.

What is a Balance Transfer

You have probably received many of these offers in your mail: a credit card company offers you a 0% interest rate if you transfer your existing credit card debt from another credit card company to the one offering the 0% deal.

A balance transfer is exactly what it sounds like: you can transfer your debt from Bank A to Bank B. Bank B wants your business, so they will “steal” your debt from their competition by offering a great interest rate for a fixed period of time (the promotional period). Often, a bank will charge a fee for the balance transfer. Given how high interest rates are on store cards and credit cards, the fee usually pays for itself within 3-6 months. If you can pay off your debt in fewer than 6 months, a balance transfer is not worthwhile. However, if it will take you longer than 6 months, you will almost always save money.

Banks want to steal your business from other banks: that is why the offers are only available for debt with another credit card issuer. For example, Chase is happy to take over debt from Citibank, Wells Fargo or Target. But, if you just want to transfer debt from one Chase credit card to another, you will be rejected.

Just think of cable/internet/telephone companies. They regularly give you amazing deals for the first year if you sign up for a bundle. After the year is over, the rate goes up. This is exactly the same idea: banks are competing for your debt.

How to Qualify for a Balance Transfer Credit Card

Banks will only offer balance transfers to people with good or excellent credit. That typically means that you will require:

  • A credit score of 680 or higher (700 preferred)
  • A debt burden (explained below) of less than 50% (40% or lower preferred)
  • Very few, if any, accounts that are currently delinquent

A debt burden is calculated by adding up your monthly fixed expenses and dividing that by your monthly income. The expenses should include: monthly rent or mortgage payment, auto payment, student loan payments and the monthly payment on any other credit cards or loans that appear on your credit bureau.

If your total payments are more than 50%, you will likely be declined. If it is less than 50%, you have a chance. However, banks typically want to see debt burdens below 40% (and you will likely get approved at higher debt burdens only if you have a very high credit score).

Banks do not share their underwriting criteria: instead, they keep them as carefully guarded secrets. Life would be a lot easier if they just told us what they wanted! However, at MagnifyMoney, we have done our best to reverse-engineer the underwriting criteria. If you meet the criteria above but are rejected, please let us know!

If you don’t qualify for a balance transfer, you may want to consider a personal loan. The concept is the same: you can take out a loan and use the proceeds to pay off existing credit card debt. But, unlike the credit card balance transfer market, personal loan companies tend to approve much riskier people. Just make sure the interest rate on your new loan is lower than the interest rate on your credit card before proceeding.

If you want to compare the cost of a balance transfer to the cost of a personal loan, you can do that with our balance transfer and personal loan calculator.

Customize your balance transfer offers with Magnifymoney tool

Why Chase Slate® is Almost Perfect

There are two key features of a balance transfer: the balance transfer fee (charged as a percent of the balance that is transferred, and added to your bill upon completion of the transfer), and the duration of the balance transfer (number of months at the promotional rate).

Chase does not charge a balance transfer fee for the intro offer. It is absolutely free to move your debt from another credit card issuer to Chase and it’s 0% intro APR for 15 months.

So, if you move your debt from your store card and pay it off by month 15, you will not pay a dime to Chase. It will have been completely free. If you do have a balance remaining at the end of the 15 month promotional period, you will not be charged interest retroactively. In other words, the interest that would have been charged during the 15 month promotional period has been waived completely. From month 16, interest would be charged on a go forward basis.

The balance transfer offer is almost perfect. Just be careful of the following:

  • You can only transfer debt from a bank other than Chase. That includes Chase co-branded credit cards, like United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Marriott and others. Because Chase is the #1 credit card issuer in the country, it is possible that some or all of your debt is already with Chase.
  • The go-to interest rate (after month 15) will depend upon your credit score. It will be 15.49% – 24.24% Variable.

Chase has invested in one of the best introductory balance transfer offers out there. If you use the intro offer responsibly, you can have no interest and fees for 15 months. You should take advantage of the offer and reduce your debt as much as possible.

Chase slate

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If all of your debt is with Chase, you can find plenty of other offers on our balance transfer marketplace. Just input how much debt you have and how much you can pay each month, and we will show you the offers (updated daily) and how much you will save with each transfer. There are plenty of options out there, so there is no reason to ever pay a high interest rate on your debt.

How to Complete a Balance Transfer with Chase

Make sure you complete your balance transfer as soon as you receive your card. The introductory offer is from when you opened the card, not the date you transfer the debt. So, every month you wait is a month of a promotional balance interest wasted.

It is incredibly easy to complete the balance transfer once you receive your credit card. You can always call them. The call center employees typically receive incentives to complete balance transfers, so it is highly likely that they will want to help you.

But, you don’t need to call them. You can complete the balance transfer online. We have put together a step-by-step guide. It should take you fewer than 5 minutes. All you need is the credit card number of the account that you want to pay off.

Warning: it can take up to 2 weeks for the payment from Chase to reach your bank. Make sure you continue to make payments on your old card until you receive confirmation that the old balance is paid off.

What to Do Once the Balance Transfer is Complete

Once you complete the balance transfer, your goal is to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. In a best case scenario, you divide the total balance by 15 months, and make sure you pay that amount each month. That way, you know that you will be debt free by the time the promotional period expires.

During the promotional period, make sure you:

  • Try to avoid spending on the credit card. Remember: the purpose of this 0% is to help you pay off your debt faster, not to get into more debt.
  • Make sure you make your payments on time, every month. If you pay late, you will be charged late fees. If you are 30 days late, it will hurt your credit score. And, at 60 days late, you will lose your 0% interest rate – and could be charged the penalty interest rate

At the end of the promotional period, don’t close the credit card. Closing credit cards can hurt your score, and Chase Slate® does not have an annual fee. So, it is a nice card to keep.

If you have debt sitting at a high interest rate, you should move it now. There is no reason to drown in high interest rate debt, and there is no reason to work hard only to pay interest to the bank.

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Balance Transfer, Best of, Pay Down My Debt

9 Best 0% APR Credit Card Offers – January 2017

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

There are a lot of 0% APR credit card deals in your mailbox and online, but most of them slap you with a 3 to 4% fee just to make a transfer, and that can seriously eat into your savings.

At MagnifyMoney we like to find deals no one else is showing, and we’ve searched hundreds of balance transfer credit card offers to find the banks and credit unions that ANYONE CAN JOIN which offer great 0% interest credit card deals AND no balance transfer fees. We’ve hand-picked them here.

If one 0% APR credit card doesn’t give you a big enough credit line you can try another bank or credit union for the rest of your debt. With several no fee options it’s not hard to avoid transfer fees even if you have a large balance to deal with.

1. Chase Slate® – 0% Introductory APR for 15 months, $0 Introductory Balance Transfer FEE

ChaseSlateScreenThis deal is easy to find – Chase is one of the biggest banks and makes this credit card deal well known. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

You can get this offer if you complete the balance transfer within 60 days of opening the account. So it’s worth a shot to see how big of a credit line you get. If it’s not enough, move on to the other options below.

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2. Alliant Credit Union Credit Cards – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

Alliant is an easy credit union to work with because you don’t have to be a Alliant Visa Platinum Credit Cardsmember to apply and find out if you qualify for the 0% APR deal.

Just choose ‘not a member’ when you apply and if you are approved you’ll then be able to become a member of the credit union to finish opening your account.

Alliant Credit Union

Anyone can become a member of Alliant by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success.

If your credit isn’t great, you might not get a 0% rate – rates for transfers are as high as 5.99%, so make sure you double check the rate you receive before opening the account, and they might ask for additional documents like your pay stubs to verify the information on your application.

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3. Edward Jones World MasterCard – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

edwardjonesYou’ll need to go to an Edward Jones branch to open up an account first if you want this deal. Edward Jones is an investment advisory company, so they’ll want to have a conversation about your retirement needs.

But you don’t need to have money in stocks to be a customer of Edward Jones and try to get this card. Just beware that you only have 30 days to complete your transfer to lock in the 0% rate.

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4. First Tech Choice Rewards – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

firsttechrewardsAnyone can join First Tech Federal Credit Union by becoming a member of the Financial Fitness Association for $8, or the Computer History Museum for $15. You can apply for the card without joining first. This introductory 0% for 12 months on balance transfers with no fee deal is for the First Tech Choice Rewards World MasterCard, and you also get 10,000 points for opening the card (no spending required). The points don’t expire as long as you have the card, and 6,000 points is enough for $50 cash back, while 11,000 points is enough for $100 cash back, which can help you pay down your card.

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5. La Capitol Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

La Capitol Federal Credit UnionAnyone can join La Capitol Federal Credit Union by becoming a member of the Louisiana Association for Personal Financial Achievement, which costs $20. Just indicate that’s how you want to be eligible when you apply for the card – no need to join before you apply. And La Capitol accepts members from all across the country, so you don’t have to live in Louisiana to take advantage of this deal on the Prime Plus card.

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6. Quorum Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

Quorum Federal Credit UnionQuorum is a New York based credit union anyone can join by joining the Select Savers Club during the application process – just choose ”I would like to join through an association” on the application page. All of Quorum’s credit cards offer the 0% for 12 months with no fee deal.

Just be aware the 12 months starts from when your account opens, not when you make the transfer, so if you wait a month to do the transfer, you’ll only get the zero deal for 11 months.

And the 0% deal isn’t prominent on the Quorum site, you’ll see it buried in the fine print. Look for the sentence “The introductory purchase and balance transfer APR is 0% for 12 months from account opening and applies to ALL Quorum MasterCard credit cards” at the very bottom of their page.

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7. Purdue Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

purdue-credit-union-visaThe Purdue Federal Credit Union doesn’t have open membership, but one way to be eligible for credit union membership is to join the Purdue University Alumni Association as a Friend of the University. Anyone can join the association, but it costs $50. The minimum credit line on the Visa Signature card offering 0% is $5,000, so if approved the $50 would be like a transfer fee of 1% or less. The good news is you can apply and get a decision before you become a member of the Alumni Association.

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8. Logix Credit Union Credit Card – 0% APR for 12 months , NO FEE

If you live in AZ, CA, DC, MA, MD, ME, NH, NV, or VA you can join Logix Credit Union and apply for this deal. Some applicants have reported credit lines of $15,000 or more for balance transfers, so if you have excellent credit, good income, but a large amount to pay off (like a home equity line), this could be a good option.

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9. First Tennessee Bank Credit Card – 0% APR for 12 months, NO FEE

If you want to apply online for this deal, you’ll need to live in a state where First Tennessee Bank Credit CardFirst Tennessee has a branch though. Those states are: Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

You need to have an existing First Tennessee account to apply online, but if you don’t have one, you can print out an application and mail it into their office to get a decision. You’ll find a link to the paper application when the online form asks you whether you have an account or not.

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10. DCU Credit Union Visa Platinum – 0% APR until July 2017, NO FEE

This deal is valid for transfers between January 1 and January 31, 2017 for the DCU Platinum or Platinum Rewards Visa.

DCU lets you process transfer requests online once you’ve opened your account, even using its mobile app.

You’ll have a choice to apply for the DCU Visa Platinum or Visa Platinum Rewards. The Platinum without rewards has a lower ongoing APR, starting as low as 9.00%, compared to 11.75% for the Platinum Rewards card, so if you’re not sure you’ll pay it all off by July the Platinum without rewards is a better bet.

Anyone can join DCU by becoming a member or Reach Out for Schools for $10, and you can join the organization when you open your membership.

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11. Aspire Credit Union Credit Card – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

You don’t have to be a member to apply and get a decision from Aspire. Once youAspire Credit Union Credit Card do, Aspire is easy to join – just check that you want to join the American Consumer Council (free) while filling out your membership application online.

Make sure you apply for the regular ‘Platinum’ card, and not the ‘Platinum Rewards’ card, which doesn’t offer the introductory deal.

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12. Elements Financial Credit Card – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Elements Financial Credit CardTo become a member and apply, you’ll just need to join TruDirection, a financial literacy organization. It costs just $5 and you can join as part of the application process.

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13. Justice Federal Credit Union – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Justice Federal Credit UnionIf you’re not a Department of Justice, Homeland Security, or U.S. court employee (or a few others), you need to join a law enforcement organization to be a member of Justice Federal. One of the eligible associations for membership is the National Native American Law Enforcement Association. It costs $15 to join.

You can apply as a non-member online to get a decision before joining. And Justice is unique in that its Student credit card is also eligible for the 0% no fee deal, so if your credit history is limited and you’re trying to deal with a balance on your very first card, this could be an option.

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14. Xcel Platinum Visa – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Xcel Platinum Visa credit cardAnyone can join Xcel by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council, and you can apply for the card as a non-member of the credit union, but not everyone who is approved for the card will get the low intro rate. Xcel advises you contact them to get as sense of whether your income, credit history, and employment history will qualify for the intro rate.

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Are these the best deals for you?

If you can pay off your debt within the 0% period, then yes, a no fee 0% balance transfer credit card is your absolute best bet. And if you can’t, you can hope that other 0% deals will be around to switch again.

But if you’re unsure, you might want to consider…

  • A deal that has a longer period before the rate goes up. In that case, a balance transfer fee could be worth it to lock in a 0% rate for longer.
  • Or, a card with a rate a little above 0% that could lock you into a low rate even longer.

The good news is we can figure it out for you.

Our handy, free balance transfer tool lets you input how much debt you have, and how much of a monthly payment you can afford. It will run the numbers to show you which offers will save you the most for the longest period of time.

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The savings from just one balance transfer can be substantial.

Let’s say you have $5,000 in credit card debt, you’re paying 18% in interest, and can afford to pay $200 a month on it. Here’s what you can save with a 0% deal:

  • 18%: It will take 32 months to pay off, with $1,312 in interest paid.
  • 0% for 12 months: You’ll pay it off in 28 months, with just $502 in interest, saving you $810 in cash. That even assumes your rate goes back up to 18% after 12 months!

But your rate doesn’t have to go up after 12 months. If you pay everything on time and maintain good credit, there’s a great chance you’ll be able to shop around and find another bank willing to offer you 0% interest again, letting you pay it off even faster.

Before you do any balance transfer though, make sure you follow these 6 golden rules of balance transfer success:

  • Never use the card for spending. You are only ready to do a balance transfer once you’ve gotten your budget in order and are no longer spending more than you earn. This card should never be used for new purchases, as it’s possible you’ll get charged a higher rate on those purchases.
  • Have a plan for the end of the promotional period. Make sure you set a reminder on your phone calendar about a month or so before your promotional period ends so you can shop around for a low rate from another bank.
  • Don’t try to transfer debt between two cards of the same bank. It won’t work. Balance transfer deals are meant to ‘steal’ your balance from a competing bank, not lower your rate from the same bank. So if you have a Chase Freedom with a high rate, don’t apply for another Chase card like a Chase Slate and expect you can transfer the balance. Apply for one from another bank.
  • Get that transfer done within 60 days. Otherwise your promotional deal may expire unused.
  • Never use a card at an ATM. You should never use the card for spending, and getting cash is incredibly expensive. Just don’t do it with this or any credit card.
  • Always pay on time. If you pay more than 30 days late your credit will be hurt, your rate may go up, and you may find it harder to find good deals in the future. Only do balance transfers if you’re ready to pay at least the minimum due on time, every time.

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Balance Transfer, Best of, Pay Down My Debt

Best balance transfer credit cards: 0% APR, 24 months

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Looking for a balance transfer credit card to help pay down your debt more quickly? We’re constantly checking for new offers and have selected the best deals from our database of over 3,000 credit cards. This guide will show you the longest offers with the lowest rates, and help you manage the transfer responsibly. It will also help you understand whether you should be considering a transfer at all.

 

1. Best balance transfer deals

No intro fee, 0% intro APR balance transfers

Very few things in life are free. But, if you pay off your debt using a no fee, 0% APR balance transfer, you can crush your credit card debt without paying a dime to the bank. You can find a full list of no fee balance transfers here.

Chase Slate

Longest with $0 Intro balance transfer fee and 0% Intro APR

Chase Slate®

With Chase Slate® you can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

You can get longer transfer periods by paying a fee, so this deal is generally best if you have a balance you know you ‘ll pay in full by the end of the promotional period. And don’t expect a huge credit line with this card, so it may be best for smaller balances you can take care of quickly.

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  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period
  • There are late payment and cash advance fees

Tip: You have only 60 days from account opening to complete your balance transfer and get the introductory rate

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Alliant Credit Union

Good 0% intro period with no intro fee

Alliant Credit Union, 12 months 0% APR, $0 introductory transfer fee

A no fee alternative if you already have a Chase balance or are looking to take care of additional balances is the Alliant Credit Union 12 month, 0% deal. There’s no fee for the transfer, and Alliant is one of the largest credit unions in the United States, so they’re used to handling new members.

Alliant is a credit union anyone can join, with national availability, by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success, though you can apply for the card without being a member.

There is a late payment fee of up to $25, and a penalty APR of 24.49% if you make a late payment that lasts until you make 6 on time payments in a row

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period
  • The range of the purchase interest rate based on your credit history (9.49% – 21.49%) is more than 10%, which is a wide range. You also don’t know which balance transfer promo APR you get (0% – 5.99%) until you apply.
  • There are late payment and cash advance fees

Tip: Beware that not everyone approved gets the 0% introductory rate. Some people report needing a 720 FICO to get 0%, otherwise you may be approved for a rate as high as 5.99%.

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0% balance transfers with a fee

If you think it will take longer than 15 months to pay off your credit card debt, these credit cards could be right for you. Don’t let the balance transfer fee scare you. It is almost always better to pay the fee than to pay a high interest rate on your existing credit card. You can calculate your savings (including the cost of the fee) at our balance transfer marketplace.

These deals listed below are the longest balance transfers we have in our database. We have listed them by number of months at 0%. Although you need good credit to be approved, don’t be discouraged if one lender rejects you. Each credit card company has their own criteria, and you might still be approved by one of the companies listed below.

79_cardSpherecardbySantander

Longest 0% intro balance transfer card

Santander Sphere, 24 months, 0% APR, 4% fee

If you have a big balance, or know you can’t pay off your balance quickly – go as long as you can with a good balance transfer rate, even if it comes with a fee.

At 24 months this is the longest 0% APR balance transfer card in the market right now, so you have 2 years to get the balance paid down.

There’s a $35 late payment fee and a penalty APR of 30.49% applies if you make a late payment, and will apply to your existing balances until you make 6 straight months of on time payments.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period
  • The range of the purchase interest rate based on your credit history (12.99% – 22.99%) is more than 10%, which is a wide range.
  • There are late payment and cash advance fees.

Tip: You have 90 days after you open the account to complete the balance transfer.

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Citi Simplicity

Long 0% intro balance transfer card

Citi Simplicity, 21 months, 0% APR, 3% fee

Although this isn’t the longest available deal in the market, the Citi Simplicity is one of the most friendly. There are no late fees ever and no penalty APR if you miss a payment. So it’s a safer choice in case things go wrong than other options.

With the longest balance transfer deal good for 24 months (2 years), you can get 0% APR until 2018.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period
  • The range of the purchase interest rate based on your credit history (13.49% – 23.49%) is 10% or less, which is typical
  • There are cash advance fees

Tip: You have 4 months after you open the account to complete the balance transfer.

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Decent 0% intro balance transfer period

Discover it® – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer: 0% for 18 months, 3% fee

This is a basic balance transfer deal with an above average term. If you don’t have credit card balances with Discover it’s a good option to free up your accounts with other banks. If you have really good credit, the ongoing APR as low as 11.49% is lower than many other balance transfer deals we’ve seen.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Interest is waived during the balance transfer period, no foreign transaction fees and no late fee for your first late payment
  • The range of the purchase interest rate based on your credit history (11.49% – 23.49% Standard Variable Purchase APR) is fairly standard
  • There is a cash advance fee

Tip: You only have 60 days after you open the account to complete the balance transfer.

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Low rate balance transfers

If you think it will take longer than 2 years to pay off your credit card debt, you might want to consider one of these offers. Rather than pay a balance transfer fee and receive a promotional 0% APR, these credit cards offer a low interest rate for much longer.

The longest offer can give you a low rate that only goes up if the prime rate goes up. If you can’t get that offer, there is another good option offering a low rate for three years.

Signal Financial

Longest low rate balance transfer card

Unify Financial Credit Union, As low as 5.24% APR, no expiration, $0 fee

If you need a long time to pay off at a reasonable rate, and have great credit, it’s hard to beat this deal from Unify Financial Credit Union, with a rate as low as 5.24% with no expiration and no fee to transfer. The rate is variable, but it only varies with the Prime Rate, so it won’t fluctuate much more than say a variable rate mortgage.

Just about anyone can join Unify Financial Credit Union. They’ll help you figure out what organization you can join to qualify, and you don’t need to be a member to apply.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period.
  • There are late payment fees.

Tip: If you’re credit’s not great, this probably isn’t for you, as the rate chosen for your account could be as high as 18%.

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SunTrust Prime Rewards

Long low rate balance transfer card

SunTrust Prime Rewards, 3.75% APR for 36 months, 3% fee

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C., or West Virginia you can apply for this card without a SunTrust bank account.

The deal is you get the prime rate for 3 years with no balance transfer fee. That’s currently 3.75% though your rate will change if the prime rate changes, either up or down, and you have 60 days to complete your transfer. Also beware the prime rate deal isn’t for new purchases, so only use this card for a balance transfer.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period.
  • The range of the purchase interest rate based on your credit history (10.74% – 21.74%) is more than 10%, which is high.
  • There are late payment and cash advance fees.

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For fair credit scores

In order to be approved for the best balance transfer credit cards and offers, you generally need to have good or excellent credit. If your FICO score is above 650, you have a good chance of being approved. If your score is above 700, you have an excellent chance.

However, if your score is less than perfect, you still have options. Your best option might be a personal loan. You can learn more about personal loans for bad credit here.

There are balance transfers available for people with scores below 650. The offer below is targeted at people with lower credit scores. As a result, there is an annual fee and the balance transfer offer isn’t as sweet. However, it will still be better than a standard interest rate.

Just remember: one of the biggest factors in your credit score is your amount of debt and credit utilization. If you use this offer to pay down debt aggressively, you should see your score improve over time and you will be able to qualify for even better offers.

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Capital One Quicksilver One,
0% APR for 9 months, $0 transfer fee

Balance transfer deals can be hard to come by if your credit isn’t great. But some banks are more open to it than others, and Capital One is one of them.

While there is no transfer fee for this card, and it has a 0% APR for almost a year, beware there is a $39 annual fee. If you try a couple of the options above and have no luck, then consider this as a fallback option.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period.
  • You know the exact interest rate you will pay after the balance transfer period (24.99%).
  • There are late payment and cash advance fees, as well as an annual fee.

Tip: You can request a balance transfer 10 days after you receive your card. And you can do the transfer anytime before November to qualify for the $0 fee and 0% rate.

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2. Learn more

Checklist before you transfer

Never use a credit card at an ATM

If you use your credit card at an ATM, it will be treated as a cash advance. Most credit cards charge an upfront cash advance fee, which is typically about 5%. There is usually a much higher “cash advance” interest rate, which is typically above 20%. And there is no grace period, so interest starts to accrue right away. A cash advance is expensive, so beware.

Always pay on time.

If you do not make your payment on time, most credit cards will immediately hit you with a steep late fee. Once you are 30 days late, you will likely be reported to the credit bureau. Late payments can have a big, negative impact on your score. Once you are 60 days late, you can end up losing your low balance transfer rate and be charged a high penalty interest rate, which is usually close to 30%. Just automate your payments so you never have to worry about these fees.

Get the transfer done within 60 days

Most balance transfer offers are from the date you open your account, not the date you complete the transfer. It is in your interest to complete the balance transfer right away, so that you can benefit from the low interest rate as soon as possible. With most credit card companies, you will actually lose the promotional balance transfer offer if you do not complete the transfer within 60 or 90 days. Just get it done!

Don’t spend on the card

Your goal with a balance transfer should be to get out of debt. If you start spending on the credit card, there is a real risk that you will end up in more debt. Additionally, you could end up being charged interest on your purchase balances. If your credit card has a 0% balance transfer rate but does not have a 0% promotional rate on purchases, you would end up being charged interest on your purchases right away, until your entire balance (including the balance transfer) is paid in full. In other words, you lose the grace period on your purchases so long as you have a balance transfer in place.

Don’t try to transfer between two cards of the same bank

Credit card companies make balance transfer offers because they want to steal business from their competitors. So, it makes sense that the banks will not let you transfer balances between two credit cards offered by the same bank. If you have an airline credit card or a store credit card, just make sure you know which bank issues the card before you apply for a balance transfer.

3 Steps for Setting up a Balance Transfer

Nick Clements of MagnifyMoney, who once ran a large credit card business, explains how to set up a balance transfer.

Comparison tools

Savings calculator – which card is best?

If you’re still unsure about which cards offer you the best deal for your situation, try our calculator. You get to input the amount of debt you’re trying to get a lower rate on, your current rate, and the monthly payment you can afford. The calculator will show you which cards offer you the most savings on interest payments.

Savings calculator
Balance transfer or a loan?

A balance transfer at 0% will get you the absolute lowest rate. But you might feel more comfortable with a single fixed monthly payment, and a single real date your loan will be paid off. A lot of new companies are offering great rates on loans you can pay off over 2, 3, 4, or 5 years. You can see a list here.

And you might find even though their rates aren’t 0%, you could afford the payment and get a plan that takes care of your debt for good at once.

Use our calculator to see how your payments and savings will compare.

Balance Transfer Graph

Questions and Answers

Yes, you can. Most credit card companies will allow you to transfer debt from any credit card, regardless who owns it. Just remember that once the debt is transferred, it becomes your legal liability.

Yes, you can. Most banks will enable store card debt to be transferred. Just make sure the store card is not issued by the same bank as the balance transfer credit card.

As a general rule, if you can pay off your debt in six months or less, it usually doesn’t make sense to do a balance transfer.

Here is a simple test. (This is not 100% accurate mathematically, but it is an easy test). Divide your credit card interest rate by 12. (Imagine a credit card with a 12% interest rate. 12%/12 = 1%). In this example, you are paying about 1% interest per month. If the fee on your balance transfer is 3%, you will break even in month 3, and will be saving money thereafter. You can use that simplified math to get a good guide on whether or not you will be saving money.

And if you want the math done for you, use our tool to calculate how much each balance transfer will save you.

With all balance transfers recommended at MagnifyMoney, you would not be hit with a big, retroactive interest charge. You would be charged the purchase interest rate on the remaining balance on a go-forward basis. (Warning: not all balance transfers waive the interest. But all balance transfers recommended by MagnifyMoney do.)

Many companies offer very good deals in the first year to win new customers. These are often called “switching incentives.” For example, your mobile phone company could offer 50% off its normal rate for the first 12 months. Or your cable company could offer a big discount on the first year if you buy the bundle package. Credit card companies are no different. These companies want your debt, and are willing to give you a big discount in the first year to get you to transfer.

Completing a balance transfer is easy. If you are applying for a new credit card, most credit card companies will just ask you for the account number of the credit card that has the debt. The transfer will then happen automatically. (It will look like the balance transfer credit card made a payment for you). You can also call your credit card company, and complete the transfer easily on the phone.

Automate your payments so that it doesn’t happen! If you do miss a payment, you will be charged a late fee. If you become 60 days late, you could lose your promotional interest rate and could be charge the punitive rate, which is often near 30% with most companies.

No, you can’t. Credit card companies are trying to steal balances from their competitors. So these deals are only good if you bring balances from competitors.

Many credit card issuers will allow you to transfer money to your checking account. Or, they will offer you checks that you can write to yourself or a third party. Check online, because many credit card issuers will let you transfer money directly to your bank account from your credit card. Otherwise, call your issuer and ask what deals they have available for “convenience checks.”

In most cases, you cannot. Once a balance transfer is complete, it is complete.

Yes, it is possible to transfer the same debt multiple times. Just remember, if there is a balance transfer fee you would be charged that fee every time you transfer the debt.

You can call the bank and ask them to increase your credit limit. However, even if the bank does not increase your limit, you should still take advantage of the savings available with the limit you have.

Yes. You decide how much you want to transfer to each credit card.

No. You do not earn rewards with a balance transfer. No cash back, no points and no miles can be earned with a balance transfer.

No, there is no penalty. You can pay off your debt whenever you want without a penalty.

Mathematically, the best balance transfer credit cards are no fee, 0% offers. You literally pay nothing. The best in the market is offered by Chase, which has a 15 month 0% introductory offer with a $0 introductory fee.

However, if your debt is already with Chase, or you think it will take years to pay off your debt, you should consider a longer duration offer or a personal loan. You can find 21 month offers with 3% fees and 24 month offers with 4% fees. Your savings over the two years would likely be substantial, even when you include the cost of the fee.

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Balance Transfer

Citi Simplicity Review: Now 0% Balance Transfer for 21 Months

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you have credit card debt, a balance transfer may be the best way to get out of debt faster. And Citi has just made balance transfers a whole lot more appealing. You can now have a 0% interest rate for 21 months. That is a massive increase from the 18 months that they were offering earlier. You have to pay a 3% fee to transfer the debt. If you can’t afford to pay off your debt in 6 months or less, the savings can be dramatic.

Here is a simple example of how much you could save. If you have $10,000 of credit card debt at a 17% interest rate and make a payment of $300 per month, you will end up saving $2,069 over 21 months if you transfer the debt to Citi Simplicity. That savings includes the cost of the transfer fee.

Citi Simplicity

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Credit cards do not have a great reputation. They lure you in with flashy marketing and a big sign-on bonus, only to hit you with late fees and penalty interest rates if you make a mistake. Citi has tried to create a simpler credit card that eliminates the confusing fine print. And they have rather ambitiously named the card “Citi Simplicity.”

How the card works

If you are looking for rewards on your spending, this is not the credit card for you. The Simplicity credit card does not offer rewards.

There are two parts to the Citi Simplicity story:

  1. An amazing introductory offer on spending and balance transfers that can help you save a lot of money, and
  2. A rather ordinary-looking credit card that has eliminated the most egregious credit card charges, but is still an expensive way to borrow money and has some other hidden costly traps

The Introductory Offer

The Citi Simplicity credit card has one of the best introductory offers in the market. There are two parts to the intro offer:

  • 0% interest charged on purchases for 21 months, and
  • 0% interest charged on balance transfers for 21 months. There is a 3% balance transfer fee

The offer used to be 18 months at 0%, and Citi has extended that offer dramatically, to 21 months. The savings for people with credit card debt can be enormous.

If you need to finance a purchase, then applying for a Citi Simplicity credit card and using it to make a purchase is the best way to get a true 0% offer.

There is a big difference between deferred interest and waived interest. In a deferred interest offer, you have to pay the balance in full before the promotional period is over. If you don’t pay the balance in full, than you will be charged interest retroactively from the date of the purchase. Fortunately, Citi Simplicity waives the interest. So, if you still have a balance remaining in month 22, interest will only be charged on a go-forward basis. It’s truly 0% for the first 21 months.

If you want to compare Citi Simplicity to the other balance transfer offers available on the market, you can do that here.

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If you have debt, Citi Simplicity can be a great way of cutting your interest expense and paying off your debt faster. Just remember that:

  1. You have to complete your balance transfer within four months of opening the account, otherwise you do not receive the promotional rate
  2. If you are 60 days late on a payment, you can lose your promotional rate

Life After the Intro Offer

After the intro offer, the card starts to look a lot more ordinary. Like most cards without rewards, Simplicity does not charge an annual fee. There are three places where Simplicity has decided to stand out:

  1. No late fee
  2. No penalty pricing
  3. The same interest rate on purchases and cash advances

Lets look at each of those promises in more detail:

Late Fee

Late fees can be outrageous on credit cards, with some banks charging $30 or more. We applaud Citi for waiving the late fee on this account. However, they still have a returned payment fee up to $35. So, if you write a check that bounces, be prepared to pay for it.

And remember that late fees can still get you into trouble in other ways. Once you are 30 days late, Citi would report that information to the credit bureau. That will hurt your credit score, which could result in higher interest rates elsewhere, on other products. Just because there is no late fee does not mean that there aren’t expensive consequences elsewhere.

Penalty Pricing 

Penalty pricing used to be easy money for the credit card industry. They could find a reason to increase the interest rate on your existing balance, and then just do it. I have seen some horrible examples of people receiving massive interest rate increases without ever having missed a single payment. However, the CARD Act made that illegal. Now, the only way that credit card companies can reprice is on your go forward purchases. And Citi has taken a leading role, promising not to charge penalty interest rates. Although mistakes can be expensive, Citi is making them cost a bit less with this feature.

Same Interest Rate for Purchases and Cash Advances

Credit card companies have, over time, increased the interest rate on cash advances dramatically. It is not unusual to see a cash advance APR near 30%, and without a grace period.

Citi has decided to keep the same price for purchases and cash advances.

There is only one problem: the interest rates are high, and you don’t know your interest rate until after you apply and are approved. The interest rate on Citi Simplicity ranges from 13.49% to 23.49%, depending upon your score.

If you plan on traveling outside of the country, Citi Simplicity still charges the pesky 2% foreign exchange fee. That can add up quickly.

In Conclusion

If you already have debt and are looking for a way to reduce the interest rate and pay down your debt quicker, the 21 months balance transfer offer from Citi Simplicity is an excellent deal that could take years off your debt repayment.

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Just make sure you complete the balance transfer within four months, make your payments on time and don’t spend on the card. Your goal should be to get out of debt, and this card can be a great tool.

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Balance Transfer, Reviews

BankAmericard Review: 0% APR on Balance Transfers for 18 Months

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you’re looking for a credit card with a balance transfer deal that goes beyond a year, the BankAmericard is one to think about adding to your wallet. The BankAmericard offers 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After the balance transfer period ends, this card also has the lowest standard APR available of all the BankAmericard products. However, there are a few nuances to this deal you should be aware of before you sign on the dotted line.

In this BankAmericard review we’ll cover:

  • The BankAmericard basics
  • How to save the most from the balance transfer deal
  • The BankAmericard fine print, benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

All You Need to Know About the BankAmericard

  1. 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months.

If you transfer balances to your BankAmericard within 60 days of opening an account, you’ll get 0% APR on those balances for 18 billing cycles.

  1. The standard interest rate of 11.24% to 21.24% APR applies to new purchases.

There’s no break on interest for new purchases which can make or break your credit card debt repayment strategy. Adding new purchases with interest into the equation while you attempt to pay off transferred balances can negatively impact your momentum.

  1. There’s a 3% balance transfer fee.

Balance transfers with the BankAmericard aren’t free. You have to pay 3% per transfer.

How to Save the Most from a BankAmericard Balance Transfer

For a 0% APR balance transfer intro deal with a fee to be worthwhile, the interest you’ll save after transferring debt from a high-interest card must justify the fee.

Here’s a quick example:

If you have $3,000 in debt on a credit card with 20% APR, a monthly payment of $200 over 18 months will cost you about $480 in interest.

If you transfer this $3,000 balance to a new BankAmericard instead, you’ll pay just $90 (3% of $3,000) and enjoy no interest for 18 months. In this scenario, a balance transfer with the BankAmericard will likely be worthwhile since it’ll save you nearly $400 in interest.

Take the time to do this math to see if the benefit of transferring your balance will outweigh the costs especially if you have multiple balances to transfer. It’s worth noting balance transfer deals with 0% APR and no balance transfer fee do exist.

However, the BankAmericard gives you 3 more months interest-free than leading no fee balance transfer options. And the 3% balance transfer fee can still offer a reasonable amount of savings considering our example above. Don’t count out the BankAmericard balance transfer even though there’s a fee before weighing it as an option.

The second factor that will impact your interest savings from this balance transfer is whether or not you make new purchases with the card. Swiping the card while repaying your debt can easily get you off track. Remember, your mission is to pay off the balance within 18 months. If you decide to go with the BankAmericard for a balance transfer, tuck the card in the back of a drawer to avoid temptation.

(To find out more about how to get the most value from a balance transfer card, check out this post.)

BankAmericard

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The Fine Print

When it comes to fees, the BankAmericard has relatively standard terms. The fee for foreign transactions and check cash advances is 3%. If you request a cash advance at an ATM or over-the-counter, the fee is 5%. The late fee is up to $37 and returned payment fee up to $27.

One red flag to be aware of is penalty APR. If you make a late payment, penalty APR of 29.99% APR may be applied to new transactions on your account. And when penalty APR is assigned to an account, it is assigned indefinitely.

BankAmericard Benefits and Protections

Besides the 0% APR intro rate on balance transfers for 18 months, there are other perks of using a BankAmericard, including the following:

Fraud Liability

The $0 Liability Guarantee will cover fraud transactions to your account. BankAmericard will also block unusual activity and reach out to verify charges that seem suspicious.

Overdraft Protection

If you already bank with Bank of America, you can link your deposit accounts to your credit card account to avoid an overdraft, although fees will apply. Overdraft protection transfers funds into your account from your credit card in increments of $100. The fee for each transaction is $12.

Digital Wallet & Chip Technology

With Bank of America digital wallet, you can sink your credit card to Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay to make in-store or in-app purchases. For added security, the card has chip technology data encryption.

Mobile Bank, Account Alerts and Text Banking

Bank of America makes it easy to manage your credit card account. You can set up alerts to notify you of your credit card balance changes and when payments are due. Instead of logging into your account, you can also send text messages to get account information.

Pros and Cons

Pro: 0% APR for 18 months. You have over a year to pay off your debt aggressively without interest. This is one of the longest balance transfer deals available. Its main rivals are the Santander Sphere offering 24 months interest-free and Citi Simplicity offering 21 months interest-free.

Con: The balance transfer fee. Like we mentioned above, calculate your interest savings compared to what you’ll pay in balance transfer fees to make sure you’re going to benefit from the transfer.

Pro: There’s no annual fee. If you pay your bills on time and avoid extras like cash advances, international transactions or overdraft protection, this card won’t cost you any money after you transfer balances.

Con: There’s no intro deal on new purchases. Our advice is to avoid new purchases altogether to take advantage of the balance transfer special.

Pro: The Bank of America perks. Major banks come with some major conveniences. The Bank of America app and website make it easy to manage your account. Fraud coverage and data encryption are also features that can keep your money safe.

Who Will Benefit Most from the BankAmericard?

If you’re already a Bank of America account holder, the BankAmericard has a leg up on competitors because of convenience. You can connect your existing accounts to the card. If you’re not a customer of Bank of America, you can still benefit from the balance transfer since the card gives you an entire year and a half to chip away at your debt. Even after you pay off the balance transfer, the interest rate starting point (11.24% APR) for new purchases is competitive.

Whether you’re new to Bank of America or a faithful customer, when using the BankAmericard for a balance transfer commit to paying off your entire balance without new transactions to get the most from the promotion.

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Balance Transfer

How to do a Balance Transfer with Bank of America

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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So, you have been approved for a balance transfer. Congratulations – there is no better way to save money and get out of debt faster. Just make sure you complete the transfer as soon as you receive your card in the mail and never more than 60 days after you apply, because you can lose the introductory offer.

Completing a balance transfer is easy. You can do it on the phone or online, and it should only take a few minutes.

What You Need

You will need the account number and balance of the credit card that has the debt.  These cards will be referred to as the “transfer from” account. If you have a $3,000 balance at Discover, and you want to transfer it to your new Barclaycard account, then you will need the account number and balance of the Discover account.  And, in this example:

  • The transfer from account is Discover.
  • The transfer to account is Bank of America.

Once you have that information, you are ready to go.

Call

You can call the customer service number on the back of your credit card, and they will be more than happy to help you complete the balance transfer. The phone representative will go through security checks and then ask for the credit card number and amount of debt that you want to transfer. Call center employees often receive a bonus to complete a balance transfer, so you will usually find a very eager person on the other side of the telephone line.

The bank makes the payment to your credit card for you.  If you are close to your due date, I recommend making the minimum payment to your card to ensure that you do not have any late fees. The payment (in this example, from Barclaycard to Discover), can take up to 3 weeks. It is usually faster, but you should not take any chances and want to avoid being hit with a late fee.

Online

Most banks make it easy to complete a balance transfer online. Once you receive your credit card, you will need to sign up for online banking. Below, we will show you how to complete an online balance transfer with Barclaycard. Click on these names if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide for: Discover, Capital OneChase or Barclaycard.

Step 1

Login to your account go to “Transfers” and select “For credit card balance transfers”.

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Step 2

Select which account you’d like to use.

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Step 3

Select an offer. You should see the introductory offer listed.

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Step 4

  • The account number of the credit card that has your debt right now.  This is the account number of the transfer from account.
  • The amount that you want to transfer

Most banks have a limit on the total amount that you can transfer.

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Step 5

You will then be shown the terms and conditions of the balance transfer offer, which you will need to accept.

Here are the most important items:

  • Make sure the terms of the balance transfer match the terms of the offer when you applied. If you are expecting a 0% fee and a 0% interest rate for 15 months, make sure that is what you see. If there are any issues, call the bank directly.
  • Make sure you pay on time.  If you go 60 days late, you will lose your balance transfer offer

Step 6

You will then receive your confirmation.  Bank of America will pay your existing credit card bill to roll the debt over to their bank.  But, it can take up to 3 weeks.  So, we recommend that you make the minimum payment if your bill is due in the next 3 weeks.

Remember

  1. Make sure you pay on time.  Paying late (60 days) can lead to a loss of your 0% interest rate.  And it would go to the penalty rate.
  2. Take full advantage of the balance transfer period to pay down as much of your debt as possible.

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Balance Transfer, Pay Down My Debt

How to Use a Balance Transfer Check to Deposit Funds into Your Bank Account

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you’re struggling to pay debt on a high-interest credit card, you’ve probably considered a balance transfer. If you haven’t, you may want to.

A balance transfer is when you take a balance from Credit Card A with a high interest rate and transfer it to Credit Card B, which is offering a low or 0% APR promotional period.

There are a few catches to consider before jumping head first into a balance transfer. Some balance transfers have a fee of 3% to 5% per transfer, however, these fees are often much less than you’d pay in interest at existing rates. You’re also required to transfer a balance within a certain timeframe typically within 60 days for it to qualify for the deal. And you need to pay off the transferred balance before the intro period ends. Otherwise, your interest rate will hike to the standard post promotional rate, often 15% APR or higher, or in some cases you may even be on the hook to pay with retroactive interest.

However, if you follow the rules, a balance transfer can help you pay off your debt much faster – even debt that isn’t just on another credit card.

How to Transfer Your Debt onto a Balance Transfer Card

Transferring a balance from one credit card to another is pretty easy. You just hunt for a balance transfer card with favorable terms.

Once you apply and get approved, there’s usually a section in the online account management dashboard where you input the card number of the account from which you want to roll over the balance. Or you can call into a representative to initiate the transfer for you. Within a week or two, the balance will appear on your new account and be paid off from the old account.

Using a balance transfer check is another way to get your debt from one account to another. This option is particularly useful if you need to transfer a debt that’s not on another credit card.

What is a Balance Transfer Check?

A balance transfer check is like a typical check except it’s issued by your credit card company and used to withdraw cash from your credit line. You can write out a check directly to the company that has the debt you want to pay off. Or you can write a balance transfer check payable to yourself for a cash deposit.

Here’s an example. Say you open up a balance transfer card with a $15,000 credit line and you want to pay off the last $5,000 of your student loan. You make out a balance transfer check of $5,000 payable to yourself. Once you get the cash in your bank account, you pay off the student loan with your balance transfer. Then you enjoy an interest-free period on the $5,000 balance that’s now sitting on the balance transfer card.

The Good and Bad of the Balance Transfer Check

Besides using the balance transfer check to pay off debt, you may able to use it to obtain cold-hard cash. In this scenario, you would keep some of the cash or all of it instead of using it to repay a debt. This isn’t a good idea if you’re deep in debt. It’s not free money and you’ll eventually owe interest on it.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when using a balance transfer check. First, not all credit card companies offer balance transfer checks as a way to transfer money. If your sole reason for signing up for a balance transfer card is using a balance transfer check, you need to read through the terms or reach out to the credit card company to make sure it’s an option. Otherwise, you could end up with a balance transfer card promotion that serves no purpose.

Even if you do happen to find a credit card company that offers balance transfer checks, verify that the process of obtaining a balance transfer check will happen quickly. As mentioned above, balance transfer deals usually have a deadline. If you transfer a debt after the deadline, it won’t qualify for the promotion.

You also need to be sure you pay off the balance before the end of the promotional period, especially on debts like student loans. If you use a balance transfer to pay off a student loan debt at 8%, then dropping to 0% sounds great. But if you have a lingering balance of say $1,000 after the promotional period is up, your debt has gone from a high of 8% to probably 18%! Be sure you have an actionable and realistic plan to pay off the debt before using your balance transfer.

Beware of the Cash Advance Convenience Check

You’ve probably come across a convenience check offering a cash advance in the mail before. Sometimes credit card companies will send them out with your monthly statements. Or Credit card companies trying to get your business will send them via snail mail to persuade you into taking on more debt.

Where a balance transfer check allows you to transfer funds with a low-interest or no-interest promotion, withdrawing cash through a convenience check cash advance can be costly. Standard cash advance rates and fees may apply regardless of your balance transfer deal.

For a quick example, Credit Card A offers an intro special of 0% APR that doesn’t apply to cash advances. Going through with a cash advance could cost as much as 25.24% interest right away regardless of a promotional deal.

Be careful and read the fine print that comes along with all checks that come from a credit card company. Whatever check you use to initiate a balance transfer shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Final Word

We can’t stress enough the importance of making sure a credit card company offers balance transfer checks if that’s the method you want to use. For the most part, transferring a debt from one credit card to another online is the most convenient way to take advantage of a balance transfer special which is something to consider.

If you plan to use a credit card check to increase your bank account balance, it may cost you. Do your homework before hastily writing out a check from your credit card company.

TAGS:

Balance Transfer, Building Credit

How a Balance Transfer Affects Your Credit Score

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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A balance transfer is an extremely effective way to cut down the amount of interest you pay on your debt. Applying for a balance transfer does require a hard inquiry on your credit, which is likely to impact your credit score.

But there’s no reason to freak out.

How Your Score Will Be Affected

According to FICO, a hard inquiry on your credit results in a score drop of about five points or less. Then, after a few months of appropriately using your credit by paying your debts on time, you’re likely to see your score bounce back up.

In fact, you may even see your score increase. This is because while new credit makes up 10% of your credit score, the amount you owe accounts for 30%. A huge component of the amounts you owe isn’t necessarily dependent on the actual dollar amount, but rather on your credit utilization ratio. To find this ratio, you divide how much you owe by your total available credit limit (across all cards).

Let’s say you had $7,500 in credit card debt, and it was your only debt. You only have one credit card with a $10,000 limit. You applied for another card that was offering you a reduced interest rate to entice you to do a balance transfer, and you took it. That card gave you an additional credit line of $5,000.

There was a 3% fee to transfer the $7,500, so now your total debt is $7,725. Where your credit utilization used to be 75%, now it is only 52%. You may owe a bit more money, but since your credit utilization went down, you’re likely to see your credit score jump up a little bit. The $225 extra will probably end up saving you money, but let’s walk through how.

How a Balance Transfer Can Save You Money

The fact that you now owe an additional $225 may make you cringe, but in all reality, the balance transfer will save you money long-term. In this example, you were offered an introductory interest rate of 0% for 18 months and then 15% APR after the promotional period ends. You currently pay 18% APR on your $7,500 debt and make monthly payments of $200.

If you don’t take the balance transfer and make the $200 monthly payment, it will take you 56 months and cost $3,604 in interest to get debt free.

If you take the balance transfer and make the same $200 monthly payment, you could be debt free in 43 months and only pay $900 in both interest and fees (that $225 to transfer the balance). You could even transfer the balance at the end of your first promotional period to another 0% APR offer with no fee for 15 months and be debt free in 40 months and pay $423 in interest and fees.

That initial hit on your credit score and $225 fee will save you $2,704 in interest with one balance transfer or $3,181 with multiple balance transfers.

Well worth the price.

When You Might Want to Wait

If you credit score falls below the “good” range, which would mean your score is below 680, it may be wise to wait before applying for a balance transfer. Financial institutions generally will not accept your application if you’re at 679 or below, but they will have to complete the hard inquiry in order to get that information. That means your score is still likely to drop, but you won’t be seeing any of the rewards of decreased credit utilization.

If you’re close to the cutoff, waiting until you hit that magic 680 number may be a good idea. While you’re waiting, be sure to do things that are likely to improve your score, like:

  • Paying at least your minimum payments on time every month.
  • Paying all your other bills on time so nothing delinquent pops up on your credit report.

As you pay your minimum payments on time every month, your creditor likely be reporting positive information to the credit reporting agencies.  At the very least, they won’t be reporting negative information.

If you make more than the minimum payment, your balance will go down faster which will lower your credit utilization, and we’ve already seen how that positively affects your score.

After your score increases, you’ll be more likely to qualify for the balance transfer with low or no interest rates. At that point, taking the small hit will be worth it.

Another time you may want to wait before applying for a balance transfer is if you are thinking about taking out a mortgage in the near future. This is one of the biggest purchases you’re likely to make in your life. The higher your credit score when you apply, the lower your interest rates will be, so even a small hit from a hard inquiry could increase your interest rates.

Go For It

If you qualify and are not thinking about making a massive purchase in the near future, taking the temporary, small hit on your credit score is more than likely worth the savings. Just be sure to pay at least the minimum due every month once you’ve made the balance transfer; otherwise your interest rates will jump back up, negating the advantage of this strategy.

A good credit score is something to be leveraged. The entire reason you want one is to enable you to save money. While it might be nerve-wracking to watch it decrease slightly, paying more interest than you have to is a bigger cause for concern.

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Balance Transfer, Earning Cashback, Reviews

Chase Freedom or Chase Slate: How Do You Know Which to Pick?

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The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Chase Freedom or Chase Slate

Are you looking for your next credit card? If so, one of the companies you may have considered is Chase. Two of the most popular products offered by Chase are the Chase Freedom and the Chase Slate® credit cards. If you are wondering which card, Chase Freedom or Chase Slate®, will best meet your needs, read on to see our head to head review.

Chase Slate®

Chase Slate® is a great credit card for balance transfers. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free. Just make sure you get the balance transfer done within 60 days of opening the account. This offer can help you pay off your debt efficiently as your full payment will go towards the principal balance.

There is an ongoing purchase APR of 15.49% – 24.24%. This is the APR that will apply after the balance transfer period ends.

There is no penalty APR for paying late. However, other terms apply, like paying a late fee if you miss the payment deadline.

That may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t as long as you follow 3 rules:

  • Complete your balance transfer within 60 of opening your account. Transfers made after 60 days will be subject to standard balance transfer fees and interest rates.
  • Pay your bill on time every month. If you are one day late with your payment, you will be subject to a late fee. Payments made 60 days late, or more, will result in losing the promotional interest rate.
  • Transfer debt from another bank. The intro 0% APR is not applicable to debt transferred from another Chase credit card, including co-brand credit cards issued by Chase like Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and more.

Chase slate

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Chase Freedom®

Once you are at a point in your financial journey that you can trust yourself to use credit wisely in order to take advantage of credit card rewards, then Chase Freedom is a strong contender.

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

You also have to enroll online to activate the 5% cash back categories. If you forget to activate them, you will only earn the standard 1% cash back, even if you make purchases within the bonus categories of the current quarter. The good news is that you have a grace period of 2 months to get enrolled in the bonus categories each quarter, so you can earn 5% cash back on purchases in the bonus categories even if you didn’t remember to enroll right away.

Rewards are earned as points in part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards system, which you can then redeem for cash back as a statement credit, gift cards, travel, and more through your online account. You do have to meet a minimum of 2,000 points, or $20, to redeem your rewards.

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Pros and Cons

Chase Slate®

  • Pro: Balance transfer is a highly competitive offer.
  • Con: You can only transfer debt from cards not owned by Chase. Chase is a large bank, so some of your debt may already be held at Chase Bank even if you were not aware of it.
  • Pro: Interest charged during month 16 is charged going forward, not retroactively.
  • Con: Interest rates after the promotional period are 15.49% – 24.24% variable depending on your credit score.

Chase Freedom®

  • Pro: Bonus categories offer the opportunity to earn some serious cash back.
  • Con: You must actively opt in to the bonus cash back
  • Pro: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Con: You have to reach a minimum threshold of 2,000 points, worth $20, in order to redeem your rewards.

When to Use Each Card

Chase Freedom and Chase Slate® are not cards that will likely be used by the same target customer. The Chase Slate® card is a great tool to use if you are trying to get out of debt because you’ll be able to focus on paying off your principal balance instead of paying high interest rates. Just be sure to make your payments on time and pay as much above the minimum due as you can afford.

Another balance transfer option to consider besides the Chase Slate® credit card is the Citi Simplicity credit card. The Citi Simplicity credit card offers 0% APR for 21 months. However, there is a 3% balance transfer fee on the Citi Simplicity credit card.

citi-simplicity-credit-card

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Chase Freedom is a rewards card that may make sense to have in your wallet if you are able to use credit responsibly. However, this card is best when used in combination with other cash back credit cards, like the Citi Double Cash, which offers 1% cash back upfront and another 1% cash back when you pay off the bill, which is double the cash back of the Chase Freedom outside of the 5% cash back bonus categories.

citi-double-cash-credit-card

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Which card you use, Chase Freedom or Chase Slate®, depends on your personal financial situation and your goals. If your goal is to pay off debt, Chase Slate® is the way to go out of the two, but if you are interested in earning rewards for your everyday spending, Chase Freedom may be right up your alley.

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Balance Transfer, Reviews

Chase Slate or Citi Simplicity: Which Balance Transfer Should You Pick?

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Chase Slate or Citi Simplicity

Credit cards can be a great financial tool – if you know how to use them properly. But if you’ve found yourself in credit card debt, that may be hard to believe.

One way to help you pay off your credit card debt efficiently is with a balance transfer. A balance transfer can allow you to move debt from one credit card to another to obtain a much lower interest rate so more of your money payment is going toward paying off the principal balance of your debt instead of those pesky interest charges.

In order to take advantage of a balance transfer to save the most money and help you get out of debt as fast as possible, you may have to open up a new credit card. Yep, you heard right. Sometimes opening up a new credit card can save you money. That’s because some credit cards offer great promotional deals for balance transfers with 0% interest rates for a period of time so you can pay off your debt faster.

Once you’ve come to that conclusion, the far more challenging decision is which credit card to apply for so you can get the best deal possible. Choosing one of out hundreds of offers can be tricky.

Two popular cards are Chase Slate® and Citi Simplicity. But which one is a better fit for you?

Let’s dive in and take a look with a head-to-head review of these popular credit cards.

Chase Slate®

Chase Slate® is a great credit card for balance transfers. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

There is a variable APR of 15.49% – 24.24% on purchases.

There is no penalty APR for paying late. However, other terms apply, like paying a late fee if you miss the payment deadline.

Chase slate

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Citi Simplicity

Citi Simplicity is another popular balance transfer credit card choice. This card offers a 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers and new purchases, which offers a notably 0% duration difference to Chase Slate® card. After the promotional period ends, your APR will be between 13.49% and 23.49%.

However, the Citi Simplicity does charge a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater. This is not waived for a certain time period for new customers, and the balance transfer option with 0% interest for 21 months is only available to new card members on balance transfers made within 4 months of opening their account.

Citi Simplicity has no annual fee and also promises not to charge a penalty interest rate on late payments. It also does not charge late fees.

Citi_Simplicity

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Pros and Cons

Now that you’ve seen an overview of each card, let’s sum up some of the pros and cons of each as a balance transfer credit card to help you pay off debt.

Chase Slate®

  • Pro: You can save a lot with the balance transfer. Credit card interest rates are high. By taking advantage of Chase Slate®, you could significantly reduce your interest expense.
  • Pro: No penalty APR for a late payment.
  • Con: There is a late payment fee of $15 to $37 per occurrence.
  • Con: You can only transfer balances from non-Chase banks. You cannot transfer debt from another Chase credit card or from a co-brand, like Southwest Airlines or United Airlines.

Citi Simplicity

  • Pro: 0% APR on balance transfers and new purchases for 21 months. After 21 months, interest is charged going forward, but you will not be charged deferred interest. This is longer 0% period than the Chase Slate®.
  • Con: Interest rate after 21 months will be 13.24% to 23.34% APR.
  • Pro: No penalty APR or fee on late payments.
  • Con: 3% balance transfer fee from account opening which is relatively common for similar balance transfer offers.
  • Pro: No annual fee.
  • Con: 0% promotion expires. Balance transfers must be made within 4 months to qualify for the 0% interest promotion. So don’t delay in moving any debts over once you’re approved.

When to Consider Each Card

Obviously both of these cards can be useful if you are trying to transfer your credit card debt to save on interest and pay off your balance faster. However, which card you choose comes down to doing a little math and considering your personal circumstances.

On one hand, the Chase Slate® card offers a 0% intro balance transfer fee, which makes it an attractive option if you hate paying fees. However, it charges a fee for late payments, unlike the Citi Simplicity card. This fee can add up quickly if you are notorious for paying your bills late and may more than make up for the 3% balance transfer fee charged by the Citi Simplicity card.

Another consideration is how much debt you plan to transfer. You want to make sure you can pay off your transferred balance in full before the promotion expires to avoid paying interest charges. The Citi Simplicity is popular because it offers such a long promotional period in which you’ll be paying no interest. But once again, you need to consider how much it will cost you to transfer your debt with its 3% balance transfer fee.

Finally, if the debt you are wanting to pay off is on a Chase card already or held at a co-brand, like Southwest Airlines or United Airlines, you won’t be able to transfer the balance onto the Chase Slate® card to save on interest. In this case, the Citi Simplicity card clearly wins out.

Neither card charges an annual fee, which works in your favor.

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either card as long as you are using them to save money on interest and pay off your debt. It’s all about personal preference and your debt situation.

Other Balance Transfer Options

There are a lot of other balance transfer credit cards to consider. In fact, we’ve put together a list of credit cards that offer great balance transfer options, which you can check out here.

One that made the list is the BankAmericard Visa, which offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, and it has one of the lowest standard APRs at 10.99% to 20.991% APR. Like the Citi Simplicity card, the transfer fee on this card is 3%. You must also make your balance transfer within 60 days of account opening.

BankAmericard

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You can also consider other 0%, no fee balance transfer cards like Alliant Credit Union’s card with 0% APR for 12 months and no fee. You will need to become a member of Alliant CU in order to be eligible for the card, but luckily anyone can join by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success.

Alliant Visa Platinum

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Feel overwhelmed with how to get started? Check out our guides for how to complete a balance transfer here.

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