Updated January 13, 2017
Do 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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.