Tag: BALANCE TRANSFERS

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

Where to Get the Best Personal Loan Rates Online

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.

Where to Get the Best Personal Loan Rates Online

Updated December 01, 2017

If you want a personal loan to pay off credit card or other debt, the absolute fastest and most effective way to lower the interest you pay is to apply for a balance transfer, with a 0% rate. You can read our guide to balance transfers to learn about their pros and cons.

But a balance transfer isn’t for everyone, especially if your credit score isn’t perfect or if you need to borrow cash.

A personal loan with a set payoff period a few years from now is often the next best thing with these advantages:

  • One monthly payment
  • A set rate
  • You don’t need absolutely perfect credit
  • You can check your rate without touching your score

There are more attractive deals than ever thanks to some new online lenders and you can see sample rates below for excellent credit and good credit.

Tip: Apply for several loans to check rates. Every lender has different approval criteria and different pricing models – and the difference in rate between lenders (even for people with excellent credit) can be significant. So long as you shop with lenders that use a soft credit pull, you can check your rate without negatively impacting your credit score.

Start Here – Multiple Lenders at Once

LendingTree

LendingTree

Dozens of lenders participate in LendingTree’s personal loan shopping tool – including all of the lenders listed on this page. (Full disclosure, LendingTree is our parent company.) With one online form, LendingTree will perform a soft credit pull (with no impact to your score) and match you with multiple loan offers. This is our favorite (because it is easy) way to get multiple offers from lenders in minutes. For people with excellent credit, you could get an interest rate below 6%. For people with less than perfect credit, there are many lenders participating with more liberal acceptance criteria.

LEARN MORE

Why is this a good way to save?

Banks don’t care much for personal loans because the lower rates earn them less profit than credit cards.

Fortunately, some new companies believe you should be able to get a competitive rate without dealing with credit card intro offers, even if your credit isn’t perfect.

They’re doing it by lending online only without the overhead of branches.

They pass the savings on to you through better rates, and you can check up on them below.

Personal loans for Excellent Credit

The following providers are for you if you want the absolute lowest possible rates that reward a record of no late payments and good income, even though you have some high rate debt you want to clean up.

Unless you get a rate of 5% or less, you’re probably better off with balance transfer deals, but the convenience of a fixed payment and walking away from credit cards makes personal loans appealing.

SoFi

SoFi

SoFi offers some of the lowest interest rates available if you’re looking to refinance your credit card debt or borrow cash. You’ll need to have a good record of paying your bills on time, but they’re willing to offer rates that are very competitive without an origination fee.

Sofi’s believes if you’ve graduated college or went to grad school you’ll be a more responsible borrower, so they may be more likely to give you a better rate, even if your credit history is limited.

For example, if you have $10,000 in credit card debt, good income, and great credit, their best rate could save you as much as 0% balance transfer deals once you factor in the fees for each.

What we like best about SoFi is that they offer no origination fee and no prepayment penalty. If you think you may be able to pay off your loan earlier (or want the flexibility to do that), SoFi is the only lender we reviewed that charges no fee at all. Given their very low rates, we think anyone with good credit should start with SoFi first, and then compare their offer to the rest of the providers.

Rates: 5.49% -14.24%, fixed*, with AutoPay. You can also select a variable interest rate. With AutoPay, the variable rates are from 5.29% – 11.44%*. Rates are based upon 1-month LIBOR.

Upfront fee: 0% – No origination fees, no prepayment fees and no balance transfer fees

Amount: $5,000 – $100,000

Period: 3, 5 or 7 years

Available states: All states except Tennessee and Nevada.

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

BestEgg

BestEgg

BestEgg is an online personal loan company that offers low interest rates and quick funding. BestEgg is one of the fastest growing personal loan companies in the country, largely because it has been able to provide one of the best combinations of interest rate and loan amount in the market.

You can check to see your interest rate without hurting your score, and they do approve people with scores as low as the mid-600s. If you have an excellent credit score, BestEgg will be very competitive on terms.

Upfront fee: 0.99% – 5.99%

Amount: up to $35,000

Period: up to 5 years

APPLY NOW Secured

on BestEgg’s secure website


Lightstream

LightStream

Lightstream is a great choice for people with excellent credit. It is actually part of a bank you might have heard of, SunTrust Bank. They were recently set up to offer some of the best personal loan rates available, and they are delivering. The interest rate you are charged depends upon the purpose of the loan. Interest rates can be as low as 2.49% for a new car purchase (and Lightstream does not put their name on your title. They just put the cash in your bank account, and you can shop around and pay cash for the car). Home improvement loans start at 4.99% APR with AutoPay , making them cheaper and easier than a home equity loan.

They’ll also approve and deposit your money fast, often the same day, and give extra consideration if you have money in your 401K or equity in your home.

LightStream has created an exclusive offer, just for MagnifyMoney readers. (This offer went live in January 2016). Credit card consolidation loans for MagnifyMoney readers are now as low as 5.49% fixed. The highest fixed rate is 14.44%. Just beware: LightStream does a hard credit pull.

Upfront fee: None

Amount: $5,000 – $100,000

Period: 2 – 7 years

Available states: All


Personal Loans for Good Credit

These providers may be able to help you out if you’re not approved for the very best rates or a 0% balance transfer offer. Check those deals first, there’s no real harm to do that, but if they fall through, give these a try.

LendingClub*

Lending Club

You might not have heard of LendingClub yet, but they are a big player in online loans. And they offer a wide range of rates and terms based on your credit profile and needs. Generally you’ll need a score of about 600 or higher to get approved.

Rates: 5.99 – 35.89% fixed APR

Upfront fee: 1 – 6%

Amount: up to $40,000

Period: up to 5 years

Available states: All except Iowa and West Virginia

APPLY NOW Secured

on Lending Club’s secure website


BestEgg

BestEgg (reviewed earlier in this post) will approve people with credit scores as low as the mid-600s. If you have good credit and are looking for a loan, you should consider BestEgg.

APPLY NOW Secured

on BestEgg’s secure website


Upstart*

Upstart

Upstart offers loans that look a lot like the ones from the bigger online lenders like LendingClub or Prosper.

They’ll let you borrow up to $50,000 for 3-5 years. But the key is they will take into account the schools you attended, your area of study, the grades you earned in school, and your work history to see if you can get a better rate.

So while the range of rates Upstart offers is similar to the bigger guys, if you did well in school, you might find the rate you actually get is lower than what the others will offer you, so it’s worth trying.

You’ll need a 640 or better FICO and your monthly payments can’t be more than 55% of your monthly income.

Rates: 9.56% -29.99%

Upfront fee: 3.655% – 8%

Amount: $5,000 – $50,000

Term: 3 & 5 year loans available

Available states: All


PenFed

Previously, PenFed offers a fixed rate of 9.99% interest rate for 5 years. Veterans get extra special attention so it’s worth checking this online only offer. You have to be a member of the PenFed credit union, but that’s easy and anyone can do that online as part of the process.

Rates: 9.99% fixed APR

Upfront fee: None

Term: 5 years

Available states: All


Personal Loans for Bad or Minimal Credit

Avant*

APRs range from 9.95% – 35.99% and there is no prepayment fee. Checking your Loan Options will not affect your credit score. Just one warning: if you are willing to borrow money at 35.99%, then you really need to step back and think about building a longer term financial plan. You can download our free Debt Guide, which will help you put together a plan so that you never have to pay interest rates this high again.

Avant’s platform offers access to loans from $2,000 to $35,000, with terms from 2 to 5 years. The minimum credit score varies, but we have seen people with scores as low as 580 get approved.

The good thing about Avant is that these loans are amortizing. That means it is a real installment loan, and you will be reducing your principal balance with every payment.

Rates: 9.95% – 35.99% APR

Upfront fee: 4.75%

Amount: up to $35,000

Period: up to 5 years

Available states: All except: Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Vermont.

For Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Avant’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.


OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial offers personal loans through its branch network to people with less than perfect credit. You can start your application online. If you qualify, you will have to visit a branch to complete the application. Once in the branch, if you have all of the required documents, you can receive you loan proceeds immediately via check.

You can borrow from $1,500 to $25,000. The interest rates are not low, and can go up to 36%. They will also charge an up-front origination fee that is not refundable. You should definitely shop around at other lenders first, given the high cost of the loan and the need to visit a branch.

Rates: 25.10%-36.00% APR

Upfront fee: Varies

Amount: Up to $25,000

Period: Up to 5 years

APPLY NOW Secured

on OneMain Financial’s secure website


As these new companies evolve, expect even more attractive options to emerge, so when you think about lowering your rates, don’t just look to the banks you know.

Give an online lender a chance. You may be rewarded with lower rates, good service, and faster freedom from debt.

promo-personalloan-wide

* We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

Got questions? Get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or email (info@magnifymoney.com)

Brian Karimzad
Brian Karimzad |

Brian Karimzad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brian at brian@magnifymoney.com

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer, Best of, Pay Down My Debt

9 Best 0% APR Credit Card Offers – December 2017

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

Chase Slate<sup>®</sup>

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase’s secure website

This 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 and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard 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.

2. BankAmericard® Credit Card – 0% Introductory APR for 15 months, $0 Introductory Balance Transfer FEE

BankAmericard® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

This card is available if you have excellent credit. There is a $0 intro balance transfer fee if you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening your account.

Bank of America has just recently launched a balance transfer with no intro balance transfer fee. Credit card debt on an existing Bank of America credit card is not eligible for this offer.

Tip: The remaining no fee cards on this list are deals for 12 months or less. You might be better off paying a standard 3% balance transfer fee for a longer deal, like 0% for 18 months from the Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer, one of the better deals with a balance transfer fee of 3%. If you’re trying to transfer from Chase, consider a deal from Bank of America with $0 transfer terms.

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

Visa® Platinum Card from Alliant CU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

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

Just choose ‘Apply as New 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.

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% intro 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.

4. Edward Jones World MasterCard – 0% Intro APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers, NO FEE

Edward Jones World MasterCard<sup>®</sup>

APPLY NOW Secured

on Edward Jones’s secure website

You’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 60 days to complete your transfer to lock in the 0% introductory rate. This deal expires 4/30/2018.

5. First Tech Choice Rewards – 0% Balance Transfer Intro APR for 12 months, NO FEE

Choice Rewards World MasterCard® from First Tech FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Anyone 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 and no transfer fee on balances transferred within first 90 days of account opening is for the First Tech Choice Rewards World MasterCard. You also get 20,000 Rewards Points after you spend $3,000 on the card in your first 2 months.

6. La Capitol Federal Credit Union – 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months, NO FEE

Visa Rewards Card from La Capitol FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on La Capitol Federal’s secure website

Anyone 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.

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

Visa Signature Credit Card from Purdue FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Purdue FCU’s secure website

This deal is only for their Visa Signature card – other cards have a higher intro rate. The 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 good news is you can apply and get a decision before you become a member of the Alumni Association.

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

The Logix Platinum MasterCard

APPLY NOW Secured

on Logix Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Although this card isn’t available for everyone, it can be a good choice if you live in AZ, CA, DC, MA, MD, ME, NH, NV, or VA. Residence in those states allows you to 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.

9. Premier America Credit Union – 0% Intro APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Premier Privileges Rewards MasterCard® from Premier America CU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Premier America’s secure website

Premier America is unique because it has a Student Mastercard® that’s eligible for the balance transfer deal, though limits on that card are $500 – $2,000. There’s also a card for those with no credit history – the Premier First Rewards Privileges®, with limits of $1,000 – $2,000. If you’re looking for a bigger line, the Premier Privileges Rewards Mastercard® is available with limits up to $50,000.

Anyone can join Premier America by becoming a member of the Alliance for the Arts. You can select that option when you apply.

Other 0% Intro APR cards to consider

10. Money One Credit Union – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Visa Platinum Card from Money One FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Money One Federal’s secure website

Anyone can join Money One Federal by making a $20 donation to Gifts of Easter Seals. And you can apply without being a member. You’ll see a drop down option during the application process that lets you select Gifts of Easter Seals as the way you plan to become a member of the credit union. Credit lines for the Visa Platinum card are as high as $25,000.

11. Andigo Credit Union – 0% APR Intro for 6 months, NO FEE

Visa Platinum Card from andigo

APPLY NOW Secured

on Andigo’s secure website

You’ll have a choice to apply for the Andigo Visa Platinum or Visa Platinum Rewards. The Visa Platinum Cash Back card doesn’t have this deal. The Visa Platinum without rewards has a lower ongoing APR, starting as low as 10.65%, compared to 12.65% for the Visa Platinum Rewards card, so if you’re not sure you’ll pay it all off in 6 months the Platinum without rewards is a better bet.

Anyone can join Andigo by making a donation to Connect Vets for $15, and you can submit an application for the card without being a member yet.

12. Evansville Teachers Credit Union – 0% APR on Balance Transfers for first 6 months, NO FEE

ETFCU's Platinum Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Evansville Teachers Credit Union’s secure website

You don’t need to be a teacher to join this credit union. Just make a $5 donation to Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association. The Prime Plus has an ongoing rate as low as 7.25% variable, so you can enjoy a low rate even after the intro deal ends.

13. Elements Financial Credit Card – 0% Intro APR for 6 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers, NO FEE

Elements Financial Platinum Visa® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on ELFCU’s secure website

To 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. The ongoing rate is 9.99% variable which is lower than typical cards.

14. Justice Federal Credit Union – 0% Intro APR for 6 months on Purchases, Balance Transfers, and Cash Advances, NO FEE

Student VISA Rewards Card from Justice FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Justice Federal’s secure website

If 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% introductory rate on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances, 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.

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

XCEL’s Platinum VISA® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Xcel Federal’s secure website

Anyone 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.

16. Michigan State University Federal Platinum Visa – 0% APR for 6 months, NO FEE

Platinum Visa Card from Michigan State FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Michigan State University Federal Credit Union’s secure website

There is the option to apply for the Platinum Plus Visa or the Platinum Visa. The Platinum Visa has a lower ongoing APR starting as low as 8.9%, compared to the 12.9% for the Platinum Plus which can earn you rewards. Anyone can join the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union by first becoming a member of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. However, this comes at a high fee of $30 for one year.

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.

promo balancetransfer wide

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.
Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

Capital One Balance Transfer Offer

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.

review-cc-full

Balance transfer offers on credit cards can be an excellent way to reduce the cost of expensive credit card debt, helping you can get out of debt faster. Capital One only offers one card with a balance transfer intro period. Balance transfers are usually offered only to people with excellent credit, however you may qualify if you have good credit. It’s always a good idea to check if you’re prequalified before submitting an application.

In this article, we will:

  • Review the balance transfer offer from Capital One
  • Provide details on who can be approved for the offer
  • Decode the fine print, so that you know how to avoid tricks and traps that could cost you

Note: If you are looking to get out of debt, you should consider downloading our free Debt Free Guide. It will show you how to slash your interest rates, boost your credit score, negotiate hard with creditors and become debt-free fast and forever. Balance transfers can be a great tool in your debt-free strategy, but everyone should have a strategy. And this guide can help you build one.

Offer Review

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is best known for having no annual fee, and providing unlimited 1.5% cash back on all of your spend. Unlike many cash back credit cards, there are no rotating categories, no caps, and no minimums for getting your cash back. They really raised the bar on cash back credit cards, until Citibank created the Citi® Double Cash Card which does the same thing, except you earn unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 0% intro APR for 9 months on purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% fee. When compared to the rest of the market, this is a mediocre intro period. You can find cards with intro periods of 15, 21 and 24 months. We list all of the balance transfer options here.

Approval Criteria

Capital One markets this card for people with excellent credit. On their website, excellent credit is defined as someone who:

  • Has never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan
  • Hasn’t been more than 60 days late on any credit card, medical bill, or loan in the last year
  • Has had a loan or credit card for 3 years or more with a credit limit above $5,000

If your credit score isn’t excellent, your options are much more limited. In fact, we recommend considering a personal loan to get a lower rate on your debt, where you will have a better chance of getting a higher loan amount.

 Fine Print Alert

Balance transfers can save you a lot of money. However, there are certain traps out there, and if you fall for those traps it could end up costing you a lot of money. Make sure you do the following:

  • If you are approved for your balance transfer credit card, complete the balance transfer right away. The 0% promotional offer begins the day your account is open.
  • Set up automatic payments so that you are never late. Even being late by one day can result in a steep late fee. And, if you are late by 60 days or more, you can see a big spike in your interest rate.
  • Don’t spend on the credit card. Although Capital One does offer 0% on purchases, they do that as a temptation. They want you to spend, so that you don’t use the promotional period to pay down your debt. If you are using a balance transfer, you should be doing it to get out of debt faster.

To learn more about balance transfers, you can visit our learning center.

Balance transfers, when used properly, can take years off your debt repayment. With proper credit behavior, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card can save you money and help rid you of debt.

promo-balancetransfer-wide

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , , ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

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

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 April 18, 2017

Chase Slate<sup>®</sup>

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase’s secure website

Chase Slate® has a very popular introductory balance transfer offer. You can save with a $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening, along with a 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. All with a $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard 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.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% introductory interest rate if you transfer your existing credit card debt from another credit card company to the one offering the intro 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 as long as the transfer is made during the first 60 days of account opening. During that time-frame, it costs you nothing to move your debt from another credit card issuer to Chase and it’s 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

So, if you move your debt from your store card within the required time-frame 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 ongoing purchase APR (after month 15) will depend upon your credit score. The ongoing purchase APR range is 15.99% – 24.74% 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 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.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer, Featured, News, Pay Down My Debt

Can a Balance Transfer Hurt Your Credit Score?

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.

 

Can a Balance Transfer Hurt Your Credit Score?

When you are carrying a balance on a high-interest credit card, receiving a 0% balance transfer offer can be enticing. After all, shifting the balance from a high-interest credit card to a no-interest card means saving money on interest and paying down the balance faster.

But how will the balance transfer impact your credit score?

First, you should understand three crucial elements that go into determining your credit score: inquiries, credit utilization, and length of credit history.

  • Inquiries – How many new accounts have you opened lately? Whenever you apply for new debt, the lender performs a “hard inquiry” to determine whether they will approve your application. According to FICO, hard inquiries account for about 10% of your credit score.
  • Credit utilization ratio – How much do you owe? Your credit utilization ratio is calculated based on your total outstanding balances compared to your total credit limit. It is calculated both per card and across all of your credit accounts and makes up about 30% of your credit score.
  • Length of credit history – How long have you been using credit? This factor looks at the age of your oldest account as well as the average length of all of your credit accounts. The longer your history, the higher your score. According to FICO, the length of your credit history accounts for about 15% of your credit score.

How balance transfers can hurt your credit score

Balance transfer applications count as a hard credit inquiry

When you open a new account for a balance transfer, the lender will perform a hard inquiry. One hard inquiry is unlikely to have a large impact on your credit score. If you have excellent credit and haven’t applied for a card in the last six months, one hard inquiry may not impact your score at all. Inquiries could have as much as a ten-point impact, but that would be very rare. The typical impact of one hard inquiry is about five points. However, if you apply for several cards at once, the applications could have a big impact.

Balance transfers lower the average length of your credit history

Opening a new credit account will lower the average age of your credit accounts, which can negatively impact your credit score in the short term.

For example, if you have one 5-year-old credit card, one 3-year-old credit card, and one 10-year-old credit card, the average age of your cards is 6 years.

When you open a new credit card for a balance transfer, you now add a less-than-one-year-old account to your balance. At the most, your average credit age will drop down to 4.75 years.

How balance transfers can improve your credit score

All in all, the benefits of balance transfers can far outweigh the negatives.

You will likely lower your utilization rate

Opening new credit accounts decreases your overall credit utilization ratio, which positively affects your credit score over time. For example, if you have one credit card with a $5,000 limit and a $2,500 balance, your credit utilization ratio is 50%. When you open a second account with a $5,000 limit and transfer the $2,500 balance to the new card while leaving the old account open, your total available credit is $10,000 ($5,000 + $5,000), and your outstanding balance is still just $2,500. You’ve reduced your credit utilization rate to 25%.

What happens if the new account’s limit is just $2,500 and you transfer the full $2,500 balance? You’ve still reduced your overall credit utilization ratio. Now you’re using 33% of your available credit ($2,500 / $7,500). However, the negative is that there are still some points taken away if you max out one card. You didn’t have any maxed out cards before, and now you do. Credit scores are very sensitive to people who max out their credit cards as they’re seen as high risk. Maxing out a new card could reduce your credit score by about 30 points in the short term.

You will be paying off debt faster, improving your score dramatically

Where balance transfers get exciting is that more of your money is going to paying off the balance of your debt as opposed to interest. Ultimately, the best credit score comes from carrying as little debt as possible.

Using our previous example of the $2,500 balance on one card, assume that card had a 21% interest rate and you could afford to pay $220 per month toward paying it off. According to MagnifyMoney’s balance transfer calculator, if you did not take advantage of a balance transfer, the card would be paid off in 13 months, and you would pay $309 in interest. If you transferred that balance, even with a 3% balance transfer fee ($75), you could pay off that balance one month sooner and save $234.

In the end, your goal should be to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. Over the course of a year, as long as you stick to your strategy, you can eliminate that debt in a year, and your score will go up a whole lot faster than it otherwise would.

When to avoid balance transfers

The short-term impact of a balance transfer on your credit score should only concern you if you are planning on applying for a mortgage in the next six to nine months. During this period, every point on your score counts. Just a 0.2% difference in your interest rate can cost a ton of money over the life of your mortgage. In that case, wait until after you get the mortgage to do the balance transfer.

The bottom line

People are so programmed to think about their score that they sometimes lose sight of what they want the high score for. A higher score saves you money and gets you out of debt faster. Don’t focus on short-term fluctuations of 10 to 20 points. Use your good credit score to save money. That’s what it’s there for.

Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson |

Janet Berry-Johnson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Janet here

TAGS:

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

How to do a Balance Transfer with Chase

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.

How to do a Balance Transfer with Chase

Chase offers one of the best balance transfer products in the market: Chase Slate®. You can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard for free.

If you want to take advantage of the intro offer, you can click on “Go To Site” below. If you already have a Chase card and want to complete your balance transfer, keep reading and we will explain exactly how to get it done. Just make sure you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account.

Haven’t applied for your balance transfer with Chase? Just click below 

Chase Slate<sup>®</sup>

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chase’s secure website

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 Citi, and you want to transfer it to your new Chase account, then you will need the account number and balance of the Citi account.  And, in this example:

  • The transfer from account is Citi.
  • The transfer to account is Chase.

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 Chase to Citi), 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 Chase. Click on these names if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide for these banks: Discover, Capital One or Barclaycard.

1. Login to your account.  On the “My Accounts” page, you will see the option to complete a balance transfer. Click on Transfer Balances.

 

Credit Card Slate

 

2.  Select an Offer. You should see the introductory offer listed. (In this example, you are looking at my credit card – which I have had for a while. No intro offer is listed)

 

Transfer Balance

 

3.  Input the following:

  • 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.  At Chase, you can transfer no more than $15,000 from other accounts in any 30-day period.

 

Transfer Balance

 

4.  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

5.  You will then receive your confirmation.  Chase 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.

Here is what the screen looks like confirming you transfer:

 

Confirmation

 

Once you see this screen, then you are in good shape.

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.

Still have questions? Email us at info@magnifymoney.com or tweet us @Magnify_Money

Customize best balance transfer credit cards offers

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

New No-Fee 0% Citizens Bank Balance Transfer

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.

review-cc-full

UPDATE:  THIS DEAL HAS EXPIRED, CHECK HERE FOR THE LATEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD OFFERS.

Good news for consumers with credit card debt: the balance transfer credit card market has just become more competitive. Citizens Bank has launched an excellent balance transfer option: 0% for 15 months, with no balance transfer fee. They have matched Chase Slate®, which also offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open. Hopefully this is a sign of increased competition in 2015, as banks fight hard to steal balances from their competitors. And, if you have already taken advantage of the Chase Slate® offer, you now have the ability to keep your no-fee, no-interest period for another 15 months.

We really like this deal. A balance transfer can take years off debt repayment. And when you have the chance to transfer your debt with no fee and no interest for 15 months, you are literally cutting your interest expense over 15 months by 100%.

In this post, we will:

  • Offer a review of the new Citizens Bank balance transfer offer, including who is most likely to be approved
  • Provide tips on how to make a balance transfer work for you (including how to avoid the traps)
  • Discuss the trade-off between a no-fee strategy, and a strategy of maximizing the length of the balance transfer

Review: Citizens Bank Balance Transfer Offer

This is a simple offer: 0% interest and no balance transfer fee for 15 months.

You will need to have excellent credit to take advantage of the offer. That typically means a credit score of at least 700, a debt burden below 40% and no recent missed payments. If you do not meet this criteria, you may want to consider a personal loan.

Also, Citizens Bank tends to favor people who live in states that it operates, so your chances are best if you live on the East Coast or in the Midwest.

There is no fee for transferring a balance from another credit card company to Citizens Bank, so long as you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account.

  • If you transfer between 60 days and 4 months after opening the account, you will end up paying the greater of $10 or 3% of the balance transferred.
  • If you wait more than 4 months, you will pay $10 or 4% for the transfer.
  • In other words – get the transfer done right away!

You will be charged 0% interest for the first 15 billing cycles, NOT the first 15 months after the transfer. So, you really should complete the balance transfer the day you are approved, so that you can take advantage of the full 15 billing cycle promotional offer. If you wait a month to complete the transfer, then you only get 14 months at 0%.

This offer is available on 3 credit cards:

  1. CashBack
  2. Platinum
  3. GreenSense

Warning: none of these cards offer 0% interest rate on purchases. That means you will have no grace period on purchases if you complete a balance transfer. Interest will be charged from the date of the purchase.

For example: if you transfer $5,000 to the credit card, and then make a purchase of $200, you may think that you can make a payment of $300 and be charged no interest (because you covered your purchases + some of the balance). However, that is not true. You would be charged interest on the $200 worth of purchases unless you paid the balance in full ($5,200). There is a simple way to avoid these interest charges: do not spend on the card, and you can avoid all interest charges.

1. CashBack

There is no annual fee on this card.

This is a 1% cash back credit card (earn 1% on all purchases). They have put a bonus offer on spending in the first 90 days.

  • 10% cash back on up to $1,000 of gas spend, and then 5% on all gas spend above $1,000
  • 5% cash back on grocery and drug store purchases.
  • 1% on all other purchases

You can make a mathematical case for earning the increased cash back during the first 90 days. The interest rate on the card will be between 14.99% – 20.99% (depending upon your credit score). That is a range of 1.2% and 1.7% per month. Remember: you will be charged interest on these purchases, because there is no grace period (if you complete a balance transfer). During the intro period (first 90 days), in the bonus categories (gas, grocery and drug store), you technically would earn more cash back than you would spend on interest.

However, for all other purchases – and all purchases after 90 days – you would end up spending more interest than you would earn in cash back. To keep things simple (and because your goal is to get out of debt with these cards), just don’t use the card for spending and focus on paying down your debt. And, if you want to earn high rates of cash back on gas, consider the PenFed Cash Rewards card. On this card, you will always earn 5% on gas. And you can pay the balance in full every month, so that you will avoid paying any interest at all.

2. Platinum MasterCard

There is no annual fee on this card, and there are no rewards.

The interest rates are supposed to be lower than a cash back card. However, they are still high. They range from 13.99% – 19.99%.

3. GreenSense Platinum MasterCard

This is an odd card. You earn $0.25 per purchase, so long as you make 10 qualifying purchases each month. You can earn $20 per month, and $240 annually.

The only time this card would make sense: small value transactions. For transactions that are less than $12.50, you will be earning more than 2% cash back on each of those purchases.

However, the interest rates are high (14.99% – 20.99%), and if you complete a balance transfer there will be no grace period.

Balance Transfer Tips

Your goal with a balance transfer credit card offer is to pay down your debt more quickly, and get out of debt. The savings can be dramatic (easily close to $1,000 of savings each year). But, to get the most out of your balance transfer, make sure that you:

  1. Do not spend on the credit card. Your goal is to pay down the debt, not to use the credit card to get further into debt
  2. Complete the balance transfer as soon as you are approved for the card. The introductory offer disappears after 60 days – but the sooner you complete the transfer, the more you save.
  3. Set up an automatic payment so that you are never late. Being late means that you could be charged a late fee, and at 60 days late you could lose your promotional rate.
  4. Keep paying on your old credit card until the balance transfer is complete. Don’t just assume that the payment will arrive.
  5. Don’t close your old credit card once the balance is paid off. To improve your credit score, you want to keep old credit cards open – and you want to keep your utilization low, which means keeping those old limits open.

Is No-Fee The Way to Go?

When using a balance transfer, you really have two options:

  1. Keep transferring to no-fee balance transfers, or
  2. Pay a fee and lock in a longer balance transfer period.

Today, you can get 0% for 15 months, with no fee. If you are willing to pay 4%, you could get 24 months at 0%.

Mathematically, a no-fee strategy is always the best. But, because the durations of the balance transfers are shorter, you end up having to do more work if you can pay off the balance transfer in 15 months.

It comes down to psychology. Do you think you have the discipline to make another transfer in 15 months, to make sure you don’t pay interest? If yes, then go for these offers. If not, then lock in a longer offer, like the Santander 24 month offer.

To see how much you can save on longer duration offers, with fees, you can visit our balance transfer marketplace.

promo-balancetransfer-wide

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , , ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

Why You Should No Longer Avoid Bank of America Balance Transfer Credit Cards

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.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 3.35.54 PM

Updated May 30, 2017

If you have credit card debt, you are most likely paying a very high interest rate. In a recent survey by MagnifyMoney, we identified that over 75% of people with credit card debt have an interest rate higher than 15%. Given that the prime rate is currently 4.00%, it is crazy to pay such high interest rates on your debt.

If you have $5,000 of credit card debt at a 15% interest rate,  you will end up paying over $700 of interest in just the next 12 months. Money is time, and the more interest you have to pay to the bank, the longer it will take for you to pay off your debt.

Many banks offer balance transfers, including Bank of America. In this article, we will discuss how a balance transfer works, and then review those offered by Bank of America.

New: Bank of America has just launched a new balance transfer deal. You can now get 0% intro APR for 15 months with no balance transfer fee – so long as you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account. This offer is on the standard BankAmericard. This offer is only available for people with excellent credit.

If you already have debt at Bank of America, you would not qualify for the new balance transfer offer. Instead, you might want to consider:

In addition, you can shop for balance transfer offers here.

How to Lower Your Interest Rate

Americans are very good at refinancing their mortgages. When we see low interest rates (like the ones out there today), we take advantage of those rates by refinancing. However, for some reason, we often feel uncomfortable doing the same thing with our credit card debt. But we shouldn’t.

Banks will compete for your business, by offering low introductory interest rates if your move your debt from another bank. It is not uncommon to see 0% interest rates for 12, 15, 18 or even 24 months. Typically, these balance transfers have a fee that is charged up front. However, even with the fee, they will dramatically reduce the cost of servicing your debt during the balance transfer period.

Some other banks will offer low, fixed interest rate options without a fee. For example, they may charge 3.99% for 24 months on the transferred debt.

At the end of the day, the best option for a balance transfer comes down to math. Where can you save the most amount of money, when you compare the interest rate you are paying today to the combination interest and fees that you would pay for the balance transfer. In our balance transfer marketplace, we update offers daily and do the math for you.

 

promo-balancetransfer-half

In the example earlier, I wrote about an individual with $5,000 of debt at a 15% interest rate. If that person can afford to pay about $100 per month, than a balance transfer could save someone over $2,000.

 Bank of America

Bank of America offers balance transfers on most of their credit cards. Their best balance transfer offer is on the BankAmericard. But the bank does offer balance transfers on many other credit cards.

Here are the details of their other balance transfer offers:

  • Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card: 0% intro APR for 12 months, with a balance transfer fee of 3% (or $10, whichever is greater)
  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card: there is no balance transfer offer on this card. There is a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases.
  • BankAmericard® Credit Card: 0% intro APR for 15 months, with a $0 balance transfer fee, so long as you complete the transfer within 60 days of opening the account. This is the new offer – and their best balance transfer offer.
  • All other Cash Rewards cards (Susan G. Komen, World Wildlife Fund, MLB, U.S. Pride): 0% intro APR for 12 months, with a balance transfer fee of 3% (or $10, whichever is greater)
  • Their co-branded travel rewards cards (like Alaska Airlines and Virgin Atlantic) typically do not offer balance transfers
  • For students, they do have a balance transfer offer on the basic BankAmericard® Credit Card (which does not offer rewards). You can get 0% intro APR for 15 months with a 3% fee (or $10, whichever is higher). This is one of the best balance transfer offers for students that we have found.

So, the best balance transfer offer is 0% intro APR for 15 months with no balance transfer fee, on the basic BankAmericard® Credit Card.

And, Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever and Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card provide 0% intro APR for 21 months and a 3% fee.

Fine Print Alert: What to Watch Out For 

If you do complete a balance transfer with Bank of America, make sure that you:

  1. Complete your balance transfer within 60 days of opening the account. Otherwise you will lose the introductory rate
  2. Continue to pay on your old credit card until you see that the balance transfer has been completed. It can take 2 weeks for the balance transfer to complete, and you don’t want to be hit with late fees on your old credit card while waiting for the transfer.
  3. You can only move debt to Bank of America from another bank. You can not transfer debt between 2 credit cards of Bank of America.
  4. Make your payments on time, every month. They charge a late fee of up to $35, and a returned payment fee of up to $25. Paying late can also result in a loss of your introductory APR, and a potential penalty APR of up to 29.99%
  5. Try to avoid spending on the card. Although it might be tempting to start spending on the card, try to use the card to get out of debt.
  6. Do your best to pay off the balance during the promotional period. But don’t worry: if you still have a balance remaining after the promotional period ends, Bank of America will not punish you with a fee. And there is no deferred interest.

In Conclusion

If you have a high interest rate credit card, a balance transfer can be a great way to dramatically reduce the interest that you are paying on your debt and take years off your repayment.

And the balance transfers offered by Bank of America will likely save you money. In other words, they will probably give you a deal that is better than what you have right now. Just make sure you shop around to get the right balance transfer for your needs.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , , , ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Balance Transfer

Santander Sphere Credit Card: A Market Leading 2 Year Balance Transfer, But Beware The Fine Print Traps

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.

review-cc-full

Santander is looking to shake up the balance transfer market by offering a 0% introductory APR for 2 years. In order to get this rate, you have to apply for the Sphere credit card and transfer debt from another bank to Santander (you cannot transfer debt from another Santander product). In addition, you will have to pay a 4% upfront fee for the transfer. Given the length of the balance transfer, the 4% fee can be a good deal, depending upon the interest rate that you are currently paying. For most people, you will already be saving money (including the fee) by month six.

They also offer rewards and a bonus off for your spending, which you should avoid, because interest will start accruing right away.

If you have high interest rate credit card debt, this could be an excellent option to pay off your debt faster. Just make sure you complete your balance transfer as quickly as possible. We also recommend that you set up an automatic payment, so that you always pay on time. If you are 60 days late, you can lose your 0% rate and be subject to punitive pricing.

Sphere® Credit Card from Santander

APPLY NOW Secured

on Santander’s secure website

Who is Santander?

Although small in the United States, Santander is an enormous bank globally. It is headquartered in Spain, and rapidly grew throughout Latin America and Europe. The bank has over $1.25 trillion of assets globally, and dominates the Spanish market. You don’t have to walk far in Madrid or Barcelona to see the bright red of Santander.

They are also a big sponsor of Formula 1, and the bank is run by a close-knit family.

Santander has a very aggressive reputation in banking circles. I used to work in Europe, and Santander was viewed as a very tough competitor. They would use very strong sales incentives, so customers would regularly be on the receiving end of a hard sales pitch. They would also take a much longer term view compared to American and English banks. Whereas most American banks want to make money within 1-2 years on a new customer, Santander would be willing to wait longer. That meant they would usually fund much more aggressive switching bonuses. At MagnifyMoney, we are not surprised to see 2 year 0% offers coming from Santander, as they look to take market share in the US.

Santander has purchased Sovereign Bank, a regional bank in the northeast. They have recently rebranded the business to the global red brand, and are looking to expand. Credit cards is a great way to grow quickly outside of their normal geographic footprint, so you can expect to see more offers coming from them.

So, Santander is a large bank that won’t be going anywhere soon. However, they are an aggressive bank with strong profit motives. So, you shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of the sign-on bonus offers. But, you should be careful when the bonus offer ends.

The Balance Transfer Offer

The balance transfer offer is very straight-forward. You pay (at the beginning) a 4% fee. You then pay no interest for 24 months, so long as you pay on time. The interest you would have been charged is waived completely. You will never see a retroactive charge.

From month 25, your interest rate will revert to the standard interest rate, which is high.

The savings during the 2 years can be significant. If you have a $5,000 balance at a 17% interest rate and can afford to pay $200 per month, then you would save $917 of interest over 2 years by switching to Santander. That is a lot of money.

In order to be approved, you need to have good credit. You have a decent chance at 680, and an excellent chance if your score is above 700. You will also need a debt burden that can handle the debt. You calculate debt burden by taking your total monthly expenditures (mortgage + auto payment + student loan payments + credit card monthly payments + any other credit bureau debt) and divide that by your monthly gross income. Your best chance of being approved is with a debt burden below 40%. You have to tell Santander your income when you apply.

To see how much you can save, and how it compares to other offers (updated daily), visit our balance transfer marketplace.

promo-balancetransfer-wide

The Rewards

As a general rule, you do not want to spend on a credit card with a balance transfer. There are two main reasons for this.

First, the goal of a balance transfer is to pay off your debt. So, if you start spending on the credit card, there is a big risk that you won’t pay off debt during the promotional period, and you will end up in worse shape at the end of the promotional period. Just put the card in the freezer and forget about it.

The second reason is the trick played on people by the banks. If you have a balance transfer on a credit card, than you no longer have a grace period on purchases. So, interest will be charged on any purchases, at the standard purchase interest rate, from the moment you make the purchase.

If you are looking for rewards, there are better products out there. After the sign-on bonus, this is basically a 1% rewards card. To find a better cash back credit card, you can use our cash back tool.

The Recommendation

If you have credit card debt that you can’t pay off in the next 6 months, a balance transfer could be a great option. If you’re looking for rewards or to make a big purchase, there are other, better credit cards available.

If your debt is not with Chase, and you can pay off the debt in 15 months or less, you should consider Chase Slate®. It has 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 intro balance transfer fee for transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening, so it can be a better deal than Santander.

If it is going to take much longer, than this card can be a great option to dramatically reduce the cost of your debt and get out of debt faster. Just make sure you don’t spend on the card, you pay on time and you get the transfer done within the first 30 days.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Santander’s secure website

 

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Fine Print Alert

Fine Print Alert: August 29, 2014

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.

fineprintalert-full8

In our weekly Fine Print Alert newsletter we call out good news from the financial community and shine a spotlight on any sneaky changes or less than favorable strategies employed by financial institutions.  We also wrap up MagnifyMoney news and share our favorite reads from the week.

Fine Print Alert

Is 12 months really 12 months?

M&T Bank offers a 0% balance transfer for 12 months followed with a variable annual percentage rate between 10.24 to 17.24 percent. However, when M&T says the offer is for 12 billing cycles, they start the clock on the day you opened the card. If you pay off the balance in the twelfth month, they can still charge interest retroactively to all the days since you applied for the card. If you take this balance transfer deal, or are currently using it, you need to finish paying off the balance (or do another balance transfer) in month 11.

Are credit union fees really that different from banks?

Yes and no. Unfortunately, credit union overdraft fees are creeping up scarily close to their ugly older stepsibling – traditional banks. Moebs Services recently released data showing the average credit union overdraft fee has hiked to $28.50, only $1.50 cheaper than the average overdraft fee from banks.  If you struggle with overdraft fees, we suggest exploring Internet-only banks for a much cheaper overdraft alternative. Many Internet-only banks also offer real overdraft protection, in case you have money to pull out of savings to cover the cost of your overdraft.

MagnifyMoney in the news

Our favorite personal finance stories from around the web

7 Ways You May Be Wasting Money “The list has struck a chord with readers because it doesn’t shame consumers for bad habits — but, instead, helps identify sneaky leaks that add up to big bucks. Check out below the newest unnecessary expenses we’re [Kiplinger.com] calling to your attention…” Kiplinger’s Cameron Huddelston shares ways to keep money in your pocket (we feel particularly strongly about #3).

Making Big Life Decisions: The Regret Test “We finally asked ourselves which decision we would potentially regret more:  going ahead with the adoption or NOT going ahead with the adoption.  Thinking of it in this way really put the decision in perspective, and made it much easier since the answer was clear.” Dee of Color Me Frugal shares a personal, but eye-opening story about handling major life (and financial) choices.

I’m not an Olympic 200M runner. Your dreams will also change. Are you prepared? “But during this interview, the interviewer asked us what we wanted to do with our lives. I replied with “an Olympic 200M runner”, even though my passion at that time was reading Hardy Boy books. I didn’t even like to run. But I still believed I could make it.” Not technically from this week, but we still want to give this article some attention. Dave Grant of Finance for Teachers discusses adjusting your goals overtime and making sure they can be supported by your financial situation.

Why Is Talking about Money the Last Taboo?  “One day, I asked him how much money our family made. He explained that it wasn’t polite to ask that question, but shared the number with me anyway, making me take a vow of secrecy. He also took the opportunity to warn me never to share my financial information with anyone. Obviously I hadn’t accumulated much at that age, but his advice stuck with me as I grew older.” Addison analyzes why we’re taught not to talk about money on her site Cashville Skyline.

Have questions or a fine print alert tip for us? Get in touch via TwitterFacebook, email info@magnifymoney.com or in the comment section below!

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erin@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: , ,