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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 Barclays 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 Barclays.
Once you have that information, you are ready to go.
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 Barclays 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.
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 Barclays. Click on these names if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide for: Discover, Capital One or Chase.
1. Login to your account. On the “Account Summary” page, you will see the option to Transfer a Balance Today under the section “Just For You”.
2. After clicking on “Transfer a balance today!” you will be taken (rather un-helpfully) to a page titled “Account Settings.” You will see a lot of items on the page: Activated Cards, Account Nickname, Paperless Statements and more. Scroll down the page until you see Balance Transfer Offers. You will see a list of available offers. If this is a new card, then you should see the introductory offer listed. Choose the appropriate offer, and click on Select this Offer.
3. You may be asked to answer a security question. This is normal (remember, they will be making a credit card payment on your behalf, so higher fraud checks are possible). Just answer the question and click Continue.
4. You will now see a long page, where you will need to input the most important information. On this page you will need to:
- Input the account number of the transfer to account. So, in our example, this would be the account number of your Discover card
- You need to input the amount that you will be transferring. Barclays will tell you, on the screen, the amount that you have available to transfer. Remember: the amount that your transfer, including the fees, cannot be greater than the limit available. When you input the amount, Barclays will show you the total amount being transferred, including fees (so that you do not have to do the math).
- You then need to scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on “I accept these terms and agree to receive them electronically.”
- Finally, click Continue.
Here is where you input your account number and balance transfer amount:
Here are the Terms and Conditions of the offer. Remember:
- Never spend on the card: interest accrues right away
- Always pay on time: you can lose your promotional rate
And then scroll to the bottom so that you can click here:
5. You will then receive a summary. In this example, I have transferred $100. Make sure you click Continue
You will then receive your confirmation screen. Look for the magic words: You have successfully requested a balance transfer.
Remember: the payment from Barclays to your existing card is usually quick. However, delays can happen. And you do not want to be hit with a late fee on your existing credit card. We recommend that you keep a close eye on your account, and you may have to make a payment before the balance transfer is complete.
Once you see this screen, then you are in good shape.
- Don’t spend on the card where you completed a balance transfer. Interest will accrue on your purchases immediately.
- Make sure you pay on time. Paying late can lead to a loss of your 0% interest rate. And it would go to the penalty rate (typically close to 30%).
- Have a plan for the end of the balance transfer period. You don’t want to be paying high interest rates.