How to Transfer Your Credit Card Balance to Avoid Paying Interest
This post is the second part of a two part series. If you miss the first part, read more about the pros and cons of a balance transfer and what it is here. Then come back to this post to find out step-by-step how to do the transfer.)
We decided to go ahead and move forward with the balance transfer and I’m glad we did… it was RIDICULOUSLY easy.
We’re looking forward to 0% interest on the balance we transferred for the next 15 months while we pay it off. Hooray. So I want to give you an overview of exactly how the process works in case you’re interested in doing a balance transfer yourself. This is an option I wholly recommend if you’re trying to pay off some stinky credit card debt before taking your business full-time.
I do want to mention that a credit card with a 0% intro period shouldn’t give you an excuse to buy something new you can’t afford. But if you already have a credit card balance you’re aggressively paying off, it’s worth considering.
1. Apply for the Card
Okay, duh. This is pretty obvious. First you apply for the credit card that has the best balance transfer deal. Remember to weigh your options very carefully. Applying for credit cards impacts your credit score so you don’t want to apply for every one under the sun. Read the fine print and make sure you understand the offer 100% before clicking the apply button.
Currently the Chase Slate credit card is the only one I know of that has a balance transfer deal with 0% for a 15 month period and a $0 balance transfer fee.
You’ll find that many cards offer 0% interest but charge a balance transfer fee of 3% to 5%. Or they charge low interest (3% to 5%) with no balance transfer fee. This is the only twofer deal where you pay $0 for both interest and fees that I’ve come across.
So for the sake of being thorough here’s a breakdown of the Chase Slate card terms:
- 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases and balance transfers
- No balance transfer fee if you move yo’ money within 60 days
- No annual fee
- Free monthly FICO score monitoring
- After intro period APR from 12.99% to 22.99% APR
2. Wait for Approval
After you apply it takes a few days to get approved so don’t bite your fingernails off right away. When you do get approved you’ll receive an email telling you what to do for the next steps which is setting up the info of your account.
3. The Transfer
This is the point that I’ve always been curious about: Just how does your new credit card get the balance of the old credit card? (Ok maybe this is only something money nerds contemplate).
The answer is so simple it’s kind of ridiculous.
Once you’re approved for the Chase Slate card it’ll ask you for the card account number with the balance you want to transfer. You type it in and your balance will appear on the new credit card, but…
4. What Happens to the Old Card?
Be prepared. The balance on your old card won’t disappear right away. I’m assuming it’s because the transaction has to clear first before the balance is paid off so don’t worry. We were a little panicked for a second when we saw balances on both cards.
As far as what you should do with that old card, I suggest keeping it open.
We’re keeping his open because it’s one of my husband’s oldest credit accounts. If it closes it will put a-hurtin’ on his length of credit history and I’ve seen the impact of closing an account firsthand.
I closed an account that I had since 18 because I didn’t use it (at the time I didn’t know any better) AND then I paid off my student loan. Two accounts went bye, bye. The length of my open credit history is now only 4 years when it could be 8. #tears.
The Overall Balance Transfer Experience
I’m very excited that we went ahead with this balance transfer. It’s super easy. We don’t have a huge amount of credit card debt, but it’s still nice to know we won’t have to pay interest while we pay the debt off in upcoming months.
We have experience working on this type of deadline too so I’m not worried about paying it off before interest starts kicking in.
When our cat swallowed a needle last year we used CareCredit to pay vet bills which offered an intro 12 months with 0% interest. We made the final payment last month and completely avoided interest. If you have a balance and pay it off within the time frame of a credit card intro period you can really save yourself a nice chunk of change.
We saved over $500 in interest on our vet bill.
Debt repayment is a journey; you just have to keep chuggin’ along.
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