“When will I pay off my credit card?” The answer to that question often depends on your interest rate and how much you can pay on your debt each month. If you are struggling to pay off a credit card, or if your card has a high interest rate, you may wonder if a credit card balance transfer is right for you. You could realize significant monthly interest savings by transferring your higher rate credit card balances to a lower rate credit card. Use this balance transfer calculator to help determine those potential savings.
You may have seen ads for credit card balance transfers. These offers usually advertise zero interest or low-interest monthly payments on your credit card payments. If you’re carrying a balance, it can be attractive to think of paying less per month. However, balance transfers only make sense in some cases.
Usually, these offers are only for a limited time, meaning the interest will eventually increase to your current rate — or even higher. Worse, if you keep spending you could end up owing more. Using credit balance transfers wisely, though, can help you get out of debt faster and save you thousands in interest.
Making Credit Card Balance Transfer Work for You
If you’re considering transferring your credit card balance, make sure you:
- Understand How Balance Transfer Works: You’re essentially using a new credit card account to pay off your current credit cards. Your debt does not go away or get reduced. At most, your interest rate is lower — but it’s usually only for a few months.
- Commit to no New Debt: You should only undertake a balance transfer if you can be sure you won’t be charging anything else to your credit card. The goal is to decrease your debt.
- Can Afford It: Only transfer your debt if you can pay off all or most of your credit card balance during the special offer. Transfers work best if you can use the interest savings to pay off your credit cards faster. Find out how long you have the low-interest rate and divide the total amount of your loan by that number of months. Can you make those payments every month to pay off almost all your debt? Use a free calculator from Money Help Center to find ways you can save, so you can funnel more money toward your credit card debt.
- Read the Fine Print: Make sure you understand the fees and limits of the new credit card, as well as when the interest rate will increase. Can you pay off most your debt with these limits?
- Compare Balance Transfer Options: Look for the best deal you can find — the lowest interest rate for the most number of months — so you save as much as possible on interest. This ensures more of your money goes toward paying down your debt.
- Prepare for a Few Lean Months: Take on overtime work and trim your expenses as much as possible for the months the special offer lasts. This way, you’ll be able to repay as much of your debt with the low-interest rate as possible, therefore becoming debt-free faster.
It can be helpful to consider how much you can save with a balance transfer. If you want to know how to calculate credit card payment options and how long it will take you to repay your cards, use our no-cost calculator.