If you find yourself struggling with credit card debt this time of year, there are ways to get out of it. Falling behind in credit card payments can really rack up your debt. Balance transfers may be your solution.
“The whole point in using a balance transfer is moving it over to a card that has an introductory 0% APR period, so basically you get the flexibility of paying with a credit card over a few months or more but without the interest fees which are what really makes carrying a balance so problematic with credit cards,” said Nathan Grant with Credit Card Insider.
Grant says a balance transfer is an effective way to pay off your debt without losing so much money to interest fees.
“The way interest works is it’s calculated every day,” he said, “So when you pay off anything on your card, that percentage that is going to interest will decrease. When you can put more each month into your payment to get that interest percentage down you’re saving yourself more money over time.”
Most balance transfer cards give you 6 months to 2 years of no interest, meaning you can focus on the balance.
“The reason it’s so popular is because the debt’s there, it’s not erasing the debt,” said Grant, “Just moving it into a means for you to pay it off with more flexibility and less strain, so it’s really about more smartly paying off the debt that you have remaining.”
Of course, the key is to try to pay that balance off as quickly as possible. That means stop using the old card!
“The last thing you want to do is use the old card again that you moved the balance from because then basically you’re doubling your debt by having the debt you’re still trying to pay down and you’re building up another credit card,” said Grant.
But that doesn’t mean cancel the old card. That could negatively affect your credit score.
“Unless you have an annual fee that you’re paying and it’s not worth it to keep the card open because you don’t plan on using it again, I would really strongly advise against closing a card because it really can just help you overall,” said Grant.
The bottom line, Grant says balance transfers could be what you need to get out of a jam.
“It is just a wonderful way to take a huge weight and financial burden off a balance you’re trying to pay off,” he said.
Keep in mind, there’s usually a fee associated with balance transfers so make sure it’s worth it before you do it. Also, different cards have different offers. Do your research before you make a decision.
For more information on balance transfers, check out: