Combine credit cards with a balance transfer

Get a 0% intro APR period for up to 21 months to save on interest.

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With a balance transfer, you can use just one card to combine multiple credit card debts. Depending on the card, you could get a 0% intro APR period on a balance transfer for up to 21 months. This could help you save money on interest while you pay off your debt.

How to combine credit card debts with a balance transfer

Transfer your balance from several credit cards onto just one card by following these steps:

  1. Find out the total amount of debt you owe. Some charges may not show up on your latest statement. Call each credit card company to get an accurate total of your outstanding balance, including interest, fees and pending transactions.
  2. Compare balance transfer credit cards. Look at a range of balance transfer offers based on factors, such as the length of the 0% interest period, the rate of interest that’ll apply after that period, balance transfer fees and annual fees. Consider credit cards with high credit limits if you have a lot of debt to transfer. Your limit is subject to approval.
  3. Check that your card debts are eligible. You can usually transfer debts from financial institutions that aren’t affiliated with your card issuer. When transferring debts, check that they are eligible based on the card issuer.
  4. Start the application. You can apply for a balance transfer credit card online in around 10–15 minutes. Check that you meet the eligibility requirements, then make sure you have all the required details needed to apply.
  5. Include details of your existing credit card debts. During the application, you’ll need to provide details of the debts you want to consolidate onto the balance transfer card. This includes the account names, numbers and the total amount you want to transfer to the new account.
  6. Submit your application. Review the details on your application before you submit. Most online applications will provide a decision within minutes. If your application is successful, you should get your new card in around 10 days.
  7. Activate the card. Activate your new card by following the instructions provided by your issuer. Then the issuer will process your balance transfer, which usually takes between two and six weeks. It’s important to make any required repayments on your account during this time.
  8. Confirm the transfers and close your old accounts. Once your balance transfers have been processed, you should see that your previous account balances are $0. Call your old credit card providers and close the accounts to avoid any further fees or the temptation to use them.

Our pick for a balance transfer intro of 21 months

Citi Simplicity® Card

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
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Compare balance transfer credit cards

Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 21 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
With an intro APR of 21 months, this card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market. Plus, no late fees and no annual fee.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 21 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Get one of the best balance transfer intro APR promotions available. Plus, access Citi Entertainment℠ to purchase tickets to concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
Citi® Double Cash Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months months to pay off transfers.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.99% to 23.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Get rewards on gas and groceries with no annual fee. Ideal for everyday use, it's the only card that rounds purchases up to the nearest 10 points.

Compare up to 4 providers

Combine credit cards from the same issuer

Some credit card providers may allow you to combine your balance and credit limit between cards they’ve issued. This could be a solid balance transfer alternative as you get to enjoy the perks of your best card while keeping your balance and credit limit of your other cards, all without paying a balance transfer fee.

However, to combine cards, you must close one or more credit card accounts and keep at least one. To find out whether this is possible with your provider, call customer support and request to combine your accounts. Note that even if card providers allow combining credit card accounts you could still be denied.

Does combining credit cards hurt your credit?

It depends. If you are closing credit card accounts that you’ve had the longest, it may shorten your credit history. Considering 15% of your credit score is based on your credit history, cutting loose your oldest accounts could negatively affect your credit score. In this case, always consider closing the newer accounts first.

Also, closing a credit card account regardless of age will take away some of your available credit. This could lower your utilization rate, which could have a negative impact on your credit score.

Pros and Cons of combining credit cards

Before you combine credit card accounts, weigh the pros and cons.

  • Fewer accounts to manage
  • Interest-free period to pay off your balance
  • Potential rewards program after you pay off your balance
  • In most cases, you won’t pay an annual fee
  • Could shorten your credit history if you close old credit card accounts
  • Could lower your utilization rate if you close a credit card account

What to consider before combining credit cards with a balance transfer

Here are some key factors to consider with this type of debt consolidation:

  • Low or 0% interest promotion periods.
    Balance transfer offers can be as short as six months or as long as 21 months. The more debt you have, the longer the balance transfer offer you’ll need.
  • Standard interest rates.
    This refers to the interest rate that’ll apply once the promotional period is over. Make sure this rate is one you can live with if you think you’ll carry a balance.
  • Balance transfer limits.
    Some cards restrict your balance transfer amount to a percentage of your credit limit, such as 75%. This could have an impact on your transfer if you have a lot of existing debt. But even if some cards let you transfer your balance up to your credit limit, there can still be a limit, often $15,000.
  • Balance transfer fees.
    Most cards charge a one-time fee for balance transfers, typically between 3% and 5% of the total approved transfer. For example, if you have two cards with a combined debt of $6,000, moving it to a card with a balance transfer fee of 3% would cost you $180. A 5% fee would be $300.
  • Other balance transfer restrictions.
    Your new card provider may impose its own set of rules around balance transfers. For instance, it may limit the number of accounts you can balance transfer at one time or the type of account you can move across. Ask your provider about any restrictions.
  • Credit score.
    As with all types of credit card, most balance transfer card applications will require that you have a good to an excellent credit score.
  • Ongoing card features.
    Also consider other features of the card, such as the annual fee and any complimentary extras that may ensure its suitability and sustainability as your long-term credit card.

Bottom line

A balance transfer can be very helpful when you’re struggling with multiple credit card debts. If you’ve decided to go ahead with this process, make sure you carefully research the market, compare available card offers and weigh up your options before choosing the right balance transfer credit card for you.

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