Understand how balance transfer limits work so you can find the right credit card to consolidate your debts.
Some balance transfers offer a low introductory interest rate for existing debts you move to the new card. This means you can save money on charges and pay off the balance faster. Some offer 0% offers for 12 months or more and are generally available to new customers only.
When you apply for a new balance transfer credit card, you’re given a credit limit that affects how much you can transfer. Usually a percentage of your limit is available for a transfer. We help you find a balance transfer credit card with a credit limit to cover your debt.
How do balance transfer limits work?
Balance transfers often come with minimum and maximum amounts that depend on a percentage of your credit limit. Credit card companies consider your credit score, monthly income and outstanding debt to determine your balance transfer limit.
For example, if you’re offered a credit card with a $5,000 limit, you may be given a balance transfer limit of $3,500. The limit includes any transfer fee you’ll pay.
There’s no real way to determine how much you’ll be approved for until you apply for a card. If you need a higher limit, you can call the provider and ask, or you can find another card with a higher limit.
How much can I transfer?
Credit card providers use your credit limit to determine how much debt you can transfer to a new card. While some cards will let you transfer up to 100% of your credit limit, others may cap it at 75%.
For example, if you had $10,000 worth of credit card debt and got a balance transfer card with a $10,000 credit limit, you might not be able to transfer all of the balance to the new card. A balance transfer card with a higher credit limit of $12,000, on the other hand, is more likely to allow you to move the whole debt. So the higher your credit limit, the more likely you are to meet these requirements and get your balance transfer approved.
What if the limit I’m given is too low?
- Transfer what you can. Transfer as much of the balance that you can to the new card and take advantage of the introductory rate. During this time, you’ll still need to make minimum payments on your original card and the new one.
- Request a higher limit. Try to request a higher credit limit from the provider. It will require calling the issuer or visiting a local office, and there’s no guarantee that the provider will agree to it.
- Consider other options. If you’re struggling with debt and can’t find a balance transfer card with a high enough limit, you might consider looking into personal loans. You can find personal loans for consolidating your debt as high as $100,000 for APRs as low as 4%, depending on your creditworthiness.
Cards with the highest limits
If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card with a high balance, you’ll have better luck with a high credit score. If you apply with a credit score in the good to excellent range 670 or higher, you could be approved for transfer limits up to $10,000. Check your credit history and see what you can do to improve your score.
Compare balance transfer credit cards
Credit limits and balance transfer limits
Finding the right balance transfer credit card with a limit right for you is a straightforward process. Look at your debt and consider if you want to use the maximum credit limit offered. Check out the following case studies, where Jessica and Daniel recently transferred a balance to a new credit card to save money on credit card interest payments.
Jessica, Boston, 36
Jessica applied for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard so she could pay down the $5,000 she owes on her Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card. The Barclaycard has a 0% balance transfer offer for 12 months. Cardholders can use up to 100% of their credit limit toward a balance transfer. She previously took the maximum credit limit offered to her by Indigo card, $6,000. However, Barclaycard could only offer her a limit of $3,000 on her new credit card.
Jessica was able to transfer $2,850 from her Indigo credit card on to her new Barclaycard credit card under the balance transfer promotion. She used the interest free period on her Barclaycard to save money on that debt so she could concentrate on paying down the remaining $2,150 on her Indigo card.
Daniel, Los Angeles, 29
Daniel applied for the Barclaycard Ring Mastercard to use on an overseas trip. Mastercard offered him a $10,000 limit but he decided he only needed a $2,000 limit. Even though he planned on only using the Barclaycard in an emergency, Daniel ended up maxing out it out. When he got home, he applied for a balance transfer to the UNITY Visa Secured Card, which offered a 0% intro APR for six months with a one-time 3% balance transfer fee. UNITY offered Daniel a $5,000 credit limit, but he decided to set his limit at $2,100. UNITY lets cardholders use up to their credit limit for a balance transfer, the limit on the UNITY card was enough to cover the whole debt.
Use our calculator to determine what limit you need
Your current credit cards:
Card that you are transferring to:
Intro Term (months)
Balance Transfer Fee
Your monthly repayment
At this rate, you will not pay off your debt.
At this rate you will pay off your debt during the card's intro period
At that rate you will not pay off your debt. You will need to make higher repayments.
Months that it will take you to pay off your debt:
With a balance transfer
Without a balance transfer
Money saved transferring debt to a balance transfer card:
Savings = $1,000
If you’re focused on getting out of debt, a balance transfer may be what you need. If you have a lot of debt and need a higher limit, consider your income and credit score to get the highest limit. It’s also important to compare balance transfer credit cards to find the card that’s right for you.