How much can I transfer with a balance transfer card?
balance-transfer-explanation-diagram

Balance transfer limits: How much can I transfer with a balance transfer card?

Understand how balance transfer limits work so you can find the right credit card to consolidate your debts.

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. Our comparison of balance transfer credit cards includes 0% offers for periods of 12 months or more. These offers are generally available to new customers only.

When you apply for a new balance transfer credit card, you are assigned a credit limit. This limit affects your balance transfer as you can only use a certain percentage of it to move existing debts. You can view a table of maximum balance transfer limits for banks and other financial institutions further down the page.

Comparison of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Rates last updated February 25th, 2018
Name Product Maximum Balance Transfer Amount Intro APR for Balance Transfer
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Enjoy 40000
bonus miles after you spend on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
Transfer any amount up to your available credit limit.
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater: $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening.
You can transfer any amount up to your available credit limit.
0% Intro APR for 15 months (with whichever is greater: $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)

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How do balance transfer limits work?

A balance transfer is a money saving credit card feature that’s typically offered to new customers. A financial institution can provide a special promotional rate of interest on any credit card debt you transfer to the new credit card. You save money during the promotional period because your interest payments are lower.

When the promotional period ends, the balance transfer rate will revert to a standard rate of interest, usually the cash advance rate or the purchase rate of the card. The minimum balance transfer amount is generally $200 – $500. The maximum amount you can transfer is usually based on a percentage of your credit limit. Each card provider has different rules about maximum balance transfer limits.

How much can I transfer?

Every card will come with different terms for how much you can transfer onto it. Sometimes that amount is 100% of the credit limit that you qualify for; sometimes it is 95% or lower. For example, if you qualify for a $10,000 credit limit with a maximum transfer of 95%, you’ll be able to transfer $9,500. Even if a card comes with the ability to transfer up to 100% of the credit limit, that limit is determined by your credit history and eligibility, not by how much debt you have. The amount you can transfer is also affected by the balance transfer fee: The typical fee is 3-5% of the total amount transferred to your new card. So, if you are approved for a credit limit of $5,000 with a balance transfer fee of 5% and you have requested $5,000 to be transferred to your new card, you will not be able to transfer the full $5,000 because the balance transfer fee ($250) will put you over your credit limit of $5,000.

Credit limits and balance transfer limits

Finding the right balance transfer credit card with the right balance transfer limit is a straightforward process. Look at how much debt you want to transfer and think about whether you used the maximum credit limit available when you originally applied for the credit card. This previous decision could affect the new limit offer made to you when you apply for a balance transfer. To put this in perspective, check out the following case studies, where Jessica and Daniel both recently transferred a balance to a new credit card so they could 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 balance transfer offer of 0% APR for 12 months and 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 credit limit of $2,000 as he was using the card mainly as a backup on his travels. Daniel ended up maxing out the Barclaycard Mastercard on his trip. When he got home, he applied for a balance transfer to the UNITY Visa Secured Card, which offered a 0% intro APR for 6 months with a one-time 3% balance transfer fee. UNITY offered a $5,000 credit limit to Daniel but he decided to set his limit at $2,100.

As 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. Remember, your borrowing power is based on your income/assets compared to your expenses/liabilities. If you take the maximum credit limit, it will be difficult to transfer the full amount to a new credit card if your income/asset ratio has not changed. It’s also important to compare balance transfer credit cards so you can find the right deal and save money on your credit card payments.

Balance transfer chalculator

Your current credit cards:

Amount Owing

APR

Card 1

Card 2

Card 3

Card 4

Card 5

Card that you are transferring to:

Intro APR

Intro Term (months)

Ongoing APR

Balance Transfer Fee

Annual Fee

Your monthly repayment
$500

 
 
Critical
At this rate, you will not pay off your debt.
 
Recommended
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
12 months

Without a balance transfer
15 months

Money saved transferring debt to a balance transfer card:

Savings = $1,000

By moving forward with a balance transfer credit card and transferring the maximum amount, you could be saving $1,000 on fees and interest charges.
You will save an infinite amount of money as you will not pay off your debt on your current cards at that rate.
In this case, a balance transfer card is not the best option. You might want to consider a personal loan to help consolidate your debt. You can find out more here.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this calculator, the results should be used as indication only. Certain assumptions have been made around the repayments made. This calculator is neither a quote nor a pre-qualification for a credit card

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    stephNovember 14, 2017

    can i open multiple cards to accommodate transferring all my debt?

    • Staff
      joshuainfantadoNovember 15, 2017Staff

      Yes, it is possible to open multiple cards to transfer all of your balances. But, you’ll want to consider the likelihood of approval for multiple cards. Here are a few things that may affect your approval.

      If you submit a lot of applications in a short amount of time, it can actually have a detrimental effect on your credit report. In turn, this could hurt your chances of a successful application.

      Each time you submit a credit card application, the credit card provider assesses your application by requesting a copy of your credit report. This is called a “hard credit inquiry” and is recorded on your report for up to two years, regardless of the outcome (which is not recorded). Hard inquiries aren’t limited to credit card applications; you get one every time you apply for any kind of loan, mortgage or utility credit. Each hard inquiry can take a few points off your credit score.

      While occasional hard enquiries are unlikely to hurt your credit score, imagine having a bunch of them together on your report within a short period of time. To a lender, it could look as if you’re desperate for credit, and definitely raises a red flag when they are assessing your application.

      That said, credit providers consider a lot more factors than merely the hard inquiries on your credit file. They also look at any other black marks such as late payments, payment defaults, court writs or bankruptcies. Plus, if you have any positive payment history on your file (such as details of a credit account you always pay on time), this could work in your favour.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

US Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™

APR

16.24
variable

Annual fee

0 For the first year
More info
The First Access VISA® Credit Card
The First Access VISA® Credit Card

APR

29.99
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

APR

23.9
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

APR

17.24
TO
24.24

Annual fee

0 For the first year
More info
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