If you get an offer in the mail for a balance transfer credit card, you may be ready to jump on it. You might then be surprised to learn that most credit cards won’t allow you to make the transfer within the same credit card company.
So if you’re considering a balance transfer, find out the issuer and what debt it’s willing to take on.
Can I transfer debt with the same issuer?
Transferring debt between cards with the same issuer is typically not allowed. Most credit card companies have restrictions on transferring balances on other credit cards or loans from the same issuer.
For example, if you have debts on a Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, your transfer application will likely be denied because they’re both Citi credit cards.
Check with the issuer before you apply for your balance transfer card to learn if you can transfer balances from certain cards.
While it’s very rare an issuer will approve a balance transfer within the same bank or provider, there are sometimes exceptions. For example, Barclays will consider a transfer between some of its issued cards at its discretion.
Which credit card providers accept balance transfers from cards they issued?
Any providers that accept balance transfers from a credit card issued by itself likely only do so on a case-by-case basis. However, you may be able to transfer a balance from another issuer to a card you’ve held for a long time — sometimes even with a promotional APR.
Credit card issuer
Accepts balance transfers from credit cards issued by it
Accepts existing customer balance transfers
Bank of America
Compare balance transfer credit cards
While you typically can’t transfer a balance between the same lender accounts, there are plenty of strong options to choose from. Here’s a few choices you can compare to get you started.
Why don’t banks allow balance transfers from the same bank?
It comes down to profit. Lenders make their money from cardholders through fees and interest. There’s not much benefit for the lender to let their customers freely save on interest.
Plus when you’re sent balance transfer offers in the mail, the issuer is often looking for new customers. A balance transfers serves as an incentive to open up that account with a new bank.
What’s the difference between a credit card issuer and a credit card brand?
While credit cards are often branded by banks, stores or even supermarkets — like Lowe’s, Amazon and Costco — these cards are actually issued by larger financial institutions like Chase.
To go one step further, there’s also a difference between a credit card issuer and a credit card network. Chase may issue the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, but the card is part of the Visa network. Networks facilitate transactions and determine where cards are accepted.
Changes between credit card brands and issuers
Some credit card brands may change card issuers from time to time. So, check your current card issuer when you’re about to request a balance transfer.
In some cases, a different issuer may be affiliated with your account, which could affect your ability to balance transfer your debt to other associated credit card brands.
What happens if I apply for a balance transfer with the same credit card issuer?
If you accidentally apply for a balance transfer with the same provider, the impact depends on the companies involved and your financial circumstances. Some potential outcomes include:
Your application may be declined. In most cases, the reason your application is denied has more to do with other factors, including your credit score and history.
It could affect your credit score. Every time you apply for a credit card, the company does a hard pull on your credit that can temporarily lower your score. Multiple denied applications can be bad news for your credit.
You could get an offer for the new card without the balance transfer. If you have good credit, you’re likely to be approved for the card, even without the balance transfer offer.
Before applying for any balance transfer, read the terms and conditions to understand the fees, expectations and limitations. Even if a bank allows you to transfer your balances, promotional terms such as 0% intro interest rates may not always be available to existing cardholders. Compare your balance transfer card options to find one that best fits your needs.
Probably not. If you manage to get two cards with the same issuer, you’ll need to treat each card as a separate debt. Each card will likely have different due dates, different minimum payment amounts, interest rates and terms.
If you end up with a penalty rate on one account, the other card you have with the same issuer may also face penalties — even if you’ve paid on time. Carefully read the terms of any promotions before applying because you may be ineligible for any promotions if you’re already a cardholder with the issuer.
The best thing to do is contact the credit card company or bank and ask them for a list. Alternatively, you can just provide the name of the cards you want to transfer debt from and ask the prospective issuer if any are affiliates.
According to Experian, any credit inquiry results in a small, temporary drop in your credit score. If you aren’t successful in transferring your balance with one card, you may be tempted to apply for another.
Too many applications may jeopardize your credit score and overall credit profile. Because of that, it’s best to do your research ahead of time and find a balance transfer card that’s not affiliated with the company you want to transfer debt from.
Steven Dashiell is a writer at Finder specializing in all things credit cards. With more than 300 articles under his belt, he aims to help readers embrace credit cards and maximize their rewards. Steve is studying to become a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, and is a frequent face on Finder’s YouTube channel, offering the latest in credit card hacks and advice. His expertise has been featured on numerous outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Time, CBS, Fox Business, Lifehacker, Martha Stewart Living and more.
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