Can I transfer credit card debt from another person? | finder.com
Can I transfer debt from my partner?

Can I transfer debt from my partner?

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Looking to consolidate a joint debt or alleviate your partner’s debt? Discover which providers allow joint balance transfers.

Transferring a balance from your existing credit card or cards to a new credit card with a low promotional interest rate is a common way to deal with debt. What’s less common, though, is getting a balance transfer for a partner or family member’s debt.

A joint balance transfer is when a balance is transferred for a partner’s debt. Not all credit card providers allow this process, but there are many that give you the option to move your debt to a partner’s credit card. There are two ways to do this: Through transferring between two names and by creating a joint account for the debt. Transferring between accounts involves moving your balance to a new card with your partner’s name attached.

This guide outlines the different options you have, banks that allow joint balance transfers and the steps to take to transfer a credit card debt from your partner to find the best way to deal with shared debts.

How to conduct a balance transfer for someone else’s debt

Financial institutions have two main options if you want to transfer someone else’s balance to an account under your name. They are:

  • Transferring the balance between two people’s names

    In this instance, you would transfer the debt from your partner’s credit card to your own credit card. Their name would be removed from the debt and replaced with yours. This means you’re the only person legally responsible for the balance. In some cases, credit card issuers will require you to add your partner as an “additional cardholder” before their debt can be transferred to the new credit card. Otherwise, you may simply be able to transfer the balance from any person’s account to your own.

single-to-single

  • Joint accounts for the debt

    Some credit cards and other loans will allow you and your partner to apply for a joint account. This option means that you and your partner would share the legal responsibility for the account and any balance that you transfer onto it.

    To get a joint credit card account, both of you would provide your details when applying for the balance transfer credit card. Depending on the issuer, you may also request that your partner is added as a joint account holder after you have applied for the card.

singles-to-joint

The process of transferring your partner’s balance to a new card depends on which option you choose and the credit card you want to use for the balance transfer. Use the below table as a guide to which banks offer these two balance transfer options for partners.

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Which banks offer joint balance transfers?

Bank/InstitutionTypes of shared accountsBalance transfer between two people’s names?Joint primary cardholders
american-express-logoAuthorized user No No
bank-of-americaCo-signer/joint account holder; guarantor; authorized user YesYes
barcalycardAuthorized user Yes No
capital-oneAuthorized user No No
chaseAuthorized user No No
citi-bankAuthorized user No No
discoverJoint account holder and authorized user Yes Yes
usaaJoint account holder and authorized user Yes Yes

Compare balance transfer cards

Name Product Introductory Balance Transfer APR APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee Minimum Credit Score
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.74%, 18.74% or 24.74% variable)
14.74%, 18.74% or 24.74% variable
$0
Fair (660-699)
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees
0% for the first 18 months from account opening (then 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% variable)
12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% variable
$0
Fair (660-699)
An 18-month 0% Intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 16.74% variable)
16.74% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 16.74% variable)
16.74% variable
$495
Good (700-739)
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
0% for the first 15 months (then 16.74% to 25.49% variable)
16.74% to 25.49% variable
$0
Fair (660-699)
Jumpstart your financial fitness! 60 day introductory balance transfer offer, save on interest, and get your free monthly credit score.
0% for the first 15 statement closing dates (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
14.74% to 24.74% variable
$0
Fair (660-699)
Transfer high rate balances and save on interest with an Introductory $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
14.74% to 25.74% variable
$0
Fair (660-699)
Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
0% for the first 15 months (then 16.74% to 25.49% variable)
16.74% to 25.49% variable
$0
Fair (660-699)
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic. No minimum to redeem for cash back.
0% for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
14.99% to 24.99% variable
$0
Good (700-739)
Earn more cash back for the things you buy most.
NASA Federal Platinum Advantage Rewards Credit Card
NASA Federal Platinum Advantage Rewards Credit Card
9.9% for the first 90 days (then 11.65% to 17.99% variable)
11.65% to 17.99% variable
$0
Fair (660-699)
Enjoy perks and save money while gaining points that never expire with every purchase.
13.25% variable
$0
Poor (Below 660)
A great way to establish or improve your credit history.
10.74% variable
$0
Good (700-739)
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
10.99% for the first 6 months (then 24.74% variable)
24.74% variable
$0
Poor (Below 660)
2% Cashback at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases.
25.74% variable
$24
Poor (Below 660)
Build, or rebuild, your credit with each purchase.

Compare up to 4 providers

Check out our guide to balance transfer credit cards

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How to transfer a balance from your partner’s account to your credit card

Most credit card issuers only allow one primary cardholder, transferring the debt from your partner’s debt to your credit card is probably the most likely option.

While qualifications and application process vary between credit card providers, the following steps can be used as a general guide when transferring someone else’s debt to a balance transfer credit card in your name. Get in touch with the institution you’re applying with for more information.

  1. Compare credit cards. Compare balance transfer credit cards to find one that has a competitive APR and even a 0% promotional period. Make sure it has a credit limit that can support your balance and that you can pay the balance before the promotional period is up. And, remember that some issuers only allow you to transfer up to a percentage of your credit limit.
  2. Check the balance transfer terms and conditions. Make sure the credit card allows balance transfers between different account names, and if your partner will need to be a secondary cardholder. Check the card’s disclosure statement or call the issuer for more information.
  3. Apply for the credit card. Provide details including your full name, Social Security number, address, drivers licence or passport number and employment details.
  4. Include details of the balance transfer. You will need to provide details of the account, including your partner’s name and contact info, the account number, the financial institution’s name, and the amount of debt to be transferred.
  5. Include details of secondary cardholders. If the issuer requires your partner to be a secondary cardholder to process the balance transfer from their account to your new credit card, fill out this section of the application with your partner.
  6. Submit the application. You should get an initial response within a few minutes. If you get conditional approval, follow the steps outlined by the issuer to complete the application process and finalize the balance transfer.

Once this process is successfully completed, you should receive your new credit card within 5 to 10 business days, although it could take up to 21 days in some cases. After you activate the new card, the issuer will process the balance transfer.

Stay in touch with the new issuer and be ready to answer any questions or provide supporting documentation if needed to help the transfer run as smoothly as possible.

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How to complete a balance transfer to a joint primary cardholder with a partner

With some credit cards, it’s possible to transfer a balance from a joint account, or to transfer your partner’s credit card debt to a new joint credit card account. The important thing to remember is that not all credit cards or issuers allow you to have a joint credit card account, so make sure you choose a card that offers this feature.

  • To transfer a balance from an existing joint account
    Apply for the credit card and include details of the balance transfer request, including all the names of the joint account holders, the account number, financial institution and the amount of debt you want to transfer. You can go through this process with an individual credit card in your name, or apply for a credit card that offers joint account status for you and your partner.

joint-to-joint

  • To transfer a balance from your partner’s account to a new joint credit card account
    Find a credit card issuer that allows joint primary cardholders and compare their balance transfer credit cards. Depending on the issuer, you’ll either get joint account status immediately or apply as an individual and add your partner.

single-to-joint

See our guide on how to apply for a balance transfer for tips to improve your chances of approval.

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What is the difference between joint-primary cardholder accounts and secondary cardholders?

The difference can impact your balance transfer options — and your legal rights — when transferring or sharing debt.

Joint-primary cardholder accountsPrimary cardholder accounts with secondary cardholders
Two people have applied for a credit card under both cardholders’ names and have complete access to the account.One person has applied for a credit card in their name but wants to share the account with a partner (without joint account status).
Both have the ability to change credit limits, request account freezes or close the account.Primary cardholder can request to add a secondary or additional cardholder but only the primary cardholder has control over credit limit changes, account freezes or account closure.
Both partners have regular sources of income and good credit histories.Only the primary cardholder has to have a regular source of income and a good credit history.
Both parties remain liable for all transactions and payments made on the card.Primary cardholder remains liable for all transactions and payments made on the card, even if a balance has been transferred from an account held by the secondary cardholder.
If the closure of an account is the result of a divorce or a separation, both partners might have to pay half of the debt each, no matter who made which purchases.In the event of a separation or a divorce, know that you, as the primary cardholder, would be liable to make payments toward the entire account.
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Mistakes to avoid when transferring a balance from someone else’s card

Whether it is your own debt or your partner’s, balance transfer credit cards can be a way to save money on interest and pay down the balance faster. But there are some risks involved. Being aware of the following mistakes will help you make an informed decision about balance transfers for you and your partner when you want to consolidate credit card debt.

  • Don’t accidentally apply for a card that doesn’t allow balance transfers from someone else’s account. Not all credit cards let you transfer another person’s credit card debt to a new card in your name. Make sure you check these details before you apply to avoid a declined application.
  • Not discussing payments with your partner. If your partner becomes a secondary cardholder on your account, or if you apply for joint account status, it’s important to be clear on how and when you’ll make payments. Discussing this before you apply for a new card or balance transfer reduces the risk of confusion or other issues down the road.
  • Not checking the revert rate. The low balance transfer interest rate is only available during the introductory period on the card. When this period ends, any outstanding debt from a balance transfer will attract a higher, standard interest rate until it’s paid off in full.
  • Balance transfer fees. You might have to pay a balance transfer fee that can vary from one card provider to the next.

How does a joint balance transfer affect my credit score?

Your credit score is determined by a number of factors — and impacts your ability to get a loan or other credit cards. When you decide to take on more debt through a joint balance transfer, one thing’s for certain — your credit is impacted.

Transferring debt can raise your debt-to-income ratio and lower your credit utilization ratio — which weighs how much debt you have compared to have much credit you have available. Both can lower your credit score and affect your ability to qualify for low APRs.

Making regular, on-time payments also will affect your credit score. It’s important to know who’s responsible for making payments and when the due date is. Some credit card companies charge high fees for late payments, while others will end a low introductory rate.

Bottom line

While it’s hard to find information about transferring a balance from your partner’s accounts to a new credit card, it’s possible under some circumstances. Understanding the different options available and the varying conditions of credit card issuers means you can now find a balance transfer credit card that fits the needs of you and your partner when you want to deal with debt.

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Balance transfer calculator

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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Frequently asked questions

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Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    alexNovember 27, 2017

    I have a Citi credit card it gives me the option to transfer to a checking account in the balance transfer tab can I do a balance transfer from my credit card to my daughter checking account with Citi even when my name is not on her account because it gives me the option to put in a account information?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoanneDecember 27, 2017Staff

      Hi Alex,

      Thank you for visiting finder, we are a comparison website and general information service.

      This page listed which banks offer joint balance transfers. Citi does not allow balance transfers between two people’s names or Joint primary cardholders. Should you need further information about the option that allows you to put in an account information, you may need to reach out directly to Citi’s customer care service.

      Cheers,
      Joanne

  2. Default Gravatar
    YesicaJuly 10, 2017

    When I apply for a credit card at chase bank can I transfer the money on the credit card to another person account?

    • finder Customer Care
      AnndyJuly 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Yesica,

      Thanks for your question.

      I would like to confirm, are you referring to depositing money to another person’s bank account using your credit card?

      Kindly note that you can’t directly transfer money from your credit card to another person’s bank account. But you could try getting a money transfer service.

      With a money transfer service, you can send money to a bank account or for cash pickup, and be paying it through your credit card. However, please note that this type of transaction may attract cash advance interest. Chase and these companies offer money transfer services.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  3. Default Gravatar
    WillApril 24, 2017

    When transferring a credit balance between two people, is this considering giving or receiving income for either party?

    For example. Jane owes $4000 on her credit. She transfers the balance to her mom. Is this like receiving $4000 from her mother?
    Say for tax purposes or reporting income for child support?

    • finder Customer Care
      LiezlAugust 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Will,

      Thanks for your question.

      Assuming one’s credit card debt through a balance transfer can be considered as a gift provided that no payment is expected from the cardholder. Based on IRS gift tax guidelines, generally, the person who receives your gift will not have to pay gift tax because of it. Also, that person will not have to pay income tax on the value of the gift received. Instead, the gift tax will be paid by the donor, the mother in this case, if the value of the gifts given to a person exceeds the annual exclusion of $14,000.

      I hope this has answered your question.

      Kind regards,
      Liezl

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