Learn the steps to complete a balance transfer

If you're interested in consolidating your debt but you aren't quite sure where to start, check out our detailed guide to learn about the ins and outs of balance transfers.

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While a balance transfer may seem like an easy decision for you and your finances, figuring out how to do the transfer can be a daunting task. A balance transfer is a great way to move your high-interest debt to a new card with a low or 0% APR, but there are a lot of choices available when it comes to benefits and rewards.

Read our guide to learn more about how to compare and choose a balance transfer credit card, how to apply for one and what to do with your old account once your balance transfer is completed.

Things to consider when shopping for a balance transfer credit card

The goal is to compare the offers on the market and discover which one offers you the most value. Remember to consider the following things when looking for a balance transfer credit card:

  • Promotional APR length. The typical time frame for the intro 0% or low APR is 6-10 months, although there are some cards that offer up to 12 months, or sometimes more, with no interest. It’s best to try to pay off all or most of your debt during the promotional period.
  • Balance transfer fees. Keep in mind that most balance transfers come with a fee that is typically between 1% to 3% of the debt that you are transferring. Make sure to calculate this into the total price to see if a balance transfer would be worth it for you.
  • Annual fees. Some credit cards have annual fees. These annual fees typically range from $0-$99. Keep in mind that some companies may waive the annual fee but only for the first year. Take any annual fees into account when you’re trying to budget out your debt re-payment schedule.
  • Balance transfer limit. Some cards will only allow you to transfer a certain amount of money at a time. If you have a large balance, you may have to complete the transfer in separate transactions and you might end up paying more in fees.
  • Rewards. Make sure to check if your card comes with any kind of rewards or benefits such as interest-free days, travel rewards or 0% APR on purchases.
  • Credit rating. Your credit rating will play a huge part in which balance transfer credit cards you will qualify for. If you have a fair or poor credit history, be sure to do your research to find a card with more lenient approval criteria.
  • Revert APR. If you are late or miss a payment, you may lose your promotional APR and be stuck paying the revert interest rate. To get the full benefits of your balance transfer card, it’s imperative that you make all of your payments on time.
  • Confirm how much you can transfer. You may only be able to transfer up to a percentage of the available credit limit, such as 80% or 90%. Confirm the total allowed transfer amount with the provider before you select the card.

Compare balance transfer credit cards

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

12.99 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Apply today and enjoy a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months when your new credit card account is opened by 31 October 2019.

  • Purchase interest rate: 12.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 12.99%
  • Intro balance transfer rate: 0.99% for the first 6 months
  • Standard balance transfer rate: 12.99%
  • Annual fee: $29
  • Credit rating: 650+ recommended credit score
  • Minimum income: $12,000
  • Minimum age: Age of majority in the province/territory of residence
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Promoted
Name Product Welcome Offer Purchase Interest Rate Balance Transfer Rate Annual Fee Credit Rating
Offers a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
12.99%
0.99% for the first 6 months (then 12.99%)
$29
650+ recommended credit score
Save on interest by consolidating your higher-rate balances and get a low 12.99% purchase interest rate.
Receive 5% cashback (up to $300 cashback) in the first six months.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$99
Good, Excellent
Offers 1.99% balance transfer rate in the first 6 months to new cardmembers. No balance transfer fee upon application.
Earn 2.5% cash back (up to $150 cash back) in the first three months.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$0
Good, Excellent
Offers 1.99% balance transfer rate in the first 6 months. No balance transfer fee upon application.
Get 2,500 bonus SCENE points upon min. spend of $500 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
650+ recommended credit score
Save with no annual fee and earn 1 SCENE point for every $1 spent on all purchases.
Get 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. Valid within the first 30 days of account opening.
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
$0
650+ recommended credit score
Earn 4% Money-Back Rewards in three categories of your choice such as groceries, dining, petrol and more. Ends 31 July 2019.
Offers a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
16.99%
3.99% for the first 6 months (then 16.99%)
$0
650+ recommended credit score
Save with a low interest rate and no annual fee.
No available introductory offer.
17.99%
17.99%
$0
650+ recommended credit score
Get up to 5% in GM Earnings on your initial spend of $5,000 in the first year.
Receive a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all spend for the first six months. Ends 31 October 2019.
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
650+ recommended credit score
Get 1% cash back on payments made at gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies, including recurring payments.
Offers a 2.99% introductory balance transfer rate for the first 6 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
19.99%
2.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$39
650+ recommended credit score
2% cash back on eligible gas stations, grocery and drug store purchases including recurring payments. T&C's apply.
Receive 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points upon first eligible purchase within the first 2 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
19.99%
22.99%
$110
650+ recommended credit score
Get 5% cash back on travel purchases via Scotia Rewards Travel Service and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on daily purchases.
Get 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points with min. spend of $1,000 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
19.99%
22.99%
$139
750+ recommended credit score
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. Plus, an extra 10,000 points with a min. annual spend of $40,000 on your card.
Receive 30,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points upon first eligible purchase within the first two months. Ends 31 October 2019.
19.99%
22.99%
$399
750+ recommended credit score
Earn 4x Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent at grocery stores, gas stations, dining and entertainment purchases.
Waived annual fee for the first year of card membership. Ends 31 October 2019.
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($79 thereafter)
650+ recommended credit score
Get up to 5% in GM Earnings upon initial spend of $10,000 in the first year and 2% subsequently.
Offers a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all spend for the first 6 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
650+ recommended credit score
Receive 1% cash back on payments made at petrol stations, supermarkets, pharmacies and recurring bill payments.
Receive 2,400 AIR MILES® Reward Miles when you spend $3,000 within first three months of membership.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$299
Good, Excellent
Offers 1.99% balance transfer rate in the first 6 months. No balance transfer fee upon application.
Get 15,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points with min. spend of $1,000 within the first 3 months. Ends 31 July 2019.
19.99%
22.99%
$99
650+ recommended credit score
Earn 4 Scotia Rewards points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually on eligible purchases.
Get 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points upon min. spend of $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
19.99%
22.99%
$0
650+ recommended credit score
Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Receive 2,000 bonus AIR MILES® Reward miles when you spend $1,500 within the first three months of membership.
19.99%
1.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
$65
Good, Excellent
Offers 1.99% balance transfer rate in the first 6 months. No balance transfer fee upon application.
First year annual fee waived for new cardholders. Ends 31 October 2019.

19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
750+ recommended credit score
Save with no annual fee for the first year. Ends 31 October 2019.

Compare up to 4 providers

Choosing the right balance transfer credit card

If you’ve decided that a balance transfer is best for you, you’ll then need to find a card to suit your needs. When shopping around, the two most important things to consider when choosing a balance transfer card are the promotional APR length and the balance transfer fee. You’ll want to aim for a card that has a long promotional period of at least 10 months, and low or zero fees.

It can be difficult to find cards that don’t charge any balance transfer fees, but this is a plus if you do. If not, try to find one where the transfer fee is 1%. Ideally, you should be able to eliminate most, if not all of your debt during the interest-free period. Any additional rewards or benefits that may work in your favour will help you to decide on the right card, such as travel rewards or cash back perks.

Once you’ve found a balance transfer card you want to apply for, you’ll need to gather the necessary information that you’ll require to submit your application. Most importantly, you’ll need the account information for the card that you are transferring the debt from, and the exact amount you wish to transfer. Write down any important questions you may have so you can ask them before committing to the new card.

Applying for a card and completing the balance transfer

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect balance transfer card, it’s time to submit your application. You can click “Go to site” in the table above to start your application. When filling out your application – online, through the mail, or sometimes in person at a branch – you’ll be given the opportunity to include the balance transfers you wish to make. You’ll need to provide the account number and the amount you wish to transfer. This is simply a request on your part. The exact amount you’ll be eligible to transfer will be determined once your application has been reviewed and approved.

If you’re approved, your new card provider will transfer the balances on your behalf, up to the credit limit on your new card minus any transfer or annual fees. Be sure to continue to make your minimum monthly payment on your old card until you’ve confirmed that the transfer has been made.

If you submitted your application without making any balance transfer requests, you will have to make arrangements to transfer your debt once you’ve been approved. You can do this one of two ways.

  • By phone: Once you receive your new card in the mail, call the number on the back of the card, and a customer service representative will assist you in completing the transfer.

-or-

  • Online: You’ll need to sign up for online banking once you receive your card. Once you’ve created your online account, follow the instructions to complete the transfer.
  • Make sure to complete the transfer as soon as possible. If you wait longer than 60 days, you may lose the promotional APR. It typically takes 5-7 business days to be approved. If you haven’t heard back after this time, contact the bank to find out if there’s an issue. You may be asked to provide additional information. You can confirm your transfer once you’ve heard back.

Finally, what should you do with your old cards?

After confirming your transfer, you may or may not want to close your old accounts. If your old bank charges any membership fees, you can contact them to close your old card and avoid any further charges. If you have old cards that aren’t accumulating any charges, you don’t necessarily have to close those accounts. Having open lines of credit that you aren’t using can help to improve your credit rating.

Compare credit cards for 2019

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