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Balance transfer credit card calculator: How much can you save?

You may have heard that balance transfer credit cards are a great way to pay less on your debt. But exactly how much will it help?

Updated

Fact checked

To get a better idea of how balance transfer cards can help, check out our handy debt repayment calculator to see if a balance transfer card works for you. After, you can take a look at our examples of debt repayment to see how it compares to other options.

How to use this calculator

  1. In the Card #1 line, fill in your current credit card’s balance and APR. You can add additional balances by clicking the Add another card button.
  2. If you know your balance transfer card details, fill those out in the next section to see how much you’ll save. We’ll input some default values for you if you don’t have a specific card in mind.
  3. As you input card details, you’ll see how long it’ll take you to pay off your debt — with and without a balance transfer. You’ll also see how much you can save with a balance transfer.

Balance transfer repayment calculator

Card #1
$
%

Card that you are transferring to:

%
months
%
%
$
Disclaimer: While 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 prequalification for a credit card.

How to calculate your balance transfer repayment

Here’s what the calculator is doing behind the scenes:

  • First, it adds all your existing card balances.
  • Then, it adds the fee you’ll pay for a balance transfer to the new card, as well as the new card’s annual fee.
  • Finally, it takes that total and divides it by the length of your new card’s intro APR.

If you were to do the math by hand, you’d use this formula:

(Total of existing card balances + Balance transfer fee of new card + Annual fee of new card) / Length of intro APR

How much should I pay monthly toward my debt?

Above the slider bar, you’ll see a dollar amount under Your monthly repayment. This is the amount to pay monthly toward your new card’s balance if you want to pay off your balance before the intro APR expires.

You can adjust the slider to see how long it’ll pay off your debt with different monthly payments. If you want to pay the lowest fees and interest, we recommend keeping the slider in the green area.

See more: Here’s an example

You have 2 cards, each with a $1,000 balance. In total, you have $2,000 in credit card debt.

  • You want to move that debt to another card via balance transfer. This has a 3% fee, which comes out to $60. The card also has a $95 annual fee.
  • So, the balance on your new card is $2,000 + $60 + $95 = $2,155.
  • The card has a 0% intro APR for 15 months. Ideally, you’ll want to pay off your balance before that expires. To that end, the calculator will show a recommended monthly payment of $143.67.

Compare balance transfer offers

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Annual Fee Minimum Income Reward Description
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
3.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
1%
$20
$15,000
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
$0
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Tangerine World Mastercard
19.95%
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
$0
$60,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO Rewards Mastercard
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, and get 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Get up to 5x the AIR MILES Reward Miles on groceries Valid until May 31, 2021.Plus, get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Get up to 5x the AIR MILES Reward Miles on groceries Valid until May 31, 2021. Plus, get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
19.99%
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months, with a 1% fee for every transferred balance.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
12.99%
0.99% for the first 6 months (then 12.99%)
N/A
$29
$12,000
Save on interest for 6 months by consolidating your higher-rate balances with the balance transfer offer, and get an on-going 12.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
19.99%
2.99% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
N/A
$39
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and on recurring bill payments (up to a $25,000 annual spend), and earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases (and on all eligible purchases once the $25,000 annual spend is reached).
Earn 7.5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by May 2, 2021.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How much money will I save by doing a balance transfer?

The amount you’ll save depends on several factors, such as:

  • The size of your debt.
  • How much you want to pay on your credit card bill each month.
  • The introductory APR that comes with your balance transfer credit card.

The longer you keep your debt, the more you might save by switching to a balance transfer card. That’s because the card may offer 0% intro APR for a significant period, giving you a long break from interest.

Basically, you save money by paying far less interest for a certain time. The savings are reduced by any balance transfer fees or annual fees, but they can add up.

Compare a balance transfer to your other options

If you have debt you need to pay, you have options. One of those options is to continue paying your debt at the same rate you are paying now. Let’s compare 2 options to a balance transfer credit card — continuing on the same path, or getting a personal loan.

Option #1: Get a balance transfer credit card

The best balance transfer cards will give you an intro APR between 0.99% and 2.99% on transferred balances for a long period of time.

Let’s say you’re approved for the BMO CashBack Mastercard, which offers a 1.99% introductory APR on balance transfers for 9 months. After the intro period expires, you’ll pay a balance transfer APR of 22.99%.

  • You transfer your $5,000 balance to the BMO CashBack Mastercard. You pay a transfer fee of 1%. In this case, 1% of $5,000 would come out to a transfer fee of $50.
  • You get a 1.99% intro APR on your balance for 9 months.
  • Over the course of 9 months, you pay $41 in interest fees.
  • You pay $566 a month toward your balance.

Here are the results:

  • You’ll pay off your debt in 9 months.
  • You’ll pay $5,091 total — $5,000 in debt, $50 for the balance transfer fee and $41 in interest fees.
  • Compared to paying off your credit card debt at the original rate, you save $313.

Option #2: Pay off your debt at the same rate

Among a sea of choices, making no change is certainly an option.

Let’s say your situation is as follows:

  • You have a $5,000 balance on your credit card.
  • The balance comes with an APR of 18%.
  • You’re paying $566 a month toward your balance.

Here are the results of that strategy:

  • You’ll pay off your debt in 10 months.
  • You’ll pay $5,404 total — $5,000 in debt, $404 in interest.

There may be a better option that could save you from paying quite so much in interest.

Option #3: Get a personal loan

Instead of paying off your credit card debt the old-fashioned way, you could take out a personal loan. A personal loan gives you a set amount of cash up front that you can use to pay off your credit card, then you would pay off the loan over time.

If you get an interest rate on the loan that’s lower than the rate you’re paying on your credit card, you can consolidate and pay off your debt slightly faster and more cheaply.

Here’s an example:

  • You take out a $5,000 loan, then pay off your credit card with that loan.
  • Your loan comes with a 14% APR.
  • You continue to pay $566 a month toward your debt.

Here are the results:

  • You’ll pay off your debt in 9 months.
  • You’ll pay $5,296 total — $5,000 in debt, $296 in interest.
  • Compared to paying off your credit card debt at the original rate, you save $108.

Bottom line

If you need a break from high interest rates, a balance transfer credit card might help. By taking advantage of low introductory APRs, you can pay off your debt and slow the pace of interest accumulation.

Try to apply for a balance transfer card with good credit, as your chances of approval will increase.

As with any debt repayment plan, it’s best to compare all of your options before making a decision that works best for you.

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