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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?

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:

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.

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 0.99% 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 2%. In this case, 2% of $5,000 would come out to a transfer fee of $50.
  • You get a 0.99% 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.

Frequently asked questions


Written by

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a personal finance expert and a former writer at Finder. His expertise has been featured in CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Lifehacker and, among other top media. See full profile

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