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How long does a balance transfer take?

Discover what to expect when applying for a balance transfer and how you can speed up the process.

If you’re struggling to pay down debt due to high interest rates across multiple credit cards or loans, a balance transfer may be a viable solution. By consolidating your existing debt onto a credit card offering a low or 0% intro APR, you can buy some time to pay down your debt without accruing unnecessary interest charges. Not only does this help you pay off your debt faster, but it also makes it a cheaper solution.

While the application process takes between 10 to 15 minutes, you could wait for up to two weeks (sometimes longer) to see the balance transfer process through. Here’s how to speed up the process.

How long will I wait for a new provider to process my balance transfer application?

  • Applying online for a new balance transfer credit card usually takes between 10 to 15 minutes, as long as you have the necessary documents and information on hand. You will likely need to submit the information of the balances that you want to transfer on the online application.
  • After submitting your application, many credit card providers offer an online conditional decision on your application within just minutes. You may need to submit more documentation or wait for the provider to contact you in order to finalize the application process.
  • It could take up to two weeks for you to see the debt in your new credit card account, although many banks can transfer the balance in 7 to 10 business days.
  • Once you see the debt in your new account, you can begin to make your repayments. Make sure your old credit cards or loans have been cleared and close them if you wish.
  • If you don’t see your balance transfer applied to your new account within two weeks, contact your new card provider to confirm when you might expect it to appear.

How long will it take for my new bank to process my balance transfer?

InstitutionNumber of days to process
American ExpressUp to 14 days
BMOUp to 14 days
CIBCUp to 14 days
MBNAUp to 15 days
PC FinancialUp to 14 days
RBCUp to 14 days
ScotiabankUp to 14 days
TangerineUp to 14 days
TDUp to 14 days

Compare balance transfer credit cards

Name Product Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
BMO CashBack Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) on up to $1,000 of purchases in the first 2 months Until July 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) on up to $1,000 of purchases in the first 2 months Until July 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
0.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
2%
12.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($20 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
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.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
0% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
N/A
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get a 0.00% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months with no balance transfer fee. Apply by August 31, 2022.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
0% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
N/A
19.99%
$39
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 0.00% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months. Apply by August 31, 2022.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What is the balance transfer process for each bank?

Though the process of transferring a balance is relatively straightforward, timing and steps can vary between credit card providers. Here’s what you can expect with big-name banks and providers.

American Express

Some American Express cards offer optional balance transfers for new customers, with offers as low as 1.99% APR for the first six months. When applying, you will need to fill out the information on the optional balance transfer section of the application. This includes providing the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • You can only apply for a balance transfer at the time of application.
  • You can typically opt to transfer the lesser of $7,500 or 50% of your credit limit from a non–American Express account to your new Amex card.
  • Most cards don’t charge a balance transfer fee.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.

The balance transfer approval process often begins 72 hours after your application is approved, with most transfers completed within 14 business days.

BMO

Some BMO credit cards allow balance transfers for new customers, with offers of 1.99% to 3.99% for nine months. When applying for a balance transfer, you will need to fill out the information on the optional balance transfer section of the application. This includes providing the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • A balance transfer fee of 1-3% is charged, depending on the credit card you choose.
  • The transfer amount plus the fee must not exceed your credit limit.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.

You can apply for a balance transfer at the time of application or after approval by logging into your BMO account. Most balance transfers are completed within 14 business days.

CIBC

Some CIBC cards offer optional balance transfers for new customers, with offers as low 0% APR for up to ten months. When applying, you will need to fill out the information on the optional balance transfer section of the application. This includes providing the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • You can only apply for a balance transfer at the time of application.
  • A 1% balance transfer fee is charged on the transferred amount.
  • Transfer up to 50% of your credit limit.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.

You can apply for a balance transfer only at the time of application. Most transfers are completed within 14 business days.

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MBNA

MBNA offer one credit card that allows balance transfers, with promotional offers differing from 0% to 2.99% for six to ten months. You can request a balance transfer at the time of application or up to 90 days after. When applying for the transfer, you’ll need to provide the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • You can apply for a balance transfer within 90 days of card membership.
  • There is a 1% balance transfer fee charged to the transferred amount, with a minimum charge of $7.50.
  • Transfer up to 95% of your available credit limit, with multiple transfers available.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.
The balance transfer approval process often begins 10 days after your application is approved in order to give you time to review the account agreement. Most balance transfers are completed within 15 business days, with many taking 3-5 business days.

PC Financial

PC Financial typically offer balance transfers with all of their credit cards, however the rates are subject to change depending on the promotional offer.

  • To take advantage of the promotional offer, you will typically need to apply for a balance transfer within 90 days of account approval.
  • A 1% balance transfer fee will be charged if the balance transfer is requested 6 months or more after account approval.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.

The balance transfer approval process will begin shortly after your application is approved, with most transfers completed within 14 business days.

RBC

Some RBC credit cards occasionally have balance transfer offers. When applying for the transfer, you’ll need to provide the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • There is a 1-3% balance transfer fee charged on the transferred amount.
  • You cannot transfer more than your available credit limit.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.
The balance transfer approval process often begins shortly after your application is approved. Most balance transfers are completed within 14 business days, with many taking 3-4 business days.
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Scotiabank

Some Scotiabank cards allow for optional balance transfers for new customers, with offers of 1.99% to 3.99% for the first six months. When applying, you will need to fill out the information on the optional balance transfer section of the application. This includes providing the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • A balance transfer fee of 1-3% is typically charged, or a minimum of $3.50.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.

The balance transfer approval process often begins shortly after your application is approved, with most transfers completed within 14 business days.

Tangerine

Tangerine offer a promotional balance transfer on the only credit card on offer. Promotional rates for balance transfers generally sit around 1.95% for the first six months. You can request a balance transfer at the time of application or up to 30 days after. When applying for the transfer, you’ll need to provide the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • The promotional balance transfer rate will be applied to balance transfers made within the first 30 days.
  • There is a 3% balance transfer fee charged on the transferred amount, or a minimum of $5 charged.
  • The balance transfer cannot exceed the credit limit on the account.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.
Your account must be activated before 45 days, or else the balance transfer will not be processed. Most balance transfers are completed within 14 business days, with many taking 3-5 business days.

TD

Some TD credit cards occasionally have balance transfer offers. When applying for the transfer, you’ll need to provide the amount you’d like to transfer and the details of the debts, including the current providers and the account numbers.

  • There is usually a 1-3% balance transfer fee charged on the transferred amount.
  • You cannot transfer more than your available credit limit.
  • Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.
The balance transfer approval process often begins shortly after your application is approved. Most balance transfers are completed within 14 business days.
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How to speed up the balance transfer process

Here are some ways to ensure a smooth balance transfer:

  1. Do your research. Interest rates, one-time fees, transfer limits and introductory offers depend on your card provider’s terms and conditions. Compare your options to find a provider that meets your specific needs. Knowing as much as possible about the provider and the balance transfer credit card in question will help streamline the process.
  2. Make sure you’re eligible. In most cases, you must meet minimum income and credit score requirements to be approved for a balance transfer credit card. In addition, make sure you meet age and residency requirements. You’ll also want to check that you can actually transfer your debts and ensure that you’re not going to exceed the maximum balance transfer amount as set by the provider.
  3. Gather balance details. Research what you’ll need to provide for each balance transfer. Most providers require:
      • The provider and type of debt.
      • The card or account number.
      • The amount you’d like to transfer.
      • The issuing bank’s name.
  4. Maintain your accounts. If you’ve fallen behind on payments or you owe a large balance, especially one that’s a result of a cash advance, your card provider might consider you a risky applicant. If you’re worried about approval, consider taking time to manage your spending and payments before applying.

Bottom line

Balance transfers to a new credit card can help you focus on consolidating and paying down your debt faster, while minimizing the amount of interest you have to pay. While applying for a balance transfer is simple, how long you’ll have to wait until you see those balances in your new account varies between providers.

Before you apply for a balance transfer, compare your balance transfer credit card options to find the most competitive offer you’re eligible for.

Everything you need to know about balance transfer credit cards

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Frequently asked questions

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