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Instant approval balance transfer credit cards

Looking to move your debt to a balance transfer credit card? Find out if you're approved sooner with an instant approval card.

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A balance transfer credit card can help you save on interest, especially if you opt for a card that comes with a long promotional balance transfer offer. While the actual time it takes to transfer your debt to your new balance transfer card varies from one card provider to the next, some credit card companies offer instant approval — making it quicker to transfer your debt and stop paying those high APRs.

Keep in mind instant approval is still conditional approval, but it’s a promising step in the right direction to paying down your credit card debt faster and cheaper.

What is an instant balance transfer credit card?

Many credit card providers offer instant approval, which means your application receives a conditional approval within seconds or minutes of applying. Once the provider double checks your application, you can typically expect to receive your credit card in the mail within 7 to 10 days.

Credit cards with balance transfer offers charge little to no interest on transferred balances for anywhere between 6 and 10 months, depending on the offer. Even when the offer doesn’t include a promotional rate, you might still benefit if the new card’s interest rate is noticeably lower than the rate you’re currently paying on your debt. Just watch out for balance transfer fees, which are usually between 1-3% and are charged as a fee for moving the balance over to your new card.

With an instant balance transfer credit card, you may be able to move your balance to the new card before you even receive the physical credit card in the mail. This can help speed up the transfer process and move your debt to your 0% or low rate card sooner – saving you money on interest charges. That said, most balance transfers typically take between 5 and 14 days to complete, and most providers require that you activate your card before the balances are transferred – which means you’d need to physically have the card.

Compare instant approval balance transfer credit cards

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.
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 15,000 BMO Rewards points. 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 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, 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 up to 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
Earn 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, 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.
No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa Card
16.99%
3.99% for the first 6 months (then 16.99%)
N/A
$0
$12,000
Save with a low interest rate, no annual fee and a balance transfer offer.
Get a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by October 31, 2020.
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 October 31, 2020.
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).
Get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by October 31, 2020.
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).
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What can I expect when applying?

Before going through the application process, check out the card’s terms and conditions — a table that every credit card company is required to have on its site that clearly states fees, policies and information about APRs.

Once you fill out your application (which includes providing your personal, financial and employment information) you can then provide the details required to complete your balance transfer. This will entail providing information about the banks and institutions that your debt is currently with.

Once you hit submit, you can expect a decision within a few seconds or minutes. If you’re approved, don’t expect the transfer to be instant. Transfers typically take between 5 and 14 days to process from the time you receive and activate your card.

What can I do to increase my chances of approval?

Make sure you meet all of the eligibility requirements for the new card, and pay particular attention to any minimum income and credit score requirements. Have all of the required documentation on hand to support your credit card application, and provide all relevant details of the accounts from which you wish to transfer balances.

You can read more about increasing your odds of approval with our guide to successfully applying for a balance transfer credit card.

How does my credit score affect instant approval?

Your credit score plays a significant role in the overall approval process. If you have a very good to excellent credit score, you’re most likely a good candidate for instant approval. On the other hand, a credit score below 650 may prevent a credit card company from approving your application immediately — or at all.

However, lenders look at many factors when they evaluate your application. Other factors, such as too many inquiries into your credit, late payments and having a high credit utilization ratio are all parts of the big picture. Your credit score is one large piece of the puzzle when it comes to how lenders view how risky of a borrower you are.

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Can I apply for multiple cards?

Applying for multiple credit cards around the same time isn’t usually a good idea. Every time you apply for a credit card, the provider will do a “hard pull” on your credit report to check how risky of a borrower you are. A hard pull temporarily lowers your score a few points, and the inquiry will stay on your credit report for up to three years.

Are instant approval balance transfer credit cards right for me?

If you’re looking for a quick response, applying for an instant approval card can be the right choice. However, not all balance transfer cards offer instant approval so you could be limiting your choices.

When trying to decide on the right balance transfer card, take into account how much debt you have, how much you can move to the new card, the length of the promotional period, any balance transfer fees and annual fees, the purchase APR and the interest rate that your debt will take on once the promotional period expires. These factors may be more essential to consider than the amount of time it takes to get approved for a balance transfer card.

How long until everything is finalized?

Even if you’re approved right away, transferring balances from your existing cards to the new card can sometimes take up to 4 to 6 weeks, although most providers note that it usually takes up to 14 days – but this is typically for the transfer to take place, which happens once you’ve received and activated your card.

Typically, balance transfers won’t be initiated until after you’ve activated your card. Depending on your provider and how soon you act upon receiving the card, that could take two weeks on its own – which is why some transfers can take up to 4 or 6 weeks.

What else should I consider when applying?

Before you apply for an instant approval balance transfer card, consider the following:

  • Is there a promotional offer?
    A number of credit cards come with promotional balance transfer offers, and some charge low or 0% interest introductory rates for a specified period of time – usually between six and 10 months, sometimes longer. However, once the promotional rate ends, any outstanding balance starts accumulating interest at the revert rate.
  • What is the revert rate?
    At the end of the promotional period, outstanding balances from transfers will start accruing interest at the revert rate, which is most often the purchase rate. The purchase rate will be stated on the terms and conditions at the time of your application. Some providers may use the cash advance rate as the revert rate, so make sure you know what you’ll be charged before applying for the card.
  • How much can I transfer?
    Just how much you can transfer onto your new credit card depends on the card you get. While some cards allow you to transfer up to 90% of your card’s credit limit, others may limit you to 70% of your card’s limit.

Bottom line

Transferring your balance to a new card with a low or 0% APR can be a smart way to save money and lower your debt. However, while instant approval on your application might speed things along, the actual transfer time of your debt can vary – and the instant approval may prove to be negligible.

Remember, even if you get approved for a new balance transfer credit card, you’ll still need to keep up to date on your existing credit card or loan payments until your transfer is complete and the debt has been successfully moved.

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Frequently asked questions

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