You can transfer as much debt as your new card’s limit allows — but clarify the rules with your provider.
Most providers allow you to transfer two to five balances to the one account, though this will vary from provider to provider. As long as your total transfer balance doesn’t exceed the balance transfer limit, you should have no issue transferring debts from multiple credit cards.
The average American has more than $3,000 of credit card debt. This makes the US one of the biggest borrowers in the world. This debt is typically spread among two to or three credit cards, which means most of us carry more than one card at a time.
Most providers allow you to transfer debt from multiple credit cards, though the total transfer must not exceed the balance transfer limit (typically between 70% and 100%). In most cases, lenders will only let you transfer a percentage of the credit limit (between 70% and 100%).
Can I transfer balances from another person?
Depending on your provider, you may be able to. Check with your provider.
You may also be able to open a joint credit card account and transfer debt to it. Then you and the other cardholder will share legal responsibility for the debt.
Can I transfer balances between cards issued by the same bank?
Unfortunately, your bank won’t allow this. That’s because it uses balance transfer promotions to attract new customers, rather than give current customers a break from interest.
How to conduct multiple balance transfers
Most balance transfer applications will provide more than one section in the application for you to fill out the details of multiple balances. If the application only has the option to list two accounts, contact the provider to confirm whether you can request an additional account to be added.
Here you’ll need to provide your account details and the amount you’re transferring from each account. You’ll also need to organize the closure of your accounts once you’ve completed the balance transfer. If you don’t close your accounts, you may have to pay additional fees (such as a maintenance or annual fee).
Depending on the card, you may also be charged a balance transfer fee (usually of 2-3% of the balance amount) when completing the transfer.
Compare balance transfer credit cards
Other balance transfer tips
Remember, the clock is ticking and you have to use every day you get with a balance transfer promotional rate of interest to reduce your credit card debt.
Start repaying immediately
Because the low introductory rate lasts six to 24 months, you have a limited time to repay your balance in full. Once the promotional period ends, your remaining balance will begin collecting at a rate (usually the standard interest or cash advance rate) which can exceed 20%.
Don’t use your balance transfer card for purchases
Your purchases will be paid off before your existing debt as the purchase amounts will be collecting a higher interest rate than the promotional balance transfer rate. Interest-free periods on purchases are also not awarded when you have an outstanding balance.
Mistakes to avoid when transferring multiple balances to one card
Transferring multiple balances means you’ll need to keep track of quite a few details. That said, stay vigilant and avoid these common balance-transfer mistakes.
Forgetting about the offer deadline
With many balance transfer credit cards, you must transfer your balances within a certain period to qualify for the intro APR. For example, the Citi Simplicity offers 0% APR for an impressive 18 months, but only on transfers you make within the first four months.
To make sure you get your intro APR, take a look at your provider’s card disclosure.
Not keeping track of payments on your old cards after making your balance transfers
Balance transfers usually take a while to complete — often between seven and 15 days. Before that time, you must make at least the minimum payments on your old card bills.
Not factoring in the balance transfer fee
The balance transfer fee is usually 3% of each transaction. That means a $3,000 transfer might cost you $90. Add up a few balance transfers and you could pay a larger fee than you thought.
To make sure the fee is worth paying, calculate how much you’ll save with your balance transfer.
What to do with older accounts
So, you’ve transferred your balances to your new credit card. Should you close your old accounts?
You can close them if you wish, but it may be a good idea to leave them open. Keeping your old accounts intact helps you keep your total credit high, which in turn helps you keep your credit score high. (Confused how this works? Learn about credit utilization.)
Keeping your old accounts open helps your credit score in another way: by increasing the average age of your credit accounts. Learn what makes up your FICO score.
You may feel apprehensive about transferring multiple balances. That’s perfectly normal. Take the process step by step, asking your provider if you’re unsure about the rules.
While making your balance transfers, keep detailed records of what transactions you’ve initiated. Also, record important details about your intro APR and when you should pay off your debt.