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Easy-approval balance transfer credit cards
Prequalifying for a balance transfer card is the first step toward paying off your debt.
Easy-approval balance transfer credit cards can be invaluable tools for paying down debt, as they let you transfer existing debts to a card with a temporary period of low or no interest. Best of all, these cards don’t require amazing credit scores, giving a wide variety of cardholders a chance to get ahead on payments.
While choices are limited at the moment, the easiest balance transfer credit cards to qualify for are those you can prequalify for or ones that openly list credit history requirements. While prequalifying for a card, or only applying for cards that advertise a credit score requirement you meet, can increase your chances of approval, it’s not a guarantee you’ll get the card.
Compare easy-approval balance transfer credit cards
If you have poor or little credit history, your choices might be limited when it comes to qualifying for a balance transfer credit card.
Maximize your likelihood of getting approved
When you’re looking to get a balance transfer credit card fast, there are four major factors that affect your chance of approval. Here’s a breakdown of what they are and how you you can improve your odds.
- Credit history and score.
The better your score and payment habits, the less risky you appear to a company and the better the odds you have of approval. Your credit score and history also affects the money lenders are willing to lend, your total credit limit, and your starting interest rate.
Before applying for a card, review your credit score and check it against the credit requirements of a card you’re interested in. If your credit score is equal to or higher than the card’s requirements, you have a good shot.
- Amount and type of debt.
The balances you owe on other accounts is another hard number credit issuers consider. If you carry large balances, how you handle those balances will be something a provider will look at.
The type of debt you have is another indicator of your ability to use credit responsibly. A student loan or home equity line with low payments and low interest that you consistently pay on time offers a stronger case for your reliability than three store credit cards with maxed-out limits.
If you can close out a few balances before applying, this can help “prove” your ability to repay debts and may help during the application process.
- Debt-to-income ratio.
This ratio is two numbers — the total amount you owe and the total amount you make — compared to give an indication of how significant your debt is. A credit issuer will compare those two numbers to gauge your ability to repay the money you’ve borrowed and whether you can handle borrowing any more.
Debt / Income = Debt-to-income ratio
For example, if you owe payments of $1,100 every month and your monthly income is $4,000, your debt-to-income ratio is $1,100 divided by $4,000 — that’s 0.275 or 27.5%. So about a third of your income goes toward your debts.
Debt-to-income ratio levels:
- Under 15%
- Over 20%
A 27.5% debt-to-income ratio would be considered as a riskier debt level. If possible, try to lower this number as much as possible before you apply for your desired card.
Even if you don’t have large debts, a low income can still disqualify you from certain types of credit cards. Though most easy-approval cards don’t have strict income requirements, a provider will still want to know this number when you apply.
Once you decide on a card it’s time to apply. The application process usually only takes a few minutes and likely won’t require too much documentation. Be prepared to provide the following:
- Your basic information such as name, birthday and Social Security number
- Your employer’s name and address
- Either your monthly or annual income
- The amount you want to transfer
- The account information for the credit card you’re transferring from
Be sure to continue making your minimum monthly payments on your old credit card during the transfer to avoid additional fees.
You’ll need to make minimum monthly payments on any remaining balance your old card carries until it’s paid off completely, whether you want to close it or not.
Likewise, an introductory period doesn’t mean you can skip on minimum monthly payments with your new credit card. Be sure to keep on top of them or you may lose the promotional rate.
Despite it being more difficult, you may not be out of luck when it comes to a balance transfer card when you have less than perfect credit. A balance transfer credit card alone isn’t enough to get you out of debt. Make a clear plan that you can follow and hold yourself accountable.
Aside from a clear plan, you can raise your chances of success by comparing your balance transfer card options to find the one that most closely matches your situation.
Frequently asked questions
- How long does a balance transfer take?
Even if it’s easy to secure a balance transfer card, the transfer itself can still take some time. Several credit card providers won’t initiate the transfer until after you’ve received your card, which can take anywhere between five and 10 business days.
Once the transfer is initiated it can then take a business day up to over a week to process, depending on all parties involved.
- What’s the difference between applying and prequalifying?
Prequalification entails a soft pull on your credit. In other words, the creditor doesn’t take an in-depth look at your payment history or credit use.
Upon applying, the creditor makes a hard pull on your credit score, which typically lowers your credit score by a few points.
Learn more about the differences between a hard and soft pull by using our guide to credit checks.
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