Discover what to expect and how you can speed up the process.
If your outstanding credit cards and loans are difficult to pay down due to high-interest rates or multiple statements, a balance transfer may help. By moving your existing debt to a card offering a low or 0% intro APR, you can buy some time to pay down your debt without accruing unnecessary interest.
Applying for a balance transfer is relatively simple, but it can take a few weeks for any balance to transfer to your new account.
How long will I wait for a new provider to process my balance transfer application?
Applying for a new balance transfer credit card can takes 10 to 15 minutes or more, but many card providers offer an online conditional decision on your application within minutes. If you indicated on your application the balances to transfer, it could take up to two weeks for you to see the debt in your new account.
How long will it take for my new bank to process my balance transfer?
|Institution||Number of days to process||Balance transfer guides|
|American Express||Up to 13 business days||American Express credit card balance transfer guide|
|Bank of America||Up to 14 business days||Bank of America balance transfer guide|
|Barclays Bank||Up to 10 business days||Barclays Bank credit card balance transfer guide|
|Capital One||Up to 14 business days||Capital One credit card balance transfer guide|
|Chase||Up to 21 business days||Chase credit card balance transfer guide|
|Citi||Up to 10 business days||Citi credit card balance transfer guide|
|HSBC||Up to 14 business days||HSBC credit card balance transfer guide|
|USAA||Up to 10 business days||USAA credit card balance transfer guide|
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. You can then begin the work of repaying your debt before the promotional period ends.
What is the balance transfer process for each bank?
Though the process of transferring a balance is relatively straightforward, timing and steps can vary among card providers and issuers. Here’s what you can expect with big-name banks and providers.
Many American Express cards allow new customers to pay 0% interest on transferred balances for the first 12 months your account is open. When applying, you can typically opt to transfer the lesser of $10,000 or 70% of your credit limit from a non–American Express account to your new Amex card. Depending on your specific card, you may pay a fee of 1% to 3% per transfer.
The balance transfer approval process often begins 72 hours after your application is approved, with most transfers completed within 13 business days.
Any balance that you’re not able to pay off in the intro period are subject to your card’s standard APR.
- Learn more about American Express credit cards
Bank of America
Current Bank of America customers can apply for a balance transfer through BofA’s site.
If you’re applying for a new credit card, you might find that Bank of America offers an introductory 0% APR for balance transfers in the first 60 days your account is open. But it’s likely that the offer requires a fee equal to 3% of each transaction.
At the expiration of your intro offer, the APR reverts to rate you qualified for at approval, typically 14.74% to 24.74%.
- View all Bank of America credit cards
When applying for a new card, you can request to transfer balances from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Express or Discover cards by specifying the account numbers.
If the amount you request exceeds the credit limit you’re approved for, Barclays can either decline your request or send a partial payment to your creditor.
Balance transfer amounts and any fees reduce the available credit on your new account, and interest accrues immediately on the day of your transfer.
- Compare Barclays credit cards
If you’re a Capital One customer, simply complete your balance transfer by logging in to your online account. Or call the customer service number on the back of your Capital One credit card.
If you’re applying for a new card with Capital One, you might be eligible for an introductory balance transfer offer. If so, you’ll including the names and account numbers of each bank or creditor from which you’d like your balance transferred, including the amount you’re interested in moving.
Depending on the card, you may not need to pay a transfer fee. However, many cards that offer an intro APR come with fees equal to 3% of each transfer.
- See other Capital One credit cards
New Chase credit cardholders may be eligible for a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months your account is open. The intro typically waives balance transfer fees for the first 60 days of a new account, requiring a fee equal to 5% of your transfer after.
If you’re a Chase customer, you can request a balance transfer through your online account. But you can’t use a balance transfer pay a balance on existing Chase accounts or credit cards.
Chase also limits balance transfer requests to $15,000 within any 30-day period.
- Consider other Chase credit cards
If you’re a Citi cardholder, you can request a balance transfer through your online account. If you’re eligible for an offer, you’ll see it in an Offers tab within your account summary
Citi allows you to pay up to four creditors within an offer. But because terms and conditions vary by card, make sure that you understand the specifics of the promo you’re taking advantage of.
Citi allows you to transfer balances of $500 to up to 80% of your available Citi credit card limit. Balance transfers can take up to 10 business days to process
- More Citi credit cards
If you’re an HSBC cardholder, you can transfer balances through your online account, indicating the account numbers for the balances you’re looking to move.
New customers can request a balance transfer while applying for an HSBC credit card. If your application is approved, an HSBC rep will call to let you know how much of your balance transfer amount is approved for the new card.
- Learn more about HSBC credit cards
If you already own a USAA credit card, log in to your online account to request a balance transfer.
New cardholders can request a balance transfer of up to 95% of your available credit limit. Note that balance transfers on USAA credit cards are considered cash advances, accruing interest from the day your transfer posts to your account.
- Compare USAA credit cards
Compare balance transfer credit cards
How to speed up the balance transfer process
Generally, you’ll avoid roadblocks by knowing what the card provider you’re interested in requires and readying that information for your balance transfer.
- 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.
- Make sure you’re eligible. In most cases, you must meet minimum income and credit requirements to be approved for a balance transfer credit card. Most providers don’t accept transfers from affiliates or subsidiaries, so make sure the balances you’re hoping to transfer are eligible.
- Gather balance details. To ensure a smooth application process, research what you’ll need to provide for each 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.
- 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.
Balance transfers to a new credit card can help minimize your interest fees while you’re consolidating your debts. But while applying for a balance transfer is simple, how long you’ll have to wait until to see those balances in your account varies by provider.
Before you sign any application, compare your balance transfer card options to find the strongest intro period you’re eligible for.
Frequently asked questions