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How long does a balance transfer take?

On average it takes two weeks, but it depends on the provider.

The process of making a balance transfer is relatively simple, but it can take anywhere from one to six weeks to complete, depending on the card provider. Some card providers let you request a balance transfer while you fill out the application form, but most providers will accept a transfer request as soon as your card application is approved.

How long each bank takes to process a balance transfer

The average wait time for the balance transfer to process depends on the card provider. Typically, providers list the maximum wait time, but you’ll typically get your balance transfer completed faster than that.

BankProcessing time after card is received
American ExpressUp to six weeksThe balance transfer approval process often begins 72 hours after your application is approved, with most transfers completed within 14 business days. Keep in mind, you must complete your transfers within your first 60 days to use the intro APR period.
Bank of AmericaUp to 14 daysBank of America transfers take up to two weeks from opening your account to processing the transfer. But to use the 0% intro APR period, complete your transfers within 60 days after you open your account.
Barclays BankUp to four weeksIf you request a balance transfer when you apply for the card, Barclaycard will initiate the transfer 10 days after they have mailed you your card. If you change your mind, you can cancel your transfer during this time. If you request a transfer after you receive your card, do so within your first 45 days to use the intro APR period.
Capital OneUp to 14 daysOnce approved, Capital One takes between 3 and 14 days to complete your balance transfer.
ChaseUp to 21 daysUpon approval, Chase will start the balance transfer procedure 10 days after they mail you your card. This is the time to cancel your transfer should you change your mind. It may take up to three weeks for the balance transfer to post to your account.
CitiUp to 21 daysAs soon as you’re approved, you can request your balance transfer. But to use the 0% intro APR period, request your transfer within the first four months when you open your account.
DiscoverUp to 14 daysDiscover takes at least 14 days to process your balance transfer. If you change your mind, call Discover during this time to cancel the process. But whenever you decide to request a transfer, do it before the date listed on your terms and conditions. Transfers made after that aren’t eligible for the 0% intro APR period.
HSBCUp to five daysYou must activate your card before you can request a balance transfer. To use the 0% intro APR period, you must complete your transfers within your first 60 days. Give it 14 days for the transfers to process.
PenFed Credit UnionUp to 30 daysYou can request a balance transfer and use the 0% intro APR period within a certain time frame, often up to five months after you apply for the card.
U.S. BankUp to 14 daysYou have 60 days after you open your account to request a balance transfer and use the 0% intro APR period.
USAAUp to 10 daysYou must request a balance transfer within three months of account opening to use the 0% intro APR period.
Wells FargoYou have 120 days after account opening to request a balance transfer with the 0% intro APR period.

These timeframes are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Our pick for a balance transfer credit card

Citi Simplicity® Card

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
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Compare balance transfer credit cards

Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
With an intro APR of 18 months, this card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market. Plus, no late fees and no annual fee.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater

Best of Finder 2021

An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Chase Slate Edge℠
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Intro fee of $3 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater for the first 60 days (then $5 or 5%)
New revamped Chase Slate Edge card: Earn $100 bonus on your statement when you spend $500 in your first 6 months

Compare up to 4 providers

How to track your balance transfer process

The only way to track your balance transfer is to occasionally check your old account and see if your balance has been paid. If you still see your debt as unpaid, keep making your payments to avoid fees.

What if the balance transfer doesn’t show on the original account?

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.

How to speed up the balance transfer process

You can generally speed up the process and avoid potential roadblocks by following these tips:

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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 is a simple process that can help minimize your interest fees while you’re consolidating your debts. How long you’ll have to wait until you 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.

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