What to expect and how you can speed up the process.
By moving your existing debt to a card offering a low or 0% intro APR, you can save on interest while paying down your debt.
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 take 10 to 15 minutes or more, but many card providers offer an online conditional decision on your application within minutes. If you request the balance transfer on your application, it could take up to six weeks after you receive your new card 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||Processing time after card is received|
|American Express||Up to six weeks|
|Bank of America||Up to 14 days|
|Barclays Bank||Up to four weeks|
|Capital One||Up to 14 days|
|Chase||Up to 21 days|
|Citi||Up to 21 days|
|Discover||Up to 14 days|
|HSBC||Up to five days|
|PenFed Credit Union||Up to 30 days|
|U.S. Bank||Up to 14 days|
|USAA||Up to 10 days|
These timeframes are subject to change and should be used only as a general 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.
Compare balance transfer credit cards
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 a 0% intro APR 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 14 business days.
Bank of America
Current Bank of America customers can apply for a balance transfer through its 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 requested within 60 days of your account opening.
It’s likely promotional balance transfer offers will require a fee equal to 3% of each transaction.
When applying for a new card, you can request to transfer balances from Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover cards by specifying the account numbers.
If the amount you request exceeds your approved credit limit, Barclays can either decline your request or send a partial payment to your creditor.
An approved request will likely incur a balance transfer fee.
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. Include the names and account numbers of each bank or creditor you’d like to transfer a balance from, as well as the amounts you want to transfer.
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.
New Chase credit cardholders may be eligible for a 0% intro APR. The intro may also waive the balance transfer fee for the first 60 days the account is open.
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.
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 the Offers tab within your account summary.
Citi allows you to pay up to four creditors with an offer. Because terms and conditions vary by card, make sure 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.
Discover allows you to request a balance transfer after you’re approved for a card. Log in to your online account or call the number on the back of your card to request the transfer.
Balance transfer fees for Discover cards are typically 3% of the transaction.
If you’re an HSBC cardholder, you can transfer balances through your online account. Just indicate the account numbers for the balances you want 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.
PenFed Credit Union
You can request a balance transfer by calling the number on the back of your credit card.
PenFed treats balance transfers as cash advances. That means you won’t get a grace period when it comes to the balance transfer and any additional purchases.
A balance transfer fee of 3% may apply to your transfer, depending on the card and when you request it.
U.S. Bank offers several ways to make a balance transfer. You can call the number on the back of your card or use the Contact us feature on its website, use a promotional check or sign on to your online account and click Request a balance transfer.
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 their 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.
To transfer a balance to your existing Wells Fargo card, log in to the Credit card service center and, under Account management, select Request balance transfer. You can also call 800-642-4720.
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 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.
Frequently asked questions