If you’ve come to the end of your current balance transfer promotion and haven’t repaid your entire debt, you have options – including performing a second balance transfer. While there are technically no restrictions on the number of times you can transfer your credit card balance, you should be aware of the conditions.
Follow these steps to transfer your debt from a credit card with a promotion that’s about to end to a second balance transfer credit card.
- Pay off as much as you can before the balance transfer promotional period ends.
- Compare balance transfer credit cards and carefully consider the length of the promotion and any fees on the card to determine whether it’ll benefit you.
- Double check the eligibility requirements by reading our balance transfer credit card reviews.
- Apply for a balance transfer credit card and enter your current credit card details when prompted by the online application, or call the number on the back of your new card once you receive it.
Keep in mind that your second balance transfer will be subject to the credit card provider’s lending criteria. This includes a credit check that will show your previous applications and current credit accounts — meaning they’ll see when you applied for your first balance transfer card.
Must read: What you could save by making a second balance transfer
Let’s say you have a debt of $14,000, which you move to a new card that doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee and has a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for six months. During the promotional period, you’re able to pay the debt down to $11,000. Now that it’s over, you’ll start paying a 19% variable APR.
Here’s how much you could save by transferring the balance again, assuming:
- A 3% balance transfer fee
- You’re able to pay the debt down to $6,000 during the intro period
The balance transfer fee brings the total debt to $11,330. That means it would take $5,330 to pay it down to $6,000.
Had you paid interest on the previous card during those six months, it would’ve run about $900. Meaning once you account for the balance transfer fee, the second transfer will have saved you about $570.
Note: Some credit cards have no balance transfer fee.
Continue to transfer credit card balances as long as you can open new credit card accounts. Of course, sometimes you can transfer your balance to an existing credit card, but if the 0% intro APR period has expired or if you don’t have way lower interest rates, transferring your balance may not be the most prudent choice.
- Is the debt eligible to be transferred?
You must transfer your debt to a credit card from a different bank to be eligible for a balance transfer promotion. For example, if you have a Chase credit card, you can transfer the balance to a Capital One credit card but not another Chase credit card.
- Do you meet the credit card eligibility requirements?
Every credit card has a list of application requirements that you need to meet to be eligible to apply. US residency, a minimum age limit and minimum income factor into your eligibility. See our guide on how to ensure a successful balance transfer application for more tips.
- Is there a balance transfer limit?
There’s likely a minimum and maximum amount you can transfer. The minimum amount may be as low as $25 and differs among lenders. The maximum balance transfer amount varies depending on the provider and your creditworthiness, and is often expressed as a percentage of your credit limit. For example, you may be able to use up to 80% of your approved credit limit toward a balance transfer.
- How will this impact your credit score?
Every application for credit is recorded on your credit report. Applying for too many credit cards can hurt your credit score because each application triggers a hard inquiry, which lowers your score by five to 20 points each time.
- Are there balance transfer fees?
Some providers charge a balance transfer fee. The typical fee is 3% to 5% of the amount you want to transfer and is deducted from your remaining credit limit. Also consider other costs, such as the annual fee and the non-promotional interest rate. The transfer likely isn’t worth it if these amounts outweigh the savings earned by paying off all or part of your remaining debt without interest.
What is credit card kiting?
Credit card kiting is the act of using credit cards to make it seem like one has more purchasing power than they actually do. This can involve tactics such as taking out a cash advance with one card to make the minimum payments on another.
Another means of kiting involves taking advantage of introductory rates by continuously transferring balances between cards without paying the balance.
Simply making a second balance transfer, however, doesn’t constitute credit card kiting. But make sure you’re paying down your balances to avoid running into trouble.
If you decided to open up a second credit card, watch out for these balance transfer pitfalls:
- Waiting to make your balance transfer.
Most balance transfer credit cards require you to make the transfer within 30 to 90 days of opening your account. Waiting too long to transfer your debt over could mean missing out on the intro APR period entirely.
- Using your balance transfer credit card for purchases.
Balance transfer credit cards often charge a high interest on purchases. Depending on the terms and conditions of your card, your repayments may automatically go toward the debt that’s accruing the least interest.
- Making a late payment.
Many balance transfer credit cards have penalty APRs that kick in if you make a late payment, which means you’ll lose out on any months you had remaining in your 0% introductory APR period. Set up a calendar reminder or enroll in autopay to ensure you never miss a payment.
- Not making a payoff plan.
Since the goal with opening up a second balance transfer credit card is to pay off your debt before the 0% APR promotional period ends, make a plan to pay off your balance before the intro period is over by looking into how much you’ll need to pay each month.
You may not want to close your old accounts directly after transferring your debt. This is because both your credit utilization rate and the age of your credit cards can positively or negatively impact your credit score.
Learn more about what to do with your older accounts with our page on how to manage your balance transfer card.
Weigh all of the factors above before you jump on a second balance transfer credit card to avoid interest charges. Remember that any balance transfer card you apply for will be subject to approval and recorded on your credit report, so it pays to do your research first.Back to top
How long does it take to complete a balance transfer on a credit card?
Most balance transfers are processed within seven to 14 days of receiving your new card and activating it, though this can vary among providers. Reach out to your specific credit card issuer to see how long you can expect the transfer to take.
When should I let my new credit card issuer know that I want to complete a balance transfer?
Ideally, you should do this at the time of your application. If not, then reach out as soon as you find out that you’ve been approved for the credit card. This way, you can make sure your balance transfer is complete within the time period your issuer requires.
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