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What happens to my old card when I transfer a balance?

Here's what to expect after transferring a balance.

Updated

Fact checked

After you transfer a balance from one card to another, your old account doesn’t automatically close. In fact, it could still hold a balance depending on the amount you were able to transfer. Despite that, you can still close your credit card with a balance with most card providers.

You can with your provider to take the necessary steps to close your account. But it’s not always the best option, however, depending on your financial needs.

Does a balance transfer close my account?

No. After you transfer your balance to your new credit card, your old card account remains open. The only difference is the balance is reduced, assuming your transfer was successful.

To stay current on your account — and avoid your old issuer submitting negative reports to the credit bureaus — continue making regular payments on your old balance until your new card confirms the transfer. After that confirmation, you can request closure of your credit card.

Will my old bank know I completed a balance transfer?

Yes. After you initiate a balance transfer, your new issuer makes a payment to your old issuer equal to the transfer you’ve requested. Once your transfer is complete, your old bank will know you initiated a balance transfer.

When to close an account after a balance transfer

You don’t have to close a card account after a balance transfer. In fact, it can be beneficial to your credit score to keep it open. But there might be a few good reasons you decide to close the account:

  • Annual fees. Paying an annual fee for a card you’re not using can be a waste of money unless the perks and other benefits outweigh the cost. If you truly aren’t using the card but you are paying an annual fee, it may be wise to cancel the card.
  • The temptation of spending. If you don’t think you can keep a card in your wallet without feeling the urge to use it, you may want to cancel it.

How to close a credit card with a balance

The process varies between card providers, but closing your card is often a simple process. The general steps include:

  1. Call the number on the back of your card.
  2. Request to close your credit card.
  3. Provide customer support with your name, phone number and address.

The customer support representative will guide you from there.

Alternatives to closing your old account after a balance transfer

You aren’t required to close your account after a balance transfer. Here are three ways to keep your finances in check:

  1. Stick to a budget. Create a detailed budget that accounts for money coming in and payments going out — and then commit to it.
  2. Cut up your card. It’s more difficult to charge purchases without a card in your wallet.
  3. Delete your card from digital wallets. Make it further difficult to spend money by removing your card from sites and e-wallets — and curb midnight impulse buys.

Tips for after a balance transfer

Here are a few financial steps to take after confirmation that your balance transfer is complete:

  • Look for other balances to transfer.
    Depending on your available credit, you may be able to transfer other debts. Check your card’s terms to see how long you have to take advantage of the intro APR.
  • Double-check your intro APR period.
    Work to pay off your entire balance before your intro APR expires to keep from accruing interest.
  • Make payments on time.
    If you make a late payment, your issuer can revert your intro APR to a higher everyday APR. Not only that, but it may impose a penalty on your account.

Can I cancel a balance transfer?

If your balance transfer hasn’t yet posted, you may be able to cancel, depending on your issuer’s policies.

Call the number on the back of your card to ask about canceling a balance transfer.

Bottom line

Managing a credit card after a balance transfer requires dedication and planning, and it doesn’t immediately close your old card. You’ll still need to make payments and accrue interest if you don’t close your old card. Even after shifting your debt, smart budgeting is crucial to prevent you from falling into the same place you were in before the transfer.

If you’re in the market to transfer your debt from one car to another, compare your balance transfer options to find the best fit for your needs.

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10 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    ShaneJuly 2, 2018

    After a balance transfer and the old card is on zero ,hi Adrienne ,can that card be used again with the same limit,,
    Does the balance transfer to the new card add or subtract from the limit
    5000 credit become 8000 or 2000 after a balance transfer of 3000..
    Thankyou for your reply

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Shane!

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Yes, you can still use your previous credit card (balance transferred to a balance transfer card) and you’d still have the same credit limit unless otherwise changed by your creditor.

      Regarding this question – Does the balance transfer to the new card add or subtract from the limit – This depends on the balance transfer card you choose, as there are banks who offer 80-100% balance transfer limits.

      To paint a better picture, for example, you have a balance of $5000 from an old credit card and you got approved of a 95% balance transfer, you can transfer $4500 to the balance transfer card and the remaining $500 money owed on the old card must be paid in full so you won’t incur other interest.

      Check our guide to choose and compare balance transfer credit cards.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    isaacFebruary 22, 2018

    Hi, Will conducting a balanced transfer close off my existing card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RoslynFebruary 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Isaac,

      Thank you for contacting Finder about balance transfers.

      No, your old card won’t be closed after completing a balance transfer to your new card. You can continue to use your old card until you close your account.

      If you decide to close your old card, keep in mind that cancelling a credit card may affect your credit score. You might be thinking of closing your old card to avoid paying the annual fee or simplify your monthly bills. But if that’s your oldest credit card or it has a high limit, the hit to your credit utilization ratio and age of credit might lower your credit score.

      You can learn more about the pros and cons of balance transfers to see if it’s worth it for you. We hope this helps you make an informed decision.

      Cheers,

      Roslyn

    Default Gravatar
    JoseFebruary 7, 2018

    What to do with a card after the balance transfer is paid in full, and if the card interest is high and the card has no rewards benefits?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchFebruary 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Jose,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      That’s great that you have already paid your balance transfer in full. Whether to use or not your credit card after you’ve settled your account depends entirely on your own decision after considering your overall financial situation.

      If you think that you’d need to close your account, you may so by contacting your bank’s customer care and they’d be happy to assist you.

      If you’re considering to apply for a new card, you can compare low interest rate credit cards and rewards credit cards that might be more suitable for you.

      Please review the card’s eligibility requirements and its features and consider whether the card/product is right for you.

      Best regards,
      Rench

    Default Gravatar
    MelNovember 8, 2017

    Can you cancel a balance transfer card after you’ve paid off the entire balance? Without it affecting credit score.

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleNovember 8, 2017

      Hi Mel,

      Thank you for contacting Finder.

      Generally, closing a credit card with long and positive history is one of the ways you can hurt your credit score.

      When you close a credit card, it can impact your credit utilization ratio because the amount of credit available to you goes down. It can also make your credit history seem shorter than it actually is causing you to lose a few points in your credit score.

      However, if closing your credit account will help you manage your finances and control your spending, doing so could be worth the short-term credit impact. Just weigh the pros and cons to see which is the better choice for you.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

    Default Gravatar
    nadineAugust 30, 2017

    transfer from capital one to chase bank will capital one know about the transfer and close my account

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlAugust 31, 2017

      Hi Nadine,

      Thanks for your question. Capital One will know about the balance transfer since they will receive the payment from your new credit card. However, a nil balance on your old card will not automatically close your account unless you’ll instruct them to do so. Learn more about credit card balance transfer.

      Kind regards,
      Liezl

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