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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.

Our pick for a balance transfer credit card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • 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
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • 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.
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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® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
740
Long 18 months intro APR periods on purchases and balance transfers. Plus Citi Entertainment℠ for deals on dining and going out.
Citi® Double Cash Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
740
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months to pay off transfers.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 14.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
700
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
TD Cash Credit Card
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
680
3% on dining and 2% on groceries make this a valuable card for food purchases. Use it while traveling, too, with no foreign transaction fees. Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See issuer's website
300
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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

  1. 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

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoJuly 2, 2018

      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.

      To choose and compare balance transfer credit cards, you can go to this page.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Nikki

  2. 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.com 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 there might be an impact on 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. We hope this helps you make an informed decision.

      Cheers,

      Roslyn

  3. 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.

      Just in case you’re considering to apply for a new card, you can check and compare credit cards with low interest on this page and credit cards with rewards here. Please review the card’s eligibility requirements and its features and consider whether the card/product is right for you.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  4. 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. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      If you’re closing an account with positive account history, positive credit data stays on your credit report for 10 years from when the account is closed. This allows good credit information to stay longer than negative, giving you the change to improve your financial situation. See more information here.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  5. 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. You can read more about credit card balance transfer on this page.

      Kind regards,
      Liezl

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