Can I balance transfer a personal loan to a credit card?

See how you can balance transfer your loan, and compare credit cards that let you balance transfer with low or 0% interest.

Many credit cards feature low or 0% introductory balance transfer rates, typically intended for transfers from existing credit cards. So how do you go about taking advantage of a credit card with a 0% period to pay off a personal loan early?

To take advantage of a credit card’s 0% period, you need to follow certain steps to transfer your personal loan debt to the card. This guide outlines the necessary steps and important factors to consider when selecting the right card for your debt payoff.

How to balance transfer a personal loan to a credit card

  1. Request an early settlement figure from your loan provider. It may be wise to plan on paying off the loan a few weeks in advance as it could take some time for you to be approved for the new card and receive it.
  2. Calculate your costs. Make sure that transferring the debt to a credit card will save you money.
  3. Compare money transfer credit cards. Make sure you find a card with 0% interest on money transfers or no fee for money transfers, and check that you’re eligible.
  4. Apply for your new credit card. Don’t be tempted to apply for lots of different credit cards – this can look bad on your credit report and put off future potential lenders.
  5. Transfer funds to pay off the personal loan. Be sure to confirm with your loan provider that the loan has been cleared and that the account is closed.
  6. Pay off the debt. Make sure you clear the debt before the low/no interest period finishes, or transferring could have been a waste of your time. You’ll need to set your own monthly payment amounts, which will be higher than the credit card issuers minimum monthly payments. To work out what you should pay each month, divide the amount of your debt by the number of months remaining in the low/no interest period.

What type of card should I look for?

While balance transfer credit cards are designed to let you move funds from one credit card to another, money transfer credit cards allow you to make a transfer from your new credit card to any account, and then enjoy low or 0% interest on the balance transferred for a set period, which could even be as long as 36 months. These deals are sometimes also referred to as “super balance transfers”.

Money transfer credit cards normally charge a fee, which is usually a percentage of the transfer amount. Which of the two you should go for will depend on the length of time you need to clear the loan.

Let’s consider two scenarios:

  • “I need 3 years to clear my £10,000 debt”

    You could be better off with a card that charges no interest on money transfers for a long period, and a low money transfer fee. A typical transfer fee of 3.5% would amount to £350, and you could pay substantially more than this in interest over three years.

  • “I need 6 months to clear my £10,000 debt”

    You could be better off with a card that charges no fee for money transfers, and a very low rate on money transfers for at least 6 months. A typical transfer fee of 3.5% would amount to £350, and depending on the rate, you could pay less than this in interest.

What to avoid when transferring your debt

  • Fees from your loan provider. Are you allowed to pay off your loan early? What are the charges for doing so, and how much will it save you in interest. Remember, “no penalty for early repayment” does not necessarily mean you will save money by repaying your loan early. Most big banks will charge two month’s interest on any sums repaid early, so it’s important to factor this into your calculations.
  • Money transfer fees on the new credit card. You can typically expect to pay a fee of around 3% of the transfer amount, although it is possible to find cards where this fee is lower, or cards which don’t charge a fee.
  • The “revert rate”. At the end of the introductory period, the low promotional interest rate for balance transfers will revert to a standard variable rate. This is usually the standard cash advance rate for your card, so aim to pay off your balance before this rate applies. If you only make the card issuer’s minimum monthly payments each month, you could end up paying for it.
  • Additional spending on your new card. Credit cards are a “revolving line of credit”, in contrast to a personal loan which lasts for a set length of time. Having the card may tempt you into spending which you would otherwise have resisted.
  • Leaving your old account open. Once the debt is transferred to your new credit card, you should close the old account as soon as possible to avoid any additional fees or charges.

Frequently asked questions

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2 Responses

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    kmMay 14, 2019

    Thanks Chris. The above is applicable only if we have a money transfer offer. in the UK – is it possible to have a balance transfer paid to loan’s bank account instead of credit card?

      ChrisMay 16, 2019Finder

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      What you’re describing is classed as a money transfer rather than a balance transfer, so a money transfer card can be the safest bet, because it’s designed for this purpose. Some issuers apply the same promotional deals to money transfers that they do to balance transfers, but frustratingly, this isn’t the case across the board.

      If you have a particular card in mind, look for the “summary box” – this is a standard document that all issuers are obliged to provide, and it’s sometimes the quickest way to get a straight answer! You’re looking for two things: the interest rate that applies to money transfers and the fee that applies to money transfers. If a card issuer doesn’t declare these things in the summary box, it may be that it doesn’t offer this facility. We include the same details in our card reviews – you can browse issuers in our A-Z and see the cards available with links to the full reviews.

      I hope this helps, and do let us know how you get on!

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