Can you transfer multiple credit cards with a balance transfer?

You can transfer as much debt as your new card’s limit allows – but clarify the rules with your provider.

Most providers allow you to transfer several balances to the one account, though this can vary from provider to provider. As long as your total transfer balance doesn’t exceed the balance transfer limit, you should have no issue transferring debts from multiple credit cards.

There are more than 32.3 million credit card holders in the UK, and according to The Money Charity, the total credit card debt in April 2018 was over £70 billion – that’s around £2,600 per household. In short, we like paying on plastic, with many of us using more than one credit card.

Did you know?

In most cases, card issuers will allow you to transfer debt from multiple credit cards, though the total transfer must not exceed the card’s balance transfer limit (typically be between 75% and 100% of your credit limit). You may also be charged a balance transfer fee (usually between 2% and 3% of the balance amount).

  • Can I transfer balances from another person?

    Many card issuers will allow you to transfer a balance from somebody else’s card. In this situation, the balance would then become your responsibility.

  • Can I transfer balances between cards issued by the same bank?

    Unfortunately, your bank won’t allow this. That’s because banks use balance transfer promotions to attract new customers, rather than to give current customers a break from interest.

Balance transfer credit cards

How to conduct multiple balance transfers

When you apply online for a credit card with a balance transfer promotion, you’ll be prompted to enter the details of any balances you’d like to bring across to the new card. Here you’ll need to provide the issuer of the credit card you’re transferring the balance from (e.g. HSBC), the 16-digit number on the card and the amount you wish to transfer.

Most balance transfer applications will provide more than one section in the application for you to fill out the details of multiple balances. But if the application only has the option to list one or two accounts, contact the provider to confirm whether you can request an additional account to be added.

You’ll then need to organise the closure of your accounts once you’ve completed the balance transfer. If you don’t close your accounts, you may continue to incur fees (such as an annual card fee).

Other balance transfer tips

Remember, the clock is ticking and you have to use every day you get with a balance transfer promotional rate of interest to reduce your credit card debt.

  • Start repaying immediately

    Because the low introductory rate only lasts for a specified number of months, you have a limited time to repay your balance in full. Once the promotional period ends, your remaining balance will begin collecting at a rate (usually the standard interest or cash advance rate) which can exceed 20%. Divide the outstanding balance by the number of months in the promotional period to work out what you need to pay each month.

  • Don’t use your balance transfer card for purchases

    Your purchases will be paid off before your existing debt as the purchase amounts will be collecting a higher interest rate than the promotional balance transfer rate.

Mistakes to avoid when transferring multiple balances to one card

Transferring multiple balances means you’ll need to keep track of quite a few details. That said, stay vigilant and avoid these common balance-transfer mistakes.

  • Applying to transfer a balance within the same banking group

    If you have an outstanding balance on a Bank of Scotland credit card, you won’t be able to transfer it to a Halifax card. Take a moment to quickly double-check that the banks aren’t part of the same group before you apply.

  • Not factoring in the balance transfer fee

    The balance transfer fee is usually 2-3% of each transaction. That means a £3,000 transfer might cost you £90. Add up a few balance transfers and you could pay a larger fee than you thought. To make sure the fee is worth paying, calculate how much you’ll save with your balance transfer.

  • Not keeping track of payments on your old cards after making your balance transfers

    Balance transfers can take a while to complete, especially if they’re on a newly-issued card. Until that time you must make at least the minimum payments on your old card bills.

  • Forgetting about the offer deadline

    With many balance transfer credit cards, you must transfer your balances within a certain period to qualify for the intro APR. For example, a card offering 0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months might only apply this rate to transfers you make within the first four months. All providers have to clearly show a “summary box” for the cards they issue, and sometimes going straight to this document can be the quickest way to find out exactly what you need to know. Here’s the relevant section from a Virgin Money credit card’s summary box.

Close-up of section from a Virgin Money credit card summary box document

What to do with older accounts

So, you’ve transferred your balances to your new credit card. Should you close your old accounts?

There is an argument that you should keep the account open, because this keeps your debt-to-credit-limit ratio (also known as your credit utilisation ratio) lower, which is generally looked upon favourably by lenders. Keeping your old accounts open may even help your credit score in another way – by increasing the average age of your credit accounts.

However, there are also several good reasons to close the old accounts: If an old card has an annual or monthly fee, you’ll probably want to close it; if it has a low credit limit, then it’s not helping your debt-to-credit-limit ratio anyway; additionally, fewer cards are much easier to keep track of; and perhaps most importantly, there’s a chance you could be tempted to use the old cards, and end up with a dangerously-high level of debt.

It’s often best to just close the old accounts and be done with it, but you can weigh up the points above and how they apply to your specific situation.

Bottom line

You may feel apprehensive about transferring multiple balances. That’s perfectly normal. Take the process step by step, asking your prospective card issuer if you’re unsure about the rules.

While making your balance transfers, keep records of what transactions you’ve initiated. Also, record important details about your intro offers and when you should pay off your debt – setting calendar reminders can work particularly well.

Finder survey: What aspects of a balance transfer card matter most to Brits when choosing one?

Response
The length of the 0% period34.11%
Whether there is a balance transfer fee28.2%
The APR26.45%
Whether there is a monthly/annual fee22%
Don't know17.54%
I would not choose a balance transfer card15.41%
Customer service13.08%
Whether there are perks/points or cashback12.89%
Provider reputation11.63%
Other0.1%
Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of Brits, December 2023

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

Written by

Chris Lilly

Chris Lilly is Head of publishing at finder.com. He's a specialist in personal finance, from day-to-day banking to investing to borrowing, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their money. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more. See full profile

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BillyNovember 29, 2018

    Hi, I transferred a balance from an existing account to a new card offering 0% last March, valid until March 2019. Now my existing card provider is offering 0% on balance transfers until Novermber 2019. Would it be a good idea to transfer back to take advantage of the offer? Thanks

      AvatarFinder
      JoshuaDecember 6, 2018Finder

      Hi Billy,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Before you transfer back your balance to your previous card provider, it would be a good idea to understand how this will affect your credit score. For one, applying for credit cards within a short span of time would mean that you will have a lot of credit enquiries on our credit report. When that happens, it could either pull down your score or the banks would see it as a red flag. However, if you still have a high credit score and it doesn’t bother you that a few points will be chipped off from it, then it is up to you to make a second balance transfer.

      It would be a good idea to balance the pros and cons of each decision. Doing so will help you make a better decision.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    teeNovember 10, 2018

    Hi i just wanted to ask if i make a transfer of my balance on my credit card to a balance transfer card to make it £0. say if i was to use that same credit card to make another purchase am i then allowed to use my balance transfer card again to make my new purchase move over to the balance transfer card? i don’t know if that makes sense

      AvatarFinder
      JoshuaNovember 22, 2018Finder

      Hi Tee,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Generally speaking, you can only request the balance transfer at the time of application to take advantage of the interest-free offer. However, there are some financial institutions that allow cardholders to request a balance transfer after they’ve already applied for and activated their card. While we don’t have a specific list for this type of balance transfer, you may still want to check this guide to see options. There’s a table you can use to compare your options. Click on the “Go to site” green button. From there, you can directly ask the provider whether they allow such type of balance transfer.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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