Home / Blog / What Does it Mean to Transfer My Credit Card Balance?

What Does it Mean to Transfer My Credit Card Balance?

You’ve heard of balance transfers, but you may not know exactly what it can do for you. Credit card balance transfers can be a great way to simplify and save. So, if you’ve racked up some debt on a high-interest credit card, transferring the balance to a card with a lower interest rate can help you save some serious cash.

What exactly is a balance transfer?

Balance transfers occur when you transfer your balances from one or many cards to another credit card account. By doing this, you consolidate all of your credit card debt onto one card.  People transfer balances in order to move a balance that they are paying high interest rates on to a new card that offers a lower interest rate, or better yet, a 0% introductory rate for a year or more. This gives them the financial flexibility they need to pay down the balance without stacking up huge interest debts.

Related Article: Balance Transfer Cards for Climbing Out of Debt

How will it help me?

If you have a lot of debt and you are getting charged a lot of interest on that debt, you may want to look into transferring your credit card balance. For one, it can be hard to manage a lot of credit cards, payments, and due dates. By consolidating all your balances onto one card, you only have to remember 1 payment a month and can easily keep track of your debt. Furthermore, by getting a low balance transfer APR, you can catch up on your existing debt. Many 0% interest credit cards have an introductory period on all funds transferred. You will not be charged high amounts of interest during this time, so you can focus on paying back what you already owe. In addition, many balance transfer credit cards offer great rewards programs, cash back, or miles/points for all purchases charged to the credit card. This makes balance transfers a cheap and fast way to pay back your debt while earning rewards.

What happens when I make a balance transfer?

After you are approved for a balance transfer credit card, you will want to tell the credit card company who you want to pay, the account numbers, and how much. You can only transfer an amount on the new card that is up to your credit limit. So, if you have a credit limit of $3000 and you have $5000 on other cards, you can only transfer $3000 of that existing balance. You will now owe the balance to your credit card company. Credit card companies may charge a balance transfer fee- often 3% to 5% of transferred debt. However, there are introductory offers that many cards offer. By getting one of these promotions, you may not have to pay extra fees on the money you are transferring.

Related Article: Best Credit Cards With Low Interest Rates - 12% And Under

Which balance transfer credit card should I get?

There are a lot of credit cards out there that offer balance transfer terms, and it can be hard to figure out which ones are best for you. Here are the best offers on balance transfer credit cards today:

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer

Intro APR 0%
6 months
Regular APR
10.99% - 22.99% Variable*
Balance Transfer
0%
18 months

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Highlights

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99 - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.

  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.

  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 Stars by over 4,000 cardmembers.*

  • No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*

  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements.*

  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 after you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • 100% U.S.- based customer service—anytime, day and night.

  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."

Show More Info
Learn More
Expert Rating: 4.85 / 5 stars

Citi Simplicity® Card

Intro APR 0%
18 months*
Regular APR
12.99 - 21.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer
0%
18 months*

Citi Simplicity® Card Highlights

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 21.99% based on your creditworthiness.

  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • No late fees - Ever

  • No penalty rate - Ever

  • No annual fee - Ever

  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.

Show More Info
Learn More
Expert Rating: 4.85 / 5 stars

Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® - 1% Back on Balance Transfers

Intro APR N/A
Regular APR
8%
Balance Transfer
8%
Ongoing

Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® - 1% Back on Balance Transfers Highlights

  • Get a 1% Statement Credit back on the amount of balance transfers made in the first 60 days of account opening

  • No Balance Transfer Fees - start saving immediately!

  • A low 8% variable APR on balance transfers and purchases

  • No Annual Fees

  • Choose your card benefits and features

  • Get rewarded through the new Giveback™ program, where Barclaycard Ring members get money back for good performance

  • Get exclusive access to our online community and vote on the card features you like and view the financials of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard online

  • Learn more about personal finance from Barclaycard and other members

Show More Info
Learn More
Expert Rating: 4.75 / 5 stars

If you are racking up your debt, credit card balance transfers may give you the extra time and savings to catch up on your bills. By getting the best credit card for balance transfers, you can lower your debt and stress this holiday season.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Get the latest tips & advice from our team of 30+ credit & money experts, delivered to you via email each month. Sign up now.

Alice Bryant's picture

Alice Bryant is the Editor of Creditnet and a personal finance expert with over a decade of experience writing about credit cards, credit scores, debt repair, and more.

Visit 's Google Plus profile for more.