How To Transfer Your Credit Card Balance in 5 Steps
Credit. Card. Debt. Those three words can incite oodles of stress and confusion. Credit cards are a great tool for good if you use them well — but it can be too easy for one’s credit card balance to get out of hand. When utilized correctly, credit cards can help you make smart purchases, diversify, and optimize your credit history.
So, what is a savvy borrower to do if they rack up a big balance on a high-rate card? A balance transfer offer may be just the method for getting back on track! With a UMe Visa Platinum Card, you can transfer your balance for free. That’s right: zero transfer fees. We also offer low, fixed rates and no rate-hike surprises.
A balance transfer simply means that you’re moving what you owe (A.K.A. your “balance”) on an existing credit card to another card. If you want more details or a refresher on what a balance transfer is, read our blog post, “What is a balance transfer?”
When done with the right strategy, a balance transfer can actually help you save money and help to pay off the balance faster!
But how do you actually transfer your credit card balance? What steps are involved, and how does a balance transfer work? Keep reading to learn more about credit card balance transfers.
UMe Pro Tip: Paying off your balance is a great way to build and improve your credit — and save U money in the long run.
Credit Card Balance Transfer: Step by Step
Sure, there is a lot to think about when considering any financial moves, including a balance transfer. Let’s take a look at the process for a credit card balance transfer, so you can see if it’s the right choice for you. These easy-to-follow steps are designed to break down the process.
Step 1: Find the Best Option
The most important decision you can make about a balance transfer credit card is to make sure it fits your financial needs. When you decide to do a balance transfer, the goal is taking the debt from one credit card (or more!) and transferring it to a credit card with a lower interest rate, which means savings in the long run. But you want to make sure the transfer is a fit for you and your financial situation.
Learn about the issuers, types of cards, rates, fees, costs — all the nitty gritty. Consider the act of “shopping” for a balance transfer credit card your secret weapon. When looking at balance transfer offers — including ours — be sure to consider some basics: Look at the Annual Percentage Rate, or APR, of your balance transfer card options. And is the rate fixed or variable? You could have been attracted to a transfer offer based on a promotional APR. That’s a great start — but it won’t last forever. And if the rate is variable, that means it can change anytime the card issuer wants to increase it, for the life of the card.
UMe’s balance transfer offer is pretty hard to beat with zero balance transfer fees, a low, fixed rate, and no surprise rate increases. Plus, you get all the perks of our UMe Visa. This includes no annual fees, no application fees, enhanced security, and rewards on every purchase. After all, you’re looking to make a step in a positive direction and we are right there with U!
You will soon realize that the main points of comparison are costs and fees. This brings us to step two.
UMe Pro Tip: Did you know that you can transfer balances from credit cards, personal loans, student loans, and auto loans? Essentially, you can transfer almost anything with a balance as long as your credit line is sufficient enough to cover the balance.
Step 2: Learn About Fees and Time Limits
Do your homework! Compare and contrast rates and fees to find the best fit for you!
Many balance transfer cards charge balance transfer fees. These fees usually range between 3% and 5% of the amount transferred. Balance transfers also often have a timeline for the transfer to be completed. In other cases, there are balance transfer limits so be sure to check all the details.
UMe Pro Tip: Here at UMe, we do not charge any fees to transfer your balance. Zero, zilch, nada!
Step 3: Apply for the Balance Transfer
Ok, so by now you’ve done your due diligence and selected the best option for you – the balance transfer card that fits your individual financial needs. The next step is to apply for a balance transfer on your new (or existing) card.
If you are applying for a new card, this can be done online, in person, or over the phone. Once you’ve filled out the application and submitted the appropriate information, the waiting period begins. Not to worry — the wait isn’t usually too long!
Step 4: Request a Balance Transfer
Once you receive a confirmation that you’ve been approved for the balance transfer, you can take the next steps:
Contact your balance transfer card company with the balance transfer request. This usually can be done online or over the phone. With UMe, you can do this online, over the phone and in-person! You will need to provide account numbers from the card(s) you want to transfer as well as the amount you want to transfer.
It can take time for the transfer to go through which depends on how your transfer(s) can be processed. Here at UMe, it typically takes 3-5 business days if we can make the payment electronically or if we have to mail a paper check, up to 14 days. Don’t forget that you still need to make payments on all of your accounts during this time!
Balance transfers are often done directly, meaning that the balance transfer issuer will post a payment directly to your old account for the amount approved. That payment amount, plus any fees, will then post as an outstanding balance on the account you’re moving your balance to.
Step 5: Start Paying Off Your Balance
Once your balance has been moved, you’ll start paying it down according to the terms on the card. You’ll likely have a lower interest rate (or an advantageous rate during a promotional period). Be sure to take advantage of these perks to get started on the right path to being debt free!
Deeper Dive: Balance Transfer Questions
Now that you know how to transfer your credit card balance, let’s answer some of the detailed questions about the process.
How Does Credit Card Debt Work Anyway?
Credit card debt may seem easy to get into but not as easy to understand! That doesn’t have to be the case. The more you know, the more you can avoid falling too far into debt.
The amount of interest that you pay on your credit card fluctuates as the balance goes up and down. It’s calculated based on the unpaid balance that is carried from month to month.
When an unpaid balance grows, the interest that you pay will continue to increase. This can make paying it off seem unmanageable. A balance transfer is a great solution to make a payoff plan more manageable so that you can eventually pay off your balance to zero every month.
UMe Pro Tip: It’s a common belief (Read: urban legend) that you should leave a balance on your card with every payment. It’s a myth! Don’t fall for it. If you can, pay off the balance in full every month to avoid paying interest on what you purchase and to help build — and boost — your credit history.
Will a Transfer Affect My Credit Score?
Applying for a balance transfer credit card could increase your available credit — meaning a higher total credit limit. With your debt now being a smaller amount of your overall available credit rate, your credit utilization ratio (A.K.A. the amount of credit you’re currently using divided by the total amount of revolving credit you have available) will improve.
Remember that the balance transfer process can take a few weeks. During that time, it’s important to keep making minimum payments on your old card to ensure that your payment history stays top-notch.
When Is the Right Time?
The right time for a balance transfer depends on a variety of factors.
If everything aligns and you find a card that fits your needs with an attractive offer, it may be the perfect opportunity for a balance transfer. But that also depends on your commitment to paying off your debt. You should aim to do this before any promotional period ends.
So, take stock of the offers available to you and your desire to be debt free. Everything has to work together for a balance transfer to make good financial sense.
What About Transfer Fees and Rates?
As we stated above, it’s important to read the fine print so you know all about balance transfer fees and rates before you move forward.
More often than not, you’ll have to pay a fee to move your balance to a new card. Lenders typically charge a percentage of the amount transferred. This is referred to as a balance transfer fee.
Some credit cards also come with an annual fee, which is a yearly fee just for having the card. Try to aim for getting a card without an annual fee to save some cash. Every little bit counts!
UMe Pro Tip: Don’t pay extra for your credit card balance transfer! Shop around for offers with low or no balance transfer fees. Here at UMe, transferring your balance is absolutely free and we do not charge an annual fee either!
Transfer Balances to UMe for Free!
If you’re looking to transfer a high-rate credit card balance, it’s probably best to choose a card with no balance transfer fees, right? Well, we agree!
So we did exactly that with our UMe Visa® Platinum Card. You read right. We said FREE. When you do a UMe Credit Union balance transfer, you’ll pay zero fees.
Plus, we offer low, FIXED rates as low as 9.90% APR*, which means you won’t get any surprise rate hikes from us! We don’t like any surprises that don’t involve cake!
With a balance transfer, you can pay lower interest rates, have access to better terms, and consolidate your debt into one easy monthly payment.
Plus, you get all the bells and whistles of our UMe Visa. This includes no annual fees, no application fees, enhanced security, and rewards on every purchase.
To transfer your credit card balance to a UMe Credit Card, simply apply online or give us a call at (818) 238-2900. Once approved, we’ll give you all the details and perks of your new card.
Are U Ready to Transfer a Credit Card Balance?
That little plastic rectangle can come in many financial shapes and sizes (and amounts!). Your BFFs (Best Financial Friends) at UMe have your back with the very best Balance Transfer option around… free with no annual fee! Transfer your balance to a UMe card and you’ll be on your way to credit card payoff in no time. Freedom!
*APR is based on an evaluation of your creditworthiness.
Disclaimer: U matter to Me (all of us) at UMe — and that’s why we do our best to deliver helpful information on our blog. Please note the following: (1) UMe Credit Union works hard to make certain that the information we post here is as accurate as humanly possible. But as you know, information can change and evolve quickly. While we try to update the blog on a regular basis, the content of some older posts may not be correct or up-to-date. (2) Some destinations on the World Wide Web that we link you to will exist on external websites. UMe Credit Union does not officially endorse any connected sites, nor do/did we compensate or get compensated by any entities to be featured in our posts (unless otherwise noted). (3) Everyone’s situation is unique and we advise you to consult with our personal bankers or your finance, tax, or legal professional for advice individualized to you!