Leverage Your Credit With A Zero Percent Credit Card
If you don’t carry a balance on your credit card right now, congratulations! But if you have good credit, you might still want to consider applying for a no-interest credit card. Even if you pay your balance in full every month, there may be some benefits in the midst of rising interest rates. You can pay for a big-ticket purchase interest-free, or have a zero percent card on hand in case of emergency.
Improving your credit utilization ratio and upping your number of accounts by opening a new credit card can be beneficial for your credit score, too. This type of simple move could be really beneficial for you in the long run, particularly if you plan to finance a home, auto or other big purchase in the future.
Bank Of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
Our pick for: Long 0% period for transfers and purchases + flat-rate cash back
The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is one of many 1.5% flat-rate cash-back cards on the market. It comes with a decent sign-up bonus, a generous intro APR period, and the potential to supercharge your earnings through Bank of America®’s Preferred Rewards program. Read our review.
Should You Get A Credit Card With No Fee On Balance Transfers
No-fee balance transfer cards are designed for people looking to get out of debt and maximize savings. If you want to get a credit card for the purpose of paying off an existing balance, then cards with no balance transfer fees can provide money-saving benefits.
You’ll save 3% to 5% on any debt you transfer, compared to traditional balance transfer cards that charge a fee. Plus, you can benefit from no interest for up to 15 months, which allows you to pay off debt quicker and cheaper than keeping it on a high interest card.
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How Do You Qualify For A Balance Transfer
Balance transfer credit cards are typically for consumers with good to excellent credit scores. If you’re approved for a balance transfer offer, be sure to take advantage of it quickly as they are limited-time offers.
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Balance Transfer Vs Personal Loans
Not everyone is eligible for a balance transfer credit card. Banks and other financial institutions offer personal loans to those looking to consolidate and pay down their debt from almost any source. They front you the money so you can pay off your creditors. You can then focus on paying down the personal loan over several years at a stable fixed or variable rate. Other lenders offer extremely high, predatory rates to those who have a hard time accessing credit, so read the fine print.
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The decision to take out a balance transfer versus a personal loan depends mostly on what you qualify for, what interest rate you can get, and how much debt you need to consolidate. Read our full article on balance transfers vs. personal loans to determine which is right for you.
|As low as 0% for 610 months then a post-promotional interest rate of 1222%||5.9%16%+ for up to five years|
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Pros And Cons Of Balance Transfer Credit Cards
- Save on interest costs. You can transfer your existing balance to a new card and get a low or 0% interest rate for a while. This will almost always be lower than the interest rate you’re currently paying and will save you money on interest charges.
- Pay off debt faster. By not paying interest , you should be able to get rid of your balance a lot faster.
- Simplify your payments. If you have several debts, you can use a balance transfer card to combine them so you only have to keep track of one credit card bill. Not only will this help you manage your debt, it can also save you money on annual fees and other card costs.
- Complimentary extras. If you want to use the card after you have paid off your balance, perks like or rewards could help you get more value out of the card in the long run.
Improve Your Credit Score
If youre stuck with high-interest credit card debt, but dont qualify for a better offer on a balance transfer card, it may make sense to work on improving your credit score. This takes time, but there are tools, like Experian Boost, that may help you nudge your score up enough within a few months that you become eligible for a better offer on a balance transfer card.
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Who Qualifies For Business Credit Cards
Anyone with an enterprise that is generating income qualifies for a credit card. The enterprise can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or a Limited Liability Company . A side gig can also qualify for a business card so long as you have the required records. So here, talking of an income-generating enterprise, we are talking of a business of any nature so long as it operates legally.
A legal business is that which is registered and allowed by the law to operate. You do not need to show proof of an office, employees, a store, or vehicles to get a business card. All you need is the necessary documents for your business operations such as a personal Social Security Number and statements to show your income from the business sales of products or services.
What Is An Introductory Apr
The introductory APR is the APR applied toward your balance for the first six to 21 months of card ownership, depending on the card. The standard APR is the APR applied toward your balance after the introductory period ends. The penalty APR is applied toward your balance if you miss more than one payment in six months, usually, but depends on the individual card and your card issuer.
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Is There A Limit To How Much You Can Transfer
Yes, but the limit is determined by the issuing bank and your creditworthiness. For example, Chase caps balance transfers at $15,000. But theres no guarantee that youll get approved for a limit on a new card that high. If youre only approved for, say, a $5,000 limit on a balance transfer card with any bank, then $5,000 is going to be the maximum amount of debt you can carry on the new card.
Also remember that any balance transfer fees will count toward your limit and have to be factored in when doing a transfer. So, if youre approved for a $5,000 credit limit but theres a 5% balance transfer fee, youll only be able to transfer $4,750, since youll have to include a $250 balance transfer fee.
Consider A Home Equity Loan
Who its best for: Homeowners with fair to good credit that need a larger loan amount.
If you own a home and have at least 20% equity in your home, you may be able to consolidate your credit card debt with a home equity loan. Home equity loans typically have lower interest rates than other loans, and they have fixed interest rates that stay the same for the duration of the loan.
In general, lenders allow you to borrow up to 80% of the available equity, but the actual amount you can borrow is dependent on your credit, income and current home value.
For example, if you have a $400,000 home and owe $300,000 on your mortgage, you have $100,000 in equity. Lenders require you to maintain 20% equity in the home. In this case, youd need to keep $80,000 of equity, so the most you could borrow would be $20,000.
- Lower interest rates than unsecured loans
- Longer repayment terms
- Potentially higher loan amounts available
With a home equity loan, your loan is secured by your house. Because your home serves as the collateral, there is less risk to the lender, so you may get a lower interest rate on a home equity loan than youd get with a credit card or personal loan. Home equity loans typically have fixed interest rates that stay the same for the duration of the loan.
Because youre borrowing against your homes equity, you could qualify for a higher loan amount than you could get with other loan types.
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Preferred Rewards Makes Your Credit Card Even Better
When you enroll in the Preferred Rewards program, you can get a 25% 75% rewards bonus on all eligible Bank of America® credit cards.
Plus, as a Preferred Rewards member, you enjoy real benefits and rewards on your everyday Bank of America® banking and Merrill investment accounts. And as your qualifying balances grow, so do your benefits.
Citi Double Cash Card: Best For Flat
Why its great in one sentence: The Citi Double Cash card is extremely simple, since you earn 2% cash back on every purchase 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay your statement all for no annual fee.
This card is right for: People who want a balance transfer option along with the ability to earn cash back without having to worry about bonus categories or travel rewards programs.
- 0% introductory APR for 18 months on balance transfers made in the first four months after you open the card .
- Earn 2% cash back on all purchases 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it off with no limit.
- Cash back is earned in the form of Citi ThankYou travel points and then can be transferred to travel partners when combined with the Citi Premier Card.
Sign-up bonus: Limited time offer Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.
What we like about the Citi Double Cash Card: The Citi Double Cash is easy. You dont need to keep track of bonus categories and determine which credit card to use at which merchant. Instead, you get the same 2% cash back 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it off on all purchases, regardless of where you shop.
The Citi Double Cash also offers a relatively long 18-month introductory 0% APR for balance transfers a great way to pay off your debt. And you have up to four months after you open the account to make your first balance transfer and still have it qualify for the introductory offer.
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What Are The Cards Fees
To learn more about the cards fees, the terms and conditions will include details such as the balance transfer fee, late payment penalties, how much time you have to transfer the balance to qualify for the introductory offer and what happens when your 0 percent intro APR period ends. If you have trouble finding the information youre looking for, call the issuer or visit its website.
Can You Pay Off A Balance Transfer Card Early
Balance transfer credit cards usually have no early payment penalty or other charges for paying off your balance early. You typically have between six and 18 months without interest charges to pay off new purchases or balance transfers. What you do with that window of opportunity is up to you.
Many consumers decide to spread the debt out into equal payments over the course of the promotion so they can eliminate the debt before the intro APR rate expires. Others may pay as much as they can each month with the hope of satisfying the debt early, while others may not be able to pay off the debt before the 0% rate expires.
Since some balance transfer cards provide interest-free financing for new purchases as well, you can continue to enjoy the lack of finance charges on new purchases for the remainder of the promotion even if you pay off your balance transfer early.
The only catch is that most qualifying balance transfer promotions only apply to transfers initiated during a short window after you activate your card, usually up to 90 days after account opening. After that window expires, you will not be able to transfer money to the card and receive the 0% offer.
If your plan is to pay off a qualifying balance transfer early, be sure to research your chosen credit card offer before you apply.
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What Happens If I Transfer More Than I Owe
If you happen to pay more than you owe during a balance transfer, the bank that issues the newly paid-off credit card will send you a refund for the overage. This can happen for many reasons.
You could accidentally initiate a transfer for more than what you owe. You could also put a transfer through without considering any rewards you have available to you that would lower your account balance.
The most common reason why people end up paying more than they owe is that a balance transfer can take up to three weeks to complete. During that time, you are still liable for any payments due.
If you miss a payment, you could find yourself with a late payment fee and a drop in your credit score. So, instead of risking that, many people choose to submit at least the minimum payment due. Once the balance transfer arrives, they have overpaid the amount of the minimum payment that was due.
If that happens, you can take one of two courses of action. You can allow the bank to keep the money, and you will have a credit for that amount on your account, or you can request that the bank send you a check for the overage.
You will typically receive the check within seven to 10 business days. In some cases, the bank can transfer the overage back to your linked checking account.
What Is A 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card
A 0% balance transfer credit card is a traditional credit card that has a promotional offer for new customers who apply for the card.
This promotional offer typically consists of interest-free financing on balance transfers for between six and 18 months. Some cards pair this with 0% financing on new purchases as well. Each bank has a unique offer, so the terms and length of the promotion will vary depending on the card you qualify for.
With this type of promotion, you can transfer the balance from an existing credit card up to the limit that your new credit card provides and pay the balance down over the length of the promotional period without paying interest or finance charges on the balance.
This is especially handy if your current balance is sitting on a credit card with a high interest rate. In this case, a large percentage of your monthly payment will go toward interest fees. But with a 0% balance transfer credit card, your payments will go toward your principal balance and pay your debt down faster.
Many credit cards with this promotional period also allow you to transfer the balances from multiple credit cards onto your new card so long as you do not surpass your cards credit limit. This form of consolidating debt is very popular among consumers who would rather not pay multiple monthly credit card bills.
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What Is An Introductory Balance Transfer Fee
An introductory balance transfer fee is a reduced or $0 fee charged for transfers made during an initial promotional period when you open the account, usually for the first 30 to 120 days of card ownership. Not all balance transfer cards offer an introductory balance transfer fee, but the ones that do can save you an average of 3% of your balance. However, many of these cards do not offer an introductory APR. See our list of the best credit cards with no balance transfer fees for more information.
Lets Learn About: 0% Apr Balance Transfer Credit Cards
A balance transfer lets you move a balance from one credit card to another
A 0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Credit Card lets you pay no interest during the introductory period
Transferring a balance from a high-interest credit card to a 0% Intro APR card can help you save money and pay off debt faster
You may have heard of a balance transfer, but what exactly is it? A balance transfer is when you move an unpaid balance from one open credit account to another. Typically, this is done to save on interest for that balance by transferring it to a credit account with a lower interest rate.
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Transfer Your Balance To A 0% Apr Credit Card
If you have a good credit score, chances are you may be eligible to apply for a balance transfer credit card. The best balance transfer cards let you transfer a balance from another card — as long as it’s from a different bank — and pay it with no interest for a set period of time, usually between 12 and 18 months. Some cards in the market are currently offering up to 21 months.
Make sure to consider fees when shopping for a balance transfer card. Most cards charge a balance transfer fee, usually 3% of the amount transferred, though some cards charge no balance transfer fees.
Next, use CNET sister site Bankrate’s Credit Card Balance Transfer Calculator to estimate how long it’ll take you to pay off that balance based on how much you could pay each month. Then, look for a card with a similar zero interest promotional period. Remember that once the promotional period ends, the card’s regular APR will kick in, and you’ll start paying interest on any remaining balance on the card. Consider applying for the card that, combining balance transfer fees and intro period, will allow you to pay off your balance for less.