Balance Transfer, Building Credit

How a Balance Transfer Affects Your Credit Score

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A balance transfer is an extremely effective way to cut down the amount of interest you pay on your debt. Applying for a balance transfer does require a hard inquiry on your credit, which is likely to impact your credit score.

But there’s no reason to freak out.

How Your Score Will Be Affected

According to FICO, a hard inquiry on your credit results in a score drop of about five points or less. Then, after a few months of appropriately using your credit by paying your debts on time, you’re likely to see your score bounce back up.

In fact, you may even see your score increase. This is because while new credit makes up 10% of your credit score, the amount you owe accounts for 30%. A huge component of the amounts you owe isn’t necessarily dependent on the actual dollar amount, but rather on your credit utilization ratio. To find this ratio, you divide how much you owe by your total available credit limit (across all cards).

Let’s say you had $7,500 in credit card debt, and it was your only debt. You only have one credit card with a $10,000 limit. You applied for another card that was offering you a reduced interest rate to entice you to do a balance transfer, and you took it. That card gave you an additional credit line of $5,000.

There was a 3% fee to transfer the $7,500, so now your total debt is $7,725. Where your credit utilization used to be 75%, now it is only 52%. You may owe a bit more money, but since your credit utilization went down, you’re likely to see your credit score jump up a little bit. The $225 extra will probably end up saving you money, but let’s walk through how.

How a Balance Transfer Can Save You Money

The fact that you now owe an additional $225 may make you cringe, but in all reality, the balance transfer will save you money long-term. In this example, you were offered an introductory interest rate of 0% for 18 months and then 15% APR after the promotional period ends. You currently pay 18% APR on your $7,500 debt and make monthly payments of $200.

If you don’t take the balance transfer and make the $200 monthly payment, it will take you 56 months and cost $3,604 in interest to get debt free.

If you take the balance transfer and make the same $200 monthly payment, you could be debt free in 43 months and only pay $900 in both interest and fees (that $225 to transfer the balance). You could even transfer the balance at the end of your first promotional period to another 0% APR offer with no fee for 15 months and be debt free in 40 months and pay $423 in interest and fees.

That initial hit on your credit score and $225 fee will save you $2,704 in interest with one balance transfer or $3,181 with multiple balance transfers.

Well worth the price.

When You Might Want to Wait

If you credit score falls below the “good” range, which would mean your score is below 680, it may be wise to wait before applying for a balance transfer. Financial institutions generally will not accept your application if you’re at 679 or below, but they will have to complete the hard inquiry in order to get that information. That means your score is still likely to drop, but you won’t be seeing any of the rewards of decreased credit utilization.

If you’re close to the cutoff, waiting until you hit that magic 680 number may be a good idea. While you’re waiting, be sure to do things that are likely to improve your score, like:

  • Paying at least your minimum payments on time every month.
  • Paying all your other bills on time so nothing delinquent pops up on your credit report.

As you pay your minimum payments on time every month, your creditor likely be reporting positive information to the credit reporting agencies.  At the very least, they won’t be reporting negative information.

If you make more than the minimum payment, your balance will go down faster which will lower your credit utilization, and we’ve already seen how that positively affects your score.

After your score increases, you’ll be more likely to qualify for the balance transfer with low or no interest rates. At that point, taking the small hit will be worth it.

Another time you may want to wait before applying for a balance transfer is if you are thinking about taking out a mortgage in the near future. This is one of the biggest purchases you’re likely to make in your life. The higher your credit score when you apply, the lower your interest rates will be, so even a small hit from a hard inquiry could increase your interest rates.

Go For It

If you qualify and are not thinking about making a massive purchase in the near future, taking the temporary, small hit on your credit score is more than likely worth the savings. Just be sure to pay at least the minimum due every month once you’ve made the balance transfer; otherwise your interest rates will jump back up, negating the advantage of this strategy.

A good credit score is something to be leveraged. The entire reason you want one is to enable you to save money. While it might be nerve-wracking to watch it decrease slightly, paying more interest than you have to is a bigger cause for concern.

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Balance Transfer, Earning Cashback, Reviews

Chase Freedom or Chase Slate: How Do You Know Which to Pick?

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The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Chase Freedom or Chase Slate

Are you looking for your next credit card? If so, one of the companies you may have considered is Chase. Two of the most popular products offered by Chase are the Chase Freedom and the Chase Slate® credit cards. If you are wondering which card, Chase Freedom or Chase Slate®, will best meet your needs, read on to see our head to head review.

Chase Slate®

Chase Slate® is a great credit card for balance transfers. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free. Just make sure you get the balance transfer done within 60 days of opening the account. This offer can help you pay off your debt efficiently as your full payment will go towards the principal balance.

There is an ongoing purchase APR of 15.49% – 24.24%. This is the APR that will apply after the balance transfer period ends.

There is no penalty APR for paying late. However, other terms apply, like paying a late fee if you miss the payment deadline.

That may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t as long as you follow 3 rules:

  • Complete your balance transfer within 60 of opening your account. Transfers made after 60 days will be subject to standard balance transfer fees and interest rates.
  • Pay your bill on time every month. If you are one day late with your payment, you will be subject to a late fee. Payments made 60 days late, or more, will result in losing the promotional interest rate.
  • Transfer debt from another bank. The intro 0% APR is not applicable to debt transferred from another Chase credit card, including co-brand credit cards issued by Chase like Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and more.

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Chase Freedom®

Once you are at a point in your financial journey that you can trust yourself to use credit wisely in order to take advantage of credit card rewards, then Chase Freedom is a strong contender.

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

You also have to enroll online to activate the 5% cash back categories. If you forget to activate them, you will only earn the standard 1% cash back, even if you make purchases within the bonus categories of the current quarter. The good news is that you have a grace period of 2 months to get enrolled in the bonus categories each quarter, so you can earn 5% cash back on purchases in the bonus categories even if you didn’t remember to enroll right away.

Rewards are earned as points in part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards system, which you can then redeem for cash back as a statement credit, gift cards, travel, and more through your online account. You do have to meet a minimum of 2,000 points, or $20, to redeem your rewards.

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Pros and Cons

Chase Slate®

  • Pro: Balance transfer is a highly competitive offer.
  • Con: You can only transfer debt from cards not owned by Chase. Chase is a large bank, so some of your debt may already be held at Chase Bank even if you were not aware of it.
  • Pro: Interest charged during month 16 is charged going forward, not retroactively.
  • Con: Interest rates after the promotional period are 15.49% – 24.24% variable depending on your credit score.

Chase Freedom®

  • Pro: Bonus categories offer the opportunity to earn some serious cash back.
  • Con: You must actively opt in to the bonus cash back
  • Pro: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Con: You have to reach a minimum threshold of 2,000 points, worth $20, in order to redeem your rewards.

When to Use Each Card

Chase Freedom and Chase Slate® are not cards that will likely be used by the same target customer. The Chase Slate® card is a great tool to use if you are trying to get out of debt because you’ll be able to focus on paying off your principal balance instead of paying high interest rates. Just be sure to make your payments on time and pay as much above the minimum due as you can afford.

Another balance transfer option to consider besides the Chase Slate® credit card is the Citi Simplicity credit card. The Citi Simplicity credit card offers 0% APR for 21 months. However, there is a 3% balance transfer fee on the Citi Simplicity credit card.

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Chase Freedom is a rewards card that may make sense to have in your wallet if you are able to use credit responsibly. However, this card is best when used in combination with other cash back credit cards, like the Citi Double Cash, which offers 1% cash back upfront and another 1% cash back when you pay off the bill, which is double the cash back of the Chase Freedom outside of the 5% cash back bonus categories.

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Which card you use, Chase Freedom or Chase Slate®, depends on your personal financial situation and your goals. If your goal is to pay off debt, Chase Slate® is the way to go out of the two, but if you are interested in earning rewards for your everyday spending, Chase Freedom may be right up your alley.

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Balance Transfer, Reviews

Chase Slate or Citi Simplicity: Which Balance Transfer Should You Pick?

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The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Chase Slate or Citi Simplicity

Credit cards can be a great financial tool – if you know how to use them properly. But if you’ve found yourself in credit card debt, that may be hard to believe.

One way to help you pay off your credit card debt efficiently is with a balance transfer. A balance transfer can allow you to move debt from one credit card to another to obtain a much lower interest rate so more of your money payment is going toward paying off the principal balance of your debt instead of those pesky interest charges.

In order to take advantage of a balance transfer to save the most money and help you get out of debt as fast as possible, you may have to open up a new credit card. Yep, you heard right. Sometimes opening up a new credit card can save you money. That’s because some credit cards offer great promotional deals for balance transfers with 0% interest rates for a period of time so you can pay off your debt faster.

Once you’ve come to that conclusion, the far more challenging decision is which credit card to apply for so you can get the best deal possible. Choosing one of out hundreds of offers can be tricky.

Two popular cards are Chase Slate® and Citi Simplicity. But which one is a better fit for you?

Let’s dive in and take a look with a head-to-head review of these popular credit cards.

Chase Slate®

Chase Slate® is a great credit card for balance transfers. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

There is a variable APR of 15.49% – 24.24% on purchases.

There is no penalty APR for paying late. However, other terms apply, like paying a late fee if you miss the payment deadline.

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Citi Simplicity

Citi Simplicity is another popular balance transfer credit card choice. This card offers a 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers and new purchases, which offers a notably 0% duration difference to Chase Slate® card. After the promotional period ends, your APR will be between 13.49% and 23.49%.

However, the Citi Simplicity does charge a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater. This is not waived for a certain time period for new customers, and the balance transfer option with 0% interest for 21 months is only available to new card members on balance transfers made within 4 months of opening their account.

Citi Simplicity has no annual fee and also promises not to charge a penalty interest rate on late payments. It also does not charge late fees.

Citi_Simplicity

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Pros and Cons

Now that you’ve seen an overview of each card, let’s sum up some of the pros and cons of each as a balance transfer credit card to help you pay off debt.

Chase Slate®

  • Pro: You can save a lot with the balance transfer. Credit card interest rates are high. By taking advantage of Chase Slate®, you could significantly reduce your interest expense.
  • Pro: No penalty APR for a late payment.
  • Con: There is a late payment fee of $15 to $37 per occurrence.
  • Con: You can only transfer balances from non-Chase banks. You cannot transfer debt from another Chase credit card or from a co-brand, like Southwest Airlines or United Airlines.

Citi Simplicity

  • Pro: 0% APR on balance transfers and new purchases for 21 months. After 21 months, interest is charged going forward, but you will not be charged deferred interest. This is longer 0% period than the Chase Slate®.
  • Con: Interest rate after 21 months will be 13.24% to 23.34% APR.
  • Pro: No penalty APR or fee on late payments.
  • Con: 3% balance transfer fee from account opening which is relatively common for similar balance transfer offers.
  • Pro: No annual fee.
  • Con: 0% promotion expires. Balance transfers must be made within 4 months to qualify for the 0% interest promotion. So don’t delay in moving any debts over once you’re approved.

When to Consider Each Card

Obviously both of these cards can be useful if you are trying to transfer your credit card debt to save on interest and pay off your balance faster. However, which card you choose comes down to doing a little math and considering your personal circumstances.

On one hand, the Chase Slate® card offers a 0% intro balance transfer fee, which makes it an attractive option if you hate paying fees. However, it charges a fee for late payments, unlike the Citi Simplicity card. This fee can add up quickly if you are notorious for paying your bills late and may more than make up for the 3% balance transfer fee charged by the Citi Simplicity card.

Another consideration is how much debt you plan to transfer. You want to make sure you can pay off your transferred balance in full before the promotion expires to avoid paying interest charges. The Citi Simplicity is popular because it offers such a long promotional period in which you’ll be paying no interest. But once again, you need to consider how much it will cost you to transfer your debt with its 3% balance transfer fee.

Finally, if the debt you are wanting to pay off is on a Chase card already or held at a co-brand, like Southwest Airlines or United Airlines, you won’t be able to transfer the balance onto the Chase Slate® card to save on interest. In this case, the Citi Simplicity card clearly wins out.

Neither card charges an annual fee, which works in your favor.

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either card as long as you are using them to save money on interest and pay off your debt. It’s all about personal preference and your debt situation.

Other Balance Transfer Options

There are a lot of other balance transfer credit cards to consider. In fact, we’ve put together a list of credit cards that offer great balance transfer options, which you can check out here.

One that made the list is the BankAmericard Visa, which offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, and it has one of the lowest standard APRs at 10.99% to 20.991% APR. Like the Citi Simplicity card, the transfer fee on this card is 3%. You must also make your balance transfer within 60 days of account opening.

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You can also consider other 0%, no fee balance transfer cards like Alliant Credit Union’s card with 0% APR for 12 months and no fee. You will need to become a member of Alliant CU in order to be eligible for the card, but luckily anyone can join by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success.

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Feel overwhelmed with how to get started? Check out our guides for how to complete a balance transfer here.

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Balance Transfer, Reviews

Review: BankAmericard Visa 0% for 18 months Balance Transfer

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Need to take control of your credit card debt? Try a balance transfer. It’s a great way to get a majority, if not all, of your payments to actually be applied to the principal balance. An interest-free introductory promotional offer can give you the head start you need to crush debt for good.

Although there are a few things to think about before making a transfer, like if you plan to use the new credit card to make purchases. Not all deals include new purchases in the 0% APR promo, so to make the most of a balance transfer you should avoid swiping the card altogether. Instead focus your energy on paying off debt.

The BankAmericard Visa is one of many cards that offer a balance transfer deal with a promotional interest rate, which excludes new spending. You may want to consider it if you already use Bank of America, but you’re moving money over from a non-Bank of America credit card.

The BankAmericard Visa Balance Transfer Offer

The BankAmericard Visa offers a 0% APR promo deal on balance transfers for 18 months. Out of all the BankAmericards, this one has the lowest standard interest at 10.99% to 20.99% APR. Ultimately, how much interest you qualify for depends on your credit score and history. Again, standard interest applies to new purchases and not 0% APR. This means if you transfer a balance to this card you shouldn’t use it for purchases in order to take full advantage of the promo.

The BankAmericard comes with chip technology for security when you travel. There’s also ShopSafe for online shopping protection and a $0 Liability Guarantee for fraud. When you become a cardholder, you can sign up for the entire suite of Bank of America services like spending alerts, mobile banking and text banking.

You can also attach your credit card to your Bank of America checking account to protect yourself from overdraft. Transfer charges may apply if you use overdraft protection and we’ll touch more on that in the next section.

Fees and Gotchas

There’s no annual fee. The balance transfer fee is 3%. You need to make balance transfers within 60 days to qualify for the deal. If you enroll in overdraft protection, there’s a $12 per transaction fee if your checking account overdraft is more than $12. Interest for the cash advance to cover overdraft is 24.99% APR. Basically, don’t link this for overdraft protection unless it’s your last resort and you have absolutely no savings. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.

The late fee is up to $38 and the returned payment fee is up to $27. You’re given a 25-day grace period from the bill closing date to make payment. Penalty APR can be up to 29.99% depending on creditworthiness and it can go into effect if you make a late payment. Once applied, penalty APR will remain indefinitely.

Pros and Cons

Pros

This card has a long promo period, which is useful if you need to pay off a sizeable amount of debt. Over a year of no interest saves you money while you attack the principal balance directly. And the standard interest is still competitive even when the promo period ends. Convenience is a benefit if you’re already a Bank of America account holder because you can manage accounts on one dashboard.

Cons

The BankAmericard Visa balance transfer is straightforward with no frills, yet there’s fine print. Sure connecting the credit card to your checking account for overdraft is a perk, but it’s also costly if you have to use it. The transfer fees and high interest on the advance can quickly add up. In addition, this card charges a balance transfer fee when other deals don’t have one. And if you need a longer balance transfer there are other cards available.

BankAmericard

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BankAmericard Against the Competition

Let’s compare the BankAmericard balance transfer to the Chase Slate® and Citi Diamond Preferred cards.

It’s hard for deals to compete with the Chase Slate® balance transfer promo. With Chase Slate®, you can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

Essentially, if you qualify for this card it’s completely free for 15 months. The Purchase APR after the promotional period is 15.49% – 24.24% variable depending on creditworthiness.

Chase Slate

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The Citi Diamond Preferred offers a 21-month promotion with 0% interest for new purchases and balance transfers as well. The balance transfer fee is 3%, just like BankAmericard, but you get three more months of 0% APR. This card also has no annual fee. The Purchase APR after the promotional period is 12.49% to 22.49% APR.

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Who Will Benefit the Most From This Card

Consider this card if you already have an account with Bank of America. It’s convenient to access all of your accounts in one place and you can fall back on overdraft protection if you’re in a real bind. But, it’s a little heavy on the fine print and if you want to transfer your balance with introductory 0% APR and intro no balance transfer fee, Chase Slate® is the way to go. You can also find other 0% with no fee offers here.

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Balance Transfer, Reviews

Review: Alliant Credit Union Visa Platinum Card Balance Transfer

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Alliant Credit Union Visa Platinum Card Balance Transfer

A balance transfer is one way to kick-start debt repayment. Alliant Credit Union offers two balance transfer cards with low introductory interest – the Visa Platinum Card and the Visa Platinum Rewards Card. Because both cards are offered by a credit union you have to become a member before being eligible to apply. Fortunately, anyone can join with a small donation to Foster Care to Success. Let’s go over the offers in detail.

Balance Transfer Overview

Both cards have a 12-month intro period on balance transfers and new purchases. The lowest interest rate available is 0% for 12 months. However, the intro rate can go up to 5.99% depending on creditworthiness.

After the intro period expires, interest bumps up to the standard rate:

Visa Platinum Card – 9.24% to 21.24%

Visa Platinum Rewards Card – 11.24% to 23.24%

You can transfer balances at any time and there’s no balance transfer fee. Initiating a transfer is very easy. You can set up a transfer online through the credit card account dashboard. Or you can call in to speak with a representative.

Extra Credit Card Benefits

Both credit cards come with extra perks for security and convenience. There’s zero liability on fraud, so you won’t be held responsible for most unauthorized charges. However, there’s some fine print that says the zero liability policy doesn’t apply to ATM transactions or certain pin and commercial card transactions.

For enhanced security, each card comes with an EMV chip that’s globally accepted. The credit cards also include a rental car damage waiver, Apple Pay capabilities, and 24/7 customer service.

If you choose the Visa Platinum Rewards Card you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points at signing and an ongoing one point per dollar spent. You can redeem points for statement credits, travel, gift cards, merchandise and more.

Fees and Gotchas

There’s no annual fee or balance transfer fee. The late payment fee can be up to $25. There’s no return payment or over the credit card limit fee. The foreign transaction fee is 1%. Ask for a copy of your statement and it’ll cost you $5. The card replacement fee is $10.

If you make a late payment you can lose your promotional interest deal. You can also be charged penalty APR of 24.24%. Penalty APR will apply to your account until you make 6 consecutive on-time minimum payments.

Pros and Cons

Pros

The top perk of both Alliant Credit Union balance transfers is you can potentially qualify for 12 months with 0% interest and no balance transfer fee. Plus, you can make balance transfers at any time with no extra cost. Even when the intro deal expires, interest for the Visa Platinum Card, 9.24%, is still reasonable. Plus, overall the fees are minimal.

Other pros of the Visa Platinum Card and Visa Platinum Rewards Card include the security features and access to Apple Pay. If you’re looking for a card that’ll reward you for shopping, the Visa Platinum Rewards Card is free, has no rewards caps and you can earn bonus points from shopping with certain retailers.

Cons

Now, moving on to the drawbacks. First, this isn’t a guaranteed interest-free deal. The fine print that says interest is “as low as 0%” could be easily overlooked if you’re quickly glancing at the credit card website. Check your rate before opening an account. Make sure the intro rate you qualify for makes the balance transfer worthwhile.

The last drawback is both balance transfers are from a credit union. So, you have to take a few extra steps during the application process to join and it requires a $10 donation.

Alliant Visa Platinum

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Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards

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Balance Transfer Alternatives

You can search for a variety of other balance transfer options including ones with 0% interest and even ones offering 0% with no fee. Find our list of no fee balance transfer offers here.

If you’re still interested in considering other cards, which may have a longer duration but charge a fee, then explore our balance transfer marketplace here.

[Use this tool to calculate the difference with fees and interest.]

Who Will Benefit the Most From This Card

The Visa Platinum Card and Visa Platinum Rewards Card are both good deals if you’re repaying debt. However, you need a good to excellent credit score to make the most of it. Qualifying for the twofer balance transfer deal (0% interest and no balance transfer fee) puts you in the best position to pay off debt quickly.

If you apply and don’t qualify for a low rate, you can always fall back on either of the alternatives above. Or you can take steps to improve your credit score before applying.

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Balance Transfer, College Students and Recent Grads, Pay Down My Debt

Guide to Paying off a Student Loan With a Balance Transfer

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Pretty Young Multiethnic Woman Holding Phone and Credit Card Using Laptop.

Do you have a loan with a high interest rate you’re trying to pay off? Is it frustrating you to see so much of your monthly payment going toward interest instead of principal?

If you’ve been looking for solutions, chances are you’ve come across 0% interest balance transfer offers from credit card companies. What you might not be aware of is that you can use these offers to pay off personal loans and student loans – not just other credit card debt.

How a Balance Transfer Works

Is the concept of a balance transfer new to you? Here’s a quick example of what it looks like:

You have a $2,000 balance on Credit Card A with a 15% APR. You get a 0% APR balance transfer offer from Credit Card Company B.

You can transfer the $2,000 from Credit Card A onto Credit Card B (you may incur a balance transfer fee, depending on the offer), and pay 0% APR for a select period of time instead of the 15% APR you were paying.

Note that you’re not actually completely paying off your debt. The balance from Credit Card A might be paid off (thanks to Credit Card B), but you’re still on the hook for repaying the $2,000 you transferred to Credit Card B. Balance transfers simply mean you’re shuffling your debt around to a lower interest rate in order to pay it down faster, not eliminating it with the move.

Many credit cards offer 0% APR periods from 12 to 18 months, with some even over 20 months. Why bother with a balance transfer? You’re saving money because you’re paying less interest. With a 0% APR, your payments go directly toward the principal of the balance.

There is one catch, though – you must be able to pay off the balance by the time the 0% APR promotion expires.

We used credit cards in this example, but the same holds true for other loans. If you have a personal or student loan, you can transfer that debt to a credit card with 0% interest while paying off your original personal or student loan. Let’s take a look at how this is possible.

How to Pay Off a Loan With a Balance Transfer

Before you consider using this strategy, you should have a decent credit score; at least 700 and above. People who have been completely responsible with credit in the past (they haven’t missed any payments, and can afford to pay extra) would be the best candidates for this strategy. They simply have debt that’s costing them too much.

You can use a variety of methods to transfer a balance: you can call the credit card company offering the 0% APR promotion and inquire about it; you can log onto your account online if you already have a card with an offer; or you can use a balance transfer check that was mailed to you to write a check to yourself, and receive the funds in your bank.

Just beware, if you log into your account for an offer, it likely won’t be the most competitive option on the market. Instead of getting 0%, you might get 5% APR or something similar. The best offers come when you actually move your debt from one bank to another.

Warning before you proceed. Different lenders have different policies on whether or not you can pay using a credit card. Check with your lender first to see what payment options are available to you. A balance transfer check may be the only option for you.

Calling a credit card company may be the best idea as you can ask the representative questions about fees and the overall process. You can also attempt to negotiate the balance transfer fee. That might sound a little crazy, but Sandy Smith of Yes I am Cheap has successfully negotiated her balance transfer fee down a few times and highly recommends others do the same. You have nothing to lose by asking.

Stephanie from Six Figures Under used this strategy to pay off student loan debt as well, and recommends calling and asking for a better rate if you’re unable to receive a 0% APR offer (some credit card companies offer 1% – 2%).

What happens after you write a balance transfer check? Once the check is cashed, the balance is drawn from your credit card. If you have a limit of $10,000 on your credit card, and you write a check for $5,000, you’ll then owe $5,000 on your card. It’s very similar to a “traditional” balance transfer.

In some cases, you may be able to call a representative from the credit card company and give them the loan account information. They can then initiate the pay off and transfer on their end, with the same result of your credit line being drawn upon.

Please be wary of using balance transfer checks as there can be a lot of hoops to jump through. Some credit card companies won’t send you balance transfer checks, even if you call and request them, until months after you’ve been approved for the card. Unfortunately, balance transfer offers typically expire after 60 days, so this might not work out.

Others have had trouble cashing the checks. If you’re considering using a balance transfer check, read the fine print to make sure the math works in your favor, as some have higher balance transfer fees than credit cards.

When Should You Consider a Balance Transfer?

There are many factors to take into consideration. Besides being able to pay off the balance in full before the 0% APR rate expires (which will require a large monthly payment in some situations – be sure you can afford it), you have to see if you’re actually saving money. 0% interest sounds great, but if you’re paying off student loans, you should be aware the interest you pay on them is tax deductible.

To compare whether or not you’re saving money, consider the balance transfer fees you’ll have to pay, the amount of interest you’ll be able to deduct on your taxes (if applicable), or the amount of money you’ll be saving by transferring. Is it worth it?

For example, let’s say you have a $10,000 balance with a 6.8% APR and you have 5 years left on the loan. Your monthly payment is currently $197.07. You’ll pay a total of $11,824.20 over those 5 years.

If you were to transfer this loan to a 0% APR credit card with a promotional period of 18 months, you’d be paying $558.33 per month, saving you $1,774.18 in interest (paying nearly $10,050 total). This is assuming balance transfer fees cap out at $50 – each credit card is different.

You need to be very disciplined in making your payments. Your current loan is likely an installment loan, which means a set amount is due every month to pay off the loan in a certain period of time.

Credit cards are revolving, which means it will take you longer to pay off your balance if you only pay the minimum each month as interest continues to accrue. Obviously, this is the perk of the 0% APR balance transfer; all your money is paying down principal. Know what you need to pay each month to pay off the balance in full before the introductory 0% APR expires!

What to Watch Out for in the Process

Balance transfers might sound like a great solution, but they are not for everyone. We mentioned this before, but you should only consider doing this if you know without a doubt that you can pay off the balance in full by the end of the 0% APR period.

Why? Credit cards still have very high interest rates. If you don’t pay off the balance, then you’ll start accruing interest at the regular APR for your credit card. These can be as high as 11% to 15% – not what you want to deal with, especially if your original loan had a lower APR.

Also, depending on the card, if you miss a payment, your 0% APR may expire as a penalty. It’s extremely important to keep on top of your payments.

[Balance Transfer Traps to Avoid]

You should only be using this strategy if getting out of debt – for good – is your goal.

The other thing you must watch out for is the terms of the balance transfer, especially if you’re using a balance transfer check. Do not confuse a balance transfer offer with a cash advance offer. There are times credit card companies will send out blank checks for both in the same envelope. You have to read the fine print on the check. The last thing you want to do is take out a cash advance because those have higher rates.

You also need to watch out for balance transfer fees (typically around 3% of the balance you wish to transfer), which may be capped at a certain dollar amount. You should do the math before deciding a balance transfer is right for you.

Lastly, we want to repeat that this strategy is not for everyone, especially for those who haven’t been responsible with credit in the past. You should not add any additional debt onto this balance transfer card – you should only use it to transfer your existing debt. Otherwise, the balance will be more difficult to pay off.

Credit card companies bet on this happening, which is why they’re able to offer the 0% APR balance transfer in the first place – they make money off of the offers. Keep in mind that on most cards, new purchases aren’t covered under the 0% APR offer – they accrue at regular (high) rates. Read the fine print!

Parting Advice

Using a balance transfer check is one way to get around not being able to pay off a student or personal loan with a credit card, but you must be 100% aware of the terms and how the math works.

Don’t be afraid to call up the credit card company presenting you with the 0% APR offer to get clarification on what is or isn’t allowed with the balance transfer. If your credit isn’t sufficient, you may not be approved for a credit line that will allow you to transfer over all your debt. You may only be able to transfer over a portion.

If getting out of debt quickly is your goal, and you don’t qualify for a balance transfer (or a check won’t work out for you), then consider making extra payments on your debt. You’ll still save on interest, and you won’t have to worry about fees or having your payments denied.

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Balance Transfer

Edward Jones World MasterCard Balance Transfer Review

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Edward Jones World MasterCard Balance Transfer Review

Do high interest payments hold you back from attacking the principal on your credit card? Then you may benefit from transferring your debt to a new credit card that has an introductory period with no interest.

The Edward Jones MasterCard is one option that currently offers 0% interest and no balance transfer fee if you submit an application before December 31, 2015. But there is some important fine print behind this offer.

The Balance Transfer at a Glance

The Edward Jones MasterCard offers the following:

  1. No annual fee
  2. Purchase APR of 12.99%
  3. Introductory APR of 0% for 12 months on balance transfers made within 30 days of card opening. Standard 12.99% APR applies after the promo ends
  4. No balance transfer fee for the first 30 days. The fee after 30 days is 3% per transfer
  5. Rewards program gives 1 point for every $1 spent. You can redeem points for cash back, travel, gift cards, charitable donations or a direct deposit into an Edward Jones investment account
  6. You can earn a 10,000 point bonus right away if you spend $500 within the first 90 days of card opening (although this is a nice perk you may want to hold off on spending any more money on the card if debt repayment is the main purpose of your balance transfer)

Are You Eligible for an Edward Jones World MasterCard?

You must have an existing investment account with Edward Jones to qualify for this balance transfer deal. If you’re interested in investing you can find an Edward Jones branch and call for details. The company website has a search option where you can look up local investment advisors. If you’re already an investor and you want to apply reach out to your advisor for credit card details. They’ll forward you to the credit card department who will assist you with the application process.

Fine Print and Fees

Overall the terms of the Edward Jones World MasterCard are quite clear. The main thing you need to remember is in order for your balance transfer to qualify for the introductory deal you must move your debt within 30 days. Otherwise you’re looking at a 3% fee per transfer and you’ll pay standard interest on the balance. As far as other fees, there’s a 1% fee on foreign transactions and the cash advance fee is 4% of the amount you request.

Pros and Cons

We’ve covered the basics of a balance transfer with Edward Jones so what are its pros and cons?

Pros

The first benefit if there’s no annual fee. In addition, the combination of no balance transfer fee and 0% interest for such a long intro period (12 months) is relatively rare in the balance transfer market. The long interest free period will allow you to consolidate debt and get a head start on principal payments.

Cons

The qualifying criteria is limiting because this offer is for current Edward Jones customers. New purchases are not a part of the promotion period so you’ll incur interest. Keep this in mind if you intend to earn points from the rewards program. Sure you’ll get rewarded for spending, but you’ll also have to pay interest on your new stuff.

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Alternatives to the Edward Jones MasterCard

The Citi Simplicity Card has a longer interest free period than the Edward Jones MasterCard but it charges a 3% balance transfer fee on all transfers. There’s 0% APR on transfers and new purchases for 21 months. Afterwards interest is 13.49% to 23.49% depending on your creditworthiness.

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You can search for a variety of other balance transfer options including ones with 0% interest and even ones offering 0% with no fee. Find our list of no fee balance transfer offers here.

If you’re still interested in considering other cards, which may have a longer duration but charge a fee, then explore our balance transfer marketplace here.

[Use this tool to calculate the difference with fees and interest.]

Who Will Benefit the Most from This Offer?

Obviously you’ll benefit most from the Edward Jones MasterCard if you’re a current investor. If not you’ll have to open up an investment account before applying. But with qualification criteria aside, this card is great for anyone who wants to reduce their credit card debt. There’s no fee on any of your transfers as long as you make them on time and you have an entire year to aggressively pay debt without having to worry about interest.

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Balance Transfer, Pay Down My Debt

Slash Interest Rates and Then Use the Debt Snowball

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Very Upset Woman Holding Her Many Credit Cards.

There are two common ways you can focus on debt repayment. The first, known as debt avalanche, makes mathematical sense. You chip away at the debt with the highest interest rates first to minimize the overall damage it can do to your wallet. Then you work your way down. The second, called debt snowball, makes psychological sense. Popularized by the personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, the debt snowball plan encourages you to pay off your smaller debts first, regardless of interest rate, and then use the psychological empowerment to keep motivating your debt repayment journey.

Ramsey refers to the use of the debt snowball as “behavior modification over math.” He’s also anti-credit cards, which makes balance transfers a no-go and even the use of credit cards for regular spending frowned upon. At MagnifyMoney, we understand the rational behind removing the temptation of credit cards, but we also want to see you get out of debt as quickly and efficiently as possible. So, we propose a modification to the traditional debt snowball method.

[Why This Dave Ramsey Fan Still Uses Credit Cards]

The Slash then Snowball Method

You can list your debts in order from smallest to largest, but we’d also encourage you to write the interest rates next to the debts.

Take a look at the largest interest rates. Do you have credit card debt sitting at 20+ percent?

$5,000 of credit card debt at 20% APR paying only $250 a month will take you over two years to pay down and cost you $1,131 in interest.

Multiple credit cards at high interest rates will likely cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars over the course of your snowball repayment journey. It’s prudent to get at those high interest rates as fast as possible. But that would mean you’re doing the debt avalanche instead of debt snowball.

Instead, here is a twist on the modern snowball method. Don’t focus on the smallest debts alone; also consider slashing the interest rates and then snowballing.

[How Much is the Debt Snowball Method Costing You?]

Slash and Snowball in Action

You have five credit cards you’re trying to pay off. You’ve written the list of your debts from lowest to highest.

  • Credit Card A: $700 – 16% – minimum payment $25
  • Credit Card B: $1,200 – 15% – minimum payment $25
  • Credit Card C: $2,400 – 20% – minimum payment – $50
  • Credit Card D: $2,850 – 18% – minimum payment $85
  • Credit Card E: $3,000 – 16% – minimum payment $100

TOTAL: $10,150 in credit card debt with an average interest rate of 17.00%

Each month, you’re currently paying $285 towards just the minimums. You’ve decided you can afford to pay $350 per month towards your debt.

In the traditional debt snowball method, you’d pay your minimum balances until you’ve paid off the first debt and then take the amount you were paying on the paid off debt and add it to the payment towards the next debt in line.

For example, once you pay off the $700 debt, you’d put that $25 a month you were paying and add it to the $25 a month on the $1,200 debt so you’re now paying $50 a month. Once that’s paid off you add the $50 a month to the $50 minimum on the $2,400 so it’s $100 and so on.

In the slash then snowball method, you first see if you can lower the interest rate on your smallest debt or first few debts. The easiest way to do this would be with a 0% balance transfer offer.

If you were approved for a $2,000 with a 0% balance transfer offer at no fee, you could move your $700 debt and the $1,200 to 0%. You’d then pay $115 a month towards your debt, because you’d be combining both minimums and the extra $65 a month you’re committing to your debt repayment.

By paying $115 per month towards the debt at 0% interest, you could knock down $1900 worth of debt to $150 in 15 months. Even if you paid a balance transfer fee, typically around 3% of the transferred balance, you could’ve knocked down the balance of two debts to $207 in 15 months. Keep in mind, you’re still paying the minimums on the other debts.

Electing to not do the balance transfer and paying $90 a month towards Credit Card A (that’s the minimum plus the additional $65 a month committed to debt repayment) would take 9 months to pay off the $700 and cost $44 in interest. In those 9 months, barely a dent has been made in Credit Card B because you’re only paying the minimum.

Assuming you completed the first balance transfer, the next move would either be to transfer the remaining balance and the balance of the next card (or two) to a new 0% balance transfer offer. Or you could stick with the traditional snowball method and use the $115 per month to pay off the remaining $150 balance in two months and then snowball that $115 to the $2,400 credit card debt. Combine the $115 with the $50 minimum payment, and you’re paying $165 a month.

By forgoing the debt snowball, you could pay off the balance in 17 months and then snowball the $165 to the next debt. But it would cost you $359 in interest.

If you did a balance transfer, like the Citi Simplicity at 0% for 21 months and a 3% fee, it would cost you $72 for the fee and it would be paid off in 15 months.

Who Should Use this Method?

Using balance transfers to help get yourself out of debt faster shouldn’t be used by everyone in debt. If you’ve ended up in credit card debt due to a shopping compulsion or because you’re unable to handle access to credit without spending more than you earn, then stay away from using a balance transfer. Cutting up credit cards would be the best course of action for you. But, if you’re in credit card debt because an emergency happened that you couldn’t afford or you elected to finance a purchase on credit cards and couldn’t pay it down, then the slash before snowballing method could work for you. Balance transfers are an incredibly effective tool, but only if you use them correctly, avoid the traps and commit to paying down your debt and not spending on the cards.

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Balance Transfer

The Bank of Hawaii Balance Transfer Offers

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The Bank of Hawaii offers two excellent balance transfer cards: The Bank of Hawaii American Express and The Bank of Hawaii Visa Signature.

Both cards offer a 0% balance transfer APR for 18 months, with a 4% balance transfer fee, as well as a rewards program, called MyBankoh Rewards.

Balance Transfer Basics

A balance transfer allows you to move a balance owed from one card to another, in order to take advantage of a smaller interest rate, and pay off the balance faster. Successfully completing a balance transfer can help you pay off your debt faster and with less interest paid.

Credit card companies are competing for your business, and they know that if they offer an enticing 0% APR period for balance transfers, purchases, or both, that they can convince you to become a customer. Plus, they’re hopefully you’ll trip up along your debt repayment journey and fall into a trap to stay in debt.

Both The Bank of Hawaii American Express and Visa Signature offer 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months with a 4% balance transfer fee. That 4% may seem like quite a bit to pay to lower the amount of interest you are paying, but take a look at this example to see just how much it could save you.

If you have a $10,000 credit card balance at 15% interest, even paying $600 a month towards that balance will cost you $1,284.03 in interest by the time you pay it off 19 months later.

However, if you were to transfer that same $10,000 balance to either The Bank of Hawaii American Express or the Visa Signature, pay the 4% fee ($400), and keep making $600 payments each month, your balance would be paid off in just over 17 months, and save you $884.03 in interest.

[See how much a balance transfer can save you here.]

When you complete a balance transfer, be sure that you can make your payments on time, as late fees can add up quickly. It is also wise to make sure that you can pay off the transferred balance before the 0% APR period expires by dividing the balance by the number of months in the promotional period.

Bank of Hawaii AMEX

How To Apply

You can complete the application for the Bank of Hawaii American Express either online or by phone by calling 1-888-799-4889. In order to apply you will need your Social Security number, your monthly housing payment, and your total annual income.

Also have the account you wish to transfer a balance from and the amount of the transfer, as you will be asked for this information when you apply.

How To Complete The Balance Transfer

To complete a balance transfer with the Bank of Hawaii American Express, simply enter the 15 or 16 digit card number from the account that you want to transfer the balance from online when you apply. If the total amount you wish to transfer exceeds your credit limit, your balance transfer may be declined, or you may only be able to complete a partial balance transfer. You cannot transfer a balance from an existing Bank of Hawaii account, and you should not transfer a balance that is in dispute.

Once you have applied for the card and been approved. The Bank of Hawaii will process your requested balance transfer 10 days after your card has been mailed. At any time during those 10 days you can request to cancel the balance transfer by calling the customer service number on the back of your card.

As with all balance transfers, the amount may take up to 4 weeks to post to your account. During that time, continue making payments on the account you are transferring the balance from, until you are sure that the balance transfer has been completed.

Fine Print Alerts

While this card provides 0% promo APR on balance transfer for 18 months, it is important to note that there is no introductory APR for purchases. The APR for all purchases not within the grace period of 23 days will be charged either 13.98% or 16.98%, based on creditworthiness.

There is also a fee of 4% for a balance transfer, 2% for foreign transactions, and up to a $25 fee for each late or returned payment.

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MyBankoh Rewards

Keep in mind: we never recommend spending money on your balance transfer card as it becomes to easy to fall into a trap of revolving debt. With that in mind, below is information about the card’s reward program.

The Bank of Hawaii AMEX has a rewards program called MyBankoh Rewards with no cap or expiration dates on points. After opening the account, if you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days, you will receive a bonus of 10,000 points, redeemable for $100. This bonus is available for new cardmembers only.

Regular transactions earn 1 point for every $1.00 spent on qualifying transactions. At the end of the year, you will receive a 20% bonus on points earned, provided all of your payments have been made on time.

These points may be redeemed for a statement credit or ACH deposit into the checking or savings account of your choice, and you must redeem amount of $25 or greater. There is also a $500 daily limit for rewards deposited into a checking or savings account.

Bank of Hawaii Visa Signature

How To Apply

The application process is the same as the Bank of Hawaii AMEX.

How To Complete The Balance Transfer

During the application process you will be asked to provide the 15 or 16 digit account number that you wish to transfer a balance from. If the total amount you want to transfer is more than your credit limit, your balance transfer may be denied, or only partially fulfilled.

After your application has been approved, The Bank of Hawaii wait until 10 days after your card has been mailed to process your balance transfer. During those 10 days you can call the number on the back of your card and request for the balance transfer to be cancelled.

You cannot transfer a balance from an existing Bank of Hawaii account, and you should not transfer a balance that is in dispute.

As with all balance transfers, the amount may take up to 4 weeks to post to your account. During that time, continue making payments on the account you are transferring the balance from, until you are sure that the balance transfer has been completed. Also, you cannot transfer a balance from an existing Bank of Hawaii account, and you should not transfer a balance that is in dispute.

Fine Print Alerts

The Bank of Hawaii Visa Signature offers 0% APR on purchases AND balance transfers for 18 months. However, there is still a 4% fee for the balance transfer.

After the 0% promotional period expires, the APR for balance transfers is 13.99% or 16.99%, based on creditworthiness. The regular APR for purchases after the promotional period and for cash advances is 13.98% or 16.98%, based on creditworthiness.

Foreign transactions are charged a 2% fee, and there is a fee of up to $25 for each late or returned payment.

MyBankoh Rewards

Keep in mind: we never recommend spending money on your balance transfer card as it becomes to easy to fall into a trap of revolving debt. With that in mind, below is information about the card’s reward program.

The terms are the MyBankoh rewards program are very similar to that of the Bank of Hawaii American Express. The only difference is that the year-end bonus on points is 10% instead of 20%. The rewards program for the Bank of Hawaii Visa Signature includes the following:

  • 10,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • 1 points for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases
  • 10% year-end bonus on points earned
  • Points may be redeemed for $25 or more as a statement credit or ACH deposit

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Pros

  • 0% balance transfer APR for 18 months
  • 0% purchase APR for 18 months (Visa Signature only)
  • 10,000 points credited after spending $1,000 in 90 days
  • 1 point for every $1.00 spent
  • 10% year end point bonus on Visa Signature
  • 20% year end point bonus on the American Express

Cons

  • 4% balance transfer fee
  • 16.98% or 13.98% APR on purchases
  • 16.99% or 13.99% APR on balance transfers after 18 months, and on cash advances
  • 2% foreign transaction fee
  • Up to $25 fee for late or returned payments

 

Balance Transfer Alternatives

You can search for a variety of other balance transfer options including ones with 0% interest and even ones offering 0% with no fee. Find our list of no fee balance transfer offers here.

If you’re still interested in considering other cards, which may have a longer duration but charge a fee, then explore our balance transfer marketplace here.

[Use this tool to calculate the difference with fees and interest.]

If you are looking for a balance transfer card with a rewards program, or even a card to finance a purchase, The Bank of Hawaii provides several options worth considering. However, before you jump in, consider applying for other balance transfer cards in order to get a longer 0% term or a smaller balance transfer fee.

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Balance Transfer, Reviews

Review: First Tennessee Platinum Premier Visa Card

Advertiser Disclosure

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Review: First Tennessee Platinum Premier Visa Card

This card is a good option for First Tennessee bank customers looking for a low interest rate cash back rewards card or those looking for a solid balance transfer offer. But if you aren’t an existing First Tennessee Bank customer or don’t live near a branch, we recommend you explore other balance transfer options here.

First Tennessee Platinum Premier Visa Card Balance Transfer Offer

Currently, the First Tennessee Platinum Premier card comes with an offer for a 0% balance transfer fee and 0% introductory rate on all transactions.

Once the introductory period expires, the APR on regular purchases and balance transfers ranges from 8.50% to 18.75%. The cash advance APR is 19.50%.

Your purchase interest rate is dependent on your creditworthiness, but these rates are fairly low compared with the average APR on most cards.

You can also get approved for a credit line starting at $5,000.

A Rather Complicated Cash Back Rewards Program

If you want to enjoy earning cash rewards on your credit card (which we don’t recommend if you’re using it for a balance transfer), this card might be a good solution for you. That’s because cash rewards are credited directly to your account. You simply earn rewards when shopping at select retailers.

The downside is there’s no direct cash back program – the amount of cash back you can earn varies depending on the retailer. You’ll receive an email each week with new offers, or you can check your exclusive offers online through your account.

The First Tennessee Platinum Premier card is also compatible with ApplePay if you have the iPhone 6, and it can be linked to a checking account for overdraft protection.

Beyond that, benefits include auto rental insurance, warranty manager service, emergency card replacement, travel and emergency assistance, and a free end-of-the-year statement.

Who’s Eligible to Apply and Who Benefits the Most?

You can apply if you’re a First Tennessee customer. Branches are only located in Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina. So, if you live outside of those states, this isn’t a good card to apply for.

While the 0% balance transfer fee and 0% interest rate for 12 months is a good deal, there are other cards out there with longer transfer periods. Run the numbers to see if it makes sense for you.

The Application Process

You can fill out the application online if you’re a member of First Tennessee Bank and have access to online banking. Otherwise, you can print out an application and mail it in, or visit the branch closest to you.

When applying, you should have your Driver’s License ready (you’ll need to enter the number), your employment information, and your monthly income.

Additionally, if you’re approved for the card and want to apply for a credit limit increase, you can do so online, which is convenient if you’d rather not call.

The Fine Print

The First Tennessee Platinum Premier card doesn’t have an annual fee, and there’s currently no balance transfer fee.

The fee for a cash advance is 3% of the cash advance amount or $10 – whichever is greater.

Late payment fees and returned payment fees are $25 for the first occurrence, and $35 for the second occurrence if either happens within the next six billing cycles.

There’s a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction converted to US dollars.

There’s no over limit fee and there’s no penalty APR.

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Alternative Balance Transfer Cards

You can search for a variety of other balance transfer options including ones with 0% interest and even ones offering 0% with no fee. Find our list of no fee balance transfer offers here.

If you’re still interested in considering other cards, which may have a longer duration but charge a fee, then explore our balance transfer marketplace here.

[Use this tool to calculate the difference with fees and interest.]

Keep in mind that most balance transfer cards require a good to excellent credit score – the closer you are to 700, the better.

Be Smart About Balance Transfers

When you’re trying to save money with a balance transfer, it’s best to be smart about the options available to you. Just because one card has a balance transfer fee doesn’t mean you should dismiss the offer. Even with a balance transfer fee, if your balance isn’t extremely high, you could save a decent amount of money. It’s better than getting charged 15% – 22% APRs on your purchases.

While the First Tennessee Platinum Premier card isn’t the best offer for balance transfers, we do like that it comes with no fee and could be a starting offer to use before rolling over any lingering debt to another offer.

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