Credit Card Balance Transfer: A Basic Guide
For people struggling with credit card debts, a credit card balance transfer is a promising way to help. That is, depending on the terms you agree to and your spending habits. (Read: What Type of Credit Card is Right For Me?)
While this is certainly a good tool to help manage debt, transferring or consolidating debt can also make you even more “baon sa utang” if you’re not careful. If you’re looking into credit card balance transfer as an option, here’s what you need to know:
What is a credit card balance transfer?
The basic concept is, you take your outstanding (multiple) balances, and transfer them to a credit card with a better interest rate, rather than letting them stay unpaid and accumulate interest.
Ideally, the new account has a lower interest rate and takes on the debt from the previous bank/s and you only have to worry about paying off one bill instead of multiple cards with different interest rates, penalties, and fees.
Pros and Cons of Credit card balance transfer in the Philippines
1. Can ease credit card debt
Ideally, the credit card that takes on your other outstanding balances has lower interest rates so you get to save on multiple interests, penalties, and fees.
2. Simplifies multiple payments
Consolidating to just one credit card rather than several lets you focus on just a single bill, preventing missed payments, and further charges and fees.
3. Choose your own terms
Depending on your finances, you can opt to get a repayment term as short 3 months to as long as 60 months. Just be mindful that while your interest rates will be lower with longer terms, you do end up paying more in the long run.
1. Only for those with good credit
Before you can qualify for a card balance transfer program, you first have to be in good credit standing. What “good credit standing” means, however, varies from bank to bank.
Related: 11 Common Credit Card Terms
2. 0% interest rate expires
Credit card balance transfer or consolidation services are usually packaged with a 0% balance transfer rate, making them incredibly enticing. However, these 0% rates usually only last for up to six months. After the promotional period, your interest rate may rise to the regular rate which may be higher than your original credit, if you don’t read the fine print.
3. Only the balance transfer comes with 0% or lower interest rates
Since your balance transfer comes may come with a 0% interest credit card, it can be tempting to swipe for things left and right. Before you do, you need to know that most debt consolidation packages only qualify the balance transfer for the 0% interest rates. Any new purchases on top of your debt will probably incur the higher regular rates and worsen your financial situation.
Always remember that the best way to handle debt is to not even be in one in the first place. So make sure to only buy things you really need! Learn more about financial tips and tricks here
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