Balance Transfer Cards are your way to pay off credit card debt fast!
It’s no secret — many Canadian households are carrying household debt. Some of this debt includes credit card debt. Oftentimes, people are stuck paying 20% or more in annual interest. This makes paying off debt downright painful! Even worse is when this debt is spread over multiple cards. Each month feels like a frenzy of due dates and minimum payments. Still, that balance just never seems to go away.
Well, it doesn’t need to be this way! One of the wonders of credit, if you’re careful and don’t abuse it, is the concept known as a balance transfer. Basically, creditors will allow you to transfer a balance from another (or multiple) card. This consolidates your debt onto one card. Many card issuers offer promotional balance transfer rates, too. Even in Canada it’s possible to find 0% balance transfer rates when approved.
Seems pretty nifty, right? Well, before signing the dotted line on a shiny new card, be considerate! Oftentimes, a single missed or late payment will cause your beautifully low rate to disappear. You really need to be diligent in ensuring that payments are made on time, every time. Keep in mind, as well, that that balance transfer promotional rate won’t last forever. Once the offer expires, any remaining balance will be charge the Standard Interest Rate, which is usually just as high (if not slightly higher) than the card you initially did the balance transfer for!
My Experience with Balance Transfer Credit Cards
I used balance transfer cards as a part of my get-out-of-debt strategy. At the time, I had almost $10,000 of debt spread out over a couple cards. After opening an account (I went with MBNA Platinum Plus MasterCard) and transferring the balances, the immediate relief of only having one due date per month was amazing. I was able to focus on the one balance better, and this allowed me to pay it off before the 12 month promotional rate expired.
A balance transfer card might not be the best debt-killing strategy for everybody, either. There’s often a fee added on to each balance transfer completed, and this can be a flat fee, a percentage of the balance transferred or both, so keep this in mind when deciding if the balance transfer will save you once all is said and done.
Here’s a link to an online balance transfer calculator: Is it worth it to transfer my balance?
Use it to compare the interest you’ll pay on the new card against your current card(s), once any fees and offer periods are factored in.
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