A balance transfer is where you transfer part or all of a credit card balance to another card or financial provider. The main reason people choose balance transfers is to take advantage of promotional periods offering lower interest rates.
What are the pros and cons of balance transfers?
Overall, there are many good reasons to consider a balance transfer. However, it’s important to be aware of sneaky fees and revert rates that can hit you after the promotional period.
- Balance transfers often let you switch to credit cards with lower interest rates, so you can pay down your balance quicker.
- If you have multiple credit card balances scattered across different cards, you can consolidate them onto one card, making your debt simpler to manage.
- You can transfer your balance onto a card with better rates, insurances, rewards or other attractive introductory offers.
- A balance transfer encourages you to set a clear budget in order to repay your debt within the promotional period.
- Balance transfer offers encourage credit card providers to remain competitive with their interest rates and offers
- Balance transfers can come with fees, such as balance transfer fees and annual fees.
- After the promotional period ends, the card will often revert to a higher interest rate, which can place pressure on any unpaid balance.
- Using balance transfers can affect your credit score or credit rating.
- Any additional purchases made on the balance transfer card will accrue interest, so you’re at risk of accumulating more debt.
What is a credit card balance transfer calculator?
Determining exactly how much you’ll save on a balance transfer can be tricky. Fortunately, credit card balance transfer calculators can help to eliminate the guess work by showing you:
- How long it will take to pay off your card making minimum repayments
- How much you'll save by choosing to make higher repayments
- How much interest you’ll pay after the promotional interest period is over
How do balance transfer calculators work?
Once you find a credit card that you’d like to compare with your existing one, you simply input data into the calculator. Most calculators only require four simple steps:
- Enter the details of your current card, including the credit card balance, interest rate and annual fee.
- If you have multiple balances you wish to transfer, enter those details as above.
- Enter the details of the new card you want to compare. The calculator will automatically show the minimum monthly payment, but you can change this to your preferred monthly repayment.
- Calculate the results to see how much money you’ll save over the life of the balance transfer. As the comparison cards will be side by side, you’ll be able to easily determine which provides the best savings.
Who offers balance transfer calculators?
Most major banks, credit card providers and financial comparison sites offer calculators, which are easy to access and free to use.