To see how much you can save with a credit card with a lower APR, you’ll need to gather information about your current card as well as the APR on your potential new card. You can then input the information and see your savings.
How to Use the Balance Transfer Calculator
Follow these steps to get a clear idea of how much you could save by switching to a lower-rate credit card and see if it’s worth it to make the switch.
Step 1: Input Your Current Balance
Use the slider to select your most recent balance, which you can find on your credit card statement.
Step 2: Input Your Current Interest Rate
Add the APY you’re paying on your existing credit card to the box. You can also find this number on your most recent statement.
Step 3: Input the New Card Interest Rate
If you have received an offer for a 0% balance transfer, you can add a 0 here.
Step 4: Input the Time Period
If you have an introductory period for a balance transfer and you want to pay off the card before the interest rate goes up, put that here. You can also just put the time you think you’ll pay off the card here.
Step 5: Click the Recalculate Button
The number generated is the amount of money you’ll save in interest charges by switching to the new credit card.
Pros and Cons of Switching to a Credit Card with a Lower Introductory APY for Balance Transfers
Before making the switch to a credit card with a lower introductory APY for balance transfers, carefully evaluate the terms and conditions to determine if the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks.
- Lower Interest Costs
- Simplified Payments
- Introductory 0% APY Offers
- Introductory Period Ends
- Balance Transfer Fees
- Credit Score Impact
- Limited Credit Availability
- Risk of Accumulating New Debt
Lower interest costs
By transferring balances to a credit card with a lower introductory Annual Percentage Yield (APY), you can reduce the interest expenses on your existing debt. This can save you money and help you pay off the balance faster.
Consolidating multiple credit card balances onto one card with a lower introductory APY can simplify your finances. You’ll have a single monthly payment to manage, making it easier to stay organized.
Introductory 0% APY offers
Some balance transfer credit cards offer an introductory 0% APY for a specified period, typically 12 to 18 months. During this period, you won’t accrue interest on transferred balances, allowing you to focus on paying down the principal.
Introductory period ends
The card’s APY will revert to the regular, possibly higher rate once the introductory period is over. You’ll face higher interest charges if you have yet to pay off the transferred balance by then.
Balance transfer fees
Credit cards often charge a balance transfer fee, typically around 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. While the interest savings may outweigh this fee, it’s an additional cost to consider.
Credit score impact
Opening a new credit card and transferring balances can temporarily lower your credit score. It may result in a credit inquiry and reduce your average account age, factors that affect your creditworthiness.
Limited credit availability
To qualify for a balance transfer credit card with a low introductory APY, you generally need a good to excellent credit score. Not everyone may be eligible for these offers.
Risk of accumulating new debt
After transferring balances, some individuals may start using the old credit cards again, accumulating new debt on top of the transferred balance. This can worsen the overall financial situation.
Top Tips for Shopping for a Balance Transfer Credit Card
Are you looking to streamline your credit card debt and save on interest? Consider these five essential tips when shopping for the right card to help you manage your debt effectively and efficiently.
Assess Your Current Debt
Before shopping for a balance transfer credit card, understand your existing debt situation. Calculate the total amount you want to transfer and the interest rates on your current cards. This will help determine how much you can save with a balance transfer.
Compare Introductory Offers
Look for credit cards that offer competitive introductory Annual Percentage Yield (APY) rates, ideally with a 0% APY for balance transfers. Compare the length of the introductory period, as longer periods provide more time to pay down the debt without interest.
Understand Balance Transfer Fees
Most balance transfer cards charge a fee, typically around 3% to 5% of the transferred amount. While this fee can be worthwhile, especially if you’re transferring high-interest debt, factor it into your decision.
Check Regular APY
Once the introductory period ends, the card’s APY will revert to the regular rate. Compare the standard APY of different cards to ensure it’s competitive and suits your financial situation.
Consider Credit Score Requirements
Additionally, be aware of other card features, such as rewards programs, annual fees, and credit limits, to find a balance transfer card that aligns with your financial goals and spending habits.