In today’s troubled economy, every credit card owner not only needs to be careful in their purchases, but also in the credit card they select. If you find that you have chosen the wrong card, don’t fear. Moving your credit account to a card better suited to your finances is not only simple, but necessary.
Your first task is to gather the information for your current credit cards. Do you know your credit limit? Your available credit amount? Your annual percentage rate (APR)? Call your current credit card customer service departments and ask what is the best rate you can receive without transferring your funds. This is almost always less expensive and, many times, fast and easy. If you let your credit card companies know that you are looking for a lower interest card and that you are shopping for better rates, you will almost always get a counter-offer for a better rate which can by applied immediately (as long as your credit is in good standing, of course). No fuss, no muss, and more money in your pocket! This is also a great practice to do annually, just to fine-tune your portfolio.
Secondly, do you know if you are you holding a gold mine in your current card? While you are researching your current accounts, find out about the transfer fees for all the credit cards you currently have. In my case, I found that one of my credit cards already had the best APR available to me in the market – but most importantly, a special offer for me to transfer any other credit card balances to my current card for a 0.0% APR and an amazing $0 transfer fee! What did I do? Of course, I transferred all my other higher balances to my current card at a 0.0% APR and made great gains in my credit portfolio without having to look any further than my own backyard.
Next, if you haven’t found a great card in your current accounts, gather any offers you have received in the mail. If these are from valid credit companies, read the fine print of each offer, especially to find out the 1) initial or introductory APR, 2) long-term APR, 3) transfer fees (minimum and maximum amounts) and length of offer. Discard any offers which offer a tempting short-term offer but have double-digit long term APRs and any that have transfer fees with a maximum charge of greater than $50. Any offers with those numbers isn’t worth your time to switch and can cost you a big loss in the long run, especially if you continue to use your cards. If you find an offer with the two most important factors of 1) a better short term and long term APR than your current account and 2) a $0 or low fee transfer fee (this is usually $50 or less), then calculate the amount you will pay for the actually transfer process. Is this greater than the interest you will pay on your debt until you can pay it off? If not, then you have a viable transfer option.
Your last step is the easiest, as the hardest work is already done. Once you have found a good offer, use whichever method the transfer card suggests. Some give you “checks” along with the promotional application you received. You simply send this check to your old card to “payoff” the balance and transfer it to the new card. This serves the double purpose of paying off your old card with a check, as usual, and taking care of the transfer in a single step. Just make sure you continue to pay your current card payments on time, just in case your transfer check does not clear before your monthly payment due date. Other offers can be done by completing the new card application and transfer in a single online transaction. Since you will be doing this through a verified and secure site (you have researched this company, right?), this is a very convenient option. Simply make sure that you print the online confirmation page of the transfer transaction for your records.
You’re done! Your credit should now be managed by a better and less expensive credit card account where you will pay less interest as you pay if off. And this is the key – paying it off. Always remember that transferring credit to save you money is a short-term strategy and should only be used during “crunch time” – when we absolutely have to use our credit. But our long-term strategy should always be to pay off those cards and be making interest, not paying it!