Choosing a balance transfer credit card is both simple and difficult.
Here’s why: on the positive side, there are hundreds of offers to choose from. This allows you to compare many options before making a final decision.
Conversely, with so many offers out there, it can be a challenge to settle on the one that’s best for you.
This is why it’s so important to do two things:
- Compare a minimum of five balance transfer credit card offers
- Focus on the right features in regards to the details of each one
While there is a lot to look at, here are the three top factors to consider when choosing a balance transfer credit card:
1. Length of the Introductory Rate
The primary benefit of a balance transfer credit card is the zero percent introductory rate.
With this, you can bring all your credit card debt under one roof without paying any interest for a predetermined period of time.
Generally speaking, introductory rates range from 12 to 21 months. If all else is equal, it makes sense to choose the offer with the longest period.
2. Balance Transfer Fee
How much money will you pay to complete the transfer? This is known as a balance transfer fee, and it will definitely (most of the time, at least) come into play.
For example, if the balance transfer fee is two percent and you’re transferring $20,000, you’re asked to pay a $400 fee upfront.
Even though this is a tough pill to swallow, you need to consider all the money you’re saving in the long run as the result of the zero percent introductory rate.
3. Future Interest Rate
Once the introductory period comes to an end, you may come to find that you still have a balance. If so, you’ll pay interest on this amount.
Knowing the interest rate after the introductory period is important, as many consumers find that it comes into play.
Tip: do your best to eliminate your balance before you are once again required to pay interest.
These are not the only factors to consider when choosing a balance transfer credit card, but you should definitely focus on them as you make your final decision.