What Debt Can You Transfer to a Credit Card?
Tired of paying high interest rates on your credit card debt? Transferring this debt to a credit card that offers a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers can help, as long as you pay off this debt before the introductory period ends.
But credit card debt isn’t the only debt you can transfer to other credit cards. Many card issuers also allow you to transfer auto, personal, real estate, and student loan debt. It could help you save thousands of dollars in interest. But if you can’t pay off that debt before these introductory offers end, you may have to pay even higher interest.
This is why anyone who is considering transferring large amounts of debt to credit cards should take the time to develop a plan on how they will pay it off. Here’s what you need to know about the types of debt you can transfer to a credit card, and how to prepare for success with a payment plan.
How does a balance transfer work?
A balance transfer is one way to eliminate or reduce the interest you pay on debt.
Many card issuers offer new cardholders the option to transfer existing debt to a new card at a 0% interest rate for a limited time, typically 12 to 18 months. After this introductory period ends, the card’s regular APR kicks in and you will begin to earn interest on any remaining balance.
Most cards charge a fee for the balance transfer, usually 3-5% of the transfer amount, although it is possible to find a free balance transfer card. There are also some limits on balance transfers: you generally cannot transfer debt between accounts with the same lender, and the amount you can transfer will be limited by the total credit limit of your new balance transfer card.
Debt you can transfer to a credit card
Most people consider balance transfer cards when looking to transfer high interest credit card debt, but it is possible to transfer other types of debt. Here’s a quick overview of the different account balances you can transfer to a balance transfer card, depending on the issuer.
Credit card debt
Consumers most often transfer credit card debt. The average credit card interest rate currently hovers above 16%, but this is only the average and your interest rate could be much higher depending on your credit. Suspending interest payments for more than a year could give you the flexibility you need to pay off your credit card balance in full.
Most card issuers also allow you to transfer car loan debt. As an added benefit, when you transfer car loan debt to a balance transfer credit card, you will officially pay off the lender who manages that loan. This means that you will get your car title sooner than you would otherwise.
Just make sure you can pay the transferred amount before this 0% offer ends. Auto loans generally have lower interest rates, often in the order of 3%. You don’t want to swap a low interest rate for a much higher rate when your new credit card’s regular APR kicks in on your remaining balance.
Interest rates on personal loans can be high because they are not backed by any collateral, making them riskier for lenders.
Consider a car loan: If you don’t pay off your loan, your lender can repossess your car, securing that loan. With a personal loan, there’s not much lenders can do if you stop paying, which is why these loans come with higher interest rates. Moving that debt to a credit card with an introductory APR offer could save you money on interest.
It is possible to transfer student loan debt to credit cards, but proceed with caution. Federal student loans come with protections such as repayment plans and forgiveness programs. If you transfer this debt to a credit card, you will lose these protections.
Home equity loans
If you’ve taken out home equity loans to cover the costs of a kitchen remodel or other home improvement project, you can also transfer that debt to a credit card. However, there is a catch.
Since renovations are so expensive, home equity loans tend to be big. It would be rare to find a credit card with a credit limit high enough to allow you to transfer your entire home equity loan to a credit card. However, if you have paid off your loan enough, it may still be possible.
Debts you can transfer to a balance transfer card, by issuer
Many issuers allow you to transfer different types of debt to a balance transfer card as long as it is not an account with that issuer, although these policies may vary, so you should consult your issuer at about your options.
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Which balance transfer card to choose?
If you want to make a balance transfer, it is important to choose the right balance transfer card for your financial situation. Here are some of the best balance transfer cards on the market today:
- The US Bank Visa® Platinum card has an introductory offer of 0 percent for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers and purchases, followed by 14.49 percent to 24.49 percent variable APR.
- The Citi® Double Cash card comes with a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, with a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% thereafter.
- The Wells Fargo Platinum * card comes with an 18-month 0% introductory offer for qualifying balance transfers and on-account purchases, followed by a variable APR of 16.49% at 24 , 49%.
- The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card offers a 0% introductory APR for 21 months on balance transfers from the date of the first transfer and a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases from the date the account was opened. After that, the variable APR will be from 13.74% to 23.74%. Balance transfers must be made within 4 months of opening the account.
The bottom line
If you want to transfer loan debt to a credit card, you can find an issuer and a card that will allow it. Remember to be smart: you can save a lot of interest by transferring loan debt to a card with 0% interest rate period. But if you don’t pay off that debt on time, you could end up paying a lot more interest in the long run.
* Wells Fargo Platinum card information was independently collected by Bankrate.com. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer. The Wells Fargo Platinum Card is no longer available.