Need Credit Card Balance Transfer Advice

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Old 05-27-2008, 01:43 PM
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Need credit card balance transfer advice

Right now I have an account with Discover and my APR is crazy high. We went through a rough patch financially and now we're finally doing alright, not great, but ok and we're trying to get our debt paid down from the last few bad years for us. Since my rates are so high, my finance charges are more than my minimum payments and even though I'm paying more than that, this is going to take forever and waste us a lot of money. I tried calling to have my rate lowered, but she said that since my rate is going to automatically go down after 2 more months of on-time payments that there was nothing she could do for me. It isn't going to be going down enough so I'm thinking I will be better off just transferring my balance elsewhere, I was looking at 0% APR deals on balance transfers and even with all the "catches" I am thinking it would be better for us. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on this, recommendations for good card companies to go through or what fine print to look out for. I don't want to end up screwing things up even more when we're just trying to make things better.

Thanks so much for any information. I really appreciate it!!!
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  #2  
Old 05-27-2008, 01:48 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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I would definately recommend transferring them to lower rates. Be careful though. I have had a lot of trouble with Citi-Bank. It may just be a personal thing, but I have had the account for 7 or so years and have finally closed it. They offer you low rates, but they jump up high and fast.
Also, the 0% ones usually go up usually after about a year or so, give or take, just depends. I have had the best luck with the ones that will give you about 2.9 or so for the life of the balance. If you have good credit you should have lots of options.
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:50 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Oh, also, if you transfer balances, DON'T use the card. They usually have a higher purchase rate and the higher rate stuff gets stuck under the lower rate stuff, forcing you to pay off the lower rate balance before you can pay on the higher rate balance.
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:51 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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I do have a citi card (no problems here fortunately) that we switched to for their 0%apr for a year. But it is true that this is a short term deal like 6 mos to 1 year so you want to pay it down asap. Also, if you call discover and tell them that you are going to leave for another company, a lot of times they will offer you perks to stay on with them. But the 0% APR with citibank worked really well for us, and I think our APR now is around 14%.
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:57 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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OK, thanks for the info so far. That is actually really helpful. We don't plan to use the card for future purchasing. We're doing a Total Money Makeover and we're avoiding all credit card use. I looked at the Citibank card first because of the initial low APR, but I don't know how much we could pay off in a year, though we'd try to do as much as possible. Any recs for a low APR for the life of the balance cards?

Really, thank you so much you guys!!!
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:59 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Oh, and I did say I was going to transfer my balance when I was talking to the Discover rep, but maybe I didn't make myself very clear. It was the first time I have tried to be assertive with a person like that. For some reason I can do it in real life, but I get all weird over the phone. Need to work on that, I guess.
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Old 05-27-2008, 02:00 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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I had trouble with Capital One in the past. I would personally avoid them.

Most CC companies will charge a % fee maxing out at $75.00 per balance transfer. This can be costly, but if you are paying high interest rates, you may be better off transferring. My only word of advice is to make double sure you pay off the entire balance before the %0 promo ends, otherwise they will charge you finance charges on the transferred amount. Be sure to transfer it to another card if you havn't paid the total off.

We played the transfer game on and off for the past 7 or so years. We finally,FINALLY got debt free, as far a CC's go, last month. I will not carry another balance,Lord willing!It's hard too. I got used to just buying what i wanted when I wanted it. But since I found AFC in January, my husband and I have really changed our spending habits.
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Old 05-27-2008, 02:04 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Capitol one has been wonderful to me! As CC's go, that is. . My normal rates are not that bad, but they recently offer 3% bal. trans. No time limit. No trans fee, but a Finance fee of $50.00 or 3% which ever is lower! I was even late one time, I called them the next frantic over what I had done! They were great. No late fees. No finance hike.

Once you do roll over, close the old account. Pay on new card as much as you can. Debit to income ratio is what the credit companys look at. Even if it's a zero balance on some accounts, they see it as a possible future debit. So close everything you can. Even the ones you are still paying on. Won't affect your credit as much to have been makeing payments on a closed account as much as making payments on an open account.
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  #9  
Old 05-27-2008, 02:09 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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luv2sav, that's what I was worried about when transferring to a 0 APR for 12 months card, that I would have to pay the higher interest rate on ALL of it after a year regardless of how much I paid off. I couldn't find that info or anything that looked like that when I was going through information for the cards. Is it written in a certain way so I know what to look for?

And I know the balance transfer fees through Citi Bank are 3% and that is still less than a month's worth of finance charge for me through Discover. Insane... I didn't see anything about it maxing out at $75 though, but that would be nice!

I'll have to do some card shopping and see what I can find!
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Old 05-27-2008, 02:13 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoMama View Post
luv2sav, that's what I was worried about when transferring to a 0 APR for 12 months card, that I would have to pay the higher interest rate on ALL of it after a year regardless of how much I paid off. I couldn't find that info or anything that looked like that when I was going through information for the cards. Is it written in a certain way so I know what to look for?

And I know the balance transfer fees through Citi Bank are 3% and that is still less than a month's worth of finance charge for me through Discover. Insane... I didn't see anything about it maxing out at $75 though, but that would be nice!

I'll have to do some card shopping and see what I can find!
I don't know if it is in fine print, or if it is just written in such a way to trick you. You could ask them up front about it...but they count on people "forgetting", then tack on the huge fees. I wouldn't not transfer because of this, but would make sure to keep an eye on the account and be ready to transfer it to another card if it isn't fully paid. Also, often times, credit card companies will offer you all sorts of great things, then send you an amendment(changes) to your account. Most people don't look at these, and that's where they get you too. I have transferred balances to MBNA several times, and the fees always maxed out at $75. hth's
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Old 05-27-2008, 02:33 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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You could also try one of those "credit counseling" services. I have one, and if I refer a friend, I get credit also and you get something back too. PM me if you are interested. They work with your credit card companies, lower your interest, stop your late fees and more, I signed up around Christmas time. No more phone calls from angry bill collectors!
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Old 05-27-2008, 02:41 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Ok, well I found this in the fine print, "After the promotional period ends, the standard variable purchase APR will be applied to any unpaid purchase and balance transfer balances." So I guess I don't need to worry about having to pay more for the amount I already paid off.

Where can I look besides Citibank and Capital One?
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Old 05-27-2008, 03:29 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Ok, I'm sure I should know this, but my brain just isn't working correctly right now. I'm not positive how long it will take me to pay this cards off. If our income stays the same it would be 2-3 years tops, but if my husband finds a better job it could take just around a year or a little longer. I have no idea if I should go for a 12 month 0% APR or 4.9% fixed. I don't know for sure that I'd even get 12 months, it's says "up to" 12 months, so it could be way less. Either way it would be significantly less than I'm paying now. Would the 4.9% be the safer choice? Ugh...I just hope my credit is good enough to get anything better than what I have now.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:15 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Jomama, I'd be willing to bet that if you don't have that CC paid off within two months of the introductory apr ending, you will be able to find ANOTHER CC to transfer the remainder to.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:32 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Check out indexcreditcards.com. They compare all the credit card and offers available. You can search by lowest rate, best rewards, etc.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:47 PM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Check out indexcreditcards.com. They compare all the credit card and offers available. You can search by lowest rate, best rewards, etc.
wow,great idea!!!
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:52 AM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Consider this...

I do not like cc's at all- I would consider not getting another cc to take care of a cc problem. CC companies are experts at their game- they know how to bait and switch quite well. I realize that interest can eat you out quickly, so I would suggest trying for another loan at a low interest rate. Depending on the amount that you owe, perhaps contact your credit union or bank and research low interest loans. I know that it will be an exciting day when you no longer have any cc debt!
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:21 AM

RE: Need credit card balance transfer advice

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoMama View Post
I have no idea if I should go for a 12 month 0% APR or 4.9% fixed.
I would definitely go for the fixed. You won't be put on any time table then. Also realize that although it may be tempting to jump from one 0% transfer to another, that may not be wise. Everytime a credit agency checks your credit, it makes your credit rating go down. I would take my time and choose one that you are willing to stick with for a while.
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