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Will Transferring Your Credit Bard Balance Save You Money?
There are those out there, especially in the Dave Ramsey Brigade, who believe credit cards are bad. Also, the idea of transferring your card balance to a 0% APY balance transfer card is a ridiculous idea.
However, the facts and calculations behind the deal prove that switching from high interest credit cards to a card with a lower APY (or 0%) will save you money, despite the transfer fees. 3% standard balance.
If you’re facing a pile of credit card debt (anything over $5,000), there are 4 main ways to pay off the debt:
1. Pay more than the minimum payment.
This option involves keeping your current card and its associated interest rate and doing everything you can to pay more than the minimum payment each month.
The reality of paying your minimum payment by credit card means you could be paying on that card for over 10 years (depending on the interest rate of course)! So if you’re trying to get out of debt, you need to find ways to reduce your spending and pay extra on the card each month.
2. Settle the debt for less than you owe.
This option is my least favorite, but also the one I personally used when I was struggling with massive debt.
In order to settle a debt that is less than you owe, you must be DEADLINE on your payments for at least 3-6 months. Although I am against completely damaging your credit, this method could be used for people in difficult situations.
Once you are behind on your card, you may be able to reach a “full settlement” with your creditor or collection agent. This settlement would involve paying a large lump sum to settle the balance (ie if you owe $5,000, they can accept $3,500).
3. Debt consolidation
Debt consolidation companies are one of the most reported industries to the FTC. The main reason for consumer complaints is that they enter into unrealistic expectations.
Many clients I’ve coached in the past (yes, I’m a Dave Ramsey-trained counselor) assume that if you work with a debt consolidation company, the company will be able to reach a negotiation on your behalf. Although this is true in most cases, the credit card company may not reduce your payment and/or the interest rate.
Debt consolidation is rife with fraud, so be careful, but that’s another option you have. If you find a good company to work with, they may be able to lower your monthly payment and interest rate. The great part about most of these plans is that it is a 5 year payout. So you could be debt free within 5 years!
4. Transfer your card balance to a 0% APY credit card
Americans love the idea of transferring their credit card balance to take advantage of all the low interest rates they can. Although I’m not a big fan of it, it’s definitely an option and it will save you some money.
If you owe $10,000 on a credit card and you’re paying 10% interest, that means you’re paying $1,000 in interest every year!
So if you transfer the balance to a card that offers 0%, that means you’ll save $1,000 over the next 12 months! Most of which must be applied to your credit card balance for it to be refunded!
While this scenario sounds too good to be true, the reality of transferring your credit card balance is that most companies charge a 3% transfer fee. Even if it does, you’ll still save $700 in interest payments and can reduce your debt even further.
While there’s no perfect way to reduce credit card debt or other high-interest loans, weigh the pros and cons of each of these options and find the one that’s right for you. .
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