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Is It Worth Transferring a Balance?

By: Larry Goldberg

Okay, so how many times have you gotten a credit card offer in the mail claiming, “0% APR Card for Balance Transfers” in big, bold letters? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been the recipient of quite a few of these offers. But the real question is: should you do it?

Like any situation in life, there are pros and cons to getting a balance transfer card to help manage your debt. Let’s start with some of the benefits of a balance transfer:

It can save you money. This is a pretty big deal for most people, and this is usually why people decide to go ahead and switch their credit card balance over to the other guy. Balance transfer cards with a lower interest rate can save you big bucks in the short term and enable you pay off your principal faster.

It can help you consolidate your debt. Consolidation is an easy way to move all your debt into one account, which can save a lot of cash and the frustration that comes along with owing money to multiple companies.

Now, there can also be some negative aspects of transferring your credit card balance that should be taken into consideration before making a final decision:

Read the fine print. Make sure you carefully review all the details of the transfer so you don’t get caught in something you weren’t aware of. For instance, a lot of companies offer 0% APR cards for balance transfers – remember this only applies to the transfer, not new purchases. New purchases will be under the current interest rate, which can be really high.

There can be hidden fees. Some credit card companies will stick an extra little fee or two in there, hoping you don’t catch it when you decide to sign up for a balance transfer card. These “handling” fees can cost you, so be sure to find out if you’ll have to pay them.

Deciding whether or not to transfer your credit card balance to a new card is a big decision. You need to review your options and figure out which company is going to offer you the best deal that will save you money, time, and stress. Don’t jump into anything you’re not ready for, but don’t pass up a chance to make your financial situation a little better or more manageable, either.


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