Balance Transfer Myths—and the Truth About How You Can Save
Do you have misconceptions about balance transfers? Here’s one we hear a lot: it’s too complicated. But the simple truth is a balance transfer just moves your debt onto one credit card with a low promo rate so you can save on interest.
We know there are more out there, so we’re here to challenge them. Let the truth about balance transfers be known!
Myth: Balance transfers are hard to do.
It’s actually rather easy.
In just a few minutes, you can submit your request online. You’ll need the account number and how much you want to transfer.
Myth: You’ll only save money if you pay off your entire balance.
Here’s the truth.
The low promo rate of a balance transfer means lower interest payments on your transferred balances. So even if you don’t pay off your debt completely, that low promo rate can still help you save on your transferred balances.
But it’s important to understand that if you usually pay for purchases in full each month to avoid interest, transferring a balance will change that. You will be charged interest on purchases unless you choose to pay your entire balance in full, including any transferred balances, by the first payment due date.
Myth: Balance transfers only work for credit card balances.
Now this may surprise you.
You can use a balance transfer to pay off debt from store cards, gas cards, loans, medical bills—and yes, credit cards.
Myth: Balance transfers are not worth it because of the fees.
Let’s look at the numbers.
In general, the balance transfer offers that have a transfer fee are the offers with a 0% promo APR. So while you will pay a fee upfront–usually around 3%–you may not have to pay any interest on your transferred balances for the rest of your promotional period.
Myth: A balance transfer is a last resort.
It’s quite the opposite.
A balance transfer can be a useful tool to manage debt for anyone, any time.
Myth: Saving a few bucks a month on interest isn’t worth it.
The math doesn’t lie.
If those monthly savings seem small, don’t underestimate how they can add up over the course of your balance transfer promo period. And remember that lower interest payments also mean you can pay down your principal faster.
Myth: And last but not least:
No one I know has ever used a balance transfer.
This might not be true.
The more accurate statement is probably that no one you know talks about balance transfers. But every year, millions of balances are transferred to Discover, making it one of the most popular and effective debt management tools.