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Balance transfer credit cards have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a way for people to reduce their debt burden or even save money on interest payments. But how can you make the most of these cards and use them to your best effect? In this article we’ll look at the basics of balance transfer credit cards, what you need to consider before getting one and how to use them in order to get the best results.
What are Balance Transfer Credit Cards?
A balance transfer credit card is a type of credit card that allows you to move an existing outstanding balance from one card onto another. This can be done either with a 0% introductory offer or by taking advantage of an existing promotional rate, allowing you to pay off your debt without having to incur additional interest charges. The idea is that by transferring your balance, you can save money on interest payments whilst still paying off your debt.
One of the main benefits of using a balance transfer credit card is that it enables you to reduce your monthly payments by reducing or completely eliminating any current interest charges on your existing debts. This can be particularly useful if you have multiple outstanding balances that are accruing high levels of interest – transferring them all onto a single 0% introductory offer could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of pounds over time. Furthermore, some balance transfer credit cards also offer additional perks such as cashback rewards or air miles – making them especially attractive if used correctly.
Things To Consider Before Applying For A Balance Transfer Credit Card
Before applying for any kind of financial product it’s important that you do some research into the different options available so that you can find the right product for your needs. Here are some key things to consider when looking at balance transfer credit cards:
- Interest Rates – Pay attention not only to the introductory rate but also any fees associated with transferring balances (such as setup fees) and any ongoing rates after the initial period has expired;
- Promotional Periods – Make sure you check how long any promotional offers last before they expire and whether there are any other conditions attached;
- Fees & Charges – Balance transfers may come with fees and/or charges attached so make sure that these don’t outweigh any potential savings;
- Eligibility Criteria – As with all financial products, there will be eligibility criteria which must be met before being accepted for a particular product;
- Repayment Terms & Conditions – Check what terms & conditions apply both during and after the promotional period ends;
- Rewards & Cashback Offers – Some balance transfer credit cards may offer rewards such as cashback or air miles which could provide extra value if used correctly.
How To Use Balance Transfer Credit Cards To Their Best Effect
Once you’ve found a suitable card it’s important that you know how best to use it in order to maximise its potential benefits. Here are our top tips:
- Pay Attention To Deadlines – Keep track of when promotional periods end so that if necessary, further action can be taken (for example transferring balances again);
- Monitor Your Spending Habits – Be aware of how much money is being spent each month and ensure repayments are made promptly in order for balances not to increase;
- Avoid Taking On More Debt – Try not take out new loans/credit whilst trying to pay down existing ones as this could further increase levels of indebtedness;
- Consider Consolidation Options – A single consolidated loan might prove more cost-effective than multiple smaller ones over time;
- Take Advantage Of Rewards Programmes – If applicable, make sure advantages such as cashback rewards and air miles programmes offered by certain providers are taken full advantage off;
- Shop Around For Different Deals – Don’t just settle on one provider – compare different deals across different providers in order to find the right one for your needs.
Once you have Transferred Your Balance…
My advice – hide the card away in a place you won’t regularly see it, or even safely destroy your credit card entirely. Why? As I mentioned above – avoid taking on more debt. The thing is that any new balance additions from purchases will be subject to high interest rates, but what’s more, some cards are structured so that you will pay interest on these purchases until you have settled the transfer balance, which could well take months or years. Your purchases could turn out to be very expensive indeed.
Balance transfer credit cards can provide significant savings over time if used correctly but it’s important that careful consideration is given before opting for a particular product in order for maximum benefit gain achieved.. With proper research into which products would suit individual circumstances best combined with an awareness of deadlines/repayment terms and conditions then these types of products definitely have potential when it comes managing finances effectively
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