It`s all too easy to run up a hefty credit card balance without really noticing. If you are only re-paying the minimum payment every month, your debt will increase steadily until it may start to pose a real problem. At this point many people may start to consider transferring the balance to a 0% or low interest credit card.
This is a good idea in theory. Transferring to a lower interest rate can be a good way to tackle a large credit card debt whilst paying very little or no interest. However, you need to make the switch with your eyes wide open. If you are committed to repaying the debt before the interest rate increases, transferring your balance can be an excellent way of doing so. However, if you continue to only make the minimum repayment your debt is likely to drag you down even further.
Many offers seem so good on paper that you may rush to sign up before reading the small print. If you are interested in a balance transfer, you should always do some thorough research. Many comparison sites will present the current offers and their plus and minus points in a clear format for you. Keep a checklist of things to consider. How long does the introductory rate last for? What is the annual percentage rate and are there any transfer fees to pay? You should also check what your minimum monthly payment would be. It`s up to you to work out which card would provide the best solution to your particular financial situation.
You need to get a clear idea of how long it will realistically take you to pay off the debt. Will you be able to manage it within the introductory rate period? If not, it may be advisable to transfer to a card with a slightly higher rate that will be set for a longer time. If you fail to pay off the balance within the designated period, you might end up worse off than you were before if the new interest rate jumps up to a high level. If you are organised you can arrange to balance transfer again at the end of the first introductory period, and continue to do so until the balance is paid off in full, but this calls for strong organisational skills and is not for those who are prone to bury their head in the sand when it comes to their finances. Another negative of taking this course is that the total of the transfer fees applicable to each new card may negate the benefit of the transfer itself.
You should never assume that your balance transfer request will be automatically accepted by the credit card provider. If your application is unsuccessful it`s important not to panic. There are many sources of debt counselling available such as the experts at nationaldebtrelief.com. Taking advice and facing up to your debt is the vital first step to regaining control of your finances.