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Credit Card Balance Transfer Considerations

If you are one of the millions of consumers carrying credit card debt, you may be looking at balance transfer offers. Some credit card issuers even offer enticing zero-interest promo periods for up to 18 months. However, after the promo period ends, card rates can rise substantially. It would be best if you consider your options with a credit card balance transfer.

With a household average of around $8k in credit card debt, many consumers could save hundreds of dollars in interest by transferring balances from high- to low-rate cards. However, there are a few essential details to keep in mind before switching.

For one, fee-free transfers are rare. Most of the zero-interest offers charge at least 3% of the amount you transfer, and some charge more. For example, a 3% transfer fee means you would pay $150 to transfer a $5,000 balance.

A smart balance transfer can help you pay off the debt at lower interest rates, but only if you have the discipline and the cash to pay off the balance as soon as possible. Instead of being tempted by a low transfer rate that quickly can skyrocket, your best bet might be simply applying for a low-interest credit union card.

Here are some other things to consider in a credit card balance transfer:

How can I avoid paying high interest on the transferred balance?

Pay the balance in full before the promotional period ends to avoid paying higher interest rates when the offer expires. If you make only the minimum payment and continue to carry a balance or to add to the balance with purchases and cash advances, you will perpetuate a cycle of debt.

Is everyone eligible for a zero-percent offer?

No. Card issuers offer these sweet promotions to borrowers with exceptional credit.

Can I transfer other debts to a credit card?

Some cards allow balance transfers of other types of debt, for example, car loans and even mortgages, as well as credit card debt. Credit card debt typically counts more on your credit score because it isn’t secured by collateral. So that shift could harm your credit standing. Car and home loans are available at far lower rates than credit cards, so it makes little sense to transfer the debt.

Make sure you also address your reason for being in debt in the first place. Beware of using the credit card balance transfer as an opportunity to take on more debt.

In the end, you are wise to shop around for the best sustainable rate on a credit card or loan and work with a trusted provider. Mid Oregon Credit Union offers a variety of options. Check out our rates and apply online at or call today at 541-382-1795.

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