Transferring balances is quite common these days. The idea of receiving lower interest rates, restored credit, and additional benefits may be quite enticing.
You must become aware of the various aspects of balance transfers to determine if this solution will potentially be beneficial or detrimental to your present and future creditworthiness.
How Long Does the Balance Transfer Process Take?
Balance transfers generally take 4 to 6 business days. Once you contact a representative, a date that is more exact can be determined. The representative will ask a series of questions regarding the transferring account, including specific information such as the account number.
The representative may require additional information, such as your social security number and drivers license, to process and complete the balance transfer. It is very important that you gather the necessary information for the representative as soon as possible.
Some balance transfers make money available in your checking or savings account. Once the proper information is gathered, you may have funds available in your checking or savings account in 3 to 5 business days.
Customers can have checks issued by the funding financial institution to pay off the debts, or write personal checks once the money is available.
Tips on Speeding up the Balance Transfer Process
You can speed up the balance transfer process by doing the following:
- Provide all necessary information to the representative in a timely manner. Waiting a few days or a few weeks to collect information for balance transfers may delay the process tremendously. Provide the information within 24-hours or less to expedite the process.
- Make sure to provide an accurate contact number to the representative. Representatives may contact you for additional documentation and may even ask you additional question about the transferring balance.
- Return calls as soon as possible. Representatives do not work 24-hours a day. Make sure to return calls before the end of the representative’s business day.
- Ask the representative for a good contact number. You should have equal access to representatives to ask any questions. In addition to a contact number, ask the representative for his or her working hours to help speed up the process. This information helps both parties determine when to be available.
How to Check Your Credit Card Balance Transfer Status
You can contact your representative to check the status of your balance transfer. The representative can tell you the exact date that the balances transfer. It is also a good idea to contact the institutions that own your old credit card.
It may take an additional few days for the payments to apply to the old account. The institutions will be able to provide you with a specific pay off date.
In the mean time, continue to pay on the account until you receive conformation that the old account is clear. You should request copies of all documentation about your balance transfer for your records.
What questions should customers ask before making a balance transfer?
There are many stipulations with making a balance transfer. Here are a few questions that require answers before you make the decision:
- Are there fees for transferring balances?
- How long does the introductory rate last on the transfers?
- What are the fees for late payments?
- What are the fees for over-the-limit balances?
- Does the transfer account have teaser rates?
- How long do the teaser rates last?
- Does the teaser rate apply to new purchases, transferred balances, or both?
- Is there an annual fee on the card?
Write down these questions and the answers for your personal records. You must make sure that the balance transfers do not have any surprises once the transfer process is completed on your credit card account.
Do not transfer any balances until all required questions are answered. Also, read the fine print to make sure that there are no surprises. Many customers end up paying an abundance of fees after transferring balances. The fees can be avoided by reading the fine print.
There are a few additional considerations that you should follow, including:
- Pay your bills on time. You can lose your introductory rate by paying your bills late just one time. The rate can jump from a low single digit number to a rate of 20% or higher. You can also have late charges on top of the higher interest rate.
- Do not use your credit cards. If you are trying to eliminate debt, you should not make more debt with existing credit cards.
- Put away the balance transfer credit card. The interest rates are usually higher on new purchases.
You must consider many different things to determine if a balance transfer is right for you. Make sure that you know all of the details before you make the commitment. Always read the fine print before signing any documents, and ask questions that you may have.