How do I get the Best Balance Transfer Rate?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Getting the best balance transfer rate requires some research, careful reading, and comparison shopping. People who want to transfer balances from high interest accounts to accounts with lower interest should plan on taking their time to seek out the best deal. Having a good credit history is valuable, as is some tenacity. It is also very important to read the fine print of any deals very carefully, as there may be hidden traps.

Having a good credit history is important in getting the best balance transfer rate.
Having a good credit history is important in getting the best balance transfer rate.

People will increase their chances of getting a good balance transfer rate by having excellent credit. Paying bills on time, making arrangements ahead of time if a bill cannot be paid, and keeping balances as low as possible will help with this. People who are planning to transfer balances may want to start thinking ahead and paying down balances on existing accounts as much as they can. It's also a good idea to order a copy of a credit report to look for anything unusual so it can be resolved before shopping around for a balance transfer.

The next step is some research and shopping. Consumers should collect information about a number of credit cards, looking specifically at promotional balance transfer offers. Some things to think about include how long a promotional balance transfer rate will last, penalties for late payments, and terms and conditions associated with a card, like annual fees. A number of websites designed for consumers provide comparison shopping tools and can save people a lot of time by bringing up information about the lowest possible balance transfer rates currently available and how to apply for them.

With a list of good rates in hand and a knowledge of the fine print, consumers can eliminate balance transfer rates they are not eligible for, like rates only offered to people with very high credit scores. The consumer can select and apply for a new card with balance transfer options at this point, but they may want to try one more tactic first: asking for a better balance transfer rate.

A short phone call to a credit card company a consumer is interested in can sometimes result in being given a special rate not advertised by the company. It helps to have facts about comparable rates available. If the consumer cannot negotiate a lower balance transfer rate, it may be possible to work out a deal for an extension on a promotional period, like zero interest on balance transfers for a year instead of six months.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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