Thursday, July 05, 2007


Credit Card Balance Transfer

I want to transfer a balance of $8,000 from one of my credit cards to another credit card at a 0% interest rate. The card I want to transfer the balance onto has a current balance of $0 and a credit line of $7,500. I want to transfer as much as possible to the 0% card. I realize that I will not be able to transfer all $8,000. I do not want this credit card to show up on my credit report as "maxed out". What is the percentage that I should leave available on the 0% card? I thought I read that if you leave 10% of a credit limit open on a card it will not be considered maxed out I.E - for a $7,500 limit, leave $750 available, transferring $6,750. Is this correct? I currently have great credit and do not want to damage my FICO score.

AFS’ Answer

There is high risk when transferring balances from one credit card to another. The first thing you need to pay attention to is universal default—meaning if you miss a payment, any payment on any account, you could see your 0% balance transfer offer interest rate spike up to rates as high as 30%.

Second, balance transfer fee. Some credit card companies charges transaction fees as high as 4 percent. A 4 percent fee on a $8,000 balance would cost you $320

Lastly, you need to pay close attention to how long you will have that zero percent interest rates? If it is less than 12 months, it is not worth transferring.

On your specific case, you do not have to be worried about universal default because you seem to know how to manage credit. However, those with poor credit management need to pay close attention to it.

Because you have a strong credit rating, you can transfer the whole balance and it will not have a drastic impact on your credit card. Once transferring balance to credit card A to credit card B, your debt-to-income ration does not change because the debt amount does not change.
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