Wondering if you can perform multiple balance transfers on the same card?
Credit card debt can be challenging to manage, especially when a large portion of your payments are made towards the monthly interest charge. A balance transfer can provide some relief from double-digit interest rates and can go a long way in digging yourself out.
If you have debt on multiple credit cards, a balance transfer can help with debt consolidation and reduce the impact of numerous interest charges.
The good news is, you should be able to perform multiple balance transfers on the same card without issue, provided you meet specific requirements.
In this article, we’ll look at what you need to transfer multiple balances to the same card, how the process works, three excellent balance transfer cards, and more.
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Let’s dive in.
Yes, it’s possible to perform more than one credit card balance transfer to the same card, provided that the transferred amounts and any fees don’t exceed the card’s credit limit.
Doing so may sound like an easy decision, but bear in mind that each balance transfer incurs a transfer fee. A typical balance transfer fee is between 3-5% of the transferred balance. To put that into perspective, if you transferred a $10,000 balance, you’d be charged between $300 and $500 for the transfer.
Now, how do you go about transferring these balances?
If you’re looking at transferring multiple balances to one card, here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
1. Obtain a credit card from another issuer
Generally, you can’t perform a credit card balance transfer between cards from the same card issuer, so your new card needs to be from a different credit card provider. Another thing to bear in mind is debt with co-branded cards since those cards may not have the issuer in the card’s name.
For example, if you have a balance on a Citi card, you can’t transfer the debt to another Citi card. And if you’re aiming to transfer a balance from a Citi card and a Discover card, pick one that isn’t from either of those issuers.
Note that you generally need good credit to be approved for a good balance transfer credit card. Having less than good credit may limit the benefits of the balance transfer offer. Further, approval is unlikely with poor or bad credit.
In this case, consider improving your credit report first.
2. Calculate the amount of debt you’d like to transfer
When performing a balance transfer, it’s always a good idea to work out the total amount of debt you’re looking to transfer. Add up all your existing balances across your current cards and work out the total balance.
It’s important to do this because you may not be able to transfer all of your debt.
3. Double-check the transfer limits
Once you get your new credit card, you’ll need to check the amount of debt you can transfer. Ideally, you want to transfer the total amount you calculated in step 2, but that may not be possible.
The credit card issuer will likely impose a limit on what you can transfer. This limit can be a percentage of your credit limit or a specific dollar amount. For example, the card issuer may say you can’t transfer more than your available credit limit or $15,000.
The credit card issuer tends to base your overall credit limit on your credit history when you apply.
Something else to consider is that the balance transfer fee is included in this total, so if you have a credit limit of $10,000 with a 3% balance transfer fee, the maximum amount of debt you can transfer is about $9,700.
It’s important to point out that new purchases also affect your balance transfer limit. Say you have a $10,000 credit limit and make $3,000 worth of new purchases, your balance transfer limit will drop to $7,000.
4. Transfer your debt
When transferring your debt, there are two significant periods to be aware of:
- The length of the introductory 0 APR period
- The amount of time you have to qualify for the 0 APR
When picking a balance transfer card, the length of the intro APR period is often the most important factor. To make the most of the balance transfer, you’ll want to take advantage of the no-interest period.
To do so, you’ll need to complete the balance transfers within a certain amount of days, beginning from the date of account opening.
For most cards, you have 60 days, although some cards, like the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Citi Simplicity® Card, extend this to as much as four months.
You won’t qualify for the introductory APR offer if you transfer balances outside the required window. To ensure you don’t miss out on the interest-free period, you should transfer the balances while applying for the card, if possible. If not, transfer them right after account opening.
Remember: Continue making at least the minimum payment on your old card until the balance transfer is completed.
If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card, here are a few of the best:
Here are answers to a few common balance transfer-related questions.
1. Can I transfer a credit card balance multiple times?
If you have a balance transfer card but aren’t able to pay off the balance before the intro period expires, you may be wondering if you can just transfer that credit card balance to a new balance transfer card.
Technically, yes, you should be able to do this.
However, whether or not you should is a different story.
When does transferring a balance multiple times make sense?
If it’s part of a solid plan to pay your outstanding balances, then it might be worth considering.
Say you have $10,000 in credit card and can afford to make a monthly payment of $400, you won’t pay off the balance within a 15-month period. In this case, transferring the remaining balance to a new balance transfer card can make sense.
That way, you can benefit from the refreshed intro period to pay the remaining balance without worrying about the interest charge.
However, balance transfers are governed by specific and intricate rules. And if you miss a deadline, there are strict financial penalties. As such, utilizing a low transfer period before transferring the balance to another card when the rate expires is a risky strategy.
Further, missing even one payment or receiving an unexpectedly low credit limit could dash your repayment plans.
When does transferring a balance multiple times NOT make sense?
It’s not worth considering if you’re moving debt around for the sake of doing so.
If you transfer the balance and only make the minimum payment, you’re unlikely to pay your debt off before the 0% interest intro rate expires.
Of course, you can transfer the balance again, but you’re not making any meaningful progress towards being debt-free. And continuously moving debt can become costly if you’re paying a balance transfer fee each time plus an annual fee.
Additionally, keeping credit card debt for years can hurt you in the long run, as can frequently acquiring new balance transfer cards, especially if you’re maxing out your credit limit.
2. How many balance transfers can you do in a year?
There’s no real rule governing how many balance transfers you can perform. However, individual issuers may impose their own limits.
You also won’t be able to transfer more than your credit limit.
Additionally, you need to consider the length of the promotional offer. You don’t want to space your balance transfers out too much since the balance transfer offer will likely last between 15 and 21 months.
Also, consider that if there’s a gap between your balance transfers, the bank may change how they allocate your monthly payments.
According to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, credit card companies must apply amounts above the minimum to the highest APR.
For example, say your card has a 25% interest rate on cash advances, 12% on new purchases, and 0 interest on balance transfers. Assuming you carry a balance on each category, any payment you make that’s more than the minimum will be allocated towards the cash advance, then purchases.
Keep this in mind if opting to do more than one balance transfer, as it may affect how long it takes to pay the balance.
3. What happens if I balance transfer more than I owe?
If you overpay your credit card, whether it's in one large balance transfer or multiple balance transfers, your account will go into negative. This means the bank owes you money.
While it’s far from the worst thing you can do, it’s best to avoid it. From a financial perspective, you don’t want your credit card company holding your money. Every dollar of yours in their account earns them interest rather than you. The money is also relatively inaccessible.
It’s best to avoid having too much money tied up in overpaid cards - if you need money to pay bills, you might not be able to access it in time.
Contact your credit card company to get the money back, and they should be able to send you a check for the balance.
Getting out of debt isn’t easy, but a balance transfer can offer a good leg up.
If you hold balances on multiple cards, transferring them to one card with a 0% intro period will help with debt consolidation while saving you money in interest payments.
Remember, always aim to pay your balance off as soon as possible. Rolling over debt to another balance transfer card is best avoided if possible.
Interested in learning more about balance transfer cards?
Check out our list of the top balance transfer cards available today.