Charging off a credit card debt can be a terrible thing, but trying to pay it off with another credit card can be a double-edged sword: you pay it off wisely or you could cause it to grow uncontrollably.

Anyone can lose control of their credit card debt, especially because of the high interest rates they charge. Getting out of them is not easy, and the way to get money for many of us is (just as you are thinking) through another credit card. So the question arises: can you pay off a credit card with another credit card? The short answer is yes, but there is a right way to do it.

The most effective way to pay off credit card debt with another credit card is with an option that gives you an interest-free balance transfer offer.

Make no mistake: paying off a credit card with a credit card is simply not possible.

Credit card issuers tend to accept only the following types of payments to credit money to your bill each month:

  • Checks
  • Electronic bank transfers
  • Money orders

Using a balance transfer credit card is not strictly speaking “paying off” debt, since it is, as the name implies, transferring a balance from one credit card to another credit card.

This option has “fine print”: if you do not take advantage of the promotional period of the balance transfer credit card, these plastics usually have higher interest rates than the average, so you could make your debt grow more than you had. Terms can range from 6 to 21 months, depending on the issuer.

How to use a balance transfer credit card effectively?

There are details you should be aware of to get the most out of using a balance transfer credit card to pay off another credit card debt. Here are the considerations you should keep in mind:

There are balance transfer fees

Balance transfer credit cards have fees that generally range from 3% to 5% of the total balance you transfer to your new card. For example, if you have $1,000 in debt, you will pay a fee between $30 and $50. If the balance to be transferred is less, they usually have a minimum fee of $5 to $10. Promotional credit cards usually avoid these fees for a much shorter period, around the first three months from the time you purchased the plastic.

You can affect your credit score

Paying off debt with a balance transfer card will also affect your credit score in several ways. Applying for a new card will trigger an inquiry on your credit report, which will temporarily lower your score a bit. But a new card can also help reduce your credit utilization ratio, which can help your score improve over time.

You should confirm that your debt can be transferred

Credit cards have a credit limit, which is the amount of money you can borrow. If your debt exceeds this credit limit, you may not be able to take advantage of the balance transfer offer. Otherwise, if you’re looking to transfer a large balance and your credit limit falls short, you’ll be forced to pay two balances: one with the 0% interest promotional period and the other with the interest rate you were already paying.

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