Can you pay off a credit card with a credit card?

In the right situation, a balance transfer from one card to another could save you money. (iStock)

It’s not uncommon for someone to have multiple credit cards — in fact, it can be a good thing. According to data by Experian, American consumers have four credit cards on average. As a result, you may have wondered whether you can pay off one credit card by using another.

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Here’s what you need to know about the process and how it can help you.

Can you pay off a credit card with a credit card?

Most credit cards have a balance transfer feature that allows you to effectively pay off one card via a separate card. If you want to request a balance transfer, you can do so by contacting the credit card company that issued the card you want to transfer your balance to.

You can do this through your online account or by calling customer service. If you’re applying for a new card, you may even be able to submit your request during the application process.

Whenever considering a new credit card, it's always a good idea to shop around. The online marketplace Credible makes the process easy by breaking down each card type and listing out perks, offers, and any fees that can come with a new card. Get started on your shopping today.

Some cards are even designed specifically for balance transfers. These types, called balance transfer credit cards, typically offer a 0% intro APR promotion, which can last anywhere between a few months and almost two years. If you’re trying to pay down your credit card balance, moving it to a balance transfer card could help you save money as you eliminate your debt.

Those looking for balance transfer cards, which typically come with a 0% intro APR – or fairly low APR – for 6 to 18 months, can use Credible's free online tools to view their options.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST CREDIT CARD FOR YOUR NEEDS

How do I get a balance transfer card?

Several banks and credit unions offer balance transfer credit cards and many of them offer additional features that can make them valuable for different situations.

For example, some balance transfer cards offer a 0% intro APR on new purchases, and a chance to earn a welcome bonus and rewards on your everyday purchases. Also, balance transfer cards can offer varying lengths on their zero-interest promotions.

Credible can show you the top credit card options currently available — and you're not just limited to balance transfer cards, though if that's what you need, they have you covered. Click here to learn more about balance transfers, rewards cards, and more cards to save money.

HOW TO GET A BALANCE TRANSFER CARD

What are other ways to consolidate credit card debt?

Balance transfer credit cards can be an excellent way to consolidate and pay down your credit card debt. But because credit cards don’t have set repayment terms, and balance transfer cards typically require good credit or better, you may want to also consider these alternatives.

Personal loans

The other top option for credit card consolidation is a personal loan. You can use personal loans for just about anything — debt consolidation is one of the most common reasons.

You can visit Credible to find the best loan rates and decide what debt it makes sense to pay. They allow you to view multiple debt consolidation loans within one window.

Here are some reasons you may want to consider a personal loan over a balance transfer.

Pros

  1. They offer a set repayment schedule
  2. They're more widely available

1. They offer a set repayment schedule: Personal loans offer a set repayment schedule, which can be appealing if you’ve struggled to pay more than just the minimum amount due on your credit cards up until now.

2. They're more widely available: Personal loans are also more widely available than balance transfer credit cards, and you don’t need stellar credit to get approved, plus you may not be limited to a low credit limit.

If these perks appeal to you, then you should start rate shopping and comparing lender offers immediately. See what kind of personal loan rates you qualify for today.

WHAT SHOULD I USE A PERSONAL LOAN FOR?

Cons

That said, there are also downsides to getting a personal loan instead of a balance transfer.

  1. It could be more challenging to get
  2. They don't offer 0% intro APR
  3. Some companies charge an upfront origination fee

1. It could be more challenging to get: The lower your credit score, the more challenging it will be to get a loan with a favorable interest rate.

2. They don't offer 0% intro APR: Personal loans don’t offer introductory 0% APR promotions, so you may end up paying more in interest.

3. Some companies charge an upfront origination fee: Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that some personal loan companies charge an upfront origination fee, which can range from 1% to 8%, depending on the lender. Also, most balance transfer credit cards come with balance transfer fees, which range from 3% to 5% of the transfer amount. So keep these in mind as you compare your options.

You can visit Credible to find out what a personal loan would cost with its personal loan calculator and also search for the best personal loan rates without a credit check.

CAN YOU GET A PERSONAL LOAN WITHOUT A CREDIT CHECK?

When to consider a balance transfer credit card

If you’re looking into a balance transfer card to consolidate your debt, here are some situations where it’s worth considering:

  • Your credit is in good shape: Check your FICO credit score for free with Experian or Discover Credit Scorecard to see where you stand. A good credit score typically starts at 670.
  • You don’t have an offer on a current card: Some credit card issuers send balance transfer checks periodically to cardholders, usually with a 0% APR promotion attached. If you can use an offer on a current card, you’ll be able to avoid applying for another card, which results in a hard inquiry on your credit report.
  • You have a plan: Moving a balance from one card to another alone won’t solve your debt problem. If you do it without a plan and continue racking up debt, it could exacerbate the issue. As a result, consider a balance transfer card only if you have a plan to pay off the debt, preferably within the promotional period.

A balance transfer card isn’t right for everyone, but if you believe it’s the right financial move for you, visit Credible to compare your options.

NOW'S THE BEST TIME TO CONSOLIDATE CREDIT CARD DEBT — HERE'S WHY