To get most out of balance transfer credit card strategies here is something you may want to put into practice today.
When credit card companies issue 0 APR cards and you transfer the balance, that balance (which was previously costing you money in interest charges) is now interest free (for a while). However, all the repayments you are making to your new card only serve to pay off the 0 APR portion of the debt. If you actually use the new card for purchases or to get cash that will attract interest, and that portion is not paid off by your monthly installments. This is a sneaky way for the banks to make more money by only letting you reduce the 0 interest debt, not the 15% interest debt or whatever it is – you'll find this in the small print.
There are two ways to avoid this issue. The first is not to make any goods purchases or draw cash at all with the card after you've made the balance transfer. You must treat this card solely as a card for handling your transferred balance – you should not use it for anything else. This may be difficult though, because it means you can not actually use the card when you want to and as you have been used to!
An alternative approach would be to use two cards. One would be the card with the 0 APR transfer rate and the other would be another card with a 0 APR or low APR, or even a rewards program. It would work like this:
1. First choose your zero-percent card and make sure that there are no hidden charges or annual fees.
2. Transfer your old balance to this new card and try to pay as much of this balance off per month as you can. Remember this balance now contracts no interest for the number of months stated by the issuer of this particular card – but it still has to be paid off! If you can not pay off the entire balance, you can always transfer the balance again to another card when the time comes (at the end of the 0 APR period), so remember to transfer your balance as that time approaches.
3. Find a second credit card that you can use in the normal way for purchases, etc. You might even want a card with a cashback rewards system of some sort. You certainly want a card with a low APR rate or even a 0 APR rate on purchases as well as cash.
By doing this you've established a good debt management program for yourself. You've taken a big sum of money, moved it to a 0 APR card, and set up a repayment plan. You also have a second card which means you'll be able to carry on as normal. Do bear in mind, though, that you do need to stick to the repayment plan you've decided is best for you.