Racking up credit card debt is a slippery slope. While there are a lot of conventional solutions to handling large amounts of debt, it’s important not to rule out other methods. Oftentimes, by exploring new options, you can find a better solution to your credit card debt dilemma.
- Credit card companies won’t allow you to pay off your existing balance with another credit card.
- Balance transfers, which can be used to move debt from one card to another with a lower interest rate, can be a good option for individuals with high credit card debt.
- Cash advances are another option where consumers can take out cash against another line of credit and use that money to pay off an existing credit card.
- Neither of these strategies is a substitute for healthy financial planning and management, and they may not address overall problems with credit card debt.
Can you pay off a credit card with another credit card?
The short answer is no. Credit card companies don’t allow you to make minimum monthly payments, or to pay off an outstanding balance, with another credit card from a different company. Oftentimes, the fees for these types of transactions are too high for the credit card companies to allow it. Also, it could be a questionable financial move that credit card companies want consumers to avoid.
There are however, two main strategies you can use to pay off a credit card that don’t involve paying more than your minimum required monthly payment. Both balance transfers and cash advances can be two quick ways to try and reduce your outstanding debt on an existing credit card.
What is a balance transfer?
Balance transfers are a great option for individuals looking to move existing debt from one card to another that has a lower interest rate and other financial incentives. Many people will opt for a card where they can get the most perks and other financial benefits, like cash back on everyday spending and better rewards programs. A balance transfer is exactly what it sounds like: Your balance on one card will be transferred to another for a fee. Before deciding to go this route, do the math. Oftentimes, with fees and reduced interest rates, you may end up paying something similar to what you owed before. There are also several other pros and cons to be aware of.
Pros of balance transfers
Interest-free introductory periods
Many card issuing companies will offer 12 to 18 month interest-free introductory periods to try and entice you to transfer your balance. This can be a great tool if you’re looking to save money. Especially if you’re trying to pay down a high credit card balance, starting with an interest-free period can allow you to make payments on the balance without accruing any additional fees and interest. Keep in mind that this tool is used to try and entice you to transfer your balance to a new company. Use it as a way to save money, not just as a financial cushion.
They can save you money
If you can find the right deal, transferring your balance could save you a lot of money in the long run. Some credit issuers may offer you a better APR rate compared to what’s being applied to your current balance. Lower interest rates mean you can save money as you begin to pay off your balance. This, coupled with interest-free introductory periods, makes a balance transfer a potentially useful option when looking to address high amounts of credit card debt.
Better rewards programs
Even if the interest rates are roughly similar, and you’re not looking to take advantage of paying down your balance during an interest-free introductory period, some credit cards may just have better perks and rewards programs you want to take advantage of. Look for cash back options, frequent flier packages and other points-based rewards systems. These can sometimes make all the difference when getting the most out of your credit card and credit issuing company.
Cons of balance transfers
There’s usually a fee associated with transferring your balance. Make sure you do your research so you can determine if the fee is worth you moving to another credit card. Oftentimes, it could be negligible compared to what you could save during the interest-free period.
You could be declined
If you have a questionable credit history and a low credit score, the credit issuing company may decline your balance transfer. Depending on your individual situation, you’ll need a credit score of at least 670 in order to initiate a balance transfer.
What is a cash advance?
Credit issuers provide individuals with the option to take a cash advance out against their line of credit. This cash-now loan is different from a normal credit card purchase, and it likely is subject to an entirely different interest rate. On average, you’ll pay about 24% for the cash advance, which is 9% higher than the average APR. Keep in mind the amount you borrow will contribute to what you owe at the end of each billing cycle related to your monthly balance.
Cash advances can be seen as a riskier way to pay off another credit card compared to balance transfers. As with researching balance transfers, do the math before you commit to a cash advance with your credit issuer. It may not be worth it to take out cash on a 24% interest rate in order to pay off another credit card. It’s also important, however, to be aware of all the pros and cons
Pro of cash advances
It’s a fast option
A cash advance will technically give you the ability to pay off another credit card, which could have a very high interest rate. Depending on your situation, you would be able to get the cash you need to pay down this card as quickly as possible. This would help you save on interest on that particular credit card in the long run.
Cons of cash advances
The high interest rate associated with cash advances makes it a difficult tool to resort to when trying to pay off other credit cards. The advantage of a cash advance is you can get it immediately, but that comes at a price. An interest rate 9% above the average APR for most credit cards can build a significant balance over time.
There may be additional fees
Companies often charge a flat rate or a percentage fee in addition to the interest rate on cash advances. It’s important to read the fine print before deciding to use a cash advance.
It may not solve your problem
It’s important to do the math before initiating a cash advance to pay off another credit card. At 24% interest, taking a cash advance against your line of credit is one of the most expensive forms of debt available. It shouldn’t be used casually, and there’s more likelihood of ending up in even more financial trouble compared to pursuing a balance transfer. As an alternative, you may wish to consider a debt relief company.
While these are two unique options, the balance transfer has far more potential to be a useful financial tool against credit card debt. You won’t be able to pay off your credit card with another credit card, and depending on your situation, a balance transfer may be your best bet. The easiest way to pay down credit card debt, however, is making monthly payments that are greater than your required minimum amount.