Everything You Need To Know About Balance Transfer Checks


Key takeaways

  • Steadiness switch checks are a approach to switch bank card balances from one issuer to a different with a decrease rate of interest.
  • These checks could include charges and should not provide the identical advantages as stability switch bank cards, so learn the high quality prints to know all of the phrases and charges.
  • Opting out of stability switch checks may be finished by contacting the issuer straight.

Many individuals carry at the very least one bank card stability from month to month. In actual fact, a 2023 Bankrate survey indicated that 49 p.c of cardholders carry this kind of revolving debt — and that share has risen over the previous few years, with solely 39 p.c of cardholders carrying a stability in 2021.

Since so many individuals are coping with excellent bank card balances, many main bank card issuers provide the choice to switch these balances from one issuer’s card to a card with a distinct issuer and a decrease rate of interest. As we speak’s finest stability switch bank cards include at the very least 12 months of 0 p.c introductory annual share fee (APR), permitting you the chance to pay down your transferred stability earlier than it begins to accrue curiosity.

Just a few bank card issuers additionally provide stability switch checks, which provide the possibility to finish your switch with a paper verify as a substitute of requesting a stability switch on-line or over the cellphone. Steadiness switch checks may also help you repay bank card debt, however they don’t at all times include the identical perks as a stability switch bank card — they usually could include larger charges or rates of interest.

Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at how stability switch checks work, the way to request them and whether or not utilizing them to repay debt is a good suggestion.

What are stability switch checks?

A stability switch verify is a paper verify offered by a bank card issuer that permits you to switch a stability from one bank card to a different bank card with a distinct issuer. Bank card corporations typically challenge clean switch checks so their prospects will transfer an owed stability from a competitor’s bank card to their account.

Nonetheless, not all bank card issuers provide stability switch checks. In actual fact, stability switch checks have fallen out of recognition lately. Since a lot of our day-to-day banking expertise takes place on-line, stability transfers have moved on-line as effectively. That stated, a couple of issuers nonetheless make stability switch checks obtainable to cardholders — and plenty of issuers nonetheless help you request a stability switch over the cellphone.

How do stability switch checks work?

Steadiness switch checks work loads like a typical stability switch you’d carry out between a daily bank card and a stability switch card. However as a substitute of you making a direct on-line switch from the cardboard with debt to the stability switch card, you’ll write a verify from the corresponding card towards the cardboard with debt so you possibly can repay that card’s stability. Additionally, the quantity you switch can not exceed your stability switch card restrict. This implies the stability you switch to your bank card can not take you over your complete credit score restrict on that card.

Let’s take into account this instance: Credit score Card A comes with introductory 0 p.c APR stability switch checks. You resolve to make use of one among your stability switch checks to repay a $1,000 bank card stability you’re at the moment carrying on Credit score Card B that has a excessive APR. You make your stability switch verify from Card A out for $1,000 and use it to make a fee towards Card B. At that time, Card B’s stability is cleared out — however Card A has $1,000 added to its stability (plus any related stability switch charges) because you simply used a stability switch verify to borrow $1,000 from Card A to repay Card B.

That’s how a stability switch verify may also help you consolidate your debt and handle your bank card balances. If Credit score Card A gives decrease rates of interest than Credit score Card B, transferring a stability to Credit score Card A might prevent some huge cash in curiosity fees.

Take the time to do the mathematics with our bank card stability switch calculator to find out the period of time you’ll must repay your debt.

Steadiness switch checks vs. comfort checks

Along with stability switch checks, some bank card issuers provide comfort checks. These checks help you write a verify towards your obtainable credit score and deposit the verify wherever checks are accepted — in your personal checking account, with a retailer or utility supplier and so forth. Nonetheless, comfort checks are handled like bank card money advances and infrequently include extraordinarily excessive charges and rates of interest.

In some circumstances, a bank card issuer could give you a verify that may operate as both a stability switch verify or a comfort verify, relying on the way you deposit it. When you use the verify to switch a stability from one card to a different, it turns into a stability switch verify. When you write the verify to another person or deposit the verify into your checking account, it’s handled like a comfort verify — even when you use the cash to repay your bank card stability. To keep away from sudden charges, learn the high quality print and, if unsure, contact your issuer for clarification.

Concerns earlier than utilizing a stability switch verify

Each stability switch checks and stability switch bank cards typically include stability switch charges. This implies you’ll pay a price for each stability you switch, typically within the type of a share of the transferred stability. Most stability switch bank cards cost between 3 p.c and 5 p.c, which suggests you’ll pay between $30 and $50 in charges for each $1,000 you switch. Steadiness switch checks can have considerably larger stability switch charges than stability switch playing cards, so it’s necessary to seek the advice of the charges part of your bank card settlement earlier than utilizing them.

Another excuse to learn the high quality print earlier than utilizing a stability switch verify is to seek out out your stability switch APR and whether or not you’ll get to reap the benefits of any introductory APR promotions. Whereas the most effective stability switch bank cards provide a 0 p.c intro APR on stability transfers for a yr or extra, not all stability switch checks provide the identical profit. In case your stability switch checks don’t embrace a 0 p.c intro APR interval, you’ll begin paying curiosity in your stability as quickly because it’s transferred.

You also needs to be sure you’re coping with a stability switch verify and never a comfort verify, which lets you take out a money advance towards your bank card. Whereas you should utilize a money advance to repay bank card debt, comfort checks usually include excessive APRs and important money advance charges. Realizing the distinction between a stability switch verify and a comfort verify may also help you keep away from making an costly mistake.

Even when your stability switch verify gives a 0 p.c introductory rate of interest, that doesn’t imply the identical promo APR applies to your purchases. Make sure you verify particularly for a card with a 0 p.c intro APR on purchases if that’s what you want.

Which issuers provide stability switch checks?

Every bank card issuer has its personal methodology of issuing stability switch checks. Some bank card issuers, equivalent to Citi, could ship stability switch checks to eligible cardholders. Different issuers, equivalent to Financial institution of America, could help you request stability switch checks. Wells Fargo gives SUPERCHECKS that can be utilized as comfort checks or stability switch checks, and Capital One may also help you fill out an digital verify which is able to switch the funds to a different bank card account. U.S. Financial institution gives stability switch checks throughout varied promotions

When you’re serious about acquiring stability switch checks, it will be finest to contact your issuer to verify they’re at the moment being supplied and to see when you’re eligible. It could be simpler to finish a stability switch on-line or over the cellphone, so ensure that to contemplate all of your choices.

In case your stability switch verify gives advantages on par with right now’s finest stability switch bank cards, then utilizing it to consolidate debt and repay outdated balances may be a good suggestion.

Alternatively, stability switch checks that include excessive charges and excessive stability switch APRs are hardly ever your best option — particularly as a result of there are probably many stability switch bank cards that could be obtainable to you that may provide decrease charges and higher phrases.

Steadiness switch checks aren’t your solely possibility for paying down bank card debt. When you’re not serious about utilizing a stability switch verify or stability switch card to repay debt, you would possibly need to take into account different standard debt compensation strategies, equivalent to utilizing a low-interest private mortgage to repay your bank card or working with a credit score counseling service to learn to create a finances, consolidate your money owed and extra.

When you’re serious about extra debt steerage, take a look at our bank card debt sources to find how one can higher handle your debt, and in addition check with our debt compensation calculator.

decide out of stability switch checks

Some issuers will preserve sending stability switch checks occasionally, even when you haven’t particularly requested them. When you don’t need to get these checks, you possibly can select to decide out of such advertising and marketing gives.

Do that by contacting the issuer straight — both by cellphone, on-line, by way of e-mail or common mail. Your card ought to have a customer support quantity on it. Use that contact data to comply with up with a customer support consultant and inform them of your desire. You possibly can additionally search for your card account on-line and comply with the data obtainable there to decide out of selling gives.


The underside line

Steadiness switch checks may also help you consolidate your bank card debt and repay outdated balances — however not all provide the identical phrases because the main stability switch bank cards. Be certain that the verify you need to use for a stability switch shouldn’t be a money advance comfort verify that carries a a lot larger fee than a daily stability switch verify. That’s why it’s best to confirm the rate of interest earlier than you employ a stability switch verify. In some circumstances, utilizing a stability switch verify to repay debt might be much less cost-effective than making use of for a stability switch bank card.

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