January 25, 2008, Newsletter Issue #100: Credit Card Balance Transfers

Tip of the Week

Debt Management Tips: If you have multiple credit cards with different interest rates, one way to manage your debt and pay it off more quickly is to transfer the balances to the credit card with the lowest rate. However, you need to be sure to do this methodically, or you could find yourself paying late fees and getting dinged on your credit report. Organize your statements so you have the account numbers, balances, and contact information for all your accounts. Keep track of the amount you are transferring from each card and the date the transfer was initiated. It takes as long as two to three weeks for transfers to be completed, so if you have a payment due in that period, make the payment on time to avoid late fees. Once you have consolidated your debt onto one card, cut up--but do not cancel—your other credit cards so you are not tempted to use them again. Why not cancel them? Part of your credit score is based on what percent of your available credit has been used. If you cancel your other cards and the card you rolled your balances to is at or near its limit, that will look bad on your credit report. However, if you think you may be tempted to use those cards, cut up or not, you probably should cancel them.

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