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Transferring a balance from one credit card to another can be a useful way to save on interest by transferring debt from a high-interest card to a card with a promotional 0% APR promotion. . Although American Express does not currently offer credit cards with specific balance transfer promotions, current American Express cardholders may be eligible for a balance transfer from cards that are not issued by Amex.
How to do a balance transfer with American Express
A cardholder can transfer a balance to American Express by using an existing card or by requesting a new American Express card.
Use an existing American Express card
American Express cardholders can only transfer a balance from a non-American Express account. Log in to your online account to see if you qualify for a balance transfer. Click Account Services, then Payment & Credit Options, then finally “Transfer Balances”. If you qualify for a balance transfer, your offer will appear on this page. If you are eligible, it usually takes five to seven business days for American Express to process the balance transfer. In some cases, it can take up to six weeks. American Express will send you a final decision on your balance transfer request by mail.
When requesting a balance transfer, be prepared to provide essential information such as the old credit card number, the name of the other credit card issuer, and the amount you wish to transfer. Keep in mind that you cannot transfer more than the available credit limit.
Apply for a new American Express card
The best balance transfer credit cards will come with introductory promotions of 0% APR for new cardholders, sometimes with no balance transfer fee. Unfortunately, none of American Express’ cards currently offer a 0% APR balance transfer promotion.
What to do after requesting a balance transfer
Once your balance transfer is approved, you should regularly check the account you are transferring your balance from until the process is complete. Continue to make payments to your old account until it shows a zero balance. Make sure that the total amount approved for the transfer is the one that appears on your new account.
Many balance transfers can be done online, but some banks offer physical balance transfer checks upon request. In some cases, banks will send physical balance transfer checks as part of direct mail promotions.
Once your balance transfer is complete, you need to decide what to do with your old account: close it or keep it. Keeping an old account open can strengthen your credit history. Maintaining old accounts, maintaining high credit limits, and maintaining low credit utilization can increase your credit score.
Best Practices for Balance Transfers
Balance transfers can be a tool to help pay off your credit card debt. But it depends on the terms of the new credit card and the amount of credit the new cardholder is approved for.
Find the best card and balance transfer offer
Look for new credit cards offering 0% introductory APR balance transfer promotions. Introductory periods of 0% APR can range from six months to nearly two years depending on the particular card.
Most credit cards charge a balance transfer fee, usually 2-5% of the transferred amount. This additional cost will be added to your current debt and should be considered before applying for a new card. Sometimes banks offer introductory balance transfer offers at 0% with no balance transfer fees.
Plan to repay the balance transfer
Transferring a balance to a card with a promotional interest rate of 0% may provide a reprieve from interest payments, but you must still pay your balance. Before signing up for a new card, it’s best to have a plan to pay off the entire balance before the end of the promotional period.
The minimum payment offered by the card issuer is usually not enough to pay off the entire balance. Calculate the amount of each monthly payment by dividing the total balance to be transferred by the number of months offered in the promotion. You can use a balance transfer calculator to help you figure out what your savings might be on a particular offer.
Any amount not refunded before the end of the 0% promotion will be subject to the card’s standard interest rate for balance transfers.
Know what the interest rate is after the promotion ends
If you are unable to repay the entire transferred balance before the end of your introductory 0% promotional period, be sure to understand the current interest rate charged by your new credit card. Transferring a balance could be a bad decision if you end up with a balance at a higher rate after the 0% promotion ends.
Read the conditions
Always read the terms carefully before applying for a new credit card or accepting an offer. If in doubt, speak to the card issuer to ask questions.
Things to look out for when requesting a promotional offer include:
- How long you have to transfer a balance under a promotional APR
- Purchase APR
- APR balance transfer after the end of the introductory period
- If an introductory APR applies to both purchases and balance transfers
- How interest is applied to new purchases made with the same card
- How payments are applied to purchases and promotional sales at 0%
You can transfer a balance to an American Express card either by requesting a balance transfer for one of your existing cards or by requesting a new card. However, American Express does not currently offer balance transfer promotions on any of its cards.
If you plan to transfer a balance to a card with a 0% APR promotion, the best strategy is to pay off the entire balance by the end of the introductory period. This helps to avoid going into further debt.