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Balance Transfers

How to transfer a balance to a Capital One credit card

Summary

Considering a balance transfer to a Capital One credit card? Here’s everything you need to know, including card options, fees, restrictions and tips for improving your chances of approval.

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It’s no fun watching your credit card debt increase every month. Unfortunately, the high-interest rates mean that credit card debt grows quickly if you don’t pay off the balances on your cards in full each month.

A balance transfer to a credit card offering 0-percent interest for a limited number of months can help. If you pay down your debt before the introductory period expires, a balance transfer can be an effective way to get your credit card debt under control.

One of your options is transferring your debt to a new card offered by Capital One. The only hitch? Capital One currently offers just a pair of 0 percent balance transfer offers. Other credit card providers tend to offer more.

But if you are interested, here’s a guide to completing a balance transfer with Capital One.

See related: 6 steps to a successful credit card balance transfer

Capital One balance transfer card options

Capital One offers two options for consumers who want to transfer an existing balance.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Balance transfer fee: 3 percent of the amount you transfer within the first 15 months.
  • 0-percent introductory offer: 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases.
  • Regular APR: 16.24 to 26.24 percent variable.
  • Worth noting: Earn 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent on all other purchases. You’ll earn a $150 cash bonus if you spend $500 with your SavorOne card during the first three months of opening your account. No annual fee.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Balance transfer fee: 3 percent of the amount you transfer within the first 15 months.
  • 0-percent introductory offer: 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases.
  • Regular APR: 16.24 to 26.24 percent variable.
  • Worth noting: Earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. Earn a $150 cash bonus if you spend $500 with this card within the first three months of opening your account. No annual fee.

What you should know about Capital One balance transfers before applying

There are limits to balance transfers with Capital One credit cards, according to the company.

  • You can’t transfer a balance from one Capital One card to another.
  • Your balance transfer is limited by your credit limit. If the limit on your Capital One card is $3,000 and you owe $4,000 in credit card debt, you won’t be able to transfer all that you owe.
  • A balance transfer with Capital One can take three to 14 days.
  • Don’t stop making your payments on your other card even after Capital One approves your transfer request. Capital One says it can take about 10 business days to transfer the debt from your old card to your new one after an approval.
  • Balance transfers do not earn cash back rewards.

How to improve your chances of approval for a balance transfer

The most important factor in determining whether you are approved for a balance transfer? Your three-digit FICO credit score. If you keep this score high – a score above 740 is generally considered a strong one – your chances of getting your Capital One balance transfer will jump.

For instance, Capital One says that to qualify for a SavorOne Rewards card, you’ll need excellent credit. Capital One doesn’t list a specific FICO credit score for its “excellent” rating, but does say that you should not have declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan, haven’t been more than 60 days late on any credit card or loan in the last year and have had a loan or credit for three years or more with a credit limit above $5,000.

“Your credit score is what the bank will look most closely at,” said Allan Liwanag, owner of the Lexington Park, Maryland-based Practical Saver blog. “That’s the most important thing you can concentrate on.”

To keep your credit score high? Pay all your bills on time and pay off as much of your existing credit card debt as you can.

See related: Zero to 750: What’s the fastest way to raise your credit score?

How to initiate a balance transfer on a Capital One credit card

If you don’t already have a Capital One card:

  • You’ll need to first apply for a Capital One card that offers a 0 percent balance transfer introductory offer. When you apply online for such a card, you’ll have the option to initiate a balance transfer.
  • When applying, you’ll need some basic information. Capital One requires the name on your current credit card, your account number on that card and its payment address.
  • Once you’ve provided this information, click “Apply.”

If you already have a Capital One card:

  • Log on to your account and choose the balance transfer option.
  • Provide the name on the card from which you want to transfer your debt, along with that card’s account number and payment address.
  • Apply for the transfer to initiate the process.

How to make your balance transfer work

The key when transferring a balance from one credit card to another is to pay off this debt before the 0 percent offer expires. If you don’t, your new Capital One card’s regular APR will kick in.

You’ll also need to address any overspending issues you have. You don’t want to do the hard work of paying off your credit cards only to run up more high-interest-rate debt in the future.

Liwanag said that too many consumers hear the words “0 percent interest” and sign up for balance transfers without first looking at, or creating, their own household budget. Those consumers who don’t budget in monthly payments are more likely to fail to pay down their credit card debt before the 0 percent offer expires.

This can be an expensive mistake, Liwanag said.

See related:6 inexpensive financial tools to help you budget and save

“When they don’t pay everything off, they not only get charged the balance transfer fee, but also get subjected to the new APR,” Liwanag said.

J.R. Duren, personal finance analyst and senior editor at review site HighYa.com, said that cardholders need to set a deadline date by when they need to pay off their transferred debt. It’s not enough to simply assume that you’ll be able to pay off your balance transfer during the 15 months in which Capital One’s 0-percent introductory offer is available.

“Having a date by which you want to pay off your debt can give you the motivation you need to pay down all your balances to zero,” Duren said.

This shouldn’t be overly difficult. As Duren says, your monthly payment can remain consistent during the 0 percent period because you aren’t paying any interest. You can then add that payment to your household budget knowing that it won’t fluctuate, Duren said.

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