Debt Management

Repeat balance transfers cut debt, but control spending, too


To really eliminate debt, you have to do more than transfer debt from one 0 percent credit card to another

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Question for the expert

Dear Credit Wise,
Hello, Mr. Weeks, my wife and I combined have credit card debt of about $6,500 and were wondering this: Is transferring the debt to cards that have intro periods with lower (or no) APR cards, with a 3 percent transfer fee, and doing it over and over, a good way to pay off the debt fast? If not what may be best? We aren’t worried about lowering our score, we can recover over time. Our goal is to get out of debt and not charge so much so fast. Thank you. — Henry

Answer for the expertDear Henry,
What you suggest might be a good solution for you and your wife, since you say you are not worried about your credit scores. You are right when you say you can recover in time. Just remember that to qualify for those low- or 0-percent-interest credit cards, you generally must have fairly good credit. Be aware that your scores might dip with numerous transfers. You could get to the point that you eventually might not qualify for these offers.

However, if you can continue to get a good interest rate moving your balances over and over, it seems like you would want to do that. No one wants to pay more than they have to when borrowing money. Zero interest is the gold standard and makes the most financial sense.

But the inherent problem here is the phrase “over and over,” which indicates you are constantly carrying credit card debt.

What actually will make a big difference to your financial health is how quickly you can pay off your debt. Transferring balances over and over again to keep a low interest rate will help, but not if you continue to add to your credit card balances. At this point, your debt is small enough that you should be able to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time, especially if you are able to get good interest rates. The calculators at can help you see exactly where you stand with your credit card debt.

What I would suggest is that you and your wife amend your goal and aim instead for retiring your entire credit card debt. Using those calculators, determine the amount you can afford to pay each month toward your debt and continue to pay that same amount every month. This means you should not be adding to your balances during this time if at all possible.

If you do charge, try to pay the new charges in full the next month, along with your regular monthly payment. This will likely call for some sacrifices on your part, but will be well worth it in the long run. At the end, you will be so accustomed to paying off your charges that you will automatically continue that practice, as well as having money available to put toward your emergency savings account. This way, you will increase your credit score and your assets, but not your debt.

Be wise with your credit!

See related: 9 things you should know about balance transfers, How balance transfers affect credit score

Meet’s reader Q&A experts

Does a personal finance problem have you worried? Monday through Saturday,’s Q&A experts answer questions from readers. Ask a question, or click on any expert to see their previous answers.




Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Debt Management

Study: We underestimate our credit card debt

What does the typical household really owe on credit cards? A lot more than they admit, according to newly updated research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more