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Can you use one credit card to pay off another?

You can’t pay your credit card with a credit card – but you can use a balance transfer credit card to pay down your debt more quickly

Summary

Credit card providers don’t allow you to pay off your debt simply by charging it to another card. A top balance transfer credit card could help you pay down your debt more quickly, and a cash advance could help you cover a last-minute credit card payment — but you should only consider a cash advance if you have no other options.

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Let’s say you need to pay off a credit card fast. Maybe you’re almost at your credit limit, for example – or maybe you want to pay down your outstanding balance in the hopes of increasing your credit score. Maybe your credit card bill is due, and there isn’t enough money in your checking account to cover more than the minimum payment.

Is it possible to put your credit card payment on a credit card? Can you use one credit card to pay off another credit card’s debt?

The short answer is no – at least, not directly. Credit card providers don’t allow you to pay off your debt simply by charging it to another card.

However, there are two ways to use credit cards to pay off your debt. You can take out a cash advance and use the money to pay your credit card bill, or you can open a balance transfer card and consolidate your existing debt onto a single line of credit.

If you want to pay off a credit card with another credit card, here’s what you need to know:

How can you pay off a credit card with another?

Using credit to pay for credit is generally a bad idea, which is why credit card issuers don’t allow you to pay your credit card bill with another credit card. In most cases, using one credit card to pay off another credit card will simply add to your debt and make it even harder to pay off your credit cards in the future.

That said, there are two situations in which you can use credit cards to pay off your existing credit card debt.

You can apply for a balance transfer credit card, consolidating your credit card balances and paying off your debt over time – and since balance transfer credit cards often come with 0% intro APR, this strategy could save you a lot of money.

If you need to make a credit card payment right away and you have no other options, you could cover the payment with a cash advance – but this short-term tactic could cost you even more money in the long run.

Balance transfer method

Balance transfer credit cards are excellent debt-repayment tools – in fact, they’re one of the best ways to consolidate and pay off your outstanding debt. The best balance transfer credit cards offer at least a year of 0% APR on balance transfers, giving you plenty of time to make payments on your transferred balance without having to worry about interest charges.

When you use a balance transfer credit card to pay off another credit card’s debt, you give yourself a fresh start. If your balance transfer card comes with an introductory 0% interest offer, every payment you make before the introductory rate expires could go directly towards paying off your debt – and you might even end up debt-free.

The key to making a balance transfer work is to determine how much money you’ll need to devote to your credit card debt so that you’ll pay it off before the 0% APR period ends. You can’t run up new debt on your old card, either. That would defeat the purpose of a balance transfer and leave you with even more debt than when you started.

Cash advance

A cash advance allows you to withdraw cash from a credit card – but it comes with a price. When you take out a cash advance, you not only pay a fee on the advance itself, but also a higher interest rate on any money you withdraw. Cash advance fees and cash advance interest rates can be significant, and many people don’t realize how much a cash advance can cost them.

If you can’t afford to make the minimum payment on your card in any other way, you might consider taking out a cash advance to cover it but we don’t recommend using one credit card to pay off another. A cash advance increases your debt instead of reducing it, and comes with fees and high interest rates that can continue to add to the money you owe.

Should you pay off a credit card with another?

If you are thinking about using a credit card to pay off another card, consider all of your options first. Is there any other way you could get the money required to make your minimum payment? Some people tighten their budgets, for example, while others pick up a side hustle. Even borrowing money from family or friends is likely to be a better solution than taking out a cash advance – especially if you have a plan to pay them back as quickly as possible.

What to do if you can’t pay your credit card bill

If you are having trouble making your credit card payments, contact your credit card issuer and ask about their hardship programs. These are designed to help credit card users manage their accounts during periods of emergency, including unemployment, illness and other forms of economic hardship.

After discussing your situation with your credit card issuer, you could receive a lower minimum payment, lower interest rate or a temporary reprieve from paying off your debt – all of which are usually better options than missing a credit card payment or taking out a cash advance to cover a credit card bill.

Bottom line

Credit card issuers don’t allow you to pay one credit card with another credit card – and for good reason. If you want to use credit to pay off your existing credit card debt, look for a balance transfer credit card with at least 12 months of 0% intro APR to help you consolidate your debts and pay them down without accruing interest. Avoid using cash advances to cover your credit card payments, as the fees and interest charges associated with them will only add to your debt and make it harder to pay off in the future.

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.

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