With U.S. credit card debt at an all time high, many savvy consumers and investors are renewing their commitments to rid themselves of this burdensome and in most cases, unnecessary debt. In doing so they are constantly searching for the next best credit card with higher credit limits, lower annual percentage rates (APRs), and zero balance transfer offers. In fact switching credit cards has become as common as changing the battery in the fire alarm for some people and it has actually worked. So if you are amongst the thousands of Americans who are thinking of making a switch to improve your financial picture, before you do there are a few things that you should consider. They include how multiple inquiries for credit will affect your credit score and if the APR that applies to balance transfers after the introductory grace period still makes it a good deal. In addition to these two things you should also, as with everything you do, conduct your own research to find the best solution to meet your needs.
It makes sound economical sense to switch credit cards to save money in interest charges and fees. Especially when you consider the fact that for most credit cards the minimum monthly payment is so low that it barely covers the interest charges reducing your outstanding balance by just a few measly dollars from month to month. Its no wonder then that we jump at any new offer that comes our way. When deciding whether to switch cards though, you should keep in mind that every time you apply for a new credit card an inquiry from that particular creditor goes on to your credit file whether you receive the credit or not. Additionally, multiple inquires by different creditors negatively impacts your credit score and any account whether closed or unused remains on your credit file for at least seven years. Last thing, switching cards and closing accounts immediately after the switch also impacts your credit score.
When considering whether to take advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer, you should consider the amount of time that you’ll have before the “normal” APR applies to that balance and whether you’ll be able to pay that in full before the grace period is over. Additionally, in the event that you aren’t able to pay off the balance prior to expiration of the grace period, you should consider if the new APR that kicks in will be a significant savings from the card that you are considering transferring balances from and whether interest will be charged on just the remaining balance or the entire amount that you initially transferred.
To ensure that you are getting the best deal, you should do a thorough search of available credit cards before making a final decision on which institution to submit a new application for credit to. By doing so you will know upfront exactly what you are getting and whether there are cost savings to be realized, leaving very little room for surprises.
Switching credit cards is a smart choice for consumers who are trying to manage and conquer their debt. For the disciplined person, this is a very effective strategy to help you reduce your debt load. If you find yourself in the situation where you are presented with an opportunity to switch credit cards, please keep in mind the negative effect that multiple inquiries will have on your credit score as well as the opening of new accounts while simultaneously closing others. When done wisely, after conducting a thorough search of available options, switching credit cards can definitely help you to achieve your financial goals.