If you are struggling to pay down credit card debt, the interest is not making it any easier. Transferring the debt over to a 0% interest credit card can save you money in the long run. But applying for a new credit card, or any type of new credit requires a “hard inquiry” to determine if you qualify.
This can have a small, but short-term effect on your credit score. The five biggest factors in determining your credit score include: credit utilization, payment history, types of credit, credit inquiries and the ages of your accounts.
Here is an explanation of how each of these can be affected when you do a balance transfer.
- Your Credit Utilization: Suppose you owe $10,000 on Card A, which has a limit of $12,000. You are using 83% of your available credit. But now you open Card B and move all $10,000 onto it (it has a credit limit of $10,000). You are now using a total combined available credit of 45% (a combined $22,000 on both cards). The new lower credit utilization will help boost your credit score.
- Payment History: If you made regular, on-time payments on your old card, doing the same with the new card will not cause you to see a drop in this area.
- Types of Credit: Diversity is key. Having a good mix of credit cards, auto and mortgage loans that you pay on time every month will help you generate a good credit score. Since you were using a credit card previously, you will likely not see any difference here after a balance transfer.
- Credit Inquiries: Applying for a new credit card will put an inquiry on your credit. As long as you are not applying for multiple lines of credit at the same time, you are probably only looking at your credit score dropping 5 points, which is only temporary.
- Age of Credit. Once you receive your new card, keep the old one. Do not cancel it. You want to keep your oldest cards open so you can build up that history for as long as possible.
Bottom Line: Opening a new account and transferring the balance over can save you money, as long as you do not charge more on the new one and focus on paying it down. Do not expect a huge jump at the very beginning, but as you begin to pay down your balance by making on-time payments, you will see your credit score improve. The new lower credit utilization will help boost your credit score.
If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.