Q: I'm looking to transfer my balances to a credit card with a low introductory rate or no interest for balance transfers for a period of time.
Just a few years ago, balance transfer offers disappeared from the market as banks tried to figure out how to survive the recession. Today, balance transfers have come roaring back, but with a few changes. Taking one extra step during your research can save you up to 5 percent of your outstanding debt in the first year alone.
Think about how much you can possibly budget toward your credit card payments right now, and some simple math will show you how long you'll need to knock that balance down. Let's say you're trying to pay down $10,000 in debt, and you can afford a $400 monthly payment.
$400 goes into $10,000 25 times. This means that it will take you 25 months to pay off that debt. There's not one card offer out there that won't start charging interest before the 25 months is up. Run the numbers for your case and see if it works. In some cases a low interest credit card might be a better deal than just a low introductory rate.
Keep in mind that fixed rate credit cards have become nearly extinct. Therefore, your "go-to rate" will rise as the economy improves. But, by that time, the focus and frugality you've brought to your budget should already have carried you well toward your goal.