Transferring a balance from one credit card to a new account
You used Bankrate's credit card
search engine and found a much better deal. Now you just have
to move the charges on your old plastic to the new account. That's
a smart money move -- as long as you do it properly.
Transferring a credit card balance can be tricky.
First, make sure the move really will pay off. It
might not if you end up paying any unexpected fees to switch accounts.
Look out for transaction fees (imposed either by the card company
you're leaving or the one you're joining up with) or dramatic hikes
in that low interest rate if you miss a payment. These worksheets
can help you decide if the transfer will pay off.
Then there's the timing. You need to open the new account first and make sure it's set up properly. In the meantime, make sure that you make the last payment on your old credit card account by its due date to avoid any late charges.
Once the new account is open, make the switch. You can streamline the process by putting everything in writing. Send the form letter below to the credit card account with the balance you want transferred to the new card. It wouldn't hurt to send a copy to your new card company so it will know exactly how much of a balance to expect.
Personalize the letter by entering your specifics
in the areas in red. You can print
out this Web page and make your changes by hand or copy the body
of the letter and paste it into a document where you can make your
changes on your PC.
Customer Service Department
Credit Card Company Name
City, State and ZIP Code
Re: Transferring balance of CARD NAME account NUMBER and closing the account number
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is my formal request transfer the outstanding
balance of dollar amount on my card
name account to my following new account:
- Account issued to: Your name
- Account type: MasterCard, Visa,
- Account number: New card number
- Expiration date: Date
- Issuing company: New card issuer
Once the transfer of my outstanding balance to new
credit card company is complete, please close my account
with your company and notify me by mail at the address below that
this action has been taken.
In addition, please include on my credit report that the account was closed at my own request and that the account was in good standing at the time it was closed.
If you called your credit card
company earlier for guidance on closing the account, refer to that
conversation now. For example: On May 1, 2003, I called your customer
service office to discuss closure of my account. I spoke with service
representative Jane Smith about the terms of closing this account
and she told me that I would not be charged any transfer fees, there
would be no fee for closing the account and that you would notify
me when the account was closed. Per my conversation with Ms. Smith,
please confirm in writing when my account is closed and that it
was done so according to the terms we discussed.
If you have any questions, you can reach me at the
address below or can call me at telephone
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Your Typed Name
City, State and ZIP Code
cc: New credit card issuer