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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.

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Date

Customer Service Department
Credit Card Company Name
Company's Address
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, etc.
  • 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 number.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Best regards,
Your Signature
Your Typed Name
Address
City, State and ZIP Code

cc: New credit card issuer

-- Posted: Oct. 23, 2003
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READ MORE: Credit card information

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