Can a balance transfer cut debt?

Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

If you’re looking to pay down credit card debt, one option is balance transfer credit cards.

A credit card that offers a zero percent interest rate on balance transfers can be an efficient way to pay down debt. But the move can backfire if you’re not careful. I’m Leslie McFadden with your Personal Finance Minute.

A balance transfer card is only a good idea if it’s going to help you aggressively pay down your credit card debt.

Before signing up for one of these cards, factor in the cost of doing the balance transfer. The key details to consider are the introductory interest rate, the length of the introductory period, the APR after the initial interest rate expires, the balance transfer fee and your new minimum payment. Balance transfer fees are often 3 percent of the amount being transferred.

Make sure your credit is good enough to qualify — many balance transfer cards require good to excellent credit. To see if you’re even in the ballpark, try the free FICO score estimator on

To learn more about balance transfer credit cards, visit I’m Leslie McFadden.