People often get creative when trying to deal with budget problems. If you have more debt than you can pay off, any kind of temporary reprieve can feel beneficial.
Credit card companies can often tempt people in to even worse debt by offering them balance transfer terms that seem like a way to handle their existing credit card debt. Like many other debt relief services marketed to consumers, credit card balance transfers often cause as many problems as they resolve.
Transferring a debt does not reduce or get rid of it
When you transfer a balance from one credit card to another, you still have an obligation to pay the debt. The only thing that changes is whom you must repay. In fact, balance transfers can increase how much you owe, as some credit cards assess a fee to transfer a balance.
You might have to pay a fee to transfer the balance or a certain percentage of the total balance. Not only does that mean you still have to repay the debt, but you may feel tempted to spend money on the card with the balance you just reduced.
The terms may not be as good as they initially look
Credit card companies love to offer very tempting arrangements, like 0% interest on a balance transfer for a fixed amount of time. The devil is in the details when it comes to credit card offers.
The company may not charge interest for a year or even longer. However, you will likely have to pay all the interest that accrued over that time if you don’t pay the balance off in full by the end of the promotional period.
Instead of shuffling your debt from one credit card to another, it may be time to consider more permanent solutions. Filing for bankruptcy can be a way to regain control over your debt and finally eliminate those budget-busting credit card balances.