Credit Karma

Balance Transfer Calculator

How to use this calculator

This balance transfer calculator can help you weigh your options for paying off debt by estimating how much you could save with a balance transfer, based on the information you provide. Think of this tool as a way to test the potential of an offer — depending on your payment habits and other factors — and gain a better understanding of whether a balance transfer is right for you. But keep in mind that this is just one option to help you manage your balance, and not a blueprint for paying off your debt.

For instance, you could try out different monthly payments and balance transfer terms to see how they might affect your debt and savings by the end of an introductory 0% balance transfer APR period. Then, you can seek out offers that fit your needs.

No balance transfer calculator can tell you exactly how much you will save by using a balance transfer — this number is only an estimate. This is because a calculator can’t consider every detail of a balance transfer. There’s always the potential for the unknown.

For example, you may see only some of the specifics of an offer, like the ongoing interest rates, once you’ve already been approved for the card, or the amount you can afford to pay each month could change over the course of the introductory period. Other variables might come into play that could change the numbers, too — like if you use the balance transfer card to make any new purchases, or if you make a late payment.

What you should know about balance transfer credit cards

Balance transfers can be useful tools that could help you to pay down your credit card debt. An introductory 0% balance transfer APR offer could help provide you with a clear timeline for paying off your balance and offer some structure to what might feel like an impossible financial challenge.

But balance transfers carry many risks. If you’re not careful, you could end up with even more debt than you started with and fewer options for paying it down. Here are a few things to consider before you apply for a balance transfer card.

1. Know the limits on your balance transfer

Some balance transfer cards put a hard limit on the amount of debt you’re allowed to transfer.

There could also be limits on when you have to transfer your balances to qualify for the introductory 0% balance transfer APR offer. If you miss that transfer window to receive the introductory APR, you could end up paying more in interest than you do on your current cards. Check out the fine print on any offer to read up on the restrictions on your offer — they may not be listed anywhere else.

2. Be careful when making new purchases

A card that offers an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers might not include that same introductory 0% rate on purchases for the same length of time. Sometimes they don’t offer it at all. If you end up carrying a balance past the end of the introductory period or add new purchases to a card that doesn’t also have a purchase introductory APR, you could face heavy interest charges and a steeper climb out of debt.

3. Make your required payments

The introductory purchase APR on credit cards always expire at some point. Some cards include a penalty APR that goes into effect if you’re late with a payment. If that’s the case, you’ll face a high purchase APR and might see your intro balance transfer APR period cut short.

What’s next?

Once you’ve plugged different balance transfer offers into the calculator, there’s still some more research ahead of you that can help you successfully pay down your debt with a balance transfer. Here’s how to do a balance transfer in six steps.