Does Paying Credit Card Debt with Another Credit Card Work?

The answer is, “Sometimes it can.”

It’s certainly one of the most popular ways to pay off a debt, but until that balance is at zero, it’s not paid at all. In fact, it’s like draining a bathtub by transferring the water to a swimming pool – the water is there, and evaporation will take care of some of the water, but if you drain enough tubs, you’re going to have a full pool and no place to put more water.

For those of you who want to try paying credit card debt with another credit card, the technical term is called “balance transfer.” See that second word – it’s a transfer of debt from one card to another, often at a more favorable interest rate for a specific period of time. There are a number of cards advertised out there that claim to be great for balance transfers, but there are a few factors to keep in mind if you’re going to try this.

So Can I Start Paying Credit Card Debt with Another Credit Card?

Keep in mind, most websites rating these types of cards have some kind of advertising behind them. That advertising pays their bills, and they might not give you the whole picture about the types of products their advertisers offer in their reviews. They can do a very good job paying credit card debt with another credit card, but the best research is always going to be your own. Keep an eye on these factors when you’re doing your research.

  • Annual fee. This is one of the most overlooked factors in paying credit card debt with another credit card. Some cards charge a flat fee per year but others charge a fee based on your balance. If you have a high balance, that can mean a big fee that gets tacked onto your bill.
  • Balance transfer fee. This can kick any financial benefit right out the door and will actually increase your indebtedness. That’s right – the fee is added to your balance and you pay it off. Look for a low or 0% balance transfer fee before you sign up.
  • Interest. There are cards that offer low or 0% interest for a promotional period, then jack up the interest. Make sure that you can pay off the card before the interest rate goes up anywhere from 16% to as much as 25%. Also, interest rates after the promotion can be variable, you might want to shop for a card that has a fixed interest rate.
  • Promotional period. With periods of twelve to twenty-four months, there’s a lot of different time periods in which you can pay down the balance at 0%. However, you need to be sure that the debt can be paid in the time period being offered. Sit down and figure out what amount you’ll need to pay each month in order to knock out the balance within the promotional period.
  • Rolling it over. Some cards convert to ordinary credit cards after the initial balance transfer promotion, others hit the reset button. When the balance transfer promotion resets, you will be able to transfer another balance onto the card – just make sure that this is under the same or slightly better terms than before.

Here’s another secret that card companies don’t want to tell you – applying for a balance transfer card can hit your credit rating. When a credit card company makes an inquiry, that is reflected in your credit scoring, and applying to a number of cards all at once can set off alarm bells for credit providers. Apply to cards that cater to your particular credit scores in order to reduce the chances of getting too many inquiries and denials at once.

When It Might Not Be Enough

If you are in heavy consumer debt, you are not alone. Consumer debt is rising, and so are the number of people who are starting to worry that they’re getting in too deep. Shuffling debt between cards is not the same as paying it off, and consolidation loans are just another way of replacing one debt with another debt. These financial tools do not remove debts and can dig you in even deeper once a card is cleared. Getting on top of debts often takes professional intervention and education in basic financial literacy. These are the signs that you need to consider something other than more plastic.

  • Are you in so much debt that you’re not sure how much you owe?
  • Are you making minimum payments on credit cards, unable to get ahead of the balance?
  • Are you using credit cards for purchases like gas, food, and cash advances because you don’t have enough cash on hand?
  • You are writing checks and hoping they don’t clear before your paycheck hits the bank.
  • You are getting calls from debt collectors or one or more credit card debts have been charged off.
  • You are facing eviction, or having utilities turned off.
  • Your wages are being garnished.
  • You are using payday loans just to get by.

If you are dealing with any of these situations, then it’s time to seek more than just a couple of blog posts, it’s time to schedule a consultation with an attorney who specializes in debt issues and bankruptcy. You need someone to professionally assess your finances, and give you the benefit of experienced legal advice – and here at Van Horn Law Group, that initial consultation is free.


It’s always a last resort, but one that should be on the table when you’re looking at crushing debt. Just paying credit card debt with another credit card can’t get you out of debt on its own. You might not even need to file for bankruptcy, after all, there are a lot of different ways to pay down debt, get control of your finances, and get some real breathing room. Call an experienced attorney at Van Horn Law Group and get the advice you need to put debts behind you!

About Chad Van Horn

Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn

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Chad Van Horn

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