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Make Your Credit Card Balance Transfer Shine

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There you are—sticking with your resolution to pay down your credit card debt. You’ve been doing all the right things—cutting expenses, tracking every cent, automating your savings and sticking to your plan—and you’re doing great!


Then you see it. It’s an ad for a competing credit card offering 0% APR on a balance transfer. You may even get money back for completing the transfer. It’s so tempting to take the plunge.


Whoa! Hold your horses! This may be a great move, but you need to be sure you do the math before taking the leap. Luckily, Mountain America Credit Union has identified the top three mistakes people make when choosing a balance transfer:

  1. Not shopping around. Of course, it would be easy to click on that first ad you see and fill out the form. But you’re not looking for easy—you want what’s best for your finances. For example, maybe you could find one that, instead of only six months, gives you 0% interest for 12 or 18 months.

  2. Choosing the balance transfer offer when you could easily pay off your current balance. Trading in your high interest rate for something considerably lower sounds good, but take into consideration all the costs involved. Is there a transfer fee? Compare the interest you’ll pay on your current bill (assuming you don’t rack up any additional debt) to the amount of the fee. If you can comfortably pay your credit card balance in a fairly short time period, it may be worth it to stay where you are.

  3. Not paying your debt in full before the offer expires. You’ll want to be wary of two things—(a) adding more debt (oh, Xbox One X, I love you!), and (b) blowing past your transferred balance deadline. A balance transfer is a useful tool to eliminate debt, not just a way to delay paying it. Set up automated payments by taking your balance and dividing it by the number of months the 0% is active. Then, set it and forget it.


Bonus tips:

  • Don’t use your brand-spankin’-new-low-interest as an excuse to max out your card. That will put you in a worse predicament than you were before the balance transfer.

  • Read the small print. Specifically, how much interest is charged on new purchases and how long does it last? Is there a transfer fee? Is there an early payment penalty?



If you’ve decided you’re in the market for a balance transfer, be sure to check out Mountain America’s latest offer.* Through February 28, 2018, we’re offering a balance transfer on our low-rate credit cards along with no transfer fees** and a 3% cash bonus on the transferred amount. You heard that right—but act quickly, this special promotion won’t last long! 


*Limit of two transfers from the same external account or financial institution. Total cash bonus cannot exceed 3% of the credit limit on your Mountain America Credit Card during the 2018 calendar year. Not available on business accounts or balances transferred from an existing Mountain America loan. Cash bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. Offer expires 2/28/18.


**On approved credit. Variable annual percentage rate based on creditworthiness. Maximum interest rate over the life of loan is 18% APR. 1% foreign transaction fee. Membership required—based on eligibility.

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