Why Do Balance Transfers Take So Long?

Why Do Balance Transfers Take So Long?

May 1, 2018         Written By Bill Hardekopf

You made the decision to open a new credit card so you could transfer a balance from one card with a higher interest rate to this new account. You completed the transfer request, but you are still waiting for the balance on your old card to show $0. At this point, you may be wondering, what is taking so long?

First, know that balance transfers are much faster today than they were in the past. Just ten years ago, they could take two to three weeks to process, whereas today a balance transfer should only take seven to ten days.

Additionally, balance transfers will only be processed on business days, so if you initiate a transfer on a Friday, it will not start to be processed until the following Monday.

The balance will appear on your new card before the debt is wiped out on your old one. This is because your new card issuer will place the debt on your card as soon as the transaction is approved, but the old card issuer will not remove the balance until funds have been received from your new credit card company. The exact amount of time will depend on your card issuer. Even though we live in a digital age, some companies require your new card issuer to send a check instead of transferring the funds electronically.

Can I do anything to make the process move faster?

There are a few steps you can take to move things along. Accurately enter your account number and other information when initiating the balance transfer request. Any errors will obviously slow the process, as your card company will need to contact you to get the correct information.

According to Discover, initiating the transfer online instead of on a paper application can also expedite the transaction.

What if I have a payment due?

If you have initiated a balance transfer, but your old credit card is still showing a balance, it is imperative to make the minimum payment by the deadline. If you do not, you could be charged a late payment fee and the late payment could be added to your credit report, which can damage your score.

When the balance transfer is complete, the extra payment you made will show up as a credit on your account. If you stop using the card, the credit will be mailed to you as a check in several weeks.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 1, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
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