balance transfer credit card limitUpdated: May 1, 2019

Whether you’re juggling balances on multiple credit cards that are all earning interest or carrying a balance on one high-interest credit card, a balance transfer is sometimes a necessary tool. While detailing the balance you’d like to transfer on the new card’s application will help you not only take advantage of any special deals on balance transfers, but also allow you to transfer that balance sooner rather than later (and avoid paying interest), it won’t guarantee that you’ll be approved for that amount. What can you do if your new balance transfer credit card limit isn’t high enough to transfer your entire balance onto?

Why were you approved for a lower amount than you requested?

There are a number of factors that go into determining what transfer amount you’re approved for with a balance transfer credit card, including your credit scores, income, employment status, credit history and more. As such, there’s no real way to determine how much you’ll be approved for until you actually apply for a card. So even if you apply for a credit card that matches your credit score, there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved for the balance transfer limit you need. That said, there are a handful of things you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

If your balance transfer credit card limit isn’t enough …

You have a couple of options.

1. Call your provider and request a higher credit limit. Although it might seem like something that will get you nowhere, if you explain to your provider that you’re wanting to transfer your entire balance from one or more cards to your new card, chances are they might be willing to help you out and increase your credit limit — there’s no harm in asking since the worst they can tell you is no. After all, if your entire balance is on a single card, it’s good for the credit card provider as it keeps you loyal to them. Keep in mind, if you already transferred part of your balance to the new card, you will likely have to make a second balance transfer, which means you’ll incur a second balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the total amount transferred.

2. Work on paying down your balance on both cards. If you’ve managed to transfer some of your outstanding balance to a credit card with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers, then you’ve already saved yourself quite a lot in interest. Even if you’re still paying off some of your remaining balance on a card that is accruing interest, you can take advantage of the fact that you aren’t paying interest on your new card and focus on paying both of them down. If you can get the balance on your new card taken care of, you might even be able to transfer what’s left on the old credit card — although you’ll want to watch out for time limits such as 45 or 90 days for qualifying balance transfers to get the 0% intro APR.

3. Consider an alternative option. If you’re struggling with a lot of credit card debt, it might be in your best interest to look into an alternative to get it all paid off — such as a personal loan. Taking out a loan will enable you to pay off all of your credit card balances in one fell swoop, consolidating your debt into one single monthly payment. Since most personal loan services offer fixed payments, you’ll be able to plan for a payment schedule that fits your current budget and needs. It should be noted that a personal loan is only a good solution if the interest you’re paying on the loan is less than the interest your credit card is charging. If the loan’s interest is higher than your credit card’s, it’s not worth consolidating your debt with a personal loan because you’ll be paying more in interest. Something else to keep in mind is since you were already approved for a balance transfer credit card, you may want to consider transferring the approved limit to that card, then use a personal loan to pay off the remaining balance. That way you’ll pay no interest on the transferred amount and less in interest on the loan because the balance will be smaller.

4. Apply for another balance transfer credit card. Although it’s not an ideal solution, considering another balance transfer credit card is definitely an option for you. While you may be tempted to apply for another card right away, it’s unwise to apply for more than one credit card in such a short time frame, as multiple hard inquiries appearing on your credit reports at once can hurt your credit. As such, it’s a smart move to wait a couple of months or more before you try applying for another credit card. During this time, make sure to not only continue to pay your high-interest and balance transfer credit cards on time, but also track your credit reports and scores so you can keep an eye on where your credit sits and whether the new inquiries have caused any damage.

Which balance transfer cards are the best fit for you?

To help you determine which balance transfer credit cards might be the best fit for you, we’ve outlined the top option.

Discover it Balance Transfer

Have not-so-perfect credit? No problem, as the Discover it Balance Transfer card accepts applicants with average, good and excellent credit alike (usually a credit score of 670 or higher). This card offers a generous 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers — with a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms) — as well as a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases (after the 0% intro APRs expire, the go-to variable rate applies). If that wasn’t enough to convince you, this card is also a rewards credit card, earning 5% cash back on purchases made in rotating categories every quarter you activate (up to the quarterly maximum, currently $1,500, then it’s 1% back) plus 1% cash back on everything else. Sweetening the deal is Discover’s Cashback Match program, which will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year — this could turn $500 into $1,000! There aren’t any foreign transaction fees or an annual fee to pay with Discover it Balance Transfer, making this card a great option for those who might need to travel across U.S. borders.

Navigating the world of credit cards can be tricky, but for the most part, there’s a solution to whatever issue you’re dealing with. Learn more about balance transfer credit cards as well as other types of credit cards available by reading our credit card reviews.

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