Do you have credit card bills that have gotten out of hand? If so, you’re not alone. According to statistics released by the Federal Reserve, the average amount of credit card debt for households in the United States is $16,061. That can make for some hefty interest payments.
If you’re struggling to make payments, you may wonder ‘Can I pay my credit card with another credit card?’ This article will explain what you can do, the pros and cons of each option, and then will discuss the best strategies for consolidating credit card debt.
First things first.
Can You Pay a Credit Card With a Credit Card?
Yes and no. You can not go and directly make a payment for one credit card using another one. However, there are ways you can use a credit card to pay off another card’s balance.
Depending on how you approach this, you could gain an opportunity to get caught up or put yourself further behind. Let’s weigh the options.
How Can I Pay My Credit Card with Another Credit Card?
There’s two main ways, a cash advance and a balance transfer.
With a cash advance, you withdraw money from your credit card. Once you have it, you can deposit it into a bank account where you can then use it to pay for one of your other credit cards. (Also read > What are Cash Advance Loans?)
Seems simple enough doesn’t it? But there’s a catch.
- First, you will typically pay up to 5% in upfront fees when you take out a cash advance. This is charged as soon as you access the funds.
- Second, don’t expect a grace period on interest. Normally, when you spend using a credit card, you are given time before starting to pay interest, typically a billing period. With a cash advance, the interest will start right away and is usually at a higher rate than normal.
So you can pay a credit card with a cash advance, but the costs are high which only makes a debt problem worse.
Your next option is a balance transfer. How does it work?
With a balance transfer credit card, you are transferring the balances from your current cards to a new card. This means the old cards will show as paid, and the balances will now be owed on your new card.
What is the advantage in this you may ask? Well, how does a 0% interest rate for between 12 to 21 months sound? By stopping interest from accruing, you get the opportunity to focus on just paying down your debt.
Although a balance transfer is an excellent option, you will likely be charged fees between 3% and 5% on the amount transferred. It’s also important to note that your interest rates will jump up to a more normal rate after the introductory period, so it is only a temporary fix. The rates and fees you pay will depend on the card you choose, so you’ll want to shop around.
Remember to look for cards that have:
- Low balance transfer fees
- Long 0% interest introductory periods
- And other benefits that you will utilize like cash back rewards
Now, you may be wondering if balance transfer cards are the best choice so let’s look at some alternatives.
Other Options to Consolidate Credit Card Debt
A personal loan can also be used to pay off credit card debt and can be beneficial if you get a lower interest rate than you are currently paying. However, they may come with origination fees and rates often can’t compete with the 0% APR introductory periods offered on balance transfer cards. You can shop around to see various offerings here.
Home Equity Loan
If you own a house, you might consider this type of loan which provides a loan or credit line based on your home’s equity. Usually, interest rates are fairly low as the loan is secured by your home. While this can be helpful for cutting down in credit card interest payments, you are putting your house on the line making this a high-risk option. The process can also take longer and be more complex than getting a balance transfer card or a personal loan.
All options considered, paying off one card with another via a balance transfer comes out ahead for catching up on credit card debt.
But what if you’re struggling to make credit card payments and don’t have equity in your home or the credit to get a new balance transfer card? In such case, you may be a candidate for a debt settlement program. Read this article for more information on how debt settlement programs work or click on the link below to get a free consultation with a debt settlement expert.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.