Paying Off One Credit Card Using Another: Can You Use A Credit Card to Pay Credit Card Bills?
If you have multiple credit cards, this is a question that has crossed your mind at least once before. Could you pay off one credit card with another? Sometimes, you just need to delay a credit card payment a little longer; other times, you might feel you have few other options. If you are desperate for funds, and are considering things like payday or title loans, then you should definitely think about using your credit card too.
Yes, You Can Use One Credit Card to Pay Off Another
That’s the short answer, but like everything else involving finances and credit, it’s more complicated than that. It’s very unlikely like that your lender will let you just pay off your credit card with another credit card directly. Instead, you have two roundabout ways to accomplish the same thing.
When you open up a new line of credit, there is often an introductory period of zero APR, meaning that you won’t have to pay interest temporarily. So instead of paying for your credit card bill with an old, existing card, you get a new card and pay it off with that one. This can be a great tactic if you’re struggling to deal with a perpetually increasing interest on your current balance, so you can have a bit of a reprieve.
Alternatively, you can take out a cash advance from your credit card. This entails going to an ATM and drawing out cash using a credit card instead of your debit. There is also a fee associated with this method, but there are few faster ways to get much needed cash in your hand. You would then put that money towards your other credit card bill.
Should You Use A Credit Card to Pay Off Another?
The descriptions above might make it seem like the solution to your debt is only a swipe away, but both approaches have their drawbacks.
Problems with Balance Transfer Credit Cards
There are three downsides to this approach:
- Most commonly, there is some sort of fee for a balance transfer. See how much it is before you open a new line of credit.
- Opening a new line of credit will be reported to the credit bureaus, and though it’s unlikely that opening a single account would cause a significant dip in your credit, you might want to wait a bit before applying for a big loan.
- That introductory APR period will end at some point. Balance transfers don’t so much solve the problem as put them on pause, but sometimes that’s all you need.
Problems with Credit Card Cash Advances
Cash advances have a host of issues too, like:
- The ATM and your card issuer will charge you separate fees. Sometimes these are flat fees, other times they are a percentage, but you can bet that your bank will settle on whichever one is higher.
- Cash advances are basically loans, and they carry high interest rates. Moreover, they go in effect immediately. It’s not like a regular credit card bill, where you have a certain amount of time before your due date to pay without interest. With a cash advance, you will always pay more than you got.
The Potential Rewards and Benefits
However, these options obviously have some upsides, otherwise no one would use them. Most importantly, they are a quick, relatively easy way to get the money you need in an emergency. It is a way for you to get by when no one else seems to stand by you.
Additionally, it can help your finances as long as you manage your money right. With a balance transfer, some cards will not have a fee, so be on the lookout for those. Next, it allows for you to catch up to your debt without interest creating more as you go along. It’s a lot easier to hit a stationary target.
Cash advances also enable you to pay for something right away. It might not be the best option all the time, but it sure is the fastest. As long as you aware of the risks and equipped to manage the fees at a later date, then a cash advance can be the way to go.
Ultimately, just like with any loan, you have to weigh the pros and cons to your unique situation. Debt is never a fun thing to carry around, but we all have it at one point. Sometimes, life gets the best of us, and things like cash advances and balance transfers can keep us from drowning. Keep your head above the water and think about your situation rationally.
Looking for more tips and guides to using credit cards? Visit the Fiscal Tiger credit card learning and resource center.
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Dayton is a chronic Wikipedia addict, which is detrimental to her social life but stellar for her writing. She resides in Boise, ID, surrounded by her own frantic outlines, highlighted encyclopedias, and potatoes. The latter was not by choice.
This post was updated December 11, 2017. It was originally published November 30, 2017.