Reader Question: Can You Pay a Credit Card with Another Credit Card?

In a recent Daily Dough newsletter (subscribe here), I asked if people consider cash bonuses in picking credit cards, bank accounts, and brokerage accounts. You can see the responses to this question here. One reader responded with an interesting question of her own:

Nowadays with my credit card paying all my bills, I think twice before switching cards just for a temporary bonus. I only use cash-back cards and I magnify the benefits by filtering all bills through them. Is there a way to pay a credit card bill with another credit card?
The short answer is yes. You can pay a credit card with another credit card. But there’s a little more to it than that. So let’s start with what you can’t do.

Making Your Monthly Credit Card Payment

A credit card company will not accept payment via another credit card. For example, you can’t make your minimum monthly payment on say a Discover Card with a Chase credit card. Discover won’t accept that form of payment.

The reason has to do with fees. If Discover were to accept credit card payments, they would have to pay what are called interchange fees to the bank that issued the credit card and to the card network (e.g., Visa or MasterCard). Most retailers pay these fees as a cost of doing business. But most finance companies (e.g., credit card issuers, mortgage companies) won’t.

Getting Around the Rule–0% Balance Transfers

There are some special circumstances, however, where you can pay one credit card with another. The most common is with a balance transfer offer.

When you apply for certain cards, they will offer you a 0% balance transfer option. With these cards, they will effectively “transfer” your balance from one or more of your existing credit cards over to your new balance transfer card. And as an incentive, most of these deals won’t charge you interest on the transferred balance for some period of time (today typically six, 12, 15, or 18 months). You can check out our page listing the best balance transfer deals, which is updated daily.

These offers typically do come with a balance transfer fee. While the amount of the fee does vary from card to card, three percent is standard. As an alternative to paying double-digit interest on an existing card, the fee is usually worth the cost. While no fee offers are rare, there is one available today which you can check out here.

Getting Around the Rule–0% on Purchases

This approach takes a little more work, but is ideal if you’re not interested in a balance transfer. Several cards offer 0% not only on balance transfers, but also on purchases. As with transfer deals, these zero percent offers typically last for six to 18 months. Basically, you use the card as you normally would, but you won’t pay any interest on your balance during the introductory period. You’ll still have to make a minimum monthly payment, but it all goes to the principal balance, not interest.

With a 0% on purchases card, you can charge purchases you’d normally pay cash for each month. Then take the cash you would have spent and pay down your existing high interest cards. The result is similar to a balance transfer, although it occurs purchase by purchase rather than all at once. The advantage is that you avoid a balance transfer fee.

So yes, you can pay one credit card with another credit card. But it does take some work. The upside is that you can take advantage of 0% offers at the same time.

Published or Updated: December 12, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. jim says:

    You can also usually take a cash advance from a credit card and then use that cash to pay the other card. However thats probably not a good way to do it at all since cash advances generally have higher interest rates.

  2. John says:

    It’s probably a good idea to just debt snowball all of the credit card balances and pay them off in order from smallest balance to largest balance. Playing the transfer game can be never-ending – although it is one way to get better interest rates. But think about this: if you get serious about paying off your debts, do interest rates really make that much of a difference if you pay off your cards quickly?

    • Martilyo says:

      John, that is a very good Dave Ramsey approach, but depending on how much credit card debt you have, switching your high interest rate cards to 0% can save ALOT! Then the smart way to do it is to pay off the balances, not smallest to largest, but from highest interest rate to lowest. It is smarter financially to do it this way. However, Dave recommends what you just mentioned because most people do not have the will power to pay off the debt from highest interest rate to least. I have switched my cards around and I am saving hundreds of dollars every month, plus I will be paying them off at a faster rate. What I find interesting is that as I pay one card off, the credit card company offers me a 0% interest deal on the same card I just paid off! I just simply move another higher interest rate card to the new rate as I pay off my debt. It is much easier to pay off a card that does not accrue interest.

      Martilyo

      • Great points, Martilyo. Taking advantage of 0% balance transfers makes sense when an intelligent strategy is followed. The danger is that people will use the 0% offers as an excuse to spend more, which is probably how credit card companies make money with these seemingly-great deals.

  3. I’ve gotta agree with John. This is a tricky game to play. Using a balance transfer card can be a good idea, but if you don’t pay off the transferred balance by the time the intro rate has expired, you might have to pay the full interest on the originally transferred balance.

  4. This is a tricky game to play. Using a balance transfer card can be a good idea, but if you don’t pay off the transferred balance by the time the intro rate has expired, you might have to pay the full interest on the originally transferred balance.

  5. One of the biggest reasons that I would want to pay a credit card with another credit card is to get the reward from the other credit card. For instance, I have a rebate card that gives me 1% back for everything I spend. But that would be pointless if I had to spend 3% to transfer it. It’s good to know it’s still an option though.

  6. shirelly says:

    Now pay by credit card become more and more popular,but sometimes we are also worry if our money be safe and the transfed fee be high.Now credit card payment reader has used in credit card pay,it makes credit card payment more safe and quickly.Also I heard it just need to charge 1% or little more transfer fee.

  7. shirelly says:

    Now pay by credit card become more and more popular,but sometimes we are also worry if our money be safe and the transfed fee be high.Now credit card payment reader has used in credit card pay,it makes credit card payment more safe and quickly.Also I heard it just need to charge 1% or little more transfer fee.

  8. Rhonda says:

    The offer for a “no fee” balance transfer from Chase Bank is now expired.

    If you come across another great deal like this, please update.

    Thank You! :-)

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