How to Pay a Credit Card with Another Credit Card for Free

Can you pay a credit card with a credit card? The short answer is yes. But if you’re not careful, it can cost a lot of money. Here’s how to do it for free.

can you pay a credit card with a credit card

We once had a reader share this issue when considering new credit cards.

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?

So can you pay a credit card with a 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 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 12, 15, or 18 months).

There are two balance transfer cards that offer particularly good deals. The first is the Discover it®–18 Month Balance Transfer Offer card. It offers one of the longest available 0% APR introductory rates, which lasts for 18 months. There is, however, a balance transfer fee equal to 3% of the amount of each transfer.

The second is the Chase Slate® credit card. The 0% offer isn’t as long (currently 15 months). But there is no balance transfer fee if you initiate the balance transfer within the first 60 days of card membership.

You can check out our page listing the best balance transfer deals, which is updated regularly. We also have a special page where we list no fee balance transfer card options.

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.

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. Note that many of the balance transfer cards linked to above also offer 0% on purchases. If you like this approach, consider our list of the best credit cards available this year.

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.

Cash Advance

I’ve saved the worst approach for last. Most credit cards allow you to take a cash advance. The limit is often lower than your card’s credit limit. But a cash advance would enable you to use the money to pay on another credit card.

But it’s a bad idea. A credit card cash advance is very expensive for three reasons. First, credit cards often charge a fee for a cash advance. The fee is often based on a percentage of your cash advance. So the more you get, the more you pay.

Second, the interest rate on a cash advance is often higher than a card’s regular APR.

Finally, interest begins to accrue immediately. There is no grace period on a cash advance.

So while a cash advance is one way to pay a credit card with another card, it’s not one we recommend.


Topics: Credit Cards

12 Responses to “How to Pay a Credit Card with Another Credit Card for Free”

  1. 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. 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?

    • 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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. Michael

    What about using a middleman. Maybe a bill pay service with a flat monthly or annual fee that accepts payments with credit cards. The bill pay service charges the card and send the company you are paying a check. Wouldn’t this work? Also now adays people can charge cards with your phone. If you did this and transfer the money to your checking then paid your card you could save in theory. Constant paying off using another card could bring interest to 0 as you would be taking advantage of the grace periods. Anyways that’s just a theory. Let me know what you think.

  8. harsh kumar

    please suggest that adding money from one credit card to any application wallet and transfer to saving account and using the same to clear the debt of other card is good option or not ? in the same manner it can be repeated every month ?

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