There are a number of great reasons to transfer a balance. Perhaps you have a new or existing credit card that is offering you 0% interest for a certain number of months on balance transfers. Maybe you are paying a very high-interest rate on a loan or credit card balance, but have the option to transfer it to a lower-rate card account. Either way, you can save yourself a pretty penny in interest -- and even pay off the debt faster -- with a transfer.
Balance transfers are pretty straightforward with many credit card companies. Luckily, Discover is no exception. Completing a balance transfer request is incredibly easy. It took me less than five minutes (which included finding my wallet to locate my other card’s account number!).
Here’s a step-by-step guide to transferring a balance with Discover to help make the process even easier for you.
1. Log in Online
Whether your Discover account is brand new or years old, you should have an online account set up. If not, go ahead and set up your username and password now. Then, log in to the portal.
On the far right, you’ll see available balance transfer options Discover doesn’t make you search the website to find what you need! They tell you exactly how much credit you have available for a transfer, from the jump.
Go ahead and click on that Transfer Balances button.
2. Choose Your Offer
Discover is great about giving its cardholders options. They gave me two different balance transfer offers to choose from: one was a 0% interest rate for 12 months (the cheaper option) or I had a 3.99% option for 18 months (if I needed more time).
You’ll notice that there is a 2% transfer fee for the 0% interest offer, but no transfer fee for the 3.99% interest offer. You’ll need to look at how much you’re transferring and how long it’ll take to pay off the debt before deciding which will be the best option.
While 3.99% isn’t nearly as enticing off the bat as 0% interest, it is still considerably less than a typical credit card rate and it would give you a bit more time to pay off your balance in full. Plus, if you have a high balance to transfer over or plan to pay off the debt over a longer period of time, it may actually save you money over a 0% offer.
So, choose which option is better for you. I went with the first offer, without any interest rate.
3. Review Your Offer
Before you move forward, Discover will give you the opportunity to review the offer you’ve chosen and the fees/interest rates involved. Be sure to double-check this for accuracy!
If you made the wrong choice, go back and try again. If there’s an error in what you see listed or if you have a question, give Discover customer service a call and discuss it with them.
4. Enter the Info for Your Incoming Balance
Now is the time to enter your incoming account information and the total balance that you want to transfer. If you’re transferring a credit card balance, you can simply enter the account number from the front of your card.
You may also notice that Discover gives you the option to transfer these funds into a checking account. This can then be used to pay off other debts and acts almost like a cash advance (but with a much lower interest rate and fees).
Avoid using it for this purpose if you can avoid it, though. Cash advances are easy ways to dig yourself into greater debt. If you use your balance transfer offer as a sort of cash deposit, you may wind up paying even more in interest over time, if you don't pay it back immediately.
Lastly, you’ll want to be sure that the amounts shown at the bottom match before you submit your request. Ensure that you’re transferring the correct amount, that the quoted transfer fee is showing, and that the right remaining credit balance is displayed. If you have any questions or concerns, give Discover a call.
5. Confirm the Details
Now it’s time to see what you’re actually signing up for with this balance transfer request.
Discover will give you the opportunity to read through their terms and conditions, view/save them in PDF form, and even print them. It would be wise to at least read them thoroughly to ensure that you understand the balance transfer process, if not print them for your records.
Here, you’ll also be given one more opportunity to review the actual terms of the offer. You’ll see the date by which you must complete your transfer in order for the promotion to be valid. You’ll also get a rundown of the fees involved, the interest schedule, and when you’ll start getting charged for it.
6. Click Away
If you’re good to go and agree with everything shown, go ahead and click the Submit Request button. This is also your last opportunity to back out and cancel the request, or make changes to the transfer.
Once your request is received and processed, you’ll receive a notification via email, to the address that Discover has on file for you. You’ll also receive an email when the transfer has been successfully completed.
6. Be Responsible
Balance transfers are a wonderful way to pay off debt for less, get out of debt sooner, or just consolidate your accounts. But if not handled properly, they can also get you in hot water.
It is important to calculate how much you’ll need to pay down the debt each month. That way you can pay it off it before the promotional period ends. In my case, I chose the 12-month, 0% interest offer.
This means that I have 12 months to completely pay off the entire transferred balance. If I don’t pay it off in time, my interest rate will jump up to 12.99%. Depending on the account you pulled that balance from, this may be more or less than you were already paying. Either way, it’s a lot more than the promotional interest!
Be sure to budget accordingly, pay on time, and avoid that interest when it shoots up at the end of the balance transfer period.
Also, make sure that you make your balance transfer payments on time each month. If you are late, Discover reserves the right to revoke your offer, and your interest would jump up to the penalty rate.