How Long Does a Balance Transfer Take? A Full Guide

Read about balance transfers, how long they take, tips for navigating any balance transfer issues, and potential alternatives that could be better.
What is a balance transfer?
If you’re trying to consolidate your credit card debt, you may have heard of the term balance transfer. In simple terms, a balance transfer is when you move the balance from one credit card to a different credit card. Typically, a balance transfer will take five to seven business days. However, in some cases, it can take upwards of 14 to 21 business days to transfer.

A balance transfer is usually a good idea to pay off credit card debt quickly because it can often let you temporarily skip interest payments. Some credit cards offer a 0 percent introductory APR period. This allows you to have time to pay down your debt with zero interest. Credit cards with these types of introductory periods are the best choice if you are planning a balance transfer. During this period, you can pay directly towards your debt rather than the interest it has accrued.

Timeline of a balance transfer
A balance transfer takes time. In most cases, it takes several days to be completed.

Once you’ve completed a bank transfer request, you should expect the transfer to take anywhere from 5 to 21 days to complete. This timeline is determined by each lender and bank.

The chart below shows what some time frames may look like.
Issuer
Transfer Balance Time Frame
American Express
5 - 7 business days
Bank of America
Up to 14 days
Capital One
10 business days
Chase
Up to 21 days
Citi
Up to 21 days (depending on the bank)
Discover
7 to 10 days
Wells Fargo
7 to 21 days
Tracking the progress of your balance transfer
Once you’ve submitted your balance transfer request, you may want to keep up with the status of its completion. You can check if it is complete by checking your credit card account. An online status update is offered with some lenders.

To keep up with and ensure your balance transfer, there are some steps you can take:

Submit your balance transfer

This can be done online or on the phone. An online application is usually the fastest and can be submitted within a few minutes. You should prepare yourself with the information you will need including:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Income

Additional information could also be needed depending on the lender's requirements.

Keep track of your transferred account

When your balance transfer has officially been processed and authorized, the account you are transferring your debt to will show a debit on the card that you transferred the balance from. It may label an incomplete balance transfer as “pending.”

Double check the account you transferred the balance from

Once your balance transfer has been completed, be sure to review your account. It takes time for a balance transfer to post, sometimes people miss paying for transactions that are posted after submitting the request.

Make sure your final balance is $0 with no pending purchases before you stop making payments to that account.

How to navigate a delayed balance transfer
It can take almost a month for your balance transfer to be finalized. This, of course, is on a case-to-case basis. So while you might experience faster timelines, you might also experience delays.

In the event that your balance transfer is taking unusually longer than it typically should, you can reach out to the customer service department of the credit card you transferred the balance to.

Another step you can take is calling the customer service department of the credit card you were transferring the balance from. They may be able to provide a timeline from their end or give you clarity on what the issue is.

Remember, until the balance transfer is complete, you should keep making payments towards your original credit card. This ensures that you won’t accidentally miss final posted transaction payments and your credit score will be protected.
Bottom Line
A better alternative to a balance transfer
A balance transfer is a solid way to pay off credit card debt, but Gauss Money has a few advantages over a balance transfer including a credit decision in minutes, a shorter balance transfer timeline, no required documents for review, a lower APR over time, and other unique features.

Overall, other balance transfer tips include being sure to check the terms and processes from your specific credit card companies. Each credit card or bank has different terms and conditions to complete a balance transfer. Continue making payments towards your original credit card until the transfer is completed and shows a balance of $0.

If you have an unpaid credit card balance, Gauss can help make your balance transfer and payoff simple and affordable with no fees. Get started with Gauss today.

June, 18 / 2022
Team Gauss
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