It seems like an easy decision: Your existing credit card balance has grown too large, and the interest rate attached to it is too high. This combination makes paying off that debt a challenge. It’s why transferring your debt to a new Discover credit card looks like an obvious solution.
But there are potential pitfalls. Discover does charge a fee for balance transfers. And any offers of 0% interest do come with limits.
Here is everything you need to know about transferring a balance to a Discover credit card.
See related: Best balance transfer credit cards
Discover offers several credit cards that come with balance transfer offers.
Discover it® Cash Back card
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Discover it® Miles card
credit score when deciding whether to grant you credit.
If your credit score is high, the more likely you are to qualify for a balance transfer. If it’s high enough, you might also qualify for a lower interest rate with your new Discover credit card.
This will become important after your 0% offer expires and the rate attached to your new card adjusts to its permanent level.
Lenders in general consider FICO scores of 740 or higher to be strong ones. But Discover officials don’t divulge what credit scores they look for when determining who qualifies for credit and balance transfers.
“While we can’t get into the specifics of our underwriting, credit scores do play an important role,” said Geeta Chandan, marketing director at Discover.
Chandan said that Discover offers its Credit Scorecard tool online, both to those who already have Discover credit cards and those who don’t.
How does a balance transfer affect your credit score?
If you already own a Discover credit card:
If you are applying for a new Discover credit card:
develop an emergency fund that they can dip into to cover life’s unexpected emergencies.
“This way, when these ‘whammies’ hit, there is no need to add more to the credit card balance,” Emanuel said. “They have the money in savings and can pay for it right away.”
Allan Liwanag, who runs The Practical Saver blog from Lexington Park, Maryland, said that a balance transfer also won’t help if you consistently spend more than you earn. That’s why he recommends that consumers draft a household budget listing their monthly expenses and income.
With a budget in place, consumers can determine how much they can afford to spend each month on everything from paying down existing debt to eating out to travel.
“No matter how many times people do a balance transfer, when their income always falls short of their expenses, they will always owe money,” Liwanag said. “Oftentimes, people are uneasy with the idea of figuring out their financial situation. They might blame their credit card debt when in reality their income doesn’t support their expenses.”