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Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Apply for Too Many Credit Cards

Credit cards are a wonderful tool. When used properly you can delay paying for a purchase for over a month, leaving money in your bank account earning interest. However when cards are used incorrectly they can lead to overspending, damage your credit rating and lead to a massive interest bills that cancels out any gains you may have made by delaying a payment, or through rewards programs.

Credit cards and credit ratings

Each time you apply for a credit card the banks will check your credit rating. Your credit rating helps the banks determine how much of a risk you are, and how likely you are to get in over your head and be unable to make payments on your card. While this sounds like an innocent check on your records, it also leaves a mark. Some lenders may do a ‘soft pull’ to check your credit score but these are few and far between. Most do a ‘hard pull’ which means not only do they check your credit score, but your credit report is updated with a note saying that you have applied for finance and their response. A hard pull against your credit that is approved will have a minor negative effect, but if you are denied credit, either through a credit card or a loan, it puts a big black mark against your name.

Before applying for a card consider running a check yourself to look at the health of your credit report. There are multiple companies online that will offer a free once off check.

How banks view open credit cards

If you are applying for a credit card, mortgage or personal loan banks will assess your existing debts and any open credit cards. When considering your borrowing capacity banks will calculate those credit cards as if you have spent the full limit, even if you only ever use a small amount and pay it in full each month.

While it might seem like a good idea to open multiple credit cards to receive sign up bonuses, keep in mind how this may affect your borrowing capacity. If you have plans to take out a business or personal loan in the next few months, now is not the time to be applying for a new credit card.

What to do with all this available credit

The final big risk with too many cards is temptation. My bank account currently tells me I have over $10,000 available, but the vast majority of this is available spending on my credit card, and isn’t truly my money. Having those funds available can be extremely tempting. If you let your spending get even a little out of control you could find yourself paying hundreds in interest costs. With multiple cards the problem is expanded because not only do you have a large amount of ‘money’ available, but you have to track your spend across multiple locations and keep track of varying repayment dates.

Why You Should Apply for a Balance Transfer Credit Card

When discussing the uses for, benefits of, and reasons behind applying for a balance transfer credit card, a little bit of context is required. So money is tight, and you have a ton of credit card debt. Boom. There’s half the scenario right there, but there’s one crucial aspect this scenario yet to be said. You have all of this debt, and you can’t handle it all that well. But on top of that, you have a credit card (or multiple cards) with a high annual percentage rate (APR).

That’s the scenario we are working with here. You have an APR, or sometimes referred to as an interest rate despite being technically different, that is simply too high, and as you struggle to make monthly payments, interest starts accruing on top of the debt you already have. In a nut shell, your credit card debt is growing, and you can’t stop it.

So this leads us to the solution and topic of this article that was mentioned earlier – apply for a balance transfer credit card. There is one basic reason for doing this, and it revolves around handling your debt more easily and stymieing the growth of interest on top of your principal debt.

Get a Lower Interest Rate & Save Money

If you didn’t know, you can transfer debt from one card to another, hence the term balance transfer. There’s only one reason for doing this, and that is to secure a lower interest rate. So I literally just mentioned that you want to stymie the growth of interest. Logically speaking, if you are having trouble covering each monthly payment, then you need a lower interest rate for this to happen. This is where balance transfer credit cards come in!

When most people apply for balance transfer credit cards, they are trying to take advantage of some variation of a 0 percent balance transfer APR offer. Typically, a card will offer 0 percent APR on any balance transfer to that card for any period ranging between 6 to 21 months. This means you don’t accrue interest on the act of a balance transfer which is really only possible when there is an introductory offer for balance transfers. In short, it costs money in interest to transfer debt from one card to another, and the recently mentioned introductory balance transfer APR of 0 percent cuts that out of the equation.

So you save money with a low cost or no cost balance transfer. Then theoretically and hopefully, you will have transferred your debt to a credit card with a lower APR. So every month, less interest will build on top of your principal balance, and you should have an easier time paying back your debt.

There are a couple of limitations to this strategy of course. Most importantly, applying for a balance transfer credit card requires a credit card application. When you apply for a credit card, you get your credit pulled which means the card issuer is evaluating your credit history. There’s a chance that you may not have the required credit history to qualify for a new card. In short, if your credit is bad, then you may get rejected, even if it might help you pay back debt!

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