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Completing a balance transfer with American Express can be a relatively easy process, and we’ll tell you exactly how to do it in this post.
Before you sign up for any balance transfer credit card, we recommend you also compare cards from our partners to review alternative options. MagnifyMoney, which is also owned by LendingTree, has an interactive tool for you to compare over 800 balance transfer card offers. If you’ve decided to do a balance transfer with American Express, read on for requirements and steps to complete your transfer.
Things to know before you transfer
Prior to doing a balance transfer, make sure you have your account number and balance of the card with the debt ready, as well as the account number for your American Express account. You can complete your balance transfer by calling the number on the back of your card or online via your account.
Here are several requirements you need to follow to complete the transfer:
- Balance transfers must be made within the 60 days from the date of account opening. American Express’ terms and conditions state that only transfers during that time will be approved.
- Transferred balances must be a minimum of $100.
- Transfers can’t exceed the lesser of $7,500 or 75% of your American Express credit card limit. If you are approved for a an American Express card, you’ll be assigned a credit limit. With this rule, if your credit limit is $10,000, your transfer can’t exceed $7,500 and if your credit limit is $5,000, your transfer can’t exceed $3,750. A simple way to find out your maximum transfer allowed is to multiply your credit limit by 0.75. Then, if the number is less than $7,500 that’s the max you can transfer; otherwise if it’s greater than $7,500, the max you can transfer is $7,500.
- Charging your transfer can’t cause your total account balance to exceed your credit limit. This means that if you have a balance already on your account, you can’t request a transfer for an amount that would put you over your credit limit. For example, if you have a $10,000 credit limit, and have spent $5,000, you can’t transfer $6,000 since that will exceed your available credit by $1,000. Keep in mind you may have to factor in any balance transfer fees to your transfer amount.
How to complete a balance transfer online with American Express
- Log in to your account. (If you haven’t created an account, you need to.)
- Click “Account Services”
- Select Transfer Balances below Card Management
- Your limit will be shown below the offer
- Select the American Express balance transfer offer you have been approved for
- Input your information:
- Amount of the balance you want to transfer
- Credit card number for the balances that you would like to transfer
- Click “Next” to review and accept terms and conditions
- Confirm and submit your balance transfer request
Complete the transfer by phone
- Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card to speak with a representative.
- Provide the credit card number of your card with the balance, as well as the amount you wish to transfer and the representative will assist you with completing the transfer.
What to look for in a good balance transfer card
- No balance transfer fee. Balance transfer cards that have an intro $0 balance transfer fee can save you a decent amount of money on the typical 3% fee other cards charge. Although this fee is often outweighed by the amount you save on interest payments, opening a card with an intro fee can save you even more money.
- Long 0% intro APR period. The longer the intro period, the more time you have to pay off your debt without being charged interest. There are balance transfer cards with intro periods upwards of 15 months, providing plenty of time to rid yourself of debt. Cards with short intro periods may still be an option if you have a small amount of debt or are able to pay it off quick.
- Low ongoing APR after the intro period. Not everyone can pay off their balance before the end of the intro period, so it’s a good idea to choose a card with a low ongoing APR which will take effect once the intro period ends. This lessens the amount of interest you incur after the intro period if you carry a balance.
3 keys for a successful balance transfer
- Complete your transfer on time. The majority of balance transfer offers are only valid for a certain amount of days from opening your card. Typically you have between 30 and 60 days, depending on the offer. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of your offer so you don’t miss out.
- Transfer your balance to a card from a different bank. Balance transfers can only be completed between cards from different banks. That means you can’t transfer a balance from one American Express card to another American Express card.
- Be aware of the balance transfer fee. Most balance transfer cards charge a fee for any balances that you transfer. This fee is typically 3%, but is often outweighed by the amount you save on interest during the intro period.
- Try not to rack up more debt. A balance transfer offer can make you think you’re debt free and tempt you into spending more money than you’re able to — but be careful and watch out for the APR that you’ll incur after the intro period ends if you still carry a balance.
Is a balance transfer right for me?
If you’re wondering whether a balance transfer is a good choice for you, check out the Debt Repayment Calculator from LendingTree, the parent company of CompareCards. This calculator tells you what your current monthly payments are if you were to keep your debt on your current credit card. From that, you can figure out how much interest you’re paying over a set time period. This is the amount you can save from completing a balance transfer.
For example, if you currently have $1,000 in debt at 25.24% interest and plan on paying it off over 12 months, you will have monthly payments of $95.16* for a grand total of $1,141.92* over 12 months. Subtract that grand total from your initial debt of $1,000 and you paid $141.92* in interest. If you transferred that debt to a $0 intro balance transfer fee card with 0% for 15 months, then you’d save $141.92*. As you can see, the balance transfer saves you a good amount of money.
*Note that this amount is only an estimate.
How long will the balance transfer take?
On average, balance transfers take five to seven days, but in some cases it can take up to six weeks. Keep in mind that the transfer won’t be initiated until after you’ve had the card member agreement for at least 10 days. Since the transfer doesn’t happen immediately, it’s important to stay current on your credit card payments with the bank you are transferring the balance from until you receive confirmation that the transfer has posted. This prevents you from being charged late fees.