Opening new credit accounts is a two-sided coin. On the one side, having more available credit is a positive for your credit score, because it improves your debt-to-credit ratio – giving you more available credit. On the other side, applying for new accounts can have a short-term negative effect on your credit score as each credit inquiry form an issuer will usually drop your score by a few points.
In general, balance transfers are a good bet to improve your financial picture. Just be sure you consider the following factors first:
- Don’t be a serial account opener, bouncing your balances from card to card. Choose a good balance transfer offer, preferably one with a long introductory 0% APR period. Then do your best to pay that balance off within the promotional period.
- Don’t close your old credit card account, even if you have transferred the entire balance off the card. This can impact both your length of credit history and your total available credit, which can lower your credit score.
If you are paying a high APR on your credit card balance, take a look at the many great 0% APR balance transfer offers available to help you pay off your balance faster. Depending on how much you owe and the interest rate you are currently paying, doing a balance transfer could save you hundreds of dollars in interest charges.