Carrying a hefty credit card balance? Having trouble paying it down due to high interest rates? A balance transfer might help you pay your credit card off quickly while reducing the total amount of interest you pay over time.
How much can you save? Assuming you have $5,000 in debt with a 15.4% interest rate, paying the minimum monthly payment over 22 years will result in a total interest payment of $6,010. However, if you transferred that same amount to a card with a 10.4% interest rate and make minimum payments, you’ll not only reduce your interest paid by $2,023, but you’ll also pay it down a full year earlier.
How to Transfer a Balance to a USAA Credit Card
We’ve researched how to do a credit card balance transfer for your USAA card. Just follow these steps:
- Become a USAA member
- Apply for a USAA credit card
- Gather the required information
- Begin the balance transfer online or over the phone with a USAA representative
- Verify that the process has completed by checking both your USAA account and your account with the financial institution(s) from which you’re transferring the balance
Apply for a USAA Credit Card
If you have a USAA credit card already, then you can proceed to the next step. However, if you do not have a card and have not completed an application yet, you will need to do so before moving forward with any balance transfer.
Please keep in mind that USAA membership is required for all products or services provided by USAA, including credit cards and subsequent balance transfers. To be eligible, you or your parents must have served in the military. As such, if you are not currently a USAA member, you will need to have information about your military relationship (e.g., enlistment date, branch, etc.) available at the time of application.
USAA currently offers qualified members access to a variety of Visa and American Express card options. To see all available cards and determine which one meets your needs, you can visit the USAA Credit Card page.
The remaining steps assume that you’ve applied and been approved for a USAA credit card and a balance transfer.
Gather Your Balance Transfer Information
Before you begin the transfer, it’s important that you gather the required information, which includes the account number(s) and accurate card balance(s) for the card(s) you plan to include in your balance transfer. It’s also important to determine the transfer fee, if there is any—currently, USAA’s transfer fee is 3 percent.
Contact USAA to Initiate Your Balance Transfer
USAA balance transfers can be initiated over the phone by calling (210) 531-USAA or online by visiting their USAA Move Balances page. If transferring a balance online, you will be required to log into your existing account or register for an online account.
Once logged in, USAA offers an easy, step-by-step balance transfer process; all that’s required is the information mentioned above. However, should you have questions or need additional assistance during the transfer, you can contact them at (210) 531-USAA. Additionally, USAA offers a Balance Transfer FAQ page that may be helpful when searching for answers to commonly asked questions.
Complete Your Balance Transfer
You may think that once you submit a balance transfer request, be it online or over the phone, the transfer is complete. This is not the case; balance transfers are complete when the credit card company from which you’re transferring the debt has received payment in full.
USAA balance transfers will post to your USAA account in four to five days if using the online application or seven to 10 days if using one of the other approved methods. USAA will then send a payment to your credit card company within 10 days, though processing times for received payments may vary from company to company.
Thus, it’s important to monitor your other account to make sure that the payment does post, and, if a payment is due prior to payment by USAA, that you continue to make payments to avoid any late fees. USAA members can also check the status of the balance transfer online by logging into their account and selecting the “Balance Transfer History” page, which will show the status as “In-Process” (scheduled), “Completed” (processed), or “Unsuccessful” (could not be processed).
How to Transfer a Balance From Your USAA Card
If you find that the reverse is true—you have a current USAA card balance but can secure a lower interest rate from an alternative credit card—many of the steps above remain applicable. Before you transfer your balance, make sure you are aware of the interest rate offered by the new card, the promotional expiration dates (if applicable), any transfer fees that will be appended to your balance transfer, and the expected processing time (e.g., when the new card company will send payment to USAA).
If there is a current promotion, it’s also important to determine when the promotion will end and what the interest rate will be after the end date, as this can have a long-term impact on how much money you save and how quickly you can (or need to) pay off the balance.
Most credit card companies make it easy to transfer a balance online, requiring eligible cardholders to have the account number and balance on hand. However, you may find that, depending on the company, balance transfers can also be made via phone or in some cases even mail. Therefore, it’s important to contact customer service or review available resources, including your card agreement, before proceeding with your transfer.
For many consumers, carrying a credit card balance is unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean a better repayment option isn’t available. Under the right circumstances, transferring that balance to a card with a lower interest rate can help you decrease the total amount of interest paid by thousands of dollars—helping you save money and, in many cases, pay down your debts faster.
While current USAA credit card offers don’t include a 0% APR period (the ideal balance transfer scenario), they do offer a variety of credit card products with low interest rates, many of which allow for balance transfers. For members who receive interest rates lower than those attached to their existing credit cards, transferring to a USAA card can help you save money and pay down your debt faster.