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November 8, 2018 12:00 PM PT

Can You Pay a Credit Card Bill with Another Credit Card?

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Paying a credit card with another card sounds like a great idea if you're struggling to pay your balance. But it's not as easy as it sounds. Here's what you need to know.

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Can I Pay a Credit Card with Another Credit Card?

Not exactly.

Let's say you have two credit cards: Card A and Card B. You'd like to pay off Card A's balance with Card B because you don't have the cash to cover Card A's bill.

You cannot pay Card A's bill directly with Card B.

Why banks won't let you pay off a credit card bill with another:

  • Rewards: You cannot charge a credit card bill to another credit card. That's not a "purchase" and will not earn rewards. You could do a balance transfer, but that usually will not earn rewards. We will explain below.

  • Fees: Companies pay about 2% for every credit card purchase you make. A retailer is willing to pay this fee to get you to keep shopping. But a credit card company will not. Many will charge you a fee to transfer a balance.

How to Pay a Credit Card

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Luckily, there are several indirect but effective ways for you to get around this rule:

1. Balance Transfer

A balance transfer allows you to move Card A's balance onto Card B's statement. If Card A has a higher interest rate than Card B, you could save money by transferring.

If you are opening a second credit card to pay off a first, transfer the old balance to a card with a 0% APR balance transfer introductory period.

Tip: Use our handy balance transfer calculator to see how much you could save.

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But watch out:

  • A balance transfer takes time to approve - as long as four weeks - so make sure to schedule it with plenty of time before your credit card bill is due.

  • Banks also typically charge a balance transfer fee, so read the fine print before committing. The average fee ranges from 3-5% of the total transfer.

  • To be approved for a balance transfer credit card, you also must have a good credit score.

  • Your maximum transfer amount is the credit limit on your account plus Card B's balance.

    So if Card B has a credit limit of $3,000 and you want to transfer Card A's balance of $3,500, you'll only be allowed to transfer $3,000. That amount will even be less if your card has balance transfer fees or Card B already has a balance.

2. Use a 0% APR Credit Card

This option works especially well for paying off a high interest rate credit card.

Use a credit card with an introductory 0% APR on purchases for everyday purchases you'd normally pay in cash. Then, use your cash to pay off the high interest rate card's balance.

Placing all cash purchases on your 0% APR card will rack up a high balance. Make sure the introductory period lasts long enough for you to pay off the card in full.

Otherwise, you might get stuck with heavy interest payments when the 0% APR period ends, putting you in a similar or worse situation than before.

Note: You usually need good credit to qualify for a credit card with 0% intro APR.

3. Reward Points

Reward points offer another indirect way to pay off a card's balance. If Credit Card A offers reward points, turn the points into cash.

When you redeem your points, the money will be deposited into your checking or savings account. You can use that money to pay off the second card's outstanding balance.

This approach only works if you have enough points to cash. But if you do, it's a relatively simple way to pay off your balance.

Reward Points Pros and Cons:
Pros:

  • Quick and easy execution
  • No fees

Cons:

  • Requires a certain number of points

4. Cash Advance

If you're in a pinch, you can use a cash advance on a credit card. Be warned: this option is expensive and should probably only be used as a last resort.

When you take a cash advance, you are using your credit card like an ATM. Instead of withdrawing from your checking account, the money withdrawn is a loan from your credit card that you will have to pay back with interest.

Banks typically charge an interest rate higher than your card's usual APR - and it starts accruing the day of the transaction, rather than the end of the month like credit card interest.

If you decide to take a cash advance, make sure you can replace the funds quickly to avoid hefty interest rate costs.

Tip: To avoid paying ATM fees, call your card issuer and ask for the cash advance to be done online or request a convenience check. Any convenience check will work the same as a cash advance once you write and cash it.

Some cards also charge cash advance fees, which could be a flat dollar rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn.

Once you withdraw your cash advance, deposit the money into your checking account and pay the second credit card balance.

Cash Advance Pros and Cons:
Pros:

  • Quick execution

Cons:

  • Fees
  • High interest rates

Bottom Line

Paying off one credit card with another one is not be as simple as swiping your card at the store.

Before you choose any of these options, decide whether you can afford the rates and fees. Your best option might be to simply save more and pay off all your credit card balances with cash.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

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