Transferring Credit Card Balance to Another Person

Can I transfer debt from my partner?

Transferring a balance from your existing credit card or cards to a new credit card with a low promotional interest rate is a common way to deal with debt. What’s less common, though, is getting a balance transfer for a partner or family member’s debt.

A joint balance transfer is when a balance is transferred for a partner’s debt. Not all credit card providers allow this process, but there are many that give you the option to move your debt to a partner’s credit card. There are two ways to do this: Through transferring between two names and by creating a joint account for the debt. Transferring between accounts involves moving your balance to a new card with your partner’s name attached.

This guide outlines the different options you have, banks that allow joint balance transfers and the steps to take to transfer a credit card debt from your partner to find the best way to deal with shared debts.

How to conduct a balance transfer for someone else’s debt

Financial institutions have two main options if you want to transfer someone else’s balance to an account under your name. They are:

  • Transferring the balance between two people’s names

    In this instance, you would transfer the debt from your partner’s credit card to your own credit card. Their name would be removed from the debt and replaced with yours. This means you’re the only person legally responsible for the balance. In some cases, credit card issuers will require you to add your partner as an “additional cardholder” before their debt can be transferred to the new credit card. Otherwise, you may simply be able to transfer the balance from any person’s account to your own.

single-to-single

  • Joint accounts for the debt

    Some credit cards and other loans will allow you and your partner to apply for a joint account. This option means that you and your partner would share the legal responsibility for the account and any balance that you transfer onto it.

    To get a joint credit card account, both of you would provide your details when applying for the balance transfer credit card. Depending on the issuer, you may also request that your partner is added as a joint account holder after you have applied for the card.

singles-to-joint

The process of transferring your partner’s balance to a new card depends on which option you choose and the credit card you want to use for the balance transfer. Use the below table as a guide to which banks offer these two balance transfer options for partners.

Which banks offer joint balance transfers?

Bank/Institution Types of shared accounts Balance transfer between two people’s names? Joint primary cardholders
american-express-logo
Authorized user
 No
 No
bank-of-america
Co-signer/joint account holder; guarantor; authorized user
 Yes
Yes
barcalycard
Authorized user
 Yes
 No
capital-one
Authorized user
 No
 No
chase
Authorized user
 No
 No
citi-bank
Authorized user
 No
 No
discover
Joint account holder and authorized user
 Yes
 Yes
usaa
Joint account holder and authorized user
 Yes
 Yes
How to transfer a balance from your partner’s account to your credit card

Most credit card issuers only allow one primary cardholder, transferring the debt from your partner’s debt to your credit card is probably the most likely option.

While qualifications and application process vary between credit card providers, the following steps can be used as a general guide when transferring someone else’s debt to a balance transfer credit card in your name. Get in touch with the institution you’re applying with for more information.

  1. Compare credit cards. Compare balance transfer credit cards to find one that has a competitive APR and even a 0% promotional period. Make sure it has a credit limit that can support your balance and that you can pay the balance before the promotional period is up. And, remember that some issuers only allow you to transfer up to a percentage of your credit limit.
  2. Check the balance transfer terms and conditions. Make sure the credit card allows balance transfers between different account names, and if your partner will need to be a secondary cardholder. Check the card’s disclosure statement or call the issuer for more information.
  3. Apply for the credit card. Provide details including your full name, Social Security number, address, drivers licence or passport number and employment details.
  4. Include details of the balance transfer. You will need to provide details of the account, including your partner’s name and contact info, the account number, the financial institution’s name, and the amount of debt to be transferred.
  5. Include details of secondary cardholders. If the issuer requires your partner to be a secondary cardholder to process the balance transfer from their account to your new credit card, fill out this section of the application with your partner.
  6. Submit the application. You should get an initial response within a few minutes. If you get conditional approval, follow the steps outlined by the issuer to complete the application process and finalize the balance transfer.

Once this process is successfully completed, you should receive your new credit card within 5 to 10 business days, although it could take up to 21 days in some cases. After you activate the new card, the issuer will process the balance transfer.

Stay in touch with the new issuer and be ready to answer any questions or provide supporting documentation if needed to help the transfer run as smoothly as possible.

How to complete a balance transfer to a joint primary cardholder with a partner

With some credit cards, it’s possible to transfer a balance from a joint account, or to transfer your partner’s credit card debt to a new joint credit card account. The important thing to remember is that not all credit cards or issuers allow you to have a joint credit card account, so make sure you choose a card that offers this feature.

  • To transfer a balance from an existing joint account
    Apply for the credit card and include details of the balance transfer request, including all the names of the joint account holders, the account number, financial institution and the amount of debt you want to transfer. You can go through this process with an individual credit card in your name, or apply for a credit card that offers joint account status for you and your partner.
  • To transfer a balance from your partner’s account to a new joint credit card account
    Find a credit card issuer that allows joint primary cardholders and compare their balance transfer credit cards. Depending on the issuer, you’ll either get joint account status immediately or apply as an individual and add your partner.

What is the difference between joint-primary cardholder accounts and secondary cardholders?

The difference can impact your balance transfer options — and your legal rights — when transferring or sharing debt.

Joint-primary cardholder accounts Primary cardholder accounts with secondary cardholders
Two people have applied for a credit card under both cardholders’ names and have complete access to the account.
One person has applied for a credit card in their name but wants to share the account with a partner (without joint account status).
Both have the ability to change credit limits, request account freezes or close the account.
Primary cardholder can request to add a secondary or additional cardholder but only the primary cardholder has control over credit limit changes, account freezes or account closure.
Both partners have regular sources of income and good credit histories.
Only the primary cardholder has to have a regular source of income and a good credit history.
Both parties remain liable for all transactions and payments made on the card.
Primary cardholder remains liable for all transactions and payments made on the card, even if a balance has been transferred from an account held by the secondary cardholder.
If the closure of an account is the result of a divorce or a separation, both partners might have to pay half of the debt each, no matter who made which purchases.
In the event of a separation or a divorce, know that you, as the primary cardholder, would be liable to make payments toward the entire account.

Mistakes to avoid when transferring a balance from someone else’s card

Whether it is your own debt or your partner’s, balance transfer credit cards can be a way to save money on interest and pay down the balance faster. But there are some risks involved. Being aware of the following mistakes will help you make an informed decision about balance transfers for you and your partner when you want to consolidate credit card debt.

  • Don’t accidentally apply for a card that doesn’t allow balance transfers from someone else’s account. Not all credit cards let you transfer another person’s credit card debt to a new card in your name. Make sure you check these details before you apply to avoid a declined application.
  • Not discussing payments with your partner. If your partner becomes a secondary cardholder on your account, or if you apply for joint account status, it’s important to be clear on how and when you’ll make payments. Discussing this before you apply for a new card or balance transfer reduces the risk of confusion or other issues down the road.
  • Not checking the revert rate. The low balance transfer interest rate is only available during the introductory period on the card. When this period ends, any outstanding debt from a balance transfer will attract a higher, standard interest rate until it’s paid off in full.
  • Balance transfer fees. You might have to pay a balance transfer fee that can vary from one card provider to the next.

How does a joint balance transfer affect my credit score?

Your credit score is determined by a number of factors — and impacts your ability to get a loan or other credit cards. When you decide to take on more debt through a joint balance transfer, one thing’s for certain — your credit is impacted.

Transferring debt can raise your debt-to-income ratio and lower your credit utilization ratio — which weighs how much debt you have compared to have much credit you have available. Both can lower your credit score and affect your ability to qualify for low APRs.

Making regular, on-time payments also will affect your credit score. It’s important to know who’s responsible for making payments and when the due date is. Some credit card companies charge high fees for late payments, while others will end a low introductory rate.

Bottom line

While it’s hard to find information about transferring a balance from your partner’s accounts to a new credit card, it’s possible under some circumstances. Understanding the different options available and the varying conditions of credit card issuers means you can now find a balance transfer credit card that fits the needs of you and your partner when you want to deal with debt.

How to Transfer Someone Else’s Debt to My Credit Card

If you are in a particularly generous mood and feel the milk of human kindness coursing through your veins, knocking somebody else’s debt onto your credit card shouldn’t cause you too much hassle. Your card provider couldn’t care less what you do with your credit line, provided you’re acting within the law and paying off your minimum balance every month.

Find out if you can pay the debt over the phone or online with your card. Not all lenders allow customers to do this. Most mortgage companies won’t take payment by credit card, for instance. You can get around this by using a service called Charge Smart, which takes money from your card and forwards it to the creditor of your choice.

Make a balance transfer from your credit card. Check out how your card issuer’s balance transfer system works. Paying off your buddy’s debt could be as simple as tapping his account details into the balance transfer tool on your card issuer’s website, or calling your lender’s customer service department. If you’re making a zero-percent balance transfer, you’ll typically have to pay a fee. It might be an idea to ask the person whose debt you’re paying to cover this.

Request that your bank hits you up with some convenience checks, preferably ones that offer a zero-percent rate on any spending you do. You can either make one of these out to your friend’s creditor to clear his debt directly, or write a check to him. He can then forward the money to his lender.

Get a cash advance from your credit card at an ATM. You can then use the money to clear your friend’s debt. This will typically be the priciest option, since card issuers often charge high interest rates on cash advances.

Tips

  • Agree how the person whose debt you’re clearing is going to pay you back. If you’re talking about a large sum of money, consider having a legally-binding agreement drawn up.
  • Make it clear to your buddy that he’ll have to pay any interest that accrues on his debt before it’s paid off.

Warning

  • Once you’ve transferred your friend’s debt to your card, it’s your responsibility. If he’s supposed to pay you back in installments and doesn’t, your credit file will suffer if you don’t keep payments up.

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Q I have been credit card rate surfing, taking advantage of 0% APRs whenever possible, for some time, but I still have an outstanding credit card bill.

The problem is that as I’m about to go to Australia for a year I will no longer be able to sign the credit agreements to transfer my debt to the next low rate. Is it possible for me to transfer my balance to someone else’s card so that they can continue chasing low rates?

A Technically, there is nothing to prevent someone else taking on your outstanding debt, though it wouldn’t be as straightforward as transferring a balance between two cards you yourself own.

This other person would have to pay off your balance with a credit card cheque. These are commonly used for making credit payments to companies or individuals who don’t or can’t accept credit cards.

You would then use the cheque to clear your card and the cheque, once cashed by your credit card company, would be debited to the other person’s credit card account. He or she could then continue your rate-chasing procedure.

Not all credit cards providers issue these cheques, though, so your choice of good Samaritan is likely to be limited.

I’m also skeptical as to whether you will be able to convince anyone to do this because the debt, once signed over to someone else, becomes that person’s legal responsibility – so you could refuse to make any further repayments!

Yes, you can do a balance transfer from someone else’s credit card, but there are a few caution signs you need to pay attention to before you jump into it. Like just about everything else in life, doing a balance transfer to help somebody out has its risks. But if it is done carefully and with prior planning and wariness, it can be beneficial to both that person and to you.

The most obvious beneficiary is the person you are allowing to transfer the balance to your credit card. Most likely, they have run into a credit card that has extremely high interest rates, leaving it impossible for them to make payments from month to month, much less make any progress in paying down the principle. Getting a balance transfer from their credit card to yours is beneficial to them if you have good interest rates because they can pay off their debt more quickly, and save a load of money that they would have had to spend on extra interest.

If you have researched this person’s credit history and have found that they have a great credit history, a balance transfer can be helpful to you to in the fact that their future spending with the credit card that you are both on, or that they are using along with you, they will portray good credit spending habits that benefit your credit history as well. Having someone else with a good credit reputation to lean on is a great way for you to build your credit score and earn some bonus marks on your report.

The most obvious risk you would be taking when doing a balance transfer in order to help someone else out with their high interest rates is that you get someone that will hurt your credit. When considering a balance transfer from someone else’s credit card, it is important to recognize this person’s spending habits, payment habits, and their ability to pay their debt. Even if it is someone you love and who you know cares about you, that does not always change the fact that they may not be able to get rid of their bad credit habits.

Usually, people who have high interest rates did not get them for no reason. Many people start out with great interest, but because of late payments and poor management of their credit, their credit card companies boost their interest rates. Because this person has had this happen to them before, it is very likely that it will happen to them again… even on YOUR credit card.

The important thing to remember is that when you are thinking about doing a balance transfer from someone else’s card, get to know that person better. You have to know that you can trust that person to not hurt your credit. You don’t want their bad credit habits to be heaped on your credit report, and you don’t want to be stuck with making payment that they cannot along with your own payments.

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Q. Does anyone know if it is possible to transfer my partners credit card balance to a card in my name? Basically she has had the letter from Capital One upping her interest rate but I have a Barclaycard with nothing on it which has a 6.9% life of balance transfer facility available and obviously would pay less if I could switch it onto my card.

A. You can switch credit card balances from family, friends or Dave down the pub. You should be aware though, that the person whose card her balance is shifted to, becomes soley liable for the debt. If you were to fall out, you couldn’t ask the card company to charge her for any remaining balance.

From the lender’s perspective, it’s not a problem. If you request the transfer by phone, customer services may ask for the name on the card, but this is purely an additional verification check. At the end of the day, Barclaycard is after your business. They’re not really interested in knowing who ran up the debt, as long as you, their customer, pay up on time each month!

Tips On Transferring Your Credit Card Balance To Another Issuer

Many credit card consumers are once again being flooded with attractive offers to transfer their existing balance to another issuer. Several issuers are now offering 0% interest rates for over a year on balance transfers and purchases. Most of these offers are going to cardholders with good or excellent credit scores since they represent less risk of defaulting.

If you have good credit and your credit card APR is currently above 15%, this may be a good time to consider transferring your balance to a credit card with a lower rate. Transferring your balance to a card with a 0% introductory rate can save a consumer a significant amount of money. If you currently have a balance of $5,000 and an APR of 15%, a 0% rate for a year will save $750 in interest payments.

But there are several tips for consumers when considering a balance transfer:

1) Balance transfers are not free. They come with a balance transfer fee, usually 3% or 4% of the total amount you transfer. Before you apply for a balance transfer card, do the math to see if the amount of interest payments you save with the introductory offer is more than the balance transfer fee that has to be paid immediately.

2) If you feel you will be unable to pay off the entire balance during the introductory period, pay attention to the interest rate that you will pay after the introductory rate expires. In this case, a low APR for the long-term could be more important than the length of the introductory period.

3) If you currently have a low credit score, you may not receive the introductory offer that is advertised. The ongoing APR you receive may be higher or your introductory period may be shorter. Or you may not be able to transfer your total balance.

4) If you do transfer your balance, you must pay your credit card bill on time every month. If you have a late payment, your introductory period will likely end and you will be assessed the ongoing APR on the transferred balance.

5) The introductory rate may only be applicable for the amount you transferred. Unless the introductory offer specifically includes new purchases, any purchase made with the new credit card will be at the ongoing interest rate.

6) If the offer you receive does not meet your needs, decline the credit card. Limit the number of applications because multiple credit applications are a red flag on your credit report and can lower your credit score.

7) There is no grace period with balance transfers. Interest charges begin at the time the check is issued to your new credit card issuer.8) The new issuer pays the amount of the balance directly to the old issuer and the amount you owe them will be reduced by the amount you transferred. The available credit on your new account will be reduced, as if you had made a purchase.

9) It takes about four weeks for the balance to be transferred. Continue to make all required payments until you confirm that the balance transfers were made. Transferring a balance does not automatically close your old account. If you want to close that old account, contact the issuer directly.

Discover More

This special Discover More offer is for 0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months. Consumers also receive 0% on purchases for six months. The balance transfer fee is 3% and the ongoing APR is 11.99-20.99%.

Capital One Platinum Prestige

Consumers receive 0% interest until December 2012 on both purchases and balance transfers. The balance transfer fee is 3%. The APR is 10.90-18.90%.

Balance Transfer to Another Person: 3 Ways to Do It

Balance transfer Q&A: “Can you pay off someone else’s credit card with a balance transfer?”

People often wonder if they can use a balance transfer to pay off another person’s credit card, and vice versa.

The good news is that it can be done, and in a number of different ways, which we’ll explore below.

Some credit card issuers will allow you to pay off another person’s credit card debt using a regular old balance transfer, though you may need to add them as an authorized user on the balance transfer credit card first.

How It Works

Generally, you just need to know the other person’s credit card number, credit card issuer, and the amount they’d like to pay off.  Then a balance transfer payment is made on their card and the balance is moved to your designated credit card.

So say your spouse has a credit card balance of $5,000 with American Express and you want to pay it off and move it to your own balance transfer credit card. You’d simply input your husband or wife’s credit card information when completing the balance transfer request.

Of course, their debt has to come from a different credit card issuer other than American Express because it can’t be from the same bank, just like a traditional balance transfer where you’re paying off your own debt.

Tip: It may be wise to call a representative from the credit card issuer you’re transferring the balance to in order to facilitate the process and avoid any hiccups. After all, they may be wondering why you want to pay someone else’s credit card bill.

Don’t just assume you can pay off another person’s credit card or you might waste a lot of time (and money)!

Once your request is completed, you’ll be responsible for the balance transfer amount going forward, as it will be under your name, so make sure trust is established between you and the other person.

Also note that taking on their debt will increase your credit utilization, which could lower your credit score initially. However, as you pay it down (and hopefully off in full) your score should rise back up over time.

Balance Transfer Checks Are a Solid Solution Too

Another simple (and perhaps easier) method to pay off another person’s debt via a balance transfer is by using balance transfer checks.

Balance transfer checks, which work similar to credit card balance transfers, allow you to write a check to anybody for any purpose.

You can make one out to an individual, who in turn can cash the check and use the proceeds to pay off their credit card(s).

Let’s assume your spouse has credit card debt of $2,500 at a sky-high interest rate of 29.99%, but their credit score isn’t high enough to take advantage of a 0% APR balance transfer offer.

Spouse’s credit card balance: $2,500
Credit card APR: 29.99%
Credit score: poor
Balance transfer offer: 0% APR for 12 months

In this example, your spouse would be paying roughly $750 in finance charges annually, or just over $60 monthly (I’m using simple math here).

If the $2,500 balance were paid off using a balance transfer or a balance transfer check that took advantage of the 0% APR offer, the new credit card debt (including 3% balance transfer fee) of $2,575 wouldn’t accrue interest for a full year.

Their credit card balance would be $0 and you’d have $2,575 in new debt tied to your good name (and to your credit history).  But it would mean some serious savings for your spouse or family member.

Keep in mind that if you open a new credit card account, you might see your credit score fall temporarily for opening a new credit card and taking on excess debt.

However, if you pay it off and stay current it shouldn’t be a substantial ding, and could actually help your credit over time.

Relieving your spouse of their outstanding credit card balance will also help their credit score over time, as they will have more available credit and a history of paying off large amounts of debt.

So hopefully everyone wins!

Use an Existing Card to Pay Off Another Person’s Credit Card

Finally, there’s also the option of executing a balance transfer using an existing credit card…assuming it’s the best deal out there.

You don’t have to open a new credit card. Just do a quick check to see what the issuers you already do business with have to offer. They might have something competitive/comparable to other offers out there.

Avoiding a new credit card account can be a plus for your credit age (how old your accounts are collectively) and it might be faster and easier to accomplish than applying for a new balance transfer credit card.

Tip: You can pay off multiple balances with one balance transfer offer if your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, relative, etc. has multiple high APR credit card balances.

But as previously mentioned, make sure you trust them and are in full agreement to execute the balance transfer to avoid any disputes down the road.

And check to see if the credit card issuer will actually let you transfer someone else’s credit card balance to your account before you proceed.

In summary, balance transfer checks are probably the easiest, fastest, and most reliable method as they don’t require a new account to be opened and you can simply cash them and use the proceeds to pay off the person’s debt.

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