By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Looking for a quicker way to pay down credit card debt? Transferring a balance to a card with lower interest is one option. But before you do that, 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan looks at the pros and cons of balance transfers.

Transferring a credit card balance to a card with lower interest or zero interest can be one option to help consumers make a bigger dent in their debt. But balance transfer offers are usually for a temporary period, so read the terms carefully.

You should also know the go-to rate when an offer expires.

Beverly Harzog with Credit.com says, “That’s the interest rate you’ll have to pay on any balance that you have left. And you need to make sure you read all the fine print because there may be a balance transfer fee, and this is usually around three percent or so.”

The best balance transfer offers, those with zero interest, are made to those with better credit. Those with less-than-stellar credit can probably still snag an offer, but the window of low interest will likely be shorter, giving you less time to pay down that debt.

So a good plan is key.

According to Harzog, “If you do manage to get a balance transfer card, decide how much you’re going to pay each month. If you’ve got 12 months on your intro rate, divide your debt by 12 months, and that’s your payment every month so you can get out of debt.”

Also crucial to the process; don’t add any extra purchases to the balance transfer card. The point is to get rid of credit card debt, not burden yourself with new charges.

To check out calculators that will help you determine how long it will take you to pay down your credit card debt, visit:

http://www.credit.com/calculators/

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