At a Glance

If you have bad credit, you may wonder if you can still qualify for a balance transfer credit card. While getting approved with a low credit score can be more challenging, options are available. Let’s explore the possibility of obtaining a balance transfer card with bad credit, the pros and cons of doing so, and alternative strategies to consider if you cannot secure a balance transfer card.

In this article, you’ll learn:


1 in 5

The proportion of Americans that have very poor credit, bad credit, or deep subprime scores, according to Experian data.

fin_fact_ligt fin_fact_ligt

Can you get approved for a balance transfer card with bad credit?

Securing a balance transfer credit card with bad credit can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Traditional balance transfer cards typically require a good or excellent credit score for approval. However, some issuers offer specialized cards designed for individuals with less-than-perfect credit. These cards may have higher interest rates and limited balance transfer options, but they can still provide some relief for those looking to consolidate their debts.

Pros and cons of doing balance transfer with bad credit

Before deciding to pursue a balance transfer with bad credit, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons:


  • Consolidation: A balance transfer allows you to combine multiple debts into one, simplifying your payments.
  • Potential savings: If you can secure a balance transfer card with a lower interest rate, you may save money on interest charges over time.
  • Pay off debt faster: With a lower interest rate, more of your payments will go towards reducing the principal balance, helping you pay off your debt sooner.


  • Limited options: Balance transfer cards for bad credit may have higher interest rates and fewer promotional offers than those available to individuals with good credit.
  • Fees: Balance transfer cards often come with transfer fees, which can eat into potential savings.
  • Potential credit score impact: Opening a new credit card can temporarily lower your credit score, especially if you have a limited credit history or multiple recent credit applications.

Should you do a balance transfer with bad credit?

When considering a balance transfer with bad credit, it’s crucial to evaluate the following factors.

1. Cost

Carefully analyze the costs associated with the balance transfer, including any transfer fees and the interest rate on the new card. Compare these costs with your current debt to determine if a balance transfer will save you money in the long run.

2. Credit limit

Balance transfer cards for bad credit may come with lower credit limits. Ensure that the available credit is sufficient to accommodate your existing balances.

3. Probability of getting into more debt

Consider your financial discipline if you’re concerned about falling deeper into debt. A balance transfer can be an effective debt management tool, but it requires responsible spending and timely payments to be successful.

What to do if you do not get a balance transfer credit card?

If you’re unable to secure a balance transfer credit card, there are alternative strategies to consider:

1. Look for credit cards with a low intro interest rate

Some credit cards offer low or 0% introductory interest rates on purchases or balance transfers for a limited period. While these cards may not have the same long-term benefits as a dedicated balance transfer card, they can still provide temporary relief.

2. Transfer balance to an existing low-interest card

If you have an existing credit card with a low-interest rate, consider transferring your balances to that card instead of applying for a new one. This approach can help consolidate your debts and save on interest charges.

Alternatives to balance transfers if you have poor credit

If a balance transfer is not a viable option due to poor credit, consider the following alternatives:

1. Debt consolidation loan

A debt consolidation loan allows you to combine multiple debts into one, often with a lower interest rate. This option can simplify your payments and potentially reduce the overall interest you pay.

2. Get a co-signer

If you have a trusted friend or family member with good credit, they may be willing to cosign for a loan or credit card. Their good credit can help you secure better terms, including a lower interest rate.

3. Improve your credit score

Taking steps to improve your credit score is essential for long-term financial health. Make consistent payments, keep credit card balances low, and avoid opening unnecessary new accounts. Over time, your credit score will improve, opening up more options for managing your debt.

Best balance transfer credit cards for bad credit

While balance transfer cards for bad credit may not offer the same benefits as those available to individuals with good credit, some options are worth exploring. Research different card issuers and look for cards tailored to individuals with lower credit scores. Compare interest rates, fees, and balance transfer terms to find the best fit for your situation.


Yes, there are balance transfer cards designed for individuals with bad credit. While the options may be more limited and come with higher interest rates, they can still provide a means to consolidate debts.

Traditional balance transfer cards often require good or excellent credit. However, specialized cards for bad credit exist, although they may have higher interest rates and fewer promotional offers.

Applying for a new credit card may result in a temporary decrease in your credit score. However, if you make timely payments and manage your credit responsibly, a balance transfer can positively impact your credit score.

Banks may deny a balance transfer due to a low credit score, high existing debt, or recent delinquencies. Each bank has its own criteria for approval.

A balance transfer suits individuals looking to consolidate high-interest debts into a single, more manageable payment. It is particularly beneficial for those with good credit who can qualify for favorable terms.

If a balance transfer card is not an option, consider alternatives such as debt consolidation loans, seeking a co-signer, or focusing on improving your credit score over time. These strategies can help you effectively manage and pay off your debt.