At a Glance

Getting denied for a new balance transfer offer can be frustrating, especially if you’re struggling with debt. Luckily, most denials are temporary and can be worked around if you strategize your approach the right way.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Why does balance transfer gets declined?

1. Applying for a balance transfer card with the same issuer

Most credit card issuers will automatically deny a balance transfer that’s between their product lines (i.e. credit cards). If you want to transfer a balance from an existing card it’s best to look to another credit card brand and see what balance transfer offers they’re currently promoting.

2. Low credit score

Balance transfers work the same as any application for new credit, so having a low score will automatically trigger a denial. Most issuers will look for a score that’s at least 620, but the more “premium” cards (like the ones with annual fees) will look for applicants that have a score in the 700s.

3. Requesting multiple balance transfers

Credit issuers will be able to check your credit report before approving or denying your application. If they see a recent history of multiple balance transfers, it could signal that you’re shuffling money around and aren’t able to handle credit responsibly. This might be unfair, as balance transfers are typically used to help get rid of existing debt, but credit issuers are extremely risk-averse after the Great Recession. If there are any signs of multiple attempts at new credit in a short period it will throw up a red flag and reject your application.

4. Exceeding card limit

You’ll only be able to transfer debts that are equal to, or lower than, your available credit limit. Don’t forget that balance transfer fees are also a factor, typically 3% – 5%, and will automatically lower the available credit you can use for a transfer.

What to do if your balance transfer request is declined?

1. Wait a while and improve your credit score

Denials are rarely permanent, so don’t get discouraged if your balance transfer application doesn’t go through. Credit issuers are required to notify you of the reasons why your application was denied, so use that information to your advantage and spend the next 3-6 months improving the factor that triggered the rejection.

2. Adjust your budget to pay off outstanding debt

Your outstanding debt should be considered a priority for your budget, as accruing interest will keep pulling you further into debt. If you’re not able to get approved for a balance transfer offer then it’s time to rework your budget to ensure you’re paying off as much of your debt every month as possible. Even an additional $10 over your minimum payment due will go directly toward your debt and ensure you stop accruing interest, bit by bit, every month.

3. Consider alternatives

Debt consolidation loans might be a useful tool that can do the same thing as a balance transfer. With debt consolidation loans, you’ll pay a fixed interest rate over some time (typically 3-5 years) on a loan that’s used to pay off your existing credit debt. While it’s not as cheap as a 0% APR offer, it could save you money in the long run if the consolidation loan’s interest is lower than your credit cards.

Is it okay to accept a partial balance transfer offer?

A partial balance transfer offer is when the amount you’ve been approved for isn’t enough to pay off the entirety of your debt. It’s fine to accept a partial balance transfer offer as long as you understand that you’ll still have an obligation to pay off the remaining debt that’s accruing interest and will most likely need to split payments between your old card and the new balance transfer card.

One added benefit of accepting a partial balance transfer offer is that the new credit line will still improve your credit utilization rate, bumping your credit score up even further.

When to reapply for a balance transfer?

  • To improve your chances of getting approved it’s usually a good idea to wait a few months, typically two to three, before reapplying.
  • During this “cooling off” period, work hard on improving your credit score so that it’s at least 620 or higher.
  • If you were denied because you’ve already made too many balance transfers this year, you may want to wait longer (around six months) before giving it another shot.

How to increase your balance transfer approval request?

If you want to increase your chances of getting your balance transfer approval request approved, here are four strategies to consider:

1. Fix credit reporting errors

Review your credit report carefully to ensure there are no errors or inaccuracies that could negatively impact your credit score and the approval process. If you find any errors, such as incorrect account balances or late payment notations, dispute them with the respective credit bureau to have them corrected. A more accurate credit report can improve your creditworthiness and increase the likelihood of your balance transfer request being approved.

2. Check your credit limit

Before applying for a balance transfer, it’s essential to know your credit limit. Some credit card issuers may decline balance transfer requests if the requested amount exceeds your available credit limit. If your credit limit is relatively low, consider contacting your credit card issuer to inquire about a credit limit increase.

3. Know the lender’s requirements

Different lenders have varying criteria for approving balance transfer requests. Some may prioritize customers with higher credit scores, while others may consider factors such as income or debt-to-income ratio. Research the specific requirements and preferences of the lender you’re applying to. By understanding their criteria, you can tailor your application to highlight your strengths and meet their expectations, increasing your chances of approval.

4. Improve your credit

Improving your score might be easier said than done, especially if you’re applying for new credit to help pay off old debts, but every little additional point on your score will drastically improve your chances of getting approved. Focus on the two most significant factors that affect your credit score: the number of on-time payments and your credit utilization. If you’re able to show a consistent history of paying your bills on time and paying more than the minimum payment due (which will help reduce your amount of credit used), you’ll start seeing a bump in your score in no time.

Learn more: How to Improve Credit Score

5. Research the right card

Every hard inquiry on your credit report knocks your score down a little, so you need to find a card that has the best chance for approval. Check out the minimum score requirements the card typically has (you can check our reviews for balance transfer cards for those!) and make sure your credit score is good enough for instant approval. Also, check the promotional rates and ensure the period for 0% APR works well with your strategy to pay off your debts. Otherwise, you could end up accruing even more interest, depending on the market variable rate.

How to increase your credit score if credit balance transfer gets declined?

1. Pay your credit cards on time

Your number of on-time payments accounts for 35% of your FICO score, making it the most significant factor in your credit score. Any payment that’s more than 30 days late will show up on your credit report (though some creditors will report payments late even if they’re 1 day overdue) so it’s crucial to ensure this part of your credit looks as good as possible. If you’re running behind on payments, contact your creditor to see if there’s a way you can rework your repayment plan and avoid getting late payments noted on your credit report.

2. Pay down debt using the Debt Avalanche

The avalanche method of debt reduction works by focusing on paying off high-interest debt so you can save money on interest in the long run.

  • List your debts: Do a complete inventory of all of your debts and list them in order of highest to lowest interest rate.
  • Pay minimums: Make the minimum payments on all your balances or loans. While you’re focusing on the one with the highest interest, you’ll still want to make sure you’re staying up-to-date on the rest of your payments. Otherwise, you could hurt your credit score.
  • Put extra funds towards the highest interest: Any extra money you have should go toward the loan with the highest interest rate. Paying off high-interest balances can help you save overall, which in turn can help you get out of debt faster.
  • Repeat the process: Continue to practice the debt avalanche method by concentrating on the debt with the next highest interest rate, gradually working your way down the list until you have paid off all your debts.

Your goal should be to get your credit utilization down to around 20% before reapplying for a balance transfer. One of the easiest ways to do this is through the Debt Avalanche method, which will help you knock out the debts which accrue the highest interest, saving you money in the long run and getting your credit card bills under control.


You can do as many balance transfers as you’re approved for as long as you’re staying within your credit limits. Pay attention to the balance transfer fees to ensure you’re not losing too much of your credit limit on fees.

There is no set limit across the board for how much debt you can transfer. It all depends on your credit limit as you won’t be able to transfer anything over that amount, minus balance transfer fees.

Balance transfers won’t have any negative effect on your credit score as long as they’re approved. While you may get hit with an additional hard inquiry on your credit report, the new credit line will improve your credit utilization ratio, which is more heavily weighted on your score than inquiries, so it will cancel out any hit taken because of the inquiry.

However, if you’re denied a balance transfer, you should expect to see a small dip in your credit score because of the new hard inquiry. This only accounts for 10% of your total score, though, so don’t worry about it causing too much of a decline.

Your best bet is to apply for a balance transfer card with another issuer but read over their terms carefully to ensure you’ll be approved, as another inquiry on your credit report can knock your score down further, especially if you’re denied a new card.