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Can You Pay a Credit Card with a Credit Card?

If credit card debt has got you down or you’re committed to earning as many credit card points as you can, you may be wondering whether you can pay a credit card with a credit card. The short answer is no, you can’t. However, there’s a work-around that involves a balance transfer from one card to another. Let us explain.

Find the best balance transfer credit cards here.

Paying Your Credit Card Bill

Can you pay a credit card with a credit card? Let’s talk about your options. When you get your credit card bill you’ll see that you have the option to pay the full balance or to make a minimum payment. If you just make the minimum payment (or anything less than the full payment) you’ll accrue interest on the amount you don’t pay. In other words, your debt will grow.

But what happens when money is tight and you can’t pay your balance in full? If you don’t have the money in a checking or savings account to pay your balance, can you just pay one credit card with another?

Not exactly. If you really wanted to, you could get a cash advance from one credit card. That would mean racking up interest (usually double-digit interest) on the cash you get and paying cash advance fees. You could then deposit that cash into a checking account and use the account to pay the bill of another credit card.

That cash advance option might actually cost you more in the long run than making the minimum payment – or no payment – on a credit card. Is it better to miss a payment on one card or use a cash advance on another card to avoid missing a payment? It depends on the fees, interest rates and amounts in question. But suffice to say that using a cash advance from one card to pay the bill of another credit card is not ideal. Neither is missing a payment, which can lead your credit card company to impose a penalty APR.

The Balance Transfer Option

Can You Pay a Credit Card with a Credit Card?

There’s a better way to deal with this problem. Enacting a credit card balance transfer can feel like you’re paying one credit card with another. In fact, though, you’re using one credit card to completely pay off another. Say you have a balance on a credit card and you know your income won’t allow you to pay it off quickly. You can get a balance transfer credit card that charges a 0% APR on transferred balances. These cards generally offer a 0% rate for 12 months, but some cards offer 15 or 18 interest-free months.

Once you agree to the balance transfer (and pay any associated fees) your new card will essentially pay off the balance on the old card and transfer the old debt to your new card. You can then take advantage of the 0% introductory APR to chip away at your transferred balance. That balance won’t accrue new interest until the introductory period ends.

Bottom Line

Can You Pay a Credit Card with a Credit Card?

Enacting a balance transfer isn’t exactly like paying a credit card with a credit card. With a balance transfer, you’ll effectively pay off one card and stop using it altogether. You’ll then pay what you can toward your balance once it’s transferred to your new card. Ideally, you will have paid down your entire balance by the time your introductory 0% APR offer expires and your interest rates jumps up.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Weekend Images Inc., ©iStock.com/Weekend Images Inc., ©iStock.com/Pinkypills  

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a staff writer covering financial literacy topics at SmartAsset. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.

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