It’s never good to have credit card debt, but if you have multiple cards, you might wonder whether you are able to pay off one credit card with another one. The simple answer is yes, but not directly — you can’t put a credit card as a method of payment when you’re paying your bill. But there is more than one way to do it, including using a balance transfer or cash advance.
It’s important to understand how either option works if you’re trying to pay down your credit card balance.
When Can You Pay Off a Credit Card With Another?
You can pay a credit card bill with another credit card, but it’s not like a regular credit card purchase or bill payment. This is done by using either a balance transfer or a cash advance. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the implications of both before moving forward.
Using a Balance Transfers To Pay Off a Credit Card
A balance transfer is exactly what it sounds like: transferring the balance of one card to another credit card. Many use balance transfers strategically when paying down debt. That’s because balance transfers can be a great option to save on interest.
Many credit cards have 0% APR for balance transfers for the first year or more, among other perks, as a way to convince you to bring your debt from a competitor to the new card. However, balance transfer fees can cut into your savings.
- Save on interest payments: If your current balance is something you can pay off within the promotional period, you won’t have to pay interest on your debt while you pay it off.
- Consolidate payments: You might be able to combine multiple credit card balances onto a single credit card, which leaves you with just one payment due date to keep track of.
- Low interest rate timeframe is limited: If you cannot pay off your balance by the end of the introductory period, then interest will usually be applied to the entire balance that you transferred, even the part you paid off.
- Balance transfer fees: Many balance transfer opportunities come with a fee. Run the numbers before moving forward.
How To Do a Balance Transfer
You can initiate a balance transfer over the phone with an agent from your new credit card company, or you can do it online. All you need is the account number from your old credit card and some patience. Banks want to make balance transfers as easy as possible, but they can still take some time.
Before completing a balance transfer, take a minute to shop around for the best deal.
Paying Off a Credit Card With a Cash Advance
A cash advance is an expensive option that involves taking money from your credit card’s limit. With the cash in hand, you can use those funds for anything, including paying for your other credit card bill.
However, this isn’t a great idea if you have any other options. Due to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, credit card companies can only charge a late fee once per every two statement periods. Cash advances include an upfront fee, plus a higher interest rate than regular credit card purchases. It will probably cost more to take out a cash advance than to miss a credit card payment.
- Cash in-hand: The obvious advantage of cash advances is that cash is accepted almost everywhere.
- Easy in-person payment: If the card you want to pay off has a brick-and-mortar branch, you can go there to pay in cash.
- Can be quick: Some credit cards allow you to take a cash advance from an ATM, so you don’t have to wait.
- No grace period for interest: Unlike with purchases, interest on a cash advance usually starts accumulating right away.
- Might be issued as a check: Some issuers send the cash advance as a check in the mail, so it’s not a quick solution for a tight deadline.
- High cost: Between cash advance fees and higher interest rates, cash advances can get expensive fast.
- Can take extra time: If you have to pay your credit card bill online, you’ll have to deposit the cash in your account before you make the payment, which can cause delays of a few days or more.
Other Options To Reduce Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt can represent a major drain on your financial situation. If you’re leaning on another credit card to cover your current credit card bill, it might be time to change your debt repayment strategy.
Of course, getting out of credit card debt isn’t always easy. But the good news is that it’s possible. These steps are a good place to start:
- Consider debt consolidation options; look for a loan with a lower interest rate.
- Look for ways to put more money toward your balance each month. For example, you might slash expenses by skipping takeout or trying a no-spend month.
- Look for ways to increase your income by picking up extra hours at work or tackling a new side hustle.
You can use one credit card to pay another in a roundabout way. Cash advances are rarely a good idea to pay off other credit cards. Balance transfers can save you money if used strategically, but they can increase your money woes, as well. Make sure you do all your math before committing.
If you want to use a credit card to cover your other credit card bills, you’ll need to get creative. Balance transfers and cash advances are opportunities, but they come with a steep price tag. Take the time to explore all of your options before diving into a balance transfer or taking out a cash advance.
- Can you pay a credit card bill with another credit card?
- No, you cannot use another credit card to pay your credit card balance directly.
- Why can't you pay a credit card with another credit card?
- Credit card issuers want to know if you are making progress toward debt repayment without growing a different credit card balance. Your ability to repay the debt factors into your credit limit, APR and whether you'll be approved for future cards, among other things.
- Can I pay my Capital One credit card with another credit card?
- No, Capital One will not allow you to pay your credit card bill with another credit card.
- Can I pay my credit card with a debit card?
- Depending on your card issuer, you might be able to pay your credit card bill with a debit card. However, most credit card issuers will ask you to make a payment directly from your checking or savings account without using the information on your debit card.
Diane Fogle contributed to the reporting for this article.