How Long Does a Balance Transfer Take?

Processing a balance transfer may take anywhere from two days to six weeks.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 11/3/2022
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Last Updated: 11/3/2022

How long a balance transfer takes from one credit card to another depends on the issuer of the card to which you’re transferring a balance. While most card providers process balance transfers in two days to three weeks, some may take up to six weeks. Your card provider will typically give you an indication of the turnaround time in advance.

Once your new card provider approves your balance transfer request, it needs to coordinate the transfer with your existing card provider, which might lead to delays. If a card provider rejects your balance transfer request, find out why and determine if you might be able to rectify the problem and resubmit your application.

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MoneyGeek's Takeaways

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A balance transfer may go through in as little as two days, but it can sometimes take up to six weeks.

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You might need to make a payment toward your existing card balance even if the process is underway.

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A card provider might approve your credit card application but deny your balance transfer request.

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How Long Does a Credit Card Balance Transfer Take?

If you wish to use a new credit card to carry out a balance transfer, you’ll need to account for the time it takes the issuer to approve your application for a new card. Further, while some card providers let you initiate the balance transfer process soon after your new card’s approval, others might require you to wait for a given number of days from account opening. This, in itself, might add several days to your balance transfer plan.

Balance transfers may take as little as two days to go through, but they also might take up to six weeks. The time it takes depends on the credit card provider responsible for carrying out a balance transfer. From applying for a new card to a balance transfer going through, plan for the process to take at least two to three weeks, if not longer. As a result, you may need to make at least one more payment toward your existing card before the new card provider clears its debt.

Balance transfers that involve the mailing of checks tend to take longer than ones that rely on electronic funds transfers.

Average Length of Time for a Balance Transfer by Card Issuer

  • Card Issuer
    Avg Length of Time
  • American Express
    Usually 5 to 7 days, but up to 6 weeks in some instances
  • Bank of America
    At least 2 weeks from account opening
  • Capital One
    Usually 3 to 14 days
  • Chase
    Usually 7 to 21 days
  • Citi
    Usually 2 to 21 days
  • Discover
    Up to 4 days for most transfers to existing Discover cards. New cardholders need to wait for 14 days from account opening to submit balance transfer requests.
  • Wells Fargo
    Usually 5 to 21 days
  • U.S. Bank
    Usually up to 14 days

Why Is My Balance Transfer Taking So Long?

Given that a balance transfer might go through in a few days or take longer than a month, get an indication of the estimated turnaround time from your card provider before you get the process underway. Bear in mind that balance transfers tend to take longer when you apply for a new card. This is also the case if your card provider chooses to write a paper check instead of transferring the money electronically.

While you’re waiting for a balance transfer to go through, ensure you’re making payments toward your existing credit card debt. This is because the balance transfer might be processed after your existing credit card account gets billed again. If you fail to make timely payments, you might be burdened with late fees and a drop in your credit score.

How to Track or Follow Up on a Balance Transfer

If your balance transfer is not complete after the maximum time period indicated by your card provider, consider calling the issuer and checking on its status. The representative you speak with should be able to give you some indication of how much longer your balance transfer may take, and you might even learn what’s holding it back.

Once you initiate the balance transfer process, you can check both credit card accounts to see if there has been a transfer of funds. Once the payment from your new card is processed on your old card’s account, it will reflect as a normal credit card payment. As long it clears the outstanding balance in full, your account should show a $0 balance. The new credit card account, on the other hand, will reflect the transfer balance as a credit entry.

If the status of your balance transfer shows as pending, you can contact the card issuer to find out when the process might be complete.

MORE: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRANSFER A BALANCE ON A CREDIT CARD?

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MONEYGEEK QUICK TIP

Setting up automatic payment of the minimum balance due will keep both credit card accounts active and in good standing. This eliminates penalty APRs, negative marks on your credit and the premature end of 0% APR promotions. -- Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com.

What Does Request "Held Mean" on a Balance Transfer?

In some cases, while a credit card provider might approve your application for a new card, it may put your balance transfer request on hold. This is done to confirm if the amount you wish to transfer falls within your available credit limit. If the balance transfer amount exceeds your credit limit, the card provider will reject your application. In such a scenario, you might be able to lower the amount you wish to transfer and resubmit your application.

A card provider might deny your balance transfer application if you submit it after a predetermined time period from account opening, especially if there’s an introductory balance transfer offer in place. Attempting to transfer a balance from one credit card to another issued by the same issuer usually results in a rejected application as well.

MORE: HOW TO TRANSFER A CREDIT CARD BALANCE TO ANOTHER CARD

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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

Selecting a balance transfer card requires paying attention to various factors such as 0% APR offers, regular APRs, balance transfer fees and annual fees. MoneyGeek experts have analyzed more than 2,000 consumer and business credit cards combined so that you can choose a suitable one with ease.

Other Questions You May Have About Balance Transfer Cards

Getting to know answers to other commonly asked questions about how long balance transfers take will put you in a better position to decide if taking this path might work well for you.

Next Steps

Now that you know how long a credit card balance transfer takes, pay particular attention to the timing if you plan to take this path. If you’re making use of a 0% APR offer, find out if there’s any time limit before which you need to submit your balance transfer request. Keep an eye on your existing credit card account, too, because you need to keep up with payments until the balance transfer goes through. To select a suitable balance transfer credit card, compare your options across key parameters such as APRs, annual fees and rewards.

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About the Author


Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


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