Pros, Cons, and What to Consider Before Transferring a Car Loan to a Credit Card
Are you looking to save money on your car loan? Transferring your car loan to your credit card might sound like a good idea, but is it really worth it? While there are certainly some advantages to doing so, there are also some potential drawbacks that you should consider. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of transferring your car loan to your credit card, as well as some important factors to consider before making a decision.
Is it really a good idea to pay off your car or truck loan with a credit card balance transfer offer?
While transferring a car loan to a credit card may allow for lower interest rates and lower monthly payments, it can also come with high transfer fees, potential risks to your credit score, and increased debt. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons and alternatives.
So, if you’re tired of feeling like you’re driving a clown car because your car payments are so high, have no fear! Transferring your car loan to your credit card might just be the ticket to saving some serious cash. But before you start packing your car full of circus animals, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of this financial acrobatics feat.
The Pros of Transferring a Car Loan to a Credit Card
If you’re thinking about transferring your car loan to your credit card, there are some potential benefits to consider. Here are a few of the advantages that might make it worth your while:
- Converting a Secured Car Loan to an Unsecured Revolving Debt: One of the main benefits of transferring your car loan to your credit card is that you can convert a secured loan (i.e., one that’s tied to an asset, like your car) to an unsecured revolving debt. This means that you won’t have to worry about losing your car to the repo man or woman if you fall behind on your payments. While it’s important to remember that you’ll be on the hook for your credit card debt if you can’t pay it off and may still end up in collections, it can be a relief to know that your car isn’t at risk.
- Eliminating Your Car Insurance Comprehensive and Collision Coverage: One major benefit of paying off your car loan with a credit card balance transfer is that can then eliminate your car’s comprehensive and collision insurance coverage. When you take out a car loan, the lender typically requires you to carry full coverage insurance on the vehicle until the loan is paid off. However, if you pay off the car loan with a credit card balance transfer, you are longer required to carry this expensive insurance coverage. This can be a significant cost saving, particularly if you have an older car that’s fully paid off and you’re considering dropping the comprehensive and collision insurance coverage anyway.
- Potential for Lower Interest Rates: Another advantage of transferring your car loan to your credit card is that you might be able to get a lower interest rate. Many credit cards offer promotional 0% APR balance transfer offers, which can allow you to pay off your car loan interest-free for a limited time. Even if you don’t qualify for a 0% APR offer, you might still be able to get a lower interest rate on your credit card than you’re currently paying on your car loan.
- Lower Monthly Payments: In addition to potentially getting a lower interest rate, transferring your car loan to your credit card can also result in lower monthly payments. This is because credit cards typically have lower minimum payments than car loans. While it’s important to remember that you’ll need to pay off your credit card balance eventually, lower monthly payments can provide some short-term relief if you’re struggling to make ends meet.
These advantages can make it seem like a no-brainer to transfer your car loan to your credit card. However, it’s important to carefully consider all of the potential drawbacks before making a decision.
The Cons of Transferring a Car Loan to a Credit Card
While there are certainly some advantages to transferring your car loan to your credit card, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider as well. Here are a few of the cons that you should be aware of:
- High Transfer Fees: One of the biggest drawbacks of transferring your car loan to your credit card is that there are often high transfer fees involved. Most credit card balance transfer offers come with a transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred. That means you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in fees. This can eat into any potential savings you might have otherwise enjoyed.
- Potential Problems with Limited Time Promotional Offers: While promotional 0% APR balance transfer offers can be a great way to save money on interest, they come with their own set of potential problems. For one thing, these offers are often only available for a limited time, typically 6-18 months, and shorter terms are normal for borrowers with lower credit scores. If you haven’t paid off your balance by the time the promotional period ends, you could end up paying higher interest rates than you were paying on your car loan.
- Risk of Increasing Debt: Another potential drawback of transferring your car loan to your credit card is that it can be easy to fall into the trap of increasing your debt. If you’re not careful, you could end up charging more to your credit card than you can afford to pay off. This can quickly spiral into a cycle of debt that can be hard to escape.
- Impact on Your Credit Score: Transferring your car loan to your credit card can also have an impact on your credit score. While it’s true that paying off your car loan could help improve your credit score, applying for a new credit card can temporarily lower it. Additionally, if you’re unable to make your payments on time or if you max out your credit card, your credit score could suffer even more.
- Longer Repayment Period and More Interest Paid: Finally, while transferring your car loan to your credit card can result in lower monthly payments, it’s important to remember that this will also mean a longer repayment period and more interest paid over the life of the loan. This option might be worth it if you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits carefully before making a decision.
While there are certainly some potential benefits to transferring your car loan to your credit card as noted previously, it’s important to carefully consider all of the potential drawbacks before making a decision. Clearly, it is not as black-and-white a decision as some might think.
Other Factors to Consider Before Transferring a Car Loan to a Credit Card
Before making your decision to transfer your car loan to your credit card or not, keep in mind a few additional factors that might sway you one way or another.
- Effect on Payment History: When you transfer your car loan to your credit card, it’s important to remember that this will show up on your credit report. This means that any missed or late payments will be reflected in your payment history, which could negatively impact your credit score. It’s important to make sure that you’re able to make your payments on time and in full each month.
- Ease of Monthly Payments: Consolidating your debt by transferring your car loan to your credit card can make it easier to keep track of your monthly payments. Instead of having to make multiple payments each month to different lenders, you’ll only have one payment to make. However, if you’re not able to make your payment, you could end up in even more financial trouble than you were before.
- Potential Difficulty in Making Monthly Payments: On the other hand, consolidating your debt by transferring your car loan to your credit card can also make it more difficult to make your monthly payments. If you’re not used to managing a credit card balance, it can be easy to overspend and end up with more debt than you can handle. Additionally, if you have a high balance on your credit card, it can be difficult to make the minimum monthly payments, which can result in additional fees and interest charges.
- Impact on Credit Utilization: Finally, when you transfer your car loan to your credit card, it can also impact your credit utilization ratio. This ratio measures the amount of credit you’re using compared to the amount of credit you have available. If you have a high balance on your credit card, this can increase your credit utilization ratio and negatively impact your credit score. You will want to work hard to make sure that you’re able to manage your credit card balance responsibly and keep your credit utilization ratio low.
Alternatives to Transferring a Car Loan to a Credit Card
If you’re looking for alternatives to transferring your car loan to your credit card, you have several options to consider, including the following four:
- Credit Card Rewards: You might start to salivate at the idea of transferring your car loan to your credit card to earn rewards or travel points. Many credit cards offer such programs that allow you to earn cash back, points, or miles for every dollar you spend. However, as noted in an article by RateGenius that quoted me on the subject, rewards credit cards do not offer points or other rewards for transferring balances from other accounts to their cars.
- Refinancing Your Car Loan: Refinancing your car loan involves taking out a new loan to pay off your existing car loan. This can be a good option if you’re looking to lower your monthly payments or secure a lower interest rate. However, keep in mind that refinancing may extend the life of your loan, which means you’ll pay more in interest over time.
- Applying for a Personal Loan: Another option is to apply for a personal loan to pay off your car loan. Some personal loans have lower interest rates than credit cards, which can save you money in the long run, but most carry interest rates that may be double your car loan rate. Also, many personal loans may come with origination fees, which can add to your overall cost. And if you use a finance company (like those you find online or in a strip mall), you might expect to see interest rates as much as five to ten times your car loan APR.
- Seeking a Debt Management Program: If you’re struggling with debt and looking for a way to manage your payments, you may want to consider seeking help from a credit counseling agency. A debt management program can help you consolidate your debts and create a repayment plan that works for you. While these programs come with a one-time enrollment fee and monthly administrative fees, they are generally very reasonable and capped by state laws and regulations.
Ultimately, the right option for you will depend on your individual financial situation. Be sure to carefully consider the pros and cons of each alternative before making a decision, and don’t be afraid to seek guidance from a credit counselor if you need help weighing your options.
Is it a good idea to pay off a car loan with a home equity loan?
It may not be a good idea to pay off a car loan with a home equity loan, as it puts your home at risk if you can’t make the payments. Consider other options, such as credit counseling, refinancing the car loan, or seeking a personal loan before using home equity to pay off a car loan.
Will it hurt my credit rating if I pay off my car loan early?
Paying off your car loan early may have a temporary negative impact on your credit score because the average age of your accounts will decrease, and your mix of credit may be affected. However, paying off a loan early also shows responsible financial behavior that might help your credit score.