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3 Ways to Get Cash From a 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Card Offer

By Joshua Caucutt

cash balance transfer credit cardZero percent balance transfer credit cards offers are back. In the past few months, I’ve talked about how to best use a balance transfer, and I’ve offered tips for how to responsibly use 0% balance transfer credit cards to get out of debt.  But there’s another way in which you can use a 0% APR balance transfer to your benefit.

Although the best use for a 0% balance transfer is to pay off an existing balance with a high annual percentage rate, you can also use the balance transfer for cash as an emergency fund, earn interest in a savings account like Capital One 360 or a money market account, or temporarily pad your bank account.  But in order to move forward with these options, you’ll have to turn that APR offer into cash. How is this done?

Below are three ways to turn a 0% balance transfer credit card offer to actual cash you can use.

1. Deposit “Access” Checks

The easiest way to turn a balance transfer into cash is to use the special checks that credit card companies usually send with offers or with the monthly statement. These checks can simply be deposited into your checking or savings accounts. Though there are times when the bank will place a temporary “hold” on the funds, the hold usually does not last more than a few business days. I always check with my credit card company first to confirm whether or not the checks can be used for a deposit.

2. Transfer and Refund

Another way to turn a balance transfer into cash is to request a balance transfer that is greater than the existing balance. To clarify, let’s say you have a balance of $325 on Credit Card A, but you get a 0% APR balance transfer offer from Credit Card B. You could then request a balance transfer of $6,250, giving you a credit of $5,925 on your Credit Card A balance. You can then call up the customer service representative at Credit Card A and request a refund. Sometimes the customer service rep will give you a bit of a hard time, depending on the amount of the overpayment; however, it’s usually not a problem for them to issue the refund. I have found that Chase Bank is the easiest to work with when attempting to get a refund, and Bank of America and Discover will sometimes even directly deposit your credit refund directly into your checking account.

It is important to avoid transferring a balance to a card that you have never used or have a $0 balance on. In the early years, it was possible to request a balance transfer to a card with no current balance. I once transferred $10k to a credit card with no balance and then requested (and received) the entire $10K refund. But recently, banks have gotten wise to this and if there is no existing balance, many will simply refuse to accept the balance transfer. Even a minimal balance of $5 can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful balance transfer.

3. Transfer and Spend

Instead of requesting a refund, many people simply spend down the balance transfer overpayment. For instance, if you transfer $4,000 from Credit Card A for an overpayment of $3,750 on Credit Card B, you can use Credit Card B without having to make a payment to that card until the balance is gone. However, be forewarned that this technique can be a slippery slope as a credit card balance is extremely easy to spend, especially since it holds the allure of being “free money.”  But if you only spend the money that you would normally utilize within your monthly budget and long term financial goals, you will slowly build a surplus in your bank account. Keep in mind that it is only free money for twelve months – and even that only holds true so long as you pay on time.

Final Word

Remember that the 0% introductory APR balance transfer game can be risky if you have a history of compulsive shopping and spending, keeping poor records, or making late payments. If you are guilty of any of those faults, taking advantage of the balance transfer game is not for you.

Have you ever experimented with balance transfers to get a free loan for a year? I actually have a lot of experience in this area so feel free to ask any questions regarding making money from balance transfers offers in the comments below.

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided or commissioned by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, or airline. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Joshua Caucutt
Joshua Caucutt has a BS in Mathematics and a Master's degree in Nouthetic Counseling. He has published or written for several blogs and websites over the past decade. He is a long-term market follower, financial educator and especially interested in looking at money from a biblical point of view. Formerly known as "Stew" at Gather Little by Little, Josh writes under his own name at Money Crashers.

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  • Ben

    Josh, you are completely ignoring the balance transfer fees, which are normally 3-5+%. People need to figure that cost into whether the transfer is worth it. There is no such thing as a free loan anymore.

  • http://profiles.google.com/zef.wagner Zef Wagner

    Not true. I just used one that is 0% for a year with no fee. They’re out there, they just only go to people with good credit ratings.

  • Wisemoney

    Josh, my question is about paying off credit card debt with 0%APR and 2% balance fee with the same credit card offer. I have a balance of $2000 on my card. Today, I received an offer from that card allowing me to deposit money into my bank with 0%APR for 12 months plus the transfer fee. I want to write myself a check for $2000 and then pay off my balance with this money. The result is that I pay off my card balance and now have 12 months interest free to pay borrowed money back. I will not be using this card again until I pay $2000 back avoiding the interest rate. Is this wise to do?

    • Joshua Caucutt

      It is best to not use the card, however, the new credit card legislation allows your payments to be applied to the balance subject to the portion of your balance subject to the highest interest rate. this is a handy change.

  • insidious

    “if you transfer $4,000 from Credit Card A for an overpayment of $3,750 on Credit Card B, you can use Credit Card B without having to make a payment to that card until the balance is gone.”

    Wouldnt the credit balance be on Card A rather than Card B? Thus, you would be using Card A rather than Card B.

  • triedcashback

    Josh, after reading your article I did a balance transfer offer (0%) apr to my chase visa of $15k – the card had a $100 balance. At Chase they are saying that they have to go through money laundering protocol, and are not guaranteeing that they will refund the overpayment (wait of up 7-10 days just for a response and up to 21 days if they do do the refund), so I am now stuck in limbo. One representative said the hassle was a result of a balance transfer of over $10k, the other said any overpayment of over $5k. In the meantime I have no access to the funds and am just waiting to see what happens.

    • Joshua Caucutt

      This may have gone more smoothly if you had requested a lower, “odd” amount. I.E. $7,435 or something similar.

  • Mark

    Josh,
    I have no debt, just got an offer for 0% apr for 15 months on new purchases. I have no balances to transfer and was looking to max it out and make a little bit of intrest in te mean time then pay off the balance in full. Will they really let me deposit their check into a bank account? How would you go about discussing this with the credit card company?

    Thanks,

    Mark

    • Joshua Caucutt

      Mark, In your case, I don’t think that a 0% APR balance transfer makes sense. In 2006 and 2007, it was possible to get a no fee or 3% fee transfer and then deposit the money into a savings account that paid 4, 5, even 6%. That said, you can often deposit balance transfer checks directly into your bank account.

      • mark

        Josh,

        Do credit card companies issue checks that can be used for purchases that are exempt from the typical 3% fee? i.e. deposit these to a bank account, being that there is a 0%APR on all NEW purchases for 15 months.

        Thanks for you help,

        Mark

        • Joshua Caucutt

          No – there may be exceptions, but typically, a “purchase” offer is only for card swipes and usually there is no fee because the credit card company makes a percentage on every swipe. It is possible to benefit from a 0% purchase offer by using the card, only making the minimum payment and saving up the money that you would normally use in paying off the balance in an interest-bearing account. However, that is pretty complicated and I have avoided that strategy personally.

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